Pimp your chicken ride

Good news has arrived for gamers that like a little animal husbandry mixed in with their battle against the forces of evil. The popular cross-platform massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XI is due for an upgrade, and the focal point will be the rearing of the giant, rideable chicken-beasts known as Chocobos. In the upcoming patch, players will be able to acquire the eggs of Chocobos and work to raise them into adulthood, at which point they'll be capable of breeding with other Chocobos.

You can't keep your Chocobo in your Mog House (FFXI 's version of player housing), so you'll need to work with the local stables in order to properly care for your bird. The developers are estimating that you will need to spend a little time each day with your Choco for about three months before it will reach maturity, but once it's old enough, you can breed it with other players' Chocobos to produce new eggs and continue the process. Flying in the face of genealogy as we know it, Chocobo chicks frequently differ greatly from their parents, so you'll occasionally end up with surprisingly different looking offspring (and occasionally, a rare Choco).

Of course, you can expect all kinds of activities in which your Chocobos can compete with each other, but the only one promised so far is the infamous Chocobo Race (originally featured in Final Fantasy VII as a semi-seedy gambling event). We have word from Square Enix that the update can be expected sometime late this summer, but our weary adventuring feet can't wait to be rendered jobless (and hopefully a little less sore) by a new ride.

June 2, 2006