Square-Enix announced late last week that it would be following up its Nintendo DS remake to Final Fantasy IV – released on SNES in the US as Final Fantasy II in 1991 – with a sequel to the popular 2D RPG. To capitalize the huge following the Final Fantasy series has among RPG fans in the US, they've decided to release the game...only on Japanese cell phones. Huh?

The sequel, Final Fantasy IV the After: Return to the Moon, will be released on select brands of cell phones in Japan starting in February. The game will be broken up into episodes released every month. It takes place 17 years after the original Final Fantasy IV and will star Theodore, the son of Cecil and Rosa, two heroes from the original FFIV. Many of the characters from the original will return as well, which must be even more frustrating for US fans of FFIV. I'm sure there are plenty of people on this side of the Pacific who wrote fan fiction about marrying Rydia (or whatever).

There are understandably a lot of disappointed console RPG fans in the US (or heck, anywhere but Japan) but they can comfort themselves in a few ways. First of all, the game will probably be a bit watered down to be playable on a phone. I just don't see a game in a phone having as much depth as console incarnations of Final Fantasy. Mobile phones are geared more toward quick, arcade-style games because gamers play them in brief periods when they're on the train, waiting for a bus, etc. This sequel won't stray too far from the game engine the original FFIV used in 1991, either, so it's not like they'll miss The Next Big Thing in RPG's if they're not a Japanese cell phone owner. Lastly, if the game ends up amazing and catches fire in Japan, I'm sure we'll see it ported, officially or unofficially, for American audiences. In other words, don't burn up that fan fiction in rage just yet.

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