A little over a month ago we finally heard of Mistwalker Corp’s latest project after months of speculation. Over the past few months we’ve heard bits and pieces on the blog of Mistwalker’s head, Hironobu Sakaguchi, as well as illustrations that were posted on the Mistwalker website were at best cryptic as to what the new game would be. Since the vague announcement last June it was expected that the newest game might be released on the X-Box 360, in light of Microsoft’s financial assistance when Mistwalker was founded, or even the Nintendo DS, as their most recent games were released for the DS. It came as a surprise when the new title was unveiled as coming to the Nintendo Wii with the launch of an official website which includes the game’s logo and a piece of music.
Since the unveiling there hasn’t been much in the way of details regarding the game, however there have been some tidbits here and there via Sakaguchi’s column on the Mistwalker website. With this game, Sakaguchi is intending it to create a new type of RPG in which one of the major themes is emotions that are held by people. The details should start pouring in later this month as Mistwalker will be revealing new information about the game via a Developer’s blog.
There is another point of interest regarding the game, namely the name of the game and the artwork of the logo. The title, The Last Story, obviously invokes similarities with the Final Fantasy franchise which was created by Hironobu Sakaguchi. What’s funny about this is that although no one from Mistwalker really has discussed the name, Yoshinori Kitase, the producer of Final Fantasy XIII, has already mentioned his feelings on the manner, stating that the title seems to be very Sakaguchi-like in it being a simple, straightforward title that game players can understand and that he feels the name does not overlap with the Final Fantasy franchise. I do wonder, however, if the name for this game might have the same connotations as did Final Fantasy for Sakaguchi as he has mentioned on his blog that he is “betting a lot on this project” and putting his “full strength into this project”.
At the time of Final Fantasy’s original release, Squaresoft apparently was in dire financial straits after poor sales of their previous games and how Final Fantasy was considered to be the company’s last chance, thus the name Final Fantasy. I doubt this would be the case, but it still bothers me that they are suddenly no longer involved with Microsoft, I wonder if Microsoft’s increased ties with Square Enix might have had something to do with it and Mistwalker canceling one of their titles for the X-Box 360 (Cry On).
There is also the issue of the logo, which even to the untrained eye seems overly similar in style to the the logos designed and drawn by artist Yoshitaka Amano for the Final Fantasy series. This is interesting in itself as Amano is working freelance these days and has mentioned in the past his interest in working with Sakaguchi at Mistwalker. It’ll be interesting to see whether this is the case as it would re-unite three of the driving forces behind some of my most favourite games in the Final Fantasy series.