An Interview With Final Fantasy XIII’s Kitase And Toriyama

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I asked for your Final Fantasy XIII interview questions and you responded in earnest. Thanks so much for your many questions — they were far too numerous for me to ask them all, but I hope you agree that I covered all the important ones with the game’s producer, Yoshinori Kitase, and director, Motomu Toriyama. Can you believe it’s only four weeks until the game is in our hands? It’s been a long wait, but we’re almost there.
This interview will hopefully give you some insight into the development of the game, and get you interested in the other two Fabula Nova Crystallis games — Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII. As soon as Square Enix is ready to talk more about these titles, you can expect to see something here on PlayStation.Blog.
If there are any burning questions that you have for Square Enix, be sure to let the talented gents over at PlayStation.Blog US know, as they’ll be conducting further interviews, which you’ll see here later this week.

Final Fantasy XIII

Do you have any plans for Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation Home content?
It is already happening in Japan. There will be costumes for Lightning and Snow, and there’s a personal space as well as chocobo and other character figures. We don’t know at the moment whether this will be brought to Europe.
Will Final Fantasy Versus XIII have any links to Final Fantasy XIII?
Final Fantasy Versus XIII is part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series, but XIII and Versus XIII only share the same basic mythology. The fal’Cie and l’Cie are just a small part of this mythology, but the story and the characters are completely different.

Are there any games within the Fabula Nova Crystallis series that have yet to be announced?

At the moment we are concentrating on releasing Versus XIII and Agito XIII. At the moment we have no other specific plans to release any other titles as a part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series.
What made you decide to make Final Fantasy XIII a series, rather than a standalone title?
If you look back at the Final Fantasy series, at VII for example, this later let to Advent Children and Crisis Core. Also, for FFX, we created FFX-2 after its release. In those cases we obviously released the original title first and then created the sequel. This time we wanted to create several games in the same project from the outset.

Will there be an English demo?
We haven’t decided whether to make a demo available yet.
How much emphasis is placed on story and cutscenes in FFXIII? Do you feel it’s balanced with gameplay, or heavy on either side?
The basic playtime is about 50 to 60 hours, for the main story. Amongst which, the cutscenes make up about 10 hours. So, quite a large amount, with very high quality graphics, of course. So there’s plenty of story and gameplay to enjoy.
What will you be moving on to now that Final Fantasy XIII is finished?
At the moment we are still concentrating on finishing off and promoting the overseas version of Final Fantasy XIII, but many of the team have obviously accumulated a lot of knowledge and experience and they will be moved over to work on Versus and Agito. Personally, we don’t know what we’re going to move on to next.

Final Fantasy XIII

How much sidequest content is there in XIII?
We call them “missions”, rather than “quests”. During the second half of the story, when the characters go down to a place called Pulse, there are many missions available there. In the majority of them the boss of the mission who you have to defeat, is more powerful than the main boss of the story. I’ve already told you that the basic playing time is 50 to 60 hours, but if you want to complete all the missions, the total time is probably twice that or more.

So what are the chances of a CG movie based on FFXIII, like Advent Children?

There are no plans at the moment, but once it is released over here and, if there are some particular characters or features that are received particularly well, then we might make a decision. And of course we need to see how it goes down sales-wise and regarding user reactions, first.
What are your feelings about the current state of the game industry in Japan, compared with the West and what Western games have you been most influenced by?
Some people have been saying that the Japanese game industry is dead, and all that… I dunno. I will say that Final Fantasy XIII is one really epic title for high definition consoles. With this game, we are going to resurrect the whole thing. As for Western games that have influenced us — FPSs mostly. The Call of Duty series, for example.

Final Fantasy XIII

How do you feel about Yoichi Wada’s statement that Final Fantasy XIII will be the last game of its kind for Square Enix?

We don’t know exactly what he meant by that. We don’t really know what he meant by this style of game. If you consider that during Final Fantasy XIII’s development, at peak time the team consisted of over 300 people. It was a huge team, plus it took a several long years to get the game finished. So, if Mr Wada meant that we would never make another Final Fantasy title with the similar number of people, taking as long as FFXIII did, we would agree.
Obviously in the future we want to be much more efficient. Having worked on XIII, we feel that we have got much better at making good games for high definition consoles. In the future our teams will be smaller and more effectively run. We suspect that is what Mr Wada meant by his statement.

The God of War HD remake for the PS3 has been very popular in the US and people in Europe are very much looking forward to it. Do you have any interest in creating an HD remake of a PS1 or PS2 Final Fantasy game?

We don’t know the details about the HD remake of God of War. If it’s just a case of attaining high resolution graphics, only, then that wouldn’t be that difficult, but if we were to achieve the same graphical standard as in XIII with a PS1 title, then that would be a huge, huge task. Almost unrealistic. Even with a PS2 title it would be difficult. In the case of God of War, there weren’t really that many characters in the game — the main character and some monsters, maybe ten people or so. That would not be unachievable.
As with Final Fantasy titles in the past, like on PS1, even just the main characters amount to around 10 people. Then you have all the NPCs, you’re probably looking at about 200 characters total. All with individual textures for the skin, plus costumes, facial features and everything. That would be a really tricky job.

Will there be any New Game+ content in Final Fantasy XIII?

When you finish the main quest there are some growth elements of the the characters which will unlock once you’ve defeated the last boss. After this is done, you’ll be easily able to return to Pulse and take part in the many missions available there. There is no way to start the game again with your current character stats, however.

Is there a specific reason why Japanese voices were left out of the game?

For the European version, the facial expressions and lip syncronisation are all lined up with the English lines, so the Japanese voices would not match up right. That was the main worry.

People are aware that there is a lot of content that has been cut from the game. Do you have any plans to use this content in the future?

You say “content” but, in reality, it’s more like “ideas”. Maybe a map was a little bit too complex and we felt like the player would get completely lost, so we simplified, or whatever. So this content won’t be coming out separately, as it has been binned.
Will there be a hard drive install available?
There is no installation, the game runs directly from the disc.
Finally, why does Sahz have a Chocobo in his hair?
What happened was, initially we only had a concept of this character being happy and jolly. Nomura designed the character and gave him an afro while, flippantly, drew a small chocobo next to him. As we looked at this, we lliked the idea and the chocobo got added into the story. That’s how it happened.

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  • good interview! you asked them some great questions :-)

  • Nice ;-)
    Pre-ordered CE Cant wait…

  • Keep ‘Final Fantasy Versus XIII’ PS3 Exclusive PLEASE ;)

  • i have never played a FF game before, maybe this one is a great start!? :)

  • I’d pay anything for a FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE for PS3.

  • I still don’t understand how Call of Duty influenced them in creating Final Fantasy XIII? ÷?

  • I really enjoyed reading the interview. Pretty good interview. Game and Guide Collector’s Editions pre-ordered and just can’t wait.
    28 days, 13 hours, 8 minutes, 35 seconds left. ^^

  • Hello everybody! Hello Guerrier jijiji, you know me? :)
    Thanks for the interview. I would like to buy this game, really really want it but….I have not job at the moment so…Bye Bye money…so sad.

  • No dlc’s question?, hope they ask in the USA blog :X

  • lame they hardly used any off the questions ppl submitted

  • ABOUT THE LACK OF JAPANESE VOICE ACTING – the answer is a cop-out.
    Square-Enix say its because the lip-syncing is set to match the English words. Well why not include the Japanese voice acting, and they syncing to match? Star Ocean: The Last Hope International allows it. God knows the sync code can be fitted on a Blu-ray.
    The bitter truth is that Microsoft paid big money so that the PS3 version had no advantages over the 360 version.
    What is really sad is that Japan is a relatively small country, but there are so many gamers who are so enthusiastic about Japanese culture, who even want to play games in Japanese! Square-Enix should see what a great opportunity it is to allow the West to taste and share in their culture, rather than just give us adaptations to suit western tastes. A Leona Lewis album track replaced the official Japanese theme for FFXIII. Square-Enix don’t realise that they are diluting the artistry of the Final Fantasy games.


  • @12 dgnfly. Thank You!

  • Great interview. Too bad, no words on the demo.

  • Hell yes! thank you for this post!

  • who cares about FFXIII now after the bad things the japanese ppl speak off you can buy the original japanese version for about 20 bucks that’s how much the game sucks now after it was going 2 xbox and content cuts i just plain sucks
    atleast there is one great japanese game coming in march YAKUZA 3
    i am waiting for that game much more than this piece of crap

  • srry bout the bad writing i type a bit 2 fast and that some times screws my words up but you get the main idea

  • About lack of Jap voices:
    Make up your mind!!! I read once it was because no space was available for japanese cutscenes after burning 36 Gigas on BD disc of English contents, and now it’s because of Lipsync problems.
    If it’s really because of cutscenes, well, ok. English lipsynced 1080p videos with 7.1 Audio takes an awful amount of space, fair enough. But in game cutscenes don’t!. So it depends on how much the 1080p videos weigh! The could have doubled the HD videos, and change script for Japanese voices in game cutscenes. simple.
    Then, if Square-Enix consider that Japanese voices fans are a very tiny minority, they could just patch the Japanese version when the game turns worldwide, and add all the English (and other languages if there’s space…) text data. Then this tiny minority (!!!) could import the japanese version and be sure to understand the game, like a subtitle movie. Please, Playstation Blog, foward them the idea, because, as good as the English voices could be, I’d reaaaally rather play with Jap voices, as it’s a HEAVY CUTSCENES story driven game.

  • By the way, I’m French, so WHY should I prefer English over Japanese for a Japanese game? why all the European countries should accept English in a totally Japanese fantasy style game, whereas English isn’t our native language????? I always play games in their original versions, English, Japanese or whatever it is. I thought this playstation generation and Blu-ray could bring CHOICE to gamers, and I see we’re not there yet.
    Still, we can play imported games when this kind of miss opportunity happens, this is a huge step forward though…

  • Well, i understand them not asking about DLC, it is something that’s been asked to them like 93092039 times

  • People are aware that there is a lot of content that has been cut from the game. Do you have any plans to use this content in the future?
    You say “content” but, in reality, it’s more like “ideas”. Maybe a map was a little bit too complex and we felt like the player would get completely lost, so we simplified, or whatever. So this content won’t be coming out separately, as it has been binned.

    who didn’t ask about DLC?

  • So there’s no New Game+ but the game doesn’t cut after the final boss. Awesome. I’m expecting Earthbound levels of awesome talking to all the cheering NPCs afterwards.
    Also guys, seriously, stop ripping on games you haven’t played yet. It’s not big, not cool, and not smart.

  • Many thanks for a nice, informative interview! Too bad about the missing Japanese audio but it’s not that big a disappointment as Star Ocean 4, Yakuza 3, and Resonance of Fate are just around the corner :)

  • SHAME ON YOU SE for not including the japanese dub.
    Oh, wait, the labial what???
    I bought the FFVII AC movie, with spanish dub, and, the labial was with the japanese voice…and THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE PROBLEM
    I won’t buy this…we are in the 21st century

  • Don’t know if i’ll be getting this since it doesn’t have the Japanese audio possibility. I don’t know why they don’t put more effort in the English voice acting everybody knows they can do it like DC, Marvel or Disneys stuff they have good voice acting but in games the level somehow drops sure some games have good voice acting like Metal Gear Solid or Uncharted but RPGs are usually badly voice acted it makes me feel like the character is here and the voice is all the way there can’t really explain it but will have to wait and see

  • Man, the weeaboos are out in force.
    Anyway, the ‘remake’ question was worded really poorly. The God of War ‘remakes’ aren’t remakes at all, they’re PS3 ports. There’s no new textures, character models or anything. I can’t imagine it’d take too much effort to hire TOSE to port FFX, FFX-2 or FFXII to the PS3.

  • If you want another hit like FFVII then it must have the following elements:
    – Dark story/environment with dramatic/world changing ending.
    – Character customisation, swapping of powers on the go.
    – Work for power, don’t just hand over the best power as a pick up item. That’s also what made Demon’s souls great.
    – Drop the sensitive male characters. X was fine, X-2 sucked.
    – Character’s actions must have impact on story. Don’t tell the tale (like XII), we want to live/play it (like VII).
    – Exploration is fun and exciting. Fixed, linear missions like X-2 sucked.
    – Make summons/aions super powerful but mp expensive. A power to be respected.
    Side note: You don’t have to have super graphics everywhere to make a great game. Dragon’s Quest 8, cartoony but awesome!
    Bring back the adventure.
    I suggest a space/cyborg themed Final Fanatasy, where you can log-on into another internet world and use the summons as avatars or something, almost like bloodnet.
    Have chips and circuitboards that can be upgraded like materia.
    Then let the two worlds merge like in FFVIII with the moon creatures or something. Just an idea.
    Looking forward to FFXIII…

  • Thanks for the interview, I skipped right to the interesting question about no japanese voices and lip-sync.
    It’s then an absolute no buy for me as they really messed it up big time.
    Films have been subbed original versions for a long time now.

  • This complaint about it not having the Japanese dub… I don’t get it. I *like* that they’ll be speaking in my native tongue… That doesn’t make me a Philistine either, I love watching subtitled movies as much as the next guy ([REC] and Let The Right One In are two recent favourites), but if they’ve put the effort into recording it in English AND lip syncing it to that dub, then that’s gravy.
    Here’s my token “PLEASE MAKE FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE!” vote.
    Also, playing through FF8 again thanks to the PSN – falling in love with it once more, although I don’t think I realised the first time round how much of a [DELETED] Squall is… Quistis FTW!

  • I’d buy the Japanese version if it had English subtitles.

  • I don’t know about Final Fantasy XIII.
    What I do know, is that it seems like it may become the first unsung FF.
    For previous games of the PlayStation system, through to X at least, there was a sense of excitement, almost ceremony leading up to its launch. Even two months out, the demo was most certainly a known quantity!
    Within one month, it was in my hands, courtesy of the cover-mount disc that only the previous month had delivered a sensational trailer, and it was all creating a big buzz, and keeping everyone fired up to play the full game.
    Nothing like that this time.
    Minimal coverage (are they leaving it solely to the blogs), few people talking about the game in any kind of passionate way, and an underwhelming limited edition set that I won’t be getting (as it truly looks like being one for “the fans”), along with no purposefully produced trailers to highlight the game, but they made a song-and-dance over the release date, instead.
    Leona was on TV over the weekend, but to my surprise did not perform the theme song of FFXIII. I thought that was a real missed opportunity, particularly for reaching out to a wider audience.
    Thank you very much, to all involved in bringing us the interview.

  • Great interview, can’t wait to play FFXII.
    I hope Agito XIII will be released in PS Store in the same time as UMD version.

  • why wasn’t the bug not mentioned in the interview? or was the whole bug thing just a hoax.. seriously; if it wasn’t for the bug then XIII would be perfect. Hell I’m still buying it. It’s going to be epic come March.

  • At this point I’d actually like to know if the Italian (or French, German, whatever) release will have the option to to play it in English ONLY. I hate to play a game with English voice over and Italian subtitles. Give us the English subtitles and menu, please. At least it will be easier to discuss about the game and understanding the FAQs.

  • Left out the tough questions as always, good work Jem.
    “People are aware that there is a lot of content that has been cut from the game. Do you have any plans to use this content in the future?
    You say “content” but, in reality, it’s more like “ideas”. Maybe a map was a little bit too complex and we felt like the player would get completely lost, so we simplified, or whatever. So this content won’t be coming out separately, as it has been binned.”
    Simplified eh? It’s odd that none of the previous titles were ‘simplified’ and quite a remarkable coincidence that all this talk of westernizing the game just so happens to be regarding the first FF to be released on the 360.
    None of the other games were ‘westernized’ and they did pretty damn well…

  • “Do you have any plans for Final Fantasy XIII PlayStation Home content?
    It is already happening in Japan. There will be costumes for Lightning and Snow, and there’s a personal space as well as chocobo and other character figures. We don’t know at the moment whether this will be brought to Europe.”
    take that as a no

  • This stinks.
    The questions were good, direct to the point.
    But again…come ON! If others can do it, why can’t square do it as well? God of Ward HD? That’s awesome! Final Fantasy VII HD? Hmmm…too complicated, we rather do another FF XIII……………
    I feel so frustrated with the way this company is treating us.

  • I don’t see how they could have fitted both English and Japanese mouth movements onto the disc, considering the huge amount of cutscenes, and it isn’t that big of a deal anyway. As for PS1 Final Fantasies being released in HD, that’s just stupid – the characters in VII look like melted Lego men – if they were to put in that much effort, they might as well do a full remake. What wouldn’t be bad, perhaps, is FFX and FFX-2 bundled together on a Blu-ray, with high quality sound and visuals, featuring the extras that were included in FFX-2 International & Last Mission (bonus dresspheres, etc.), and the 20 minute movie “Eternal Calm” that bridges the gap between X and X-2, and maybe some extra video stuff. I think a lot of people would pay £40 for that, the bundle would be appreciated, and it wouldn’t require that much hard work from Square Enix, aside from translating stuff and sticking it on a disc.

  • @dgnfly: It’s pointless to say a game sucks based on what you read from users or critics. Most of the time someone else’s opinion won’t match your own (it might for you though). Not to mention how many of the complaints have just been silly, but that’s to be expected from this age and time.
    I agree with Philip99 on not seeing how both English and Japanese on the disc would have been possible.
    Also, the explanations for linearity, towns and problems of HD remakes have been quite clear, but it seems most people completely skip the point of what they’re saying.

  • They really should have kept the Japanese voices in the game, really enhances it. I get really put off by the bad English voice acting in Final Fantasy games, really cheesy and awful. They keep going on about the lip sync matching the English voices, that means nothing if the voices themselves are cringeworthy!

  • Can’t believe why no one asked why FF13 doesn’t have any towns.
    Ether way Final Fantasy Versus 13 is gonna be the better game

  • he says idea’s but in a book released in japan it said
    Final Fantasy XIII Linear “Since Towns Were Too Much Work
    The revelations come by way of developer interviews and other information published in Square Enix’s official Final Fantasy XIII production “mook” (magazine/book), Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania.
    The game’s linearity was just because depicting towns and so on like we did before was impossible to do on an “HD” console – it was too much work.
    Nomura had hardly anything to do with it; he just did character design and commercials, not even the intro or movies.
    i posted the nomura part so you guys won’t look at him for this crappy game cause he is the only guy making good games at SQUARE

  • A new report suggests enough content has been cut from Final Fantasy XIII to make an entirely new game.
    That’s what art director Isamu Kamikokuryou supposedly told an unnamed Japanese magazine, according to Andriasang’s translated version of FF Reunion’s report (via VG247).
    Kamikokuryou said a number of areas were cut from Japan’s PS3 release of FFXIII, including a space around protagonist Lightning’s home, resistance group Nora’s secret base and an amusement park called Nautilus Park.
    Square Enix axed the content to preserve the game’s balance and keep the game-size down, the report said. Perhaps it could open up downloadable content options in the future?
    look they might sell us the full game in pieces

  • @s0602277
    you have been watching the trailers haven’t you? the voices are great and are anything but cringe-worthy.

  • @ Pure_Mind_Games
    Oh YEAH!!! The gloriously rendered trailers which never show a game in its correct form, silly me!!

  • If anyone were to make a Final Fantasy VII remake it would have to be fit for fight against todays standards, meaning they would have to change a lot of content. Fighting and other key elements may be altered to give it a fresh feel, the story would remain the same though, as it always is.
    A deeper materiasystem, Final Fantasy XIII combat system, a more functional world map (it would look pretty retarded to have a small puppet running on a giant map in a remake… <.< ) . I would love to see such a remake :-) . Hopefully Square will bring such a thing in the future.

  • @s0602277
    I’m pretty sure the scenes shown are right out of the game and not made separately, if that’s what your saying, but saying the English VO’s will suck and basing your purchase on pure speculation is idiotic.
    I’m not saying FF got off to a good start with the VO’s but FFX had it’s moments, and in my opinion FFXII vastly improved upon it, I maybe basing my opinion of XIII’s VO’s on trailers but considering it’s the only evidence we have I see no alternative, and they tell me FFXIII improves the VO’s even more.

  • squre enix = disgaia3 no trophie patch in belgium
    +not in shops on release date !!!
    star ocean international also not in shops on release date!!!
    ff13 = ecence of ff = gone
    no city – world map 0/10
    i hope date shops repected wit ff13

  • we need ff7 and ff8 remade. lets make this happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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