Final Fantasy XIII: Your Questions Answered

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As promised, the guys over at PlayStation.Blog US have had their own chance to talk Final Fantasy XIII with the game’s Producer, Yoshinori Kitase, and Director, Motomu Toriyama. I know that those of you eager to get your hands on the game (as I am!) will relish this opportunity for more insight from the men behind the development curtain. As well as a written interview with these gentlemen, you’ll also find a video interview between the US Blog’s Jeff Rubenstein and Yuji Abe, Final Fantasy XIII‘s Battle Director. It’s a good thing the game is out soon, or all these interviews would be little more than some sort of teasey torture.
Just a few weeks to go…
Here are the interviews, courtesy of the US Blog’s Chris Morell –

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.

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

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?
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?
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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  • Good read guys, thanks

  • Im a massive FF fan but i dunno, theres just something off about it. No towns, 10 hours of cutscenes….. nah, i’ll pass.
    FF7 & FF8 still my fav.

  • I’m still playing FF7 I bought off the store as PS1 classic and that’s the only money Square Enix will be getting from me I’m afraid.
    This game just isn’t FF…You can’t even backtrack…wth….:/
    Linear story driven games are fine, in fact, I love them, but not when they are in an RPG genre.
    Hope the next FF is better this gen, good luck.

  • Where is PS3 bundle? instead a F*** rodbox bundle?

  • I was really exited about this game…. about two years ago, now I’m mostly over it.
    About the interview: I wish there would be someone in the gaming media who would be willing to ask some difficult questions, rather than serving the same boring softball question after the other. :(
    Really odd decision to make Pulse the only open area BTW… why not make it like FFX, where it was linear until close to the end, but you could later revisit areas you had already been to for side quests? Now basically the only side quest there is are the monster hunter ones, and all are in Pulse. Is it because of the negative reaction they’ve gotten for their other Xbox 360 games which have required a lot of disk switching?
    Why do SE claim they want to make the game “more western”, but still have way too many annoying preteen characters? They should contact Naughty Dog, I’m sure ND will be kind enough to help set them straight.
    I hope vs XIII won’t end up like a pile of goose vomit. Doesn’t bode well after SE’s other games this console generation…

  • @KAP: There are some towns, so “no towns” isn’t exactly correct :P
    @somethingatt: At least it’s not linear all the way to the credits

  • Why was my comment published three times? I were ment to say I’m looking forward to this game just a shame Xbox got it as well

  • The only one question is that “why you (sony) won’t keep the FFXIII exclusively to PS3”?
    Outside Japan (exclude Asia), the advertising seems to be the xbox360-exclusive. I don’t like that.

  • no disgaia 3 trophie suport in europe
    + not in shops on release date
    star ocean international = not in shops on release date
    ff = fantasy – world – towns- exploration – freedom
    fallout – oblivion- let peopel dream . ff not enimore
    ff serie = on release date in store ??????????

  • Why is it that you get to play a demo, when we don’t.

  • I was excited about this game a couple of years ago, not so anymore. Better luck with FF Versus XIII. My liking of Square Enix isn’t very high at the moment.

  • Pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition of the game and the guide.
    I’m in Abstinence of JRPG on PS3. This will be my first JRPG on PS3.
    Luckily from now on there will be tons of JRPG like we never seen in 3 years from the debut of the console.
    P.S. I don’t see FFXIII as a masterpiece, for that I’m waiting Final Fantasy Versus XIII. ;)

  • About the interview: I wish there would be someone in the gaming media who would be willing to ask some difficult questions, rather than serving the same boring softball question after the other.
    I agree with this statement, you read one interview you’ve read ’em all, for god sake guys GET SOME NUTS and start asking the questions people want to know the answers to and not questions the devs want to hear.

  • hmm, he talks like a lady xD
    Cant wait for FFXIII and Verses and Agito!

  • Indeed, we’ve seen these questions answered dozens of times before.
    The previous games did fine without being “westernized” and it’s odd that the first FF game with pretty much no towns, no backtracking and very little exploration is also the first to appear on the Xbox 360. Why didn’t Jeff ask them about that?
    Poor show guys, very poor show.

  • @S-E-G you’re welcome to try. See you at the next meetup.

  • It is imperative that Versus does not have content cut, NPCs are included and the player is allowed to back track. Please don’t ‘westernise’ any more of the FF series, the game has enough fans to make it a hit, Voice & Audio is fine but don’t make Versus a button masher……don’t change the winning formula that started in FF VII.

  • Still looking forward to this game, regardless of what I heard.

  • Am I the only one who thinks they shouldn’t have replaced the Japanese song with Leona Lewis? I absolutely hate her and her songs. The song they chose for FFXIII “My Hands” is just disgusting and doesn’t fit the game AT ALL. Goddamn SE when do you learn that your western fans want:
    1. Japanese voice tracks
    2. Original game, NO WESTERNIZATION
    3. Keep the original songs

  • The song they chose for FFXIII “My Hands” is just disgusting and doesn’t fit the game AT ALL
    I wasn’t keen on the idea at first but after watching the trailer my doubts where lifted, and what exactly is disgusting about it?

  • why is the battle scene in Final Fantasy XIII going to be the same as XII??? Final Fantasy creators need to go back to the final fantasy VII,VIII IX and X days!!! maybe bring back soft and kick enix out.

  • Hey did anyone else get Final Fantasy 13 today. It came out early in Xtra Vision in Ireland. Got the special edition for 60 euro:)

  • Mine’s just been delivered woohoo!

  • Hello,
    You know guys, i am Literally sick to my stomach, i feel like [DELETED], the game i been waiting for since i played FFX comes out and its a let down, dont get me wrong its amazing, Awesome, OH MY GOD type but its been tarnished, i waited 3 years for the next-gen version of FFX and its here but its also on that despicable piece of plastic the Xbox, i found out TODAY, it was on it, i am seriously hurt, I loved the FF series out of ANY Play Station game ever, I am passionate about my Sony, I ensure everything is Sony, and this has been the biggest let down for me in gaming ever i am really upset by this, Square Enix haven’t just sold themselves and Sony out, but their loving fan’s i doubt after this FF i wont be looking forward to another, there comes a certain prestige when you are exclusive, Sure in this situation they made a bucket load of money, but if it were me, i would prefer to stay with Sony, They look after their fans, always have and always will <3
    Apology's for the long response, i am quite upset!

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