Final Fantasy XIII is a game that needs no introduction.
It is one of the most anticipated games of all time, with a colossal worldwide fanbase eagerly waiting for the inevitably epic adventure.
It has been almost four years since Final Fantasy XIII was first shown to the public, but Square Enix is more than confident the game has been worth the wait.
“We have high hopes for Final Fantasy XIII as you would expect,” says senior brand manager Adrian Arnese.
“The Final Fantasy series has continuously reinvented itself over the last two decades, with over 92 million copies sold worldwide.
“The series is defined by constant evolution, with each release delivering nothing less than the finest creative vision and audio/visual quality – Final Fantasy XIII will be no exception.”
Final Fantasy XIII was released in Japan just before Christmas and met with remarkable success – it is the first PS3 title to sell more than one million units in Japan.
Western retailers can be assured of even greater sales as the game will be released on both PS3 and Xbox 360, unlike the PS3-only launch in the East.
Arnese says: “Since its initial announcement at E3 in 2006, the anticipation for Final Fantasy XIII has been growing and growing, and is now reaching fever pitch.
“The game has been regularly topping pre-order charts and the rate of pre-orders is increasing as we get closer to its launch.”
The hype building behind the game is impossible to miss, with overwhelmingly positive press coverage appearing across a wide range of specialist, movie and lifestyle publications.
Initial review scores have been high, including a nine out of ten in Official PlayStation Magazine, and Square Enix is confident that subsequent reviews will be just as glowing.
“All this considered, our aim is for Final Fantasy XIII to be a landmark release for the current hardware generation, with sales results in line with previous main Final Fantasy releases,” adds Arnese.
Final Fantasy XIII is set to appease fans with a brand new epic storyline, complete with emotionally moving twists and cinematic cutscenes.
Players once again explore a world where magic and machines are at war and the lines between good and evil are constantly blurred.
“Final Fantasy XIII lets players embark on an adventure beyond their wildest dreams, packed with breathtaking environments to explore, unique allies to befriend, and awe-inspiring enemies to conquer,” explains Arnese.
“An immersive storyline draws the player ever closer to a cast of intriguing characters. Will they have the strength to face their fate, or are they doomed to destroy everything they love?
“There is a level of craftsmanship, detail design and quality here that is second to none, setting a new benchmark for the realisation of video game worlds and characters.”
The game boasts a new graphics engine developed specifically for this generation of consoles.
Consumers can expect stunning high-definition cinematics and sound, as well as some of the time-honoured gameplay mechanics that have evolved as the series has progressed.
The familiar Active Time Battle system is present once more, with new features granting players the freedom to give numerous commands in a single turn in real-time.
There is also a brand-new mechanic – the Paradigm System – that enables players to assign different roles, such as commando or medic, to their party members at any time during battle.
Square Enix plans to elevate Final Fantasy XIII’s debut above previous games releases and bring it closer to becoming one of the biggest entertainment launches of the quarter.
To accomplish this, the publisher has invested in an extensive multi-million pound campaign that designed to reach millions of consumers.
Key to this massive campaign will be heavyweight TV advertising, which will run across terrestrial and satellite channels – it kicks off on March 1st running into Easter and beyond.
TV spots will appear more frequently as launch day approaches, and Square Enix has secured prime advertising spots during key football programming.
The publisher has also made its biggest ever investment in video-on-demand media.
Meanwhile, the firm estimates that its national bus side advertising campaign will reach a staggering 75 per cent of the UK’s population throughout March, mirroring the impact of triple-A blockbuster movie campaigns.
In print, Final Fantasy XIII will be promoted directly to fans and a general gaming audience through both specialist and men’s lifestyle publications.
These promotions will also broaden into both the wider lifestyle and national press, such as full-page ads in Metro, Shortlist and others.
Retail will be a key component for Square Enix’s plans with dedicated in-store programmes booked with major retail partners and plenty of high impact POS available.