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

  • @50 from what I know it’s not released for 360 in Japan yet.

  • Jeff, will Square be marketing the PS3 version at all? Since MS got that ‘exclusive bundle deal’… it seems that they will also be getting ‘exclusive’ marketing.

  • Jeff, great interview. I shocked you didn’t ask him about the original Japanese voice over. How come the game doesn’t run 1080p? How many gig is the madatory install? Is there a PS3 bundle? Now I do understand he is the combat director, but I’m sure he might of had some interesting answers.

    Come on Jeff, you usually go hard on these interviews. This one on one felt a little soft. Never the less, good job.

    • The Japanese VO thing has been asked 1000x. The US version doesn\’t have them, and we all know it. No point in me asking the 1001st time. There\’s no mandatory install.

  • @52…I said it in November when SONY had to ‘hide’ the new FFXIII trailer in HOME while MS trotted it out on their webpage…and launched the Twitter competition while PS3 users in NA got to sit on their thumbs.

  • *
    Jeff, great interview. I’m shocked you didn’t ask him about the original Japanese voice over. How come the game doesn’t run 1080p? How many gig is the madatory install? Is there a PS3 bundle? Now I do understand he is the combat director, but I’m sure he might of had some interesting answers.

    Come on Jeff, you usually go hard on these interviews. This one on one felt a little soft. Never the less, good job.

  • @50 In Japan FF13 is still exclusive for ps3 only, Microsoft only found it necessary to reach into their pockets to get it in North America.

  • So I have a few questions:

    1) How long was Final Fantasy XIII delayed in Japan so that the North American version could be released within less than 4 months later. Certainly it took more than that amount of time to dub it, translate it, port it to a completely new platform, and gain a licensing agreement with Lenoa Lewis?

    2) How much did the Lenoa Lewis licensing cost, and is there a way to mute it without me having to search for my remote?

    3) When was the linearity of the game decided upon, before, or after it was decided to be ported to a multi-disc platform, and does the decision have anything to do with not wanting to force players to swap discs constantly, a la SO4.

    4) Aside from consistency between platforms, is there any other benefit to removing Japanese Voice language/Text/Lip Syncing from the disc, is seems like a rather simple thing to program for and switch between.

    5) In agreements to bringing over the game, was there a financial component in why it was decided to release a special edition on the platform that will garner Square Enix the least profit, rather than the logical choice?

    Looking forward to not having any of these questions answered
    Sincerely, Loyal Customer.

  • @57 I really don’t think they have any reason to announce how much it cost to get Leona lewis’s music in the game.

  • what’s up TakiFuGu?!


    hope you are enjoying Demon’s Souls!

  • Ironically, the most interesting information I learn from this blog sometimes comes from the comments rather than the post itself. I would not be surprised in the slightest to learn that our scaling and bundle options were gimped to be made on par with the 360. After all, they didn’t pay what was undoubtedly millions to steal an exclusive that would show the inferiority of their system.

    This interview (at least on Squeenix’s part) is just the ‘party line.’

    Jeff, I respect how blunt you were with the questions- at least in the transcription. (Videos are a nice option, but I’ve found as the option has become more common that I really do prefer to just read through on my own) I don’t really mind the choice of Leona Lewis for the Western version. I actually liked the song in the trailer.

    My brother’s deadset on getting this, being a Final Fantasy maniac- much like I WAS- so I guess by proxy I count as a “day one sale.”

    If FF Vs. XIII ACTUALLY releases as an exclusive- and I’m not holding my breath- then I’ll consider hopping back on the band wagon.

  • @56 I still think they gonna get their hands on 360 version for Japan like a year from now and watch just like everything else. INTERNATIONAL OMEGA ULTIMA EDITION is what it’s gonna be.

    I was hoping for some DLC for FFXIII on the JP one to give it more replay value but so far haven’t seen anything yet on the JP side. I want more REAL dungeons and challenge in this game, they got the graphics and music going all the way… thats one major thing this game is missing.

    Also personally love the old school style RPG where you can go to villages and talk to people, even if you already know what the first guy in town is going to say “WELCOME TO _______” to me that’s RPG. Buy weapons, items, gears from store. Not online shop at the save points.

    Man I wanted the White FFXIII PS3 so bad… was sold out in all the stores I checked online… orz

  • Why would the 360 get exclusive DLC with an exclusive package, when the game started on the PS3?

  • @58 It’d be nice to know what percentage of my money is going to her, because I have generally gone out of my way to not listen to her ‘music’.

  • @50 trickeh – I heard the comment made by Jeff. What I am referring to is in your typical Final Fantasy game, if your hitting a regular enemy at over 2000+ damage they should be dead after 5 attacks to 10 attacks do the math. In this game, 5 to 10 attacks at that damage point barely lowers the enemies HP. It looks like every enemy is going to be an ultimate weapon fight.

  • I can’t believe how much whining you people are doing, It’s not running at 1080p? Who cares it will look great at 720p, you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference. And so what if Xbox is getting avatar clothing or whatever, we got a FF game that was made on the PS3 and ported to the Xbox. Isn’t that what you guys always cry about, games being ported to the PS3? I for one am very excited and have already paid for the game. You people must not have that much going on in your lives to be breaking down what is going to be an awesome game. That said can’t wait for 3/9 to come. (and right after GoWIII)!!!

  • Totally asked my question wrong :( I was asking why they didn’t simply translate the song being used in the Japanese version and instead went with Leona Lewis

  • @61 Reinheart
    You are not the only one that prefer old school JRPG. That why I love WKC so much because of the towns, NPC, and surprising the online is addicting.
    Back on topic. FFXIII shows everything that is wrong with JRPG today. They are influence too much by the western market successful titles that all happens to be some type of shooter. FFXIII was suppose to be the second coming of Christ, but its not even a JRPG but rather a action game.

  • @65 IrishPete333
    People are complaining about the lack of support for the PS3 version and favoritism to the xbox 360.
    People are complaining about this game being gimped because of the inferior hardware of the other system.

    Those are all valid complains that should affect anyone purchase of this game.

  • @65 The issue isn’t it being multiplatform for a lot of people.

    Square has fallen quite a lot, nobody that follows them can deny that they don’t produce the same quality games anymore. They’ve lost great members from their staff for stupid reasons, they have a president who wants more spin offs and rehashes, and less original good projects.

    While it is annoying to see a once great company like SquareEnix fall to greed as well, it’s only a minor complaint compared to everything else.

  • SE really seems to be trying extensively to alienate the PS3 fanbase with all the talk of keeping the versions “equal” then the 360 has bonuses but w/e.

    Great interview, cannot wait to get my hands on this game myself. Been a long time coming four years, wow…can you believe that!

    Anyway Jeff that you can post HD or HQ gameplay trailers from the event for us to view/dload? Interested in hearing the english combat voices.

    Keep up the great work!

  • @59 Fritoz

    Yes he sucks at demons souls loll XD

    On topic

    I dont know what to think about this game anymore, i will go with my instinct like i always do, ill probably buy this game but Square enix better not **** ps3 owners again. and fire that Yoda guy.

  • Nice interview, I would really like to see Kevin Butler in a Final Fantasy commercial. Do you know anything about the advertising campaign?

  • Awwwww Jeff, I really wanted to hear about Episode 0 :(

    That was an enjoyable interview though.

  • I am truly dissapointed that you did not ask about a collectors edition. Like someone else stated it is one of the most hot topics we all want to know. If we are not getting a collectors edition then why are the european territories yet we arent?

  • Game runs at 720p native in game with 1080p CG video in the PS3 version. It also supports 1080i/p in game.

  • @35 Craiji – You misunderstood. I’m saying I would’ve gladly taken an install for the upgraded graphics. :)

  • LoL people on here are complaining about FFXIII. I have been playing FF since FF II (two) on NES thats right back in the 80’s. and I have yet to play one that was not enjoyable (loved them all) but some were better than other ones. Also one of the resons I buy SONY PS3’s and not the other system. And lets not forget FF 14 is PS3 exclusive. And I wil be picking this up if I ever get Demons souls beat. :)

  • Will they add an optionnal install? I would love to be able to install the game so it can run with less loadings. They don’t have to make it forced, but an option would be perfect!

  • @14 zombie9
    Sorry, but FF 14 is not a PS3 exclusive. It is also on the PC and S-E is waiting for the check from MS to announce this to also be coming to the xbox 360.

  • @68 BloodyCow, I understand some of the reasons people are complaining. But I mean a lot of people just take it too far and for such minor things. I mean I would rather it be a PS3 exclusive also but pretty soon everything (excluding 1st party developers) is going to be multi-platform, I am just happy it’s being ported from the PS3. But I didn’t mean to direct my whining towrds you, just the other people who can’t just be happy that we are finally getting a final fantasy on the PS3 (I have been withdrawing).

  • there’s to much love to the other console from Sqare-Enix with FF13 and other RPG. What is happening with the love for the PS3

  • FF14 is comming to 360 but like a year later than PS3 and PC

  • @ Fritoz

    Yeah, the game is awesome. Super creepy too. I took down one of teh bosses last night. Get the disc back so we can do some co op.

    @ Berea

    Ha ha, very funny. I’ll have this one Platinum in no time. You’re just trying to be a wise ass since you went Platinum already LOL.

  • The FFXIII collectors 360 console features exclusive DLC. I might be with you @yinyang
    seems I missed the promotion with the free chocobo

  • Wishes people would nut up or shut up when it comes to this game. Quit whining. It would seem that it is no different than any other Final Fantasy. Almost every fan seems to have this love hate relationship with the series. they either hate one game or they love it. There were a lot of people that hated 12 and I loved it. I will play it just simply because it looks like a faster paced persona 3 mixed with a little of Final Fantasy 12 and a few other RPGs that I liked.

  • @84, it’s just avatar items. PS3 got FFXIII Home items in Japan and they will likely come here.

  • Nobody asked how much was edited so they could squeeze it onto Xbox?

  • @Jocis – What? No, FF14 is online and exclusive to the PS3, thats what was said. Or is it that the next one isnt called FFIV?

  • @88 trickeh
    No, FFXIV is coming to the PS3. They were pretty open about it at E3 when it was announce for the PC and PS3.
    Oh and a game on the PC and PS3 doesn’t not equal exclusive to the PS3.

  • What you need understand is that FFXIII is a NEXT-GEN RPG. We are in a “fast-food world”, we have many other games, internet, movies and tv series, and we need buy itens on Am Pm and on Save Points. Open your minds to the new era of the mankind. Im Mateus Prado Sousa from BRAZIL and you can know more about me on my gamer site

  • @88

    As BlooodyCow said, FF14 was first announced to PS3 and PC but (i read that) eventually the game will get to the 360. (I hope not)

    What i want is exclusive thing for PS3 like the ones that the 360 is getting

  • @BloodyCow: yeah, thats what i remember he said. I got confused though if it where a mix up between titles.

    Btw, for all you JRPG fans i can really recommend Last Remnant. Really enjoyed that game. Played the PC version, but ofc with my ps3 controller wireless on my TV. AWSOME! :)

  • Comment 80- I meant withdrawling

  • @Jeff/Chris
    Thanks for the follow up question, I was like “oh darn I know he worked on FF7” lol. Guess I should have phrased it better or it was just lost in translation. Thank you ^^.

    Also thank you for getting SE’s FF team on the Blog hope to see more in the future.

  • The square enix battle directors lucky i didnt interview him. It would have got heated.

  • Keep your crappy games square! With S-E’s BS “Western Marketing Philosophy” which usually only includes the 360, I’m surprised this is even coming to the PS3.Yoichi Wada has to be one of the dumbest people in the gaming industry.I have bought every FF title in the series,but will not be buying FFXIII or any other S-E products till Yoichi Wada is replaced with someone who is competent!

  • FFXIII is incomplete, they took out a lot of content in order to fit the game on the 360. Thanks SE for saving me 60 bucks.

  • @97 ThreeLeggedFreak A bare minimum of 60 hours of play time is an incomplete game? Wow, so you must not own any games then right?

  • @97

    I know how you feel but ass Games progressed I can remember my experience with FFX, X-2 and XII. All those game where linear specially X and XII – though they all had quest since the begginging of the game. And FF7 was likely linear until you got the Highwind on disc 2. But yes i am mad 2 because of all the ditched thing the 360 version caused

  • Is not the time that you spent playing the games, is all the featured that were taken out from others FF. But a new game should’t be criticized for this. Rmember that FF13 is a new game

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