When I arranged a Tokyo Game Show interview with Square Enix's Hajime Tabata a few months back, I figured we'd talk about his career working on portable titles like Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and maybe play the "let's dance around the topic of Final Fantasy XV even though you're not allowed to talk about it" game. I didn't expect his next project, Final Fantasy Agito, to have been announced mere days ahead of our meeting, and I certainly didn't expect to spend an hour talking about that game.
In the course of our discussion, Tabata shared an extensive explanation of Agito's strange history, its relationship to Final Fantasy Type 0, and a detailed explanation of why Type 0 never came to America or Europe; expect the full text of our lengthy interview tomorrow. But he also said something I found heartening in light of Type 0's failure to make its way outside Japan: "[Agito] will definitely be localized."
Square Enix representatives were quick to clarify that this wasn't an announcement of an overseas release for Agito; games are often localized into other languages but never released in other territories. EarthBound Zero is surely the most infamous example of this reality, but for Agito it hits much closer to home as well. According to Tabata, Type 0 was largely localized into English and other European languages but never released for logistical reasons. That could happen with Agito as well -- though it seems unlikely, given the fact that Agito's platform (iOS) has a much stronger presence in the West than Type 0's (PlayStation Portable, which at the time of the game's 2011 release had dried up outside Japan).
With that caveat in mind, Tabata also stated that he sees Agito and Type 0 as companion titles, and that they're best enjoyed with one other. Therefore Tabata says he still hopes to bring Type 0 to the West via PlayStation Network, and while a complete localization hasn't been greenlit it's definitely in the final stages of planning. While quick to offer the same localization-is-not-a-guarantee-of-release caveats for Type 0 as for Agito, he made clear the fact that both fan enthusiasm for the game along with the changing portable market have caught the company's eye and renewed their interest in bringing it overseas.
Again, Tabata offers no promises, but it's clear from speaking to him he's incredibly passionate about both Agito and Type 0 and has paid careful attention to feedback from Western fans. I was able to get a brief look at Agito running on an iPhone 5 as we spoke, and it looks gorgeous; hopefully it plays as well. Check back for our full interview tomorrow.
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