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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age Remaster Announced for PS4

(Image by Square Enix)

(Image by Square Enix)

Final Fantasy XII is heading to the PlayStation 4 in an all-new improved version.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, a high-definition remaster of the role-playing game from the PlayStation 2, will release for the PS4 in 2017, Square Enix announced on Monday.

The remaster is based on the updated and expanded version of the game called Final Fantasy XII International Zodiac Job System, which only released for Japan in August 2007.

For Zodiac Age the game’s visuals will be updated with a modern high-definition look. The character models, environmental backgrounds and movie cut-scenes will all be bumped to a higher resolution. The music of Zodiac Age will feature a redone score but also include the original soundtrack that can be switched in-game. There will also be shorter load times and a new auto-save feature. Players can choose between English and Japanese voice acting during the game. There will also be improved audio redone with 7.1 surround sound.

Square Enix announced the game will launch for Japan, North America and Europe in 2017 but exact release dates for each region weren’t given. The game will cost $49.99 according to the company’s official store page. Hiroaki Kato, who produced Final Fantasy Tactics A2: Grimoire of the Rift (2007) for the Nintendo DS, will be Zodiac Age’s new producer. Takashi Katano will be the game’s director, who was the main programmer on the original release.

The Zodiac Job System version added new License Boards for each character’s abilities that are based on all 12 zodiac signs, which expanded the game with new class jobs for each person. It also changed the battle system by allowing guests and summoned spells to be fully controlled by the player. Many of the game’s equipment, items and spells were changed and tweaked. Bonus features were included like new game plus options after finishing the story. A new Trial mode allowed players to fight the game’s monsters in up to 100 battles. The game’s speed was also increased by introducing a turbo mode.

Final Fantasy XII’s story follows Vaan, an aspiring sky pirate in the land of Ivalice. Turmoil between the small kingdom of Dalmasca where the characters live and the Archadian Empire leads Vaan and his team to seek revenge against the invaders. The story includes several other playable characters like Ashe, the former princess of Dalmasca whose husband and father were killed by Archadian treachery and Basch, Dalmasca’s military captain who was framed for the murder of the country’s king. Sky pirates Balthier and Fran join the group after trying to steal a Dalmascan treasure back from the Empire at the same time Vaan attempted to. Vaan’s childhood friend Penelo, who lost her parents during the war between the two countries, also joins the journey.

Final Fantasy XII removed the franchise’s random battle mechanic, instead having each enemy visible throughout the game world that can be avoided. The game had different gameplay elements for the series, like combat that took place in real-time through the Active Dimension Battle system, which was somewhat similar to an MMO. There was also an all-new way to control party members in battles called the gambit system that gave them automated commands when certain conditions were met.

The game first released in Japan in March 2006 and then in October for North America. Compared to the previous mainline release of Final Fantasy X in 2001 that featured a more modern setting, XII returned to the franchise’s fantasy roots for its characters, setting and storyline. Hiroyuki Ito, the director on Final Fantasy IV/III (1994), Final Fantasy IX (2000) and the creator of the franchise’s iconic Active Time Battle system, also directed Final Fantasy XII.

Zodiac Age follows in the path of other Final Fantasy high-definition remasters of the PS2 era, like Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2 (2003), which first released as a combination for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita in March 2014.  Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster also released for the PS4 in May 2015 and this March on Steam.

Final Fantasy XV is the latest game is the series that is scheduled to launch on Sept. 30 for the PS4 and Xbox One.

Watch the reveal trailer for the Final Fantasy XII remaster:

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