We haven't talked about Final Fantasy Explorers since it was first introduced in June
, and with a big batch of recently released interviews and clips we now know much more about what the game will be.
In case you've forgotten, Final Fantasy Explorers is an MMO monster hunting game (yes, think Monster Hunter) that features gameplay elements characteristic of the Final Fantasy series.
These include a recently-announced Trance system somewhat akin to that of Final Fantasy IX, a swath of famous weapons and armors from throughout the series (in fact, the game is reported to have over 500 pieces of equipment, which are created with raw materials obtained from battle), and major enemies and summons from the series who will serve as the marks players will hunt (Shiva and Ifrit have been featured in trailers, unsurprisingly, but less recent series mainstays have been confirmed as well, like Fenrir and Ramuh). Crystals are involved as well, as the things players are trying to obtain by defeating marks.
The most notable traditionally-FF element of the game is a combat system structured around jobs. Those announced so far include the Ranger, Paladin, Freelancer, Black Mage, Time Mage, Ninja, Knight, White Mage, and Monk. While developers have promised that the job structure and acquisition of abilities from other jobs won't be as rigid as in previous games, a recently announced aspect of combat, Resonance, will encourage players to use their job's abilities to work together in order to boost damage output, healing effectiveness, and other stats.
The biggest question right now is: will we see Final Fantasy Explorers in the west? A Japanese release date on the 3DS has been scheduled for December 18, but nothing has been said officially for other markets. While the name "Final Fantasy Explorers" has been trademarked in the US, Square Enix has been hesitant with exporting multiplayer titles designed for handheld devices, leaving it as yet uncertain whether European and North American audiences will get a chance to play it.