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Final Fantasy XI for the PC Releases Today

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (October 28, 2003) – Square Enix U.S.A., Inc. (“Square Enix U.S.A.”), the publisher of Square Enix™ products in North America, announced that FINAL FANTASY® XI for Windows®, the first online title in the world-renowned series, ships to North American retailers today. FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows will include the “Rise of the Zilart™” expansion pack and other applications on five CD-ROM discs, and carry a suggested retail price of $49.99 (USD). FINAL FANTASY XI for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system is scheduled for release in March 2004. The first cross-platform, cross-continent massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG), FINAL FANTASY XI allows gamers to connect to the same exact world regardless of whether they are playing on a personal computer (PC) or PlayStation 2 and whether they are playing in North America or Japan.

FINAL FANTASY XI subscribers will receive their first 30 days of access without charge. Aside from Internet service provider access charges, the free trial period will begin on the date players create their first Content ID or character. Any additional Content IDs purchased are also available without charge until the end of the free trial period. After 30 days, players can continue to play FINAL FANTASY XI by paying a monthly fee of $12.95 (USD) for one FINAL FANTASY XI character, and can create up to 15 additional characters for an additional charge of $1.00 (USD) per character, per month. Tetra Master®, the online version of the wildly popular and addictive mini-game from FINAL FANTASY IX, will also be included in the package and will be available for $1.00 (USD) per month. Payment for monthly access charges must be made by credit card only (restrictions apply).

“With the success and overwhelmingly positive response we had with the beta program, we are extremely excited about what we will achieve with players from around the world as we launch FINAL FANTASY XI in North America,” said Yasu Kurosawa, US online producer, Square Enix U.S.A. “FINAL FANTASY XI is one of the largest, most in-depth online adventures and promises to deliver an amazing experience with a compelling storyline, highly-detailed graphics, numerous events, boss battles and other features that are unique to the FINAL FANTASY series. There are currently over 300,000 active PlayOnline* subscribers in Japan and we are confident that FINAL FANTASY XI will find similar success in North America.”

About FINAL FANTASY XI
In FINAL FANTASY XI, players will undertake multiple adventures through vast environments in the world of “Vana’diel,” which has more than 100 areas to explore, including mountains, forests, ice plains, deserts, oceans, rivers, castles, and dungeons. The game allows players to create their alter ego that will exist in the world of Vana’diel, choosing from a variety of races, facial features, hairstyles and colors. They will be able to play at their own pace and form parties by utilizing the various communication tools that have been incorporated into FINAL FANTASY XI, including easy-to-use chat and messaging systems. The inclusion of “Rise of the Zilart” will expand the storyline and open up a variety of higher-level skills and abilities. FINAL FANTASY XI also features: · Brand new gaming universe that contains the award-winning visual content, innovative gameplay and deep storyline seen throughoutthe FINAL FANTASY series · Character customization capabilities as well as the ability to equip and switch support jobs at any time · A truly persistent world with climate and time changes that range from full day/night cycles to fog, snow, desert sandstorms, and thunderstorms · A complex yet well balanced auto-attack battle system fit for beginners and experienced gamers · Players can partake in conquests to elevate their nation’s standing, missions to build their reputation within a nation and quests to discover useful items, earn money and uncover valuable information and discover more about the story of Vana’diel · Players can form a “party” with up to six (6) players or form an “alliance” with up to three (3) parties for a total of 18 players · Easy-to-use chat and messaging system · Auction houses, where items/weapons/armor can be auctioned off, and Bazaar system, where players can sell/buy items on the fly · Various types of guilds to choose from, each with its own skill level · Visually stunning event sequences

*PlayOnline™
FINAL FANTASY XI is a multiplayer online game in which players play via the Internet, and is playable via broadband or dial-up connection on both the PC and PlayStation 2. FINAL FANTASY XI is accessible only through the PlayOnline network service, a network service created by Square Enix. The PlayOnline service will launch on October 28, 2003 (12:00AM, PST). PlayOnline provides a wide range of online services and entertainment including games, entertainment, and communication. Thus, PlayOnline not only serves as a portal to the world of FINAL FANTASY XI, but also a gateway to several other applications including communication tools such as email, messaging, a “Friend List,” games, support, downloadable files, and audiovisual customization. Players will create personalized PlayOnline identities or “handles” that allow other players to communicate with each other, no matter where they are on the PlayOnline network. These basic services on the PlayOnline network will be free of charge. For more information on PlayOnline, FINAL FANTASY XI, and Tetra Master, please visit the official Web site at http://www.playonline.com/ff11us/index.shtml.

Marketing and Promotional Partners
In addition to a targeted marketing campaign that includes national print and online media in the top gaming and computer gaming magazines and websites, Square Enix has united with several promotional partners in its marketing efforts for FINAL FANTASY XI. Alienware® is offering a FINAL FANTASY XI bundle on their “Area-51” desktop PC with any NVIDIA® video cards and is also hosting a contest where gamers have a chance to win an Area-51 with the bundle and an exclusive Coldcast Chocobo and Elvaan statue (see in-game insert for details). FINAL FANTASY XI will also be seen in co-branded print ads with NVIDIA. In addition, the premiere online games destination, AOL Games, has debuted a comprehensive programming package, which is available at AOL Keyword: Video Games.

BradyGames’ FINAL FANTASY XI Official Strategy Guide will aid players in their epic journey. The guide includes comprehensive character strategy with full coverage of races, standard and advanced jobs, attributes and abilities, macros and more. The guide’s detailed quest and mission lists, arranged by such things as the city, rewards and maps, help gamers conquer each task. Also, the guide provides a variety of aids to help players master their environment, including comprehensive weapons, armor, and accessory tables, an in-depth bestiary, spell lists, a skillchain chart and more. The Official Strategy Guide will be priced at $19.99 US / $28.99 CAN.

Square Enix U.S.A. has partnered with Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), the online gaming division of Sony Pictures Digital, to provide in-game support and customer service by phone for both versions of FINAL FANTASY XI as well as PlayOnline.

FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows System Requirements
The minimum system requirements for FINAL FANTASY XI for Windows are as follows: Windows 98/98 SE/Me/2000/XP, Intel® Pentium® III 800Mhz or higher, 128MB RAM, 6GB of hard drive space, DirectX® 8.1 compatible sound card, CD-ROM drive, keyboard, 56K or faster Internet connection, and either the ATI® Radeon™ 9000 series or NVIDIA® GeForce™ series video card with 32MB of RAM.

FINAL FANTASY XI for the PlayStation 2
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment America, FINAL FANTASY XI for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system will be pre-installed on internal Hard Disk Drive (40GB)(for PlayStation®2). Available in March 2004 for a suggested retail price of $99 (USD), the internal Hard Disk Drive attaches to the Network Adaptor (Ethernet/modem) (for PlayStation®2), which connects to both broadband or dial-up networks, and rests in the expansion bay of the PlayStation 2 console.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has rated FINAL FANTASY XI “T” for Teen. For more information about the ESRB, visit http://www.esrb.org.

About Square Enix Co. Ltd. and Square Enix U.S.A., Inc.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix) develops, publishes and distributes entertainment contents including interactive entertainment software and publications in Japan, North America, Europe and Asia. Square Enix brings two of Japan’s best-selling franchises – FINAL FANTASY®, which has sold over 45 million units worldwide and DRAGON QUEST (DRAGON WARRIOR® in North America) which has sold over 30 million units worldwide – under one roof. Square Enix is one of the most influential providers of digital entertainment content in the world and continues to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

Square Enix U.S.A. Inc., located in Los Angeles, Calif., handles operations in North America including localization, marketing and publishing of Square Enix titles. More information on Square Enix U.S.A. can be found on the Internet at http://www.square-enix-usa.com.

Reported by: Philip Roland





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