GC 2005: Final Fantasy XI

We uncover a few new details about the first X360 MMO at Games Convention.

Final Fantasy XI for the Xbox 360 will contain the exact same content as the PC and PS2 versions of the game, so if you don't know what the game is all about, you should read the extensive preview we posted in June. The big changes are, of course, 720p and widescreen support, a graphical upgrade and a further draw distance.

Like the PS2 and PC versions, Xbox 360 gamers will be able to play with players on all the active platforms. Xbox 360 gamers will also be able to use their existing PC accounts if they already play the Windows version. On the Xbox 360, you will need the HDD to play, so if you're looking forward to jumping into the online world of Final Fantasy, you should plan to buy an Xbox 360 premium system, or a core system and a separate hard drive.

In our demo, we saw a live gameplay session with Xbox 360 and PC players traveling through the game world together. The Xbox 360 version looked slightly better than the PC version, with high-res textures and some nice lighting effects.

The development team is also looking into new billing options for the game, including automatic bank withdrawal, which will probably be more useful in Europe since a lower percentage of the population owns credit cards as compared to the United States.

Beta testing for the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI should begin later this year. Square Enix says they'll announce a more firm release date depending on how the beta test goes, but it shouldn't be too far after that.

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