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Square Enix: Final Fantasy XIII-2 coming 2012

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Final Fantasy: inaccurately named

Apparently unfazed by the disastrous reception of Final Fantasy XIV (Buy | Search), publisher
Square Enix is once again looking to its extensive back catalog for the next in the much-loved series.

But this time it's Final Fantasy XIII (Buy | Search) that's in the frame for a follow-up,
and in one of those naming decisions that'll make perfect sense to fans
and none at all to anyone else, it'll be called Final Fantasy XIII-2.
It'll launch in Japan this year, while Western gamers will have to wait
until next winter.

Although little is known about the game beyond its trailer and a solitary
screenshot, Square Enix promised in a statement it'll sport a new story,
an "evolved" battle system, and the return of numerous familiar
characters from the original game.

Depending on exactly how you count them, there are somewhere in the region of 30
major titles in the Final Fantasy series, making it one of gaming's most
prolific franchises. Known for its intricate plots, strong
characterizations, and sumptuous presentation, the series has been on a
downward trend for some years.

Final Fantasies IV, VII, and IX are still remembered as some of the best
games of all time, but following the 2004 departure of series' creator
Hironobu Sakaguchi, they've struggled to attain the same recognition
they enjoyed in previous decades, although sales remain broadly strong.

Its most recent installment, subscription-based massively multiplayer
online world Final Fantasy XIV, was a disaster. Excoriated by critics
for its poor interface, bad economy, and unfinished game mechanics, it
scored an average review mark below 50%. Numerous prominent publications
scored down in the 30-40% region -- a rare feat for a major release.

Square Enix has repeatedly apologized for its quality, handing out free
subscription extensions to unfortunate players. Around 600,000 players
bought Final Fantasy XIV, and we suspect as many as two or three of them
are still playing it.

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