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

(Toriyama):
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.

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180 Comments

2 Author Replies

  • @Bloodycow (trible name) your a fool Jack tretton the president of Playstion said it him self FF 14 is PS3 xclusive. And trooling your feelow gamers is childish.

  • :D Great interview, I can’t wait for the game and hearing that the 100-200 staff members are moving into the agito and verses projects makes me happy.

  • Why didn’t the interviewer ask the extent to which the game being on the 360 adversely affected the final ps3 version?

    It is a tough question, but I feel it has to be addressed.

  • We live in a world where journalists (especially in the video game industry) are mostly spineless and do not want to ask the tough questions that have real answers with real ramifications.

    That is why neither Jeff nor Chris asked about how the 360 version affected the whole game adversely, and why they don’t press forward on issues that need real (not pre-cooked) answers.

    Its ALL journalists though. Not just here. This is a problem that needs fixing. Politicians get away with it because they don’t have stock holders. So why do we let game developers?

  • @zombie9 lol FFXIV is exclusive to ps3 in 2010 got it? It’s a MMO the more systems the more people to play. Don’t think for a minute SE won’t try to get it on there unless there is some technical issues

  • After listening to Leona Lewis a couple of times, I felt she fit the image of this game well.
    She is a talented singer.

  • PS3 + PC != PS3 exclusive.

    SE has said in numerous interviews that FF13 was not in any way effected by the 360.

  • @101 zombie9
    Jack said that the game will be Exclusive on the PS3 and PC “AT LAUNCH.” LLLLAAAUUUNNNCCCHH!!!!! Do you know what he meant by at launch?

  • Se also said that the game would stay exclusive look what happend dont trust se when 1 of the devlopers said they cut enough to make a whole new game you just know the 360 was involved.

  • @104 why would they ask about the 360 when the interview is targeted to PS3 users? It’s for the PSBlog, not a multiplatform blog.

  • Will they include Japanese voices for the US release?

  • Man some of you guys, fanboys really know how to complain like little girls just had their favorite doll taken from them. All this talk about “I’d rather have the Japanese voice actors” and how much you hate Leona Lewis theme song. I mean the game hasn’t even been released over US and Europe gamers yet and it seems that everyone is casting down judgment from on high. I’m willing to bet that more than 75% of Western gamers can’t even read Japanese let alone speak it. So why do you care if it is in English and not Japanese? I guess different strokes for different folks… all I’m saying is that some of the gamers on this blog complain too much. Fact one: don’t like the way the game is being handled; don’t buy it. Save your negative comments to yourself. This is getting old.

  • @Paltinum_Parker-

    i think it’s because alot of JRPG fans are hardcore Otaku and even the idea of watching english dubbed J-anime is offensive..it’s just not how it’s done for “real” fans..

    it’s a culture thang!

  • @112, 私は日本語で話したり読んだり出来ますよ.

    So I guess my question is, why remove it, why not have several languages on the disc, and we can choose whatever language we want. Odds are that the game is going to be in French, Italian, Spanish, English, German and Japanese. Is there any reason to not include them here in the US release?

    And your view on complaints, I understand what you mean, don’t like it don’t buy it. But that is too general. I need to be CLEAR why I won’t be buying this game, otherwise Square-Enix may misunderstand the lack of purchases, and think that maybe we don’t want any more RPGs, rather than we don’t want dirty politics.

    Do you have a better idea of how to tell Square-Enix other than by complaint so that the message doesn’t get lost? If so, I’d be willing to try it.

    Sincerely,
    Square-Enix Loyal Customer.

  • You can always go on Twitter and let Square-Enix CEO Yoichi Wada know how you feel.
    I doubt he knows any English but maybe after getting a few messages, he will get someone to translate.

    http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2010/02/10/yoichi_wada_on_twitter/

    http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2010/02/11/yoichi_wada_memes/

  • I’m very excited for the game, although I’m a little disappointed North America isn’t getting any sort of collector’s edition or PS3 system like Japan and Europe got/are getting.

    It’s silly how much people have been complaining about the design of the game though. As someone who has actually played through the import version, I can honestly say that as awful as some things sound on paper (I was unhappy about the lack of towns at first too), it all works extremely well in the context of the game. The developers made a smart choice in keeping the pace tight for the story and letting things open up later on.

  • @110

    Well its not that its a PSBlog, but a game series that gained its mainstream success FROM Playstation, so it matters when a FF game is affected by development on another platform.

    And yes, it did affect it. The “No it didn’t” response from SE is the response they give because they know no one will press them on it. ie: Spineless journalism.

    Its fairly obvious its been affected when you realize a BR disc can fit 50 GB…so why not include the Japanese voice option? It would be easy to implement, but would likely have meant ANOTHER disc for Xbox 360. Thus the Xbox 360 has had an adverse affect on the game.

    There are obviously other ways which we aren’t privy to because journalists will not ask the hard questions and hold them to answering honestly.

  • OFF TOPIC

    I’ve been saying this over and over to all my friends… why doesn’t US have a college for animation like Japan (Yoyogi) does and actually teach people how to do better voice acting.

    I know tons of people that LOVES Japanese Anime but when it comes out to the US TV’s dubbed they HATE the voice… Most of the time because you can’t feel the emotion from the voice. (Dragon Ball…..)

    But you know what on some American animation movies the voice acting is really really good, but those are mostly done by Hollywood Actors and it’s hard to get them to do the Anime’s or Games.

    Now FFXIII I saw the Englis trailer… WHY did they choose those people for voicing… the only one I thought it matched was for bad guy… LOL

    I say if possible they should have the Japanese voicing with the subs for those who want to listen to it in Japanese and English for others who don’t want to do the extra reading for translation.

  • No FFXIII PS3 bundle for NA? :/

  • I got a question. Why did Sony let you sell out and go to Microsoft in a market where Sony is already struggling (North America). This lack of exclusivity on PlayStation’s #1 franchise will ultimately mean PS3 will never sell well in USA

    In addition to this it’s their poor marketing. The new Sony commercials are great, but their tiny “PSN” logo is too cryptic compared to MS’s huge “LIVE” logo on every commercial.

  • @ Chris Morell and Jeff Rubenstein

    Look guys nothing personal but I really feel Sony is dropping the ball when it comes to its Japanese partners. You guys are doing nothing to promote this game for the PS3 and now 360 has an exclusive LE bundle, are we even going to see PS3 TV ads for FF13? I bet not. I doubt you will even read this let alone respond to it but you allowing the PS brand to be dilluted by letting MS once again take center stage with a Playstation game. What do you have to say to that?

  • Kitase/Toriyama;

    Why wasn’t there a announcement made a North American 250GB Playstation 3 Slim Bundle made.

    Given that the Playstation 3 Verison of Final Fantasy XIII is best available interation of the title.

  • So real question is, will Final Fantasy Versus XIII remain exclusive to the PlayStation 3 forever?!!

  • Wow a lot of you guys saying Sony should have done this or that is just idiotic.

    SE does not belong to Sony. Yeah obviously M$ gave money to SE, but it’s a FACT that FFXIII going multiplatform will earn more money than it being exclusive. Plus PS3 isn’t even the most popular console in the U.S. It’s the 360.

  • @118, Reinhart:
    -I think it’s the case that stuff just gets lost in translation. Stuff is just different between the US and Japan. For example, you praise anime for the quality of the voices. Yet, in anime, the voices have to do most of the work, because there’s not much actual animation (and not much actual acting THROUGH animation). Most of the time, it’s talking heads, or really crazy over-the-top expressions of excitement. Or, it’s just people standing around, both arms up/both arms down, giving long-winded explanations about internal or external things, in a very unnatural and inhuman way. Anything Pixar has done vs the FF13 trailer makes that clear
    -And that works just fine for anime. But that just doesn’t work for anything else. You cant just have voice actors screaming at people ‘n stuff. It wouldn’t work. The voice actors try to make it workable, since they can’t simply mimic the performance of their Japanese counterparts
    -I think FF13 looks great, and though it’s unfortunate we can’t enjoy it with the original voices, I dont think they did a bad job with the english cast, given the challenge. Besides, it’s not like they’re giving us Mega Man 8 or a Devil May Cry 1…

    @blog post: FF13 looks great!

  • I’m tired about all the people “complaining” about the people complaining.
    I think they have the right to be upset, especial when a game they have been waiting for, got bought off by MS and now we have to suffer with a downgraded experience. There is a lot of proof out there that shows Final Fantasy XIII has been compromised by 360.
    SE has already said that the PS3 version of the game, could have supported the Japanese VO because of BluRay. But it wasn’t going to be fair to the XBox 360 users and they wanted it to be the same. Since then they have tried to give other excuses to why they didn’t put in the VO.
    A whole other games worth of content was cut from the game. Content that was already playable on the PS3. The excuses were for game balancing and game-size (hmm size you say). So far from what I been reading, there is hardly any gameplay till the end when everything opens up. I don’t know, but to me that doesn’t sound balanced. One example of content that was removed is a Zoo.

  • Now why remove something like that? Something that a player could just explore for fun before moving on with the story or even just talk with some NPCs (Oh yea you can‘t talk to any NPCs oops). To me, that looks like something that was cut so the game can fit onto a given amount of DVDs because its not important. But SE can’t say that.
    Just because SE says “No the 360 didn’t affect the final product” doesn’t mean its true!
    Why would they admit to a game being downgraded for the PS3 because of the other system?
    Would you tell your possible consumer that they are getting an inferior product because of the competitor?
    If you asked a developer what game was better theirs or the competitors you think they would pick the other guys? Open your eyes. The game is linear for the whole beginning and opens up near the end. This is where you get your side quests and finally get to explore pulse. Hmm just in time for the 360s third disc. How convenient. The 360 had no impact on this game what so ever? OK…Keep dreaming.

  • I hope that Final Fantasy Versus XIII doesn’t suffer the same fate. I trust Tetsuya Nomura to fight to keep it a PS3 exclusive title.

    Tetsuya Nomura: “It seems that the Versus team was, from the start, trying to get the full specifications out of the PS3, and that takes time. Just the other day, during a Versus meeting, a programmer asked, ‘Is it okay to program with PS3 exclusivity in mind?’.” I asked why, and he said, ‘If we port it to other hardware, we have to program with that in mind.’ I responded, ‘Of course, Versus is PS3 exclusive.'”

    Sorry about all the post. Just had a lot to say ^_^’

  • @113, Okay, without getting too technical here’s the problem:

    English and Japanese are so different that even the simplest of sentences can not be translated, but rather have to be transliterated. For instance there are cases where extra information has to be invented: hashiru, meaning run/will run, when translated into English, I have to add a subject, maybe even a time or other information which is required by our language, but is not in Japanese. So this simple hashiru can mean I run on a usual basis, I will run, they run, she runs, etc.

    (cont)

  • Now we get into another issue: There is information in Japanese that must be removed when translating into English, such as polite/honorific/blunt/familiar language. The same verb, when you are talking to someone you want to show distance to becomes hashimasu, this CANNOT be conveyed as directly in English as it is in Japanese, maybe we can through mannerisms, however this is not possible for animation because they are prescribed by the original artist, who is Japanese so they are already using Japanese movements. And lets say you want to show deference and honor somebody else who will run, this may becomes ohashininarimasu, there is no amount of forcing English to submit to the level of detail used in the original Japanese.

    (cont)

  • People familiar with Japanese but may not be fluent enough to purchase the Japanese version may miss this extra level of detail that they know should be there. I know when I watch something that has been dubbed it is much harder for me to understand the relations between the characters. It also completely leaves out the possibilities of jokes, this so called translation. It’s quite the slippery slope, first they dub it to make it appeal to more people, then they change characters names, and names of locations, the add new jokes, they start pallet swapping, changing difficulty to make it easier for us westerners, etc.

    (cont)

  • The problem is the translation vs. transliteration debate, since Japanese is not English with different words, translation is impossible, and all that leaves is transliteration. Since transliteration is tied into culture, the more you change things to appeal to your imaginary target culture, the more you may end up alienating the people really interested in the product.

    I won’t have none of it.

  • @ Evilincarnate – I agree, Yoichi Wada is a fool and the worst thing to ever happen to SE! Period. He blatantly greedy and shows favortism over the rrod machine… Pathetic. I really hate that guy with a passion, I hate how he always says they want to focus more on making their games more Western…It’s bs I am an American and would rather play JRPGs not shooters, I can’t stand that fool and his sell out ways.

    Thankfully SO4 got a good treatment by tri-ace and I am an enjoying that and WKC – Very good rpgs that got bad score by the shooter obssessed game press. It also makes me wonder why SE refused to put out their PS1/PSP catalog on US PSN? FF7/8 were top sellers on PSN yet they don’t put out the rest of the games (FF7/8 only released due to sony publishing them in past no doubt?) Where is Parasite EVe 1/2, Vagrant Story, Musashi, Xenogears, FF9, Bushido Blade, Legend of Mana etc… where square? did M$ bribe you not to release in North America? As you have them out in Japan.

  • That’s brutal. Square made an announcement for a FF XIII-themed xbox but not PS3. I sure hope that doesn’t mean the themed PS3 won’t hit NA shelves.

  • I am really dissapointed in sony. This game was supposed to be a system seller, but no you let it get away. Now as I watch the NBA All Star weekend I see that FF13 is being advertised as if it’s an Xbox 360 exclusive game. WTF! Seriously though I’m thinking of getting the 360 bundle since i dont have one.

  • I have played it in japanese version, look awesome, but not enough. It will better if stay PS3-exclusive.

  • This game looks sick its a defenet buy ff13 here I come

  • But they can’t make it sound like’s it’s a PS3 exclusive, it’s also going to be out for the 360

  • How do you take one of your most important franchises and then allow them to have a commercial that only promotes the product as an exclusive game on your COMPETITORS console? I’d rather see a post on here with a big white flag waving in the air.

  • regardless of all the hipe, the x360 vs PS3 versions, taking out all that crap, the real deal here is, that FF13 is not a great game, have not that awesome grafics, and yeah it is too linear, the combat sistem is good and rock solid, but even the story is not that original, is just an averague game, is the 13 instalment in the series (I might be inacurate) do not hope for a groundbreaking game. I own the JP version, and it`s just my opinion, but I feel the need to tell you this because I was extremly dissaponted. thanks

  • Assassin’s Creed 2 only had PS3 branding in the commercials and it didn’t really help it.

  • yessss finally i get to play a RPG on the ps3. the thing i remember most about my Psone and PS2 were the RPGs. now RPGs are scarce on the ps3. and i hate that because im a RPG gamer by default. however, i feel forced to enjoy other genres because absent RPGs on the ps3 but now i can feel somewhat releived. thanx square. and thank you jeff for the interview.

  • Dont get me wrong. I want to love this game and Im excited about some reviews that points great story and nice gameplay, but are you cutting the only uematsu track to put a corny generic song ?. I have nothing against leona lewis, but Im joining the mute club. So bad they seem to WANT our experince ruined.

  • Hey any news on the subject of free Demo?

    Also why is there no more animal character anymore in this FF? Red XIII, Catsit, and so is Final Fatasy lossing the fantasy (FFVIII)

  • You should’ve asked what was up with the whole comment about it being too hard to make towns in HD. I mean, it’s one thing to believe but to outright say it just makes you look like a lazy developer.

    And seriously, if they’re going to take ques from FPS games, at least don’t do it to the detriment of other RPG elements. From what I’ve gathered, Pulse is huge but all you can basically do there is monster hunt. Whoop-dee-doo.

  • I really can’t wait for this game to come out. I pre-ordered this a looong time ago. lol
    I really don’t understand why so many of you choose to bash this game before any of you have even got to play it. You call it incomplete though you haven’t even played through it once, you call them sellouts for making it available to 360 gamers, but everyone needs to understand we all have livelihood. I’m sure SE knew how Sony had once upon time been struggling in sales of the ps3, so of course they’ll worry about their profits if they only released it for ps3, so i don’t hate them for not making this game a ps3 exclusive.
    Final fantasy xiii is going to be a good game and i’ll be glad when it is released. :)

  • woah 60 hours just for straight gameplay?! LOL, it’ll take forever to finish the game especialy with classes and all. I’ll probably finish by christmas hahaha

  • **** You Sqaure. *Goes back to FF7*

  • @145 almasy919

    Ok, lets count how many types of RPG quests there are shall we?

    1) Monster/Bounty Hunt
    2) Go retrieve an item and deliver to NPC
    3) Deliver item given to you by an NPC to a neighboring NPC

    Obviously the Monster/Bounty Hunt is self explanatory with examples like “Kill 10 Slimes”.

    Type 2 involves adventuring into the wilderness to retrieve an item(s) and deliver it to an NPC. This usually involves hunting many monsters in search of trophy drops or finding treasure. Examples may include “Bring me 12 Wolf Manes and 4 Eagle Feathers” or “Retrieve my belt pouch, I think I left it in the Western Plains”.

    Finally type 3 is like quest type 2, only this time the quest giver hands you an item for you to deliver to another NPC in the game world. This may include walking about an inch to the left and talking to that NPC or trekking across the continent to deliver the item. An example of such a quest would be “Deliver this message to the Mayor of Longbeach”.

    Lets count up shall we, 2 of the 3 quest types include hunting monsters. By this count, the only quests missing from Pulse are the delivery boy quests – is that such a bad thing?

    Open your eyes and step off the hater bandwagon.

  • Wow I’m I the only one asking this question? Where is the Special Edition for us Long time fans in America! And why are you spoiling Asia and Europe more then America!? Yuji Abe!..Well I’m not buying this game $59.99 with no DLC or SE?.FORGET IT! ITS NOT WORTH THE PRICE!

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