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Sakaguchi debuts Final Fantasy Movie footage at Amano exhibit

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SquareSoft Executive Producer Hironobu Sakaguchi went before a live audience Tuesday night in New York City to debut two minutes of completed footage from the completely rendered Final Fantasy Movie, due out in a few years. Audiences were awestruck by what they saw.

The event, which took place at the Angel Orisanz Foundation where Yoshitaka Amano's "Hero" exhibition was being held, drew in quite a few people, many of them journalists. Some fans were treated to free, autographed copies of Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy Anthologies for Playstation. But the real event was the unveiling of 2 minutes of footage from the upcoming movie, the first to attempt realistic human figures while being entirely computer-generated.

"It looks like live action -- except you can't DO stuff like this with actors," noted one fan. Indeed, the space action sequence that was shown featured characters so lifelike, they inspired gasps. (Unfortunately, we don't have any screen shots to show you.) "It still has the magic of animation," another fan reassured.

The film features dialogue directed by (now) famed ADR director Jack Fletcher, script by Carl Reiner, and a star-studded cast, some of which were audible in the footage shown.

After the screening, a slack-jawed audience was asked by Sakaguchi to "Please see this movie when it's released!" The audience broke in to laughter, all of them anxiously anticipating the film's release to the point of gnawing off limbs.

Hironobu also took the opportunity to show scenes from the recently released Final Fantasy VIII, a look at the rendered Yoshitaka Amano characters of the new CG sequences for Final Fantasy Anthologies, which is a rework of Final Fantasy 5 and 6. He also showcased works for the new Playstation 2 game console due out in March -- including the already well-known reworked Ballroom Dancing Sequence from Final Fantasy VIII and old man's face from the Final Fantasy Movie -- all of which rendered real-time on demo units -- as well as a new game, Bouncer, which combined the cinematic elements of the Final Fantasy games with contstant interactive fighting action -- all while showcasing pre-rendered-quality graphics.

"We thought a machine like this would be out in, say, 2005, but this will be out next March!" an excitied Sakaguchi told the audience. "The struggle is always not what we'll do, but how to make it so that the player is a part of the action. How we'll do it [in Bouncer] is top secret," he said.

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