Sony has revealed plans for the simultaneous release of an internal PS2 hard disc drive and massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XI (FFXI) but not until 2004.
Already available in Japan, FFXI is so popular that an expansion disc has just been released over there. The game won't function without Sony's 40GB Hard Drive, hence the lack of a Western release thus far.
Sony says FFXI and its Hard Drive will be released in the USA between January and March of 2004. No European release date has been announced yet, but given the amount of translation into French, German, etc, required for this type of game and the fact that Final Fantasy X-2 hasn't even been given a European release date yet (it is going to be out in the States in November 2003), we may have to wait until the final quarter of next year.
FFXI needs a PS2 broadband/network adaptor and the upcoming Hard Drive to allow players to connect online, either via broadband or dial-up connection, and join in a truly "persistent world" that keeps evolving, growing and developing, even when gamers are not playing.
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News source: CodeJunkies.com