Final Fantasy XII game release date named

Square Enix Co. Ltd. has named the launch date for “Final Fantasy XII”, the highly-anticipated next installment in its hot-selling Final Fantasy computer game series.

Final Fantasy is Square Enix’s most popular game franchise. The company had sold 28.8 million copies of Final Fantasy-series games in Japan by the end of December last year with U.S. sales at 18.2 million and European sales at 8.7 million.

The new game will be launched on March 16, 2006, in Japan with launch dates for other markets yet to be disclosed, the company said this month at a Square Enix Party 2005 event in Chiba, Japan. The game is for the PlayStation 2 console.

At the event, a playable demo version of the game was on show. The last time Square Enix offered people a chance to try out a demo version of the game was at the E3 show in Los Angeles in 2004, which means fans have had to wait more than a year to get their hands on the software again.

So, it was no surprise that the “Final Fantasy XII” demo was one of the most popular parts of the event, with long lines forming to get a chance to play on one of the 200 consoles running the game.

Several other new additions to the Final Fantasy series were also on show at the event.

Previews of a version of “Final Fantasy XI” for Microsoft Corp.’s upcoming Xbox 360 console were on display. The game has already been released for the PlayStation 2. Further testimony to Final Fantasy’s popularity among gamers was the 160-minute line that formed outside of a small theatre where a couple of hundred people at a time could take a look at previews of several new games coming out based on the “Final Fantasy VII” title.

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