After the disappointment of Final Fantasy XIII and XIV, fans of the series have a new reason to look forward to future installments of the series. GameMaster UK reported earlier this week that a source has given them new information about Final Fantasy XV. Although the magazine was wrong initially about Final Fantasy XV′s unveiling, they insist that this time their information is the real deal.

Most notably, the source claims that this installment has been in production for over four years, including the concept planning and pre-production stages, and that it entered full production in January 2010. This was a month after the Japanese release of Final Fantasy XIII. Since then, a team of two hundred people has been hard at work developing the game. The game′s director, Hiroyuki Ito, also directed Final Fantasy VI, IX, and XII, some of the most acclaimed titles in the series.

The title is slated to be released on all major current platforms, although it is unclear if this includes the Wii. Previous current generation Final Fantasy games, like XIII and XIV, have been only been released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

The game itself will be very different from XIII, moving away from familiar linear format and instead opting for an open world, reminiscent of the sprawling game environments in XII. The battle system will also be an evolution of XII′s. Now, though, players can target different body parts of the enemy, much like the Squaresoft classic Vagrant Story.

Fans of Western-style role playing games (WRPGs) will also enjoy it. Yoichi Wada, the president of Square Enix, has a vision of the game including more content than Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Those still not excited will be pleased to know he also thinks the game could be more a bigger critical and commercial success than Final Fantasy VII.

As for cities (for the most part absent in XIII), they made the cut, and purportedly rival Assassin Creed′s enormous cities. It is not clear, however, if they will be continuous, sprawling environments or like XII′s: lots of small, divided sections that together make huge game areas.

Overall, the rumored XV sounds a lot like XII, what with its massive areas, only less linear. There would also definitely be plenty of guilds providing side quests, much like Elder Scrolls Travels games.

Is this all just wishful thinking, or could the next Final Fantasy really turn out like this?

If this source has his or her information in order, this game could be just what Square Enix needs. Many complained of XIII′s linearity, and, including spin-offs and side games, Final Fantasy XIV is the lowest rated Final Fantasy game on the game review aggregate site Gamerankings. Final Fantasy XV could not only remedy this recent drop in quality, but also bring in new fans due to its open world.

On the other hand, it addresses so many issues that previous games in the series have been criticized for that it could just be a fan′s wishful thinking. If it does turn out to be a hoax, hopefully it will at least gain enough attention to make Square Enix make a few changes to its flagship series.

More information is available here at Gameranx.