The original Final Fantasy Tactics Advance was an extremely successful and engaging game. While it had some quirks that fans of the PS1 FFT game didn't necessarily enjoy, its strategic battles hooked plenty of hardcore gamers in for hundreds of hours. Now, Final Fantasy Tactics A2 (the A is kept, but the 'dvance' is dropped) is heading toward the Nintendo DS.
Visually, it looks almost identical to the original in many ways - the character designs are from the same artist, Ryoma Ito, and the graphics are 2D as in the original, quite different from the 3D we've recently seen on Final Fantasy III for the DS. But there are new graphical touches: 3D spell effects, based on the graphics from Final Fantasy XII (which takes place in the same world of Ivalice) have been added.
It's been four years since the original FFTA was released, and the developers are aiming to modify the features of the game: it has a totally new story, and more minigames and different kinds of missions have been added to make the game more entertaining than the original, and easier to play. The story is also completely different than the original. The game will also retain the Judge Law system, but it's being implemented differently (but we're not quite sure how, just yet.) Thanks to the two-panel DS the menu system should also be improved.
According to the developers, the original game had around 300 missions and this should have a similar amount, but of more varied types. And the game is being rebalanced so that it's easier to keep all of your characters leveled up, correcting a flaw in the original game's party system.
For more details, please read our short interview with the game's Executive Producer Akitoshi Kawazu, Director Yuichi Murasawa, and Square Enix PR staff Charlie Sinhaseni:
GamesRadar: The Ivalice Alliance series has several titles now, such as FFXII and FFTA2. The world of Ivalice is somewhat different between them. Can you talk about the different titles and how the world of Ivalice is portrayed between them?
Akitoshi Kawazu: The first title related to Ivalice was Final Fantasy Tactics. After that, we've released some titles related to Ivalice but some of them were related to Ivalice but it was a fantasy of the characters. Some Ivalice [games] were based on the real Ivalice. This time, FFTA2, it's related to the real Ivalice, not fantasized.
It's in chronological order. There's basically a real-world Ivalice and there's a parallel-world Ivalice. There's an imaginary Ivalice and an Ivalice that follows chronological order. FFTA2 is, as mentioned, is Ivalice that's followed by chronological order.