For me the most surprising thing announced at GamesCom was the completion of the English voice acting.
Square Enix said at E3 2009 (around June 2009) that the English voice acting had just started. I was kind of underwelmed by that and I figured out, , the voice acting would be completed around February/March 2010 (typical massive Final Fantasy voice acting: lots of character lines and voiced NPC’s)
That the English voice acting was completed really shocked me because it means it started some time ago (maybe the NPC’s where voiced first and only after that -in high speed- the main characters.) Also it’s strange that Vanille’s voice actress mentions in a youtube video she’s still recording voices for the game. This completion was confirmed in various interviews. I don’t know how they did it so soon, but they did it!
The only dissapointment for me was the percentage of completion and English completion. I had expected it to be far more greater but considering the store will last for 50 hours I suppose it’s normal. With the percentages from E3 2009 we could also determine a possible release date:
E3 2009 (early June):
- Japanese version: 80% completed
- English version: 60% completed
GamesCom (late August):
- Japanese version: 90% completed
- English version: 70% completed
Time gap for 10%: almost 3 months.
Possible Japanese release date: late November 2009 – early December 2009 (official announcement in a few weeks)
The English localization will go faster because they only need to implement the text and voices into the cut-scenes and alter the lip synchronization
Possible English release date: late March 2010 – early April 2010
Square Enix amazed us at GamesCom so maybe the English release will be even sooner. Keep in mind that in the beginning of this year (2009) Square Enix said FFXIII would be released after April 2010 (start of Square Enix’s new fiscal year). But there’s still hope… (and Serah too :-))