Final Fantasy XIII: Your Questions Answered

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Earlier in the week, we told you we’d be meeting up with Square Enix to talk Final Fantasy XIII with Producer Yoshinori Kitase and Director Motomu Toriyama, along with the Battle Director Yuji Abe. So all your questions went to the former, which you can read in full form below.

But the FFXIII love fest didn’t end there. With the game less than a month away (March 9!), Jeff and I got to play a nice chunk of the game…enough to get familiar with the battle system to chat all about it with Mr. Abe. In the video, you’ll get an in-depth look into the game’s battle system, which I have to say, once you understand it, it’s quite intense.

PSB: With western RPGs becoming so popular, how were you influenced in Final Fantasy XIII to encompass all audiences? – via DMPrince

Kitase/Toriyama: No games were a direct influence in particular, but we definitely looked at the FPS genre and other Western games to incorporate more speed and increase the pace of gameplay in Final Fantasy XIII. In terms of the FPS genre influence, the story progression of FFXIII is very similar to that (FPS) genre in the sense that different challenges and situations are presented to the character one after the other. That’s how they progress in the storyline.

Of course, there are a lot of North Americans that imported the game. What do you say to those who say the game might be too linear? Does the accusation bother you?

The earlier part of the game was intentionally created to be a linear experience because we wanted to make the experience similar to a movie or drama where players really get to know the characters and what is behind their actions.

And also, since this is a brand new system for FFXIII, we wanted to take the correct steps to make sure players can control that system at will. So it is a surprise that so many people are commenting that the game is linear, but once you get into the area of Pulse in the game , it’s much more of a free world and the battle system really comes to life. And once you have a good idea of how to control it, you can go full force and it should be a completely different experience.

Do you think that the idea of RPGs from the 80s and 90s being wide open is a dated stereotype?

There’s sort of a template to the RPG system, traditionally, where players would go to the town and find out information through text, leave town to fight monsters and then come back to town and buy health and items, etc. FFXIII didn’t really look for some sort of template to follow, but we tried to go out and create and set a new trend for RPGs. So there isn’t really a thought to stick to tradition.

How long would a play-through of the game with missions take?

As far as hours, of gameplay…if you play straight through the story it would be about 60 hours of gameplay. But if you decided to play through all the missions, it would be, well, basically eternity. It could last forever. The enemies in the Pulse area are much stronger, as well, so there’s lots of replay value there.

What is the native video resolution and audio format on the PS3? – via kturcotte

Final Fantasy XIII runs in 720p and Dolby Digital 5.1

Final Fantasy traditionally chooses a song to accompany the game. Why did you go with Leona Lewis in the Western version instead of a traditional Japanese artist? – via ROFLdrg

Previous FF titles brought over the Japanese songs to the Western versions of the game, but we felt that with a song that’s sung in a language that’s understandable to North American or European users, it would bring the game closer to the player and depart from the idea that Final Fantasy is a game that comes from overseas. Overall, it would tighten the relationship between the player and the game, so that’s why we decided to go with an English theme song.

Are they any plans for PlayStation Home integration with FFXIII in North America? – via Jetup

As you know, there’s some activity in the Japanese PlayStation Home but for North American activities, things are still in the planning stages and there’s nothing confirmed at this time.

How does Final Fantasy XIII compare to the First Final Fantasy game that you worked on? – via KazeEternal

The first FF game I worked on was FFVII, and similar to XIII, it was a title that brought a drastic series as a whole (moving also from the Nintendo platform to PlayStation), the graphics were extremely renewed and different, so there was a huge jump there.

For FFXIII, it’s the first time the series is coming to high-def consoles, and the graphics are so high-quality that you can express very detailed expressions and emotions.

So did you see a lot of the same challenges with FFXIII that you saw with VII?

The challenges were different because with FFVII, the team was in the dark and 3D graphics were so new that they really had to figure things out from scratch. So they got a hold of the 3D technology with VII, and fined tuned it for X, so with XIII, it’s kind of going along the same path. The team already has this knowledge and skill to work on 3D graphics, but of course with XIII things are so much more polished and the level of the CG movies are on par with movies. The team is really looking to inspiration for movies for comparison points for FFXIII. So the challenges were different for both games.

What did you learn from working on your first high-definition FF game? – via Shadow780

One thing that the team, and especially the art team can take from the experience of developing FFXIII to future titles is the CG tech, especially the textures for the characters. For previous gen consoles, the art was essentially drawn and it was more of illustration work. But for FFXIII, a lot of CG tech was involved and getting the art and texture of the skin right was a key component for FFXIII…definitely something that the team will take to future titles.

And of course every developer is really looking to make their characters and worlds look as realistic as possible, but we wanted to go one step behind and evoke emotion through the characters. The shine of the lip or the look of the stockings can evoke a sexual tension. The same goes for the male characters…we want the fans to think they are cool, and they are more than just a game characters.

What was it like working on the PS3 for the first time?

The PS3 is definitely a spectacular machine and the team was really able to realize its visions for the characters and graphics, and at the same time, were able to have big onscreen battles going on. The PS3 hardware was something that really helped envision the game.

I heard there was content removed from the original game? Could it possibly resurface as DLC? – via @ericsavatar

Regarding the DLC content, we feel that the final product is 100% enjoyable…it’s the complete package. So we’re not planning any DLC at this time. In regard to the rumored cut content, we feel it was taken out of context. There are a lot of ideas that are brought to the table, and then the team takes the best ideas out of those, and the final product is polished that way. There was content that were “ideas” that didn’t make the final content, but the team isn’t looking to release that as downloadable content.

In FFXIII, it seems like there’s a movement toward more realistic characters. What’s the direction you’re going with these particular characters?

There is definitely a conscious movement toward depicting emotion and realism for the characters. The team wants to create characters that mature audiences can relate to, as well.

Any news on Agito or Versus?

No set date yet, so you can keep on the lookout for new information. And though we can’t really go into detail, a quick overview of the status of development; 100-200 staff members from FFXIII are now finished with the game, and all the people that have been working on it, they have all this knowledge of PS3 tech (and PSP) and they can bring it to these different teams and the development speed will probably increase.

Comments are closed.


2 Author Replies

  • Ahhhhh!!!!

  • Cool. But i still wanted to hear Jap voices and songs. I don’t like english voice actors.

  • Omg cant wait!! also to Sony you guys need to market the game like crazy and make it like its a PS3 exclusive!! come on guys!! thee are tons of Final Fantasy fans around the world and you’ll get more sales for the game and more PS3’s.. make some exclusive deals with Square as well!

  • holy crap 60 hours??? damn…

  • btw Jeff i want your job D:

  • I think the Japanese theme song was better, Leona Lewis song was horrible and I don’t think it fits well with the game.

  • I am not getting it, Western RPGs fTW

  • Tighten the relationship, my foot. That theme song is AWFUL. It doesn’t suit the game AT ALL. It was a terrible decision. The Japaneses voices should be there too. LISTEN to us, people. We’re the ones who buy your game. Just listen once in a while, can’t you?

  • this is going to be a really good game i can tell but i like to know can you get diff weapons and if so can you upgrade them… great video thanks

  • I agree, we should’ve gotten a choice of Japanese voices. Square just had to keep dumbing this game down so it’d work on the other system too. Shame. Normally this would’ve been Day 1 for me, but I’m afraid it’ll have to wait behind games like Heavy Rain, GOW3 and others. Maybe I’ll pick it up on sale.

  • I thought the PS3 version was going to be in 1080p with uncompressed audio?

  • This game is not an JRPG after some of the stuff I read and say. Where are the towns and NPC? Why is this game so linear? The game start out linear, have a little exploring in the middle, and goes right back to be linear. There is no NPC to talk to and this game has been compromise because of the xbox 360.
    You guys should play the Demo that comes on the Advent Children blu-ray and then compare it to the final product. You guys tell me which one looks better.
    FFXIII = all flash, no substance.
    This game should even be label as a JRPG, it a action game.

  • That guys voice really doesn’t go with his face.


    Great interview Jeff!

    • Yeah, it\’s always a bit strange when the translator\’s voice is wayyy different than the interviewee. But she\’s actually a very good translator; makes the interview very smooth.

      Oh, and thanks!

  • Given the poor reception this game has gotten in Japan (it’s already had it’s price cut), I’m surprised you’re not trying to sweep it under the carpet.

    • It\’s sold into the millions in Japan, and likely will here as well. And from what I\’ve seen, it deserves to.

  • So is March 9th the day we can all expect the game to be in stores or is it going to be the shipping date, like what happened with White Knight Chronicles?

  • @Destiny89
    Sorry, but S-E will be letting MS get more marking right with this game. The xbox 360 is getting exclusive DLC in the form of avatar clothing, avatars and other stuff. The xbox 360 is also getting a exclusive 360 bundle outside of Japan while the PS3 get nothing.
    Don’t expect major marketing for this game showing the PS3. MS and S-E will probable market this game like its an Xbox 360 exclusive just like MS has done with GTA IV, Fallout 3, and MF2.

  • thanks for not askin about a collectors edition. that was the single most popular question everybody asked you to ask.

    • The developers – the people I talked to – don\’t make those decisions. Marketing people do.

      I think we\’d have heard about a collector\’s edition by now if one was coming. Wouldn\’t they be taking pre-orders for it?

  • Exactly what i wanted to hear, Good job Jeff/Chris.

  • puke

    Square is a shadow of its former self.

  • None of this is really new information. Wish some of the unanswered questions got some spotlight.

  • @BlooodyCow

    Yeah i heard about that but who cares about an avatar clothing, good thing their not going to get anything in-game but its sad seeing Sony not doing anything, FFXIII is one big game going to PS3 they need to do something. Sony market it like its a PS3 exclusive!!!!!!!!! oh well im buying 2 copies for PS3 day 1!!

  • Thanks goodness for the comment on DLC. THAT is the way it should be handled. Not the Capcom way ofr turning a 60 dollar game into a 70 dollar game by leaving things out intentionally. Complete your game FIRST and then create DLC later after the game has shipped if you want to extend it’s life. Don’t rip out stuff that could have been on the disc from day one. Bravo SquareEnix.

  • Kinda disapointed it being only in 720p i mean why not just make it the first 2 blu-ray disc game and make it 1080p you know?

    I might just get the 360 version and get the silly avatar clothes to go with my avatar chocobo that i got for free during the promotion. The 360 might upconvert to 1080p like they did with halo 3.

    Before anyone says anythign yes i know and read about the 360 may be using bink to do the cut scenes in 720p but that doesn’t mean they can’t upconvert to 1080p i mean everyone says that halo 3 is not even made in 720p but when i played it my tv displays it in 1080p and my tv automatically switches to the mative resolution like when i power up the PS3 it says 1080p but when i played a game like uncharted 2 it switches automatically to 720p but on halo 3 it stays at 1080p.

    i guess the final word will be the american reviews and see what everyone says.

  • Im sorry for the fact that i dont want to get to play the worse edition of all the editions out there. Not only do we get less content we get a game that the same as whats on the xbox. As a person who bought my ps3 for FFXIII i have been let down. As for your reply well marketing is still out of Square so asking their developer could have netted something.

  • @21 Destiny89
    I hope Sony doesn’t do anything with the marketing of this game. Sony should spend money marketing Heavy Rain and God of War 3 instead of this gimped game.

    @22 TheRealAlpha2
    Don’t kid yourself. This game will get DLC considering that half of the game was cut because “it didn’t fix the game.” Before the game was announce for the xbox 360, the said there will be no DLC. After the game was announce for the xbox 360, various S-E has been quotes as saying that they are looking into DLC.

  • hey guys, just wanna say thanks for asking our questions to the SE staff, it helped a lot. I was hoping to hear something about the Collector’s edition coming for NA, but since we don’t have any kind of info about it and there a re no pre-order, I think this question is settled for good. Once more, a big thanks for you and the Sqaure-Enix staff. You guys are awesome!!

  • @23 yin69yang
    Sorry dude, but reviewers are going to review this game base on the name FF and not the content. Don’t expect this game to get anything below 80% from any reviewers.

  • I feel bad for all the people who won’t even give the game a chance. They will definitely be missing out. I can tell I am going to enjoy this one a lot.

  • I hope that SqaureEnix doesnt try too hard to emulate Western games. The whole reason why Japanese games get so much attention is BECAUSE they’re Japanese. They have different sensibilities, different artistic ideas in general that take stories to different places than the typical western ideas that we’ve grown too used to. All to often Western RPGs can gt boring or impersonal. JRPGS are known for being very story oriented and character driven and that’s why they sell.

  • Please use the right terminology Jeff. The guy that helps you communicate in this interview is an “interpreter” not a “translator”. A translator is somebody that translates text, an interpreter is somebody who facilitates a conversation between one or more people.

    Other than that, great interview and great interpreting.

    • Hair splitting aside, Japanese game publishers usually refer to them as \”translators.\” So we tend to stick to their terminology.

      Regardless, glad you liked the interview!

  • I wish I could say this was still a day one, however when you guys let Microsoft get the only console bundle for it in America, well it’s a little disappointing you didn’t put effort forward.

    So much lack of faith in Square, plus lack of effort for you guys to even do anything about this anymore, means I’ll get it when its bargain bin/used. It’s a shame too, I’m always for supporting the developer only buying games new, but too many mistakes this time around.

  • @BloodyCow. You’re only saying that because you clearly have a jaded veiw. It’s a JRPG, they do their story and move on. If they want to ad to a story they make a whole new game like Dirge of Cerberus or Crisis Core. The man said it himself that the Quote you’re pushing was taken out of context. Now quit your obvious trolling.

  • Glad to hear about the DLC rumor.

    Sorry to hear it’s not 1080p. Would’ve gladly made an install sacrifice for that.

    Utada Hikaru <- Has the best game songs English or Japanese. Leona Lewis, meh.

    60 hours to infinite: This is why I love FF games. Of course I always play to 99all my characters. ^_^

  • @23

    I have the Jp version

    Game upscales to 1080p and movies play natively at 1080p – Game can also run at 1080i

    I can also confirm sound runs uncompressed 5.1

    I do not know why they did not clarify.

  • @33

    There is no install

  • Half JP Half US Here.

    I played and finished FF13 this game DOES not play for 60 hours with normal play (without the missions) its about 30-35. With missions for a fast player will be around 50-60 hours WITH missions.

    For the first 20-21 hours is TUTORIAL and you run through maps that is basically ONE WAY for hard core RPG fans this will be a easy game.

    I have to give it to SE for the loading time on the game, there was no installation and the movies, game played really smooth. The graphics in the game is just pure awesome-ness and music is good. They really used good amount of PS3’s specs for this one I think.

    But again as for an RPG fan this game was bit disappointing to me. I played all FF from FF1 (Japanese version all the way) and this one has lots of potential but lacking what a true RPG should be (my opinion)

    Sad to say but Tales of Vesperia had more RPG style play than FF13. This game (JP Version) has no Replay game with all stats, no hidden dungeons after game clear. It’s more of a watch a movie and play little bit type of game.

    I LOVE Square-Enix but sometimes their new approach to new ideas shouldn’t be applied to big hit titles like Final Fantasy.

  • hi Jeff! I’m back!

    anyhoo, i was wondering if the PS3 will be getting a bundle, i see the commenter above me is certain only the 360 will be getting a bundle..

    is that true??

    and if so..WHY??

    I feel like Square has forsaken the PS3 in favor of Micro$ofts big bags o’ cash…

    i.e. delaying the games release to port it to 360, cutting hours of content so 360 owners only have to deal with 3 discs (lol)
    and now only giving the 360 a North American bundle..

    still, can’t wait to play it…good thing for gamefly, i can test it out first! LINEAR LEVELS in a FF game? makes me worried, as every review i’ve read has said the same thing..

  • @34 thats cause u have the japan version. They dumbed down the american version so that i could be the same as the xbox.

  • So no collector’s edition for us, and yet 360 gets a special bundle. Wow.

  • Has anyone noticed the damage points in the game? Each attack is almost 2000+. Gone are the days of doing 60 hit damage to the enemies. It seems each enemy has over 100,000 HP.

  • @37 Microsoft has already announced their bundle and was very keen on mentioning that it is the “only” bundle that will be coming out stateside.

    Considering the lack of any announcement so far, it’s not hard to believe. If it makes you feel any better their bundle is pretty weak, faceplates, and the FF name on the hard drive and thats the only unique thing about it.

    However it’s a little sad, I would of killed for the Japanese ps3 limited edition that came out, just didn’t have the money at the time.

  • What? From what i remember you’d have the option of Japanesee audio and english subs? Huge disappointment. As TheRealAlpha2 said, it’s what gives you the extra feeling.

    Ever watched dubbed anime? It sucks major ***! Also, 720p is a disappointment. Only hope is that question was regarding the native resolution. At least give us upscaled 1080p.

    Still, this is a day one for me and i cant wait. Although im trying to keep my expectations at a minium. From what i heard and read this game will probably not make it past 85%. Best chance of get the best impression is probably to never played any game in the ff series.

    Too bad you didnt get more time for a more in-depth interview. All-in-all, great job though – thanks and happy weekend from Sweden.

  • @TheRealAlpha2
    What makes a JRPG a JRPG? Story is not the only think that makes a JRPG a JRPG. This game is lacking everything else that a JRPG a JRPG. That why I am saying its a action game.

    Trolling? I am a Final Fantasy fanboy since 1997 when I first played FF7. like you, I at one point (December of last year) was still blinded by my love for FF to see this game for what it is. I was able to take my FF goggles off, take a step back and look at this game and the FF games to come before it. What I realize was that this series has been on the decline since the last great FF game in FFIX(9).

  • i’m still on the borderline for this game when i first heard about it i really wanted it then when the japanese version came out i heard a lot of complaints about it and i decided that i probably wouldn’t be picking it up but now as the global release date comes closer i start hearing more about it and the fears and complaints i heard before are adressed and explained i’m starting to think i might want this game… i’m really hoping for a demo that could push me over to the must buy side…

    what i was curious was about the replay value, with most FF’s i played once i complete it and most of the core side missions i have very little desire to go back and play it again until a few years later when nostalgia hits me and i decide to play it again. i heard some very small information about a new game+ and playing chapters over but i didn’t really understand the advantages this would have…

  • How come the PS3 version doesn’t have the original Japanese voice over? That’s not cool.

  • + for @2 @5 @15

    “I heard there was content removed from the original game? Could it possibly resurface as DLC?”

    This content could’ve been there but the other machine held it back. We all know this is the truth.

    Please redeem yourselves in Versus…..
    For the sake of those who wants to play the real Final Fantasy we all know and love….

  • @36 Reinheart
    Finally someone back my statement up.

  • @BALOT_1305
    FFVSXIII is not really a FF game, but more like the true sequel to Kingdom Hearts 1, not Kingdom Hearts 2.

  • I’m sorry Square…at one time we had a beautiful relationship. But I moved on to the next gen and you stayed behind only to come knocking 3 years too late…and with the baggage of your wandering ways in tow.

    All the best to you but please…don’t bother trying to fix up what was…it is your loss.

  • @Craiji – Yeah, but as jobo030 said, you have the japanesee version wich probably has all the goodies in it.

    @LpSquall – If you listened to Jeff he said that this was from late in the game meaning the characters are on higher levels. Judging the damage they do im guessing around 40-50.

    One question, this game hasnt been released for 360 in japan?

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