Square Enix announced a remastered version of Final Fantasy XII, known as Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age, is coming in 2017. There have already been remastered versions of Final Fantasy X and X-2, released in 2013, and at E3 last year, a remake of the ultra-popular Final Fantasy VII was also announced.
The news of a remade VII caused a huge splash—a beloved game from 1997 being given a modern transformation is a pipe dream for many that actually came true—but I think that’s overshadowed the news that XII is being revived for the PS4. At this year’s E3, Square Enix is focusing on their upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided release, as well as the upcoming Final Fantasy XV: the XII remaster is getting only an hour of dedicated gameplay coverage. Understandable, as new releases take precedence, but the XII fan in me wishes we’d get a little more.
While FFXII was a critical success, I’ve never heard gamers talk about it the way they do VII or even X. Everyone has their favorites, I suppose, and XII is mine. I love the politics, and the characters, the battle system (XII is notable for being the first FF game to eliminate random encounters!), its bountiful airships, and the admittedly overly complex License Board. But the aspects of the game that I love—the politics with their endless cut scenes, and the game’s youthful blond protagonist, Vaan, often seen as effeminate—are obstacles for some gamers.
I don’t want to call XII underrated, because it has a pretty universally great critical score (and a perfect score from Famitsu), but I think it’s seen as a Final Fantasy dark horse. Everyone acknowledges that it’s well made, but it’s rarely someone’s favorite. The enthusiasm for XV, and the previous enthusiasm for X and X2, far outweighs the chatter I’ve seen for this announcement.
The chance to see my favorite of the series rendered with beautiful graphics rather than grainily on a PS2 is really exciting, and purely on a fannish level I want everyone else to be excited too. I hope with the remastered version, a whole new audience will find the game, and maybe veteran gamers will come to appreciate the nuance of its worldbuilding and cast. (And Fran and Balthier, who are definitely the best characters in the game.)
Final Fantasy XII The Zodiac Age is releasing in 2017, first in Japan and then later in the west.