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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

  • Lol, “sexual tension”.

  • this might be out of line since it’s not really related to ff13, but the female who is interpreting has a really pretty voice lol.

  • I want Squaresoft and Sakaguchi back. Wada should burn. SE should burn. Sakaguchi and Uematsu forever!!!! oh yeah and the 360 should burn!!!!!!!

  • @Verloren

    Uh, yeah? What am I supposed to open my eyes for? The super-pretty-graphics? You must be one of those fanboys who mistake dissapointment with being a hater, but then again, the only thing more popular than being on that bandwagon is riding SE’s hype machine.

  • i liked final fantasy until it got lame i.e. ff12, the ff stories after ffx have been getting more and more generic (including ffx-2). things i hated about ffxii, the story was boring, the battle system was terrible, and the characters except for balthier were boring.
    square might as well make all the main ff’s from now on mmo’s like they are doing with ff 14 which im looking forward to playing.
    ps ff7 is overrated, tactics was better

  • I had high hopes for this game, but the more I read about it the more disappointed I get.

    Too many let downs, it’s not even a propper RPG game anymore, it’s more like a super linear action game.

    Square Enix are not much liked by me anymore, they have a lot of damage to repair before I’ll even consider buying a game from the, I hope Versus will fix that.

    A linear action-(j)rpg with no replay value and no Japanese voice isn’t cutting it for me, I’ll pass.

  • So Microsoft just started releasing and advertising FF XIII as on/only 360 with their nice looking bundle. Why don’t we have our own advertising for the PS3?! Or is Sony so god damn busy with their exclusives?

    We don’t even have our own bundle and I want to get a PS3 FF XIII bundle…

  • Oh oh, and we don’t get Japanese voices cu’z of the 360. -_-;; …………. Seriously, this is VERY disappointing.

  • Will there be a American demo for Final Fantasy XIII? If so, when will it be available on PSN?

  • Is incredible to see how $quare Enix treat the people that put their company where is today, we the Playstation users. They bring final fanta$y to an inferior console because those guys pay some money under the table. They try to use screen from the PS3 version to tell everyone that the game is the same, but they know that the PS3 version is the best. They bring a bundle and they forgot us. Now the put tv commercial with PS3 footage but they forgot to mention that is coming also to our system the PS3. Those action cannot be tolerated. I as a fan and as a customer cannot going to tolerate this. I has been a fan of Square for a long time, I have bought every game that they has made, even Tobal and Bouncer. What happens with the loyalty these days? The only thing that we can do is not buying the game, that’s the way the understand. THIS MESSAGE IS FOR $QUARE ENIX YOU FORGOT THE FANS, WE FORGOT YOU. THIS IS FOR SONY WHY HAPPENS THIS? Don’t trust those guy.

  • Is Sony going to do any sort of marketing push for FFXIII? I have only seen commercials for it with the Xbox logo. So TV may be out of the question.

  • Love geting new info on FF XIII that only thing i don’t like about the game is u only play with One of the charaters i like how FFX u play with all of them

  • Not sure if this translates into Japanese but SE should pay attention.

    WKC

    That is all.

  • I’d just like to say, regardless of other people’s comments, I really liked the translator’s voice^^ I know it’s a woman speaking for a man, but still the meaning is conveyed so I don’t think it matters. Maybe it’s the accent I don’t know, all I know is I like it (and not just cos she’s female!). Enough said. xD

  • “Don’t hate appreciate” Damn i have read alot of the comments and there be a lot of haters and fanbois, well i too am an Otaku (aka) nerd i love anime but the much older stuff and not not Dragon Crap Z and all the other Dragon Ball crap..i mean s— like Lupin, Gundam Record of Lodoss War, and i am fine with the Eng DUBs, hell i love the Bleach DUBs also..as for playing a game any i would like Japanese Text with English voices..and i am also a Square-Enix fanboi, i will buy anything SE except Just Cause 2..i have so many copies of every FF game from the J version to all the remakes same with CT..but all this bitching about oh FF XIII is to linear, hell X was linear as hell.all of them are basically linear u just had a map to walk on witch made it seem open but it wasn’t..well enough ranting from me Y
    OUT..

  • LOL like a few others here, I have to say, the lady translator has such a beautiful voice, very soft & calm, so it makes for some nice easy listening. :D

  • Are the graphics going to surpass the Xbox360’s graphics??

  • Way to avoid the question… WHY DID YOU CHOSE LEONA LEWIS? Not, ‘why’d you go with an English singer?’

    Just say it… cross promotion and Leona Lewis = popular in NA so you’re hoping that it’ll bring in more sales from fangirls and boys who buy anything attached to Leona Lewis.

    Why else would you simply pluck the song off her album and not pen a new one for her to sing?

    Meh…

  • I probably will buy final fantasy but I skipped SO4 because well you betrayed us. Please redeem your rep with FF13 Versus or else tons of people will continue to hate you!!!!!! And please make FF14 an exclusive and if you cant well bye bye sqaure enix traitors!

  • Being a huge fan of final fantasy games must comment… Changing the theme song is a huge mistake. Atleast give us a choice by putting both on the disc so I may choose the original Japanese song. Taken something that’s perfect and changing it is a complete No! What makes final fantasy even better than all other games is with the Japanese artist beautiful voices, that’s what makes the games perfect. Changing that because someone thinks it may bring us closer to a game is rediculus. How can masterminds who can creat such awesome games lower their own standards just because they think westerners would like it more. There still is time to atleast put both theme song versions in this, if not I can gaurantee that I will no longer be playing final fantasy games!!

  • Just like with the Special Edition of Heavy Rain only being sold at the UK’s hmv.com, I just found out their is a COLLECTOR’S EDITION of Final Fantasy XIII, being sold as a exclusive at UK’s hmv.com.

  • I would have asked them why half of the game was cut to accommodate the DVD port.

    It’s a day one purchase for me, but I’ll always wonder about what FF XIII could have been.

  • U know i hate to say it but Square enix dont care about PS3 owners or Sony at all. I bet FFVS13 Will lose the exclusivity to ps3 as soon they have worked more on it….

  • hello everyone

    For me, this FF is one of the worst FFs that I’ve ever played in my life. I love FF saga, but there’s a lot of question about. Where’s the gil? Where’s the control over yours partners? The upgrade weapons system it’s so annoying!! Linear Story, Summons!!! What is this for? if you can have just one by fight, and if you want an other one, you have to change your leader, that means change your paradigm system. They must realize all this ideas. What about special power by partner, like in Crono Trigger or FF saga.
    Square-Enix must learn how Konami worked with MGS4 and how they jumped from PS2 to PS3, they going forward. FFXIII makes me look back to FFVII, FFVIII, FFX and FFXII.

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