E3 2008: Final Fantasy XIII Roundtable Discussion

Square Enix answers questions about development and the vision for Final Fantasy XIII.

Following the bombshell announcement regarding Final Fantasy XIII's platform expansion to the Xbox 360, Square Enix has been hosting some cozy question-and-answer sessions to chat up the upcoming installment in its flagship series. We got to sit down to the roundtable with FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase and Square Enix executive Shinji Hashimoto to talk shop about the role-playing game and its development. We were warned at the beginning that it's still quite early in the development process and so details would be scarce, and this was true. Details are still pretty scarce. However, even mere droplets of information about new Final Fantasy games are delicious, so we were unperturbed.

The first query had to do with scheduling, and whether the PS3 version of the game was being delayed to accommodate the newly announced 360 version. The reply was that the PS3 version is on track to be completed as scheduled and that the 360 version will be ported from it. According to Square Enix, there should not be a delay in order to bring both versions to release.

Next, the team was asked about the possibility of additional content when FFXIII reaches US shores--content that is usually added to the overseas releases after the game first comes out in Japan. The answer given was that the typical Final Fantasy release schedule ends up staggered between territories, with gaps of at least 6 months between the initial Japanese date and releases in the US and Europe. Currently there's no extra content planned, since the team is anticipating lessening the gap between the Japanese release and the worldwide unveiling.

The next question was regarding the technical limitations of DVD media as opposed to Blu-ray and how that would affect the visuals of the Xbox 360 version. The response was that while nothing has been decided yet, the plan is to optimize compression for the disc-space hogs, which are prerendered cutscenes and voice work, so the quality would not be adversely affected.

When asked why Square Enix made the decision to produce an Xbox 360 version for the Final Fantasy series, we were at first gently reminded that the massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XI made its way to the 360. So while this isn't technically the first Final Fantasy game on the system, for this installment the team wanted to make it available to as many fans as possible. They recognize that there are many fans floating around out there with interest in the game who do not own a PlayStation 3. We inquired about whether there were any tentative plans for 360 achievements for the game and received the somewhat cryptic answer that the team didn't want the gameplay experience to be noticeably different between the two versions but that there would be details where they would diverge.

A question about the characters shown in the trailer and a request for their names and backgrounds was quietly declined. Square Enix isn't ready to share those details yet. However, it was reiterated that the main character is called Lightning by the people around her and that this is not her true name.

The next question was for Kitase, who is returning to Final Fantasy development on FFXIII after not participating on Final Fantasy XII. He was asked to describe changes in the gameplay. He responded that Final Fantasy X had random encounters with a battle environment that would load and that Final Fantasy XII had enemies that were onscreen with seamless transitions to battle. In Final Fantasy XIII, a version of the active time battle system will return, and the team hopes to combine the best of FFX's and FFXII's systems. Kitase said that there will be monsters in the field but that the encounter system will be different from how Final Fantasy XII's turned out.

When asked what the gameworld was like, Kitase and Hashimoto declined to give much detail, but they did reveal that "Pulse" is the name of a region in the game. The name is said to derive from the Fabula Nova Crystalis mythos that pervades the world of both Final Fantasy XIII and Versus XIII.

Another question requested details on the game's soundtrack and Japanese voice-over talent. The response was that the voice actors are being cast right now and that the team is seeking actors who not only have skillful delivery, but have voices that truly fit the vision of each character. As far as the game's music goes, we were told that the music will be recorded once all the cinematics are completed and that the sound will have a lot of choral influence.

Kitase was then asked how the tone and theme of Final Fantasy has evolved over time and whether or not he felt like he'd carried on former producer Hironobu Sakaguchi's legacy. Kitase said that there was nothing he felt he had to protect or maintain. The teams that work on the Final Fantasy games always look at the previous games, and there's always a link between the games.

Questioned on whether the gameplay would be more free-roaming or more structured and linear, the team answered that it couldn't talk about it yet. However, the people in charge of crafting the story and managing the gameplay are devoted to their respective views, we were told, so their aim is that the game will have a good balance.

Finally, we talked about Lightning and how she seemed like quite a strong character, but also isolated and alone, and asked how that would come into play in the story. We were told that this is one of the major themes of Final Fantasy XIII. There's almost a categorical rejection at the beginning where characters refuse to fight alongside others, and then gradually they come together and become close. The trailer is meant to illustrate this.

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318 comments
yabba1
yabba1

I'm just happy I can play it without buying a PS3. Oh wait,the 360 version is gonna come out later than the PS3 version, crap, looks like I'm buying myself a PS3 then! Hang on the release date still says march 9 2010! There's hope!

darkchaostitan
darkchaostitan

@vasot Wow do you look like an idiot. 360 will have 4, count 'em 4 discs. Whist the PS3 has one solemn blu-ray. can you derp?

bibleboy93
bibleboy93

y so 360 owners would have to buy a ps3 just to play

Xanth93
Xanth93

They have to compress the data to fit it on the Xbox 360. This is why it should have stayed a PS3 exclusive...

themyth01
themyth01

I would have actually traded my 360 for a ps3 if this game would have stayed exclusive and turn out to be as good as FFX.

HobosNeedCable
HobosNeedCable

I am feeling alot of hate. This is a new game for everyone to enjoy. The game will be great, hopefully they bring back the old style of fighting.

yabba1
yabba1

just to annoy all of you - SQUARE ENIX ARE SO GREEDY WHAT ARE THEY PORTING THEIR GAMES FOR!!!

illy912912
illy912912

Lolz, I'll be playing this on the commodore 64 nabs

isaac2580
isaac2580

Here's a couple of things to consider 1) Square-Enix does not belong to Sony; they are an independent development company. 2) Square-Enix has put several games out for the GameBoy Advance and the DS (which included several Final Fantasy titles), you didn't complain then. (I won't mention the GameCube game … ) 3) The number one goal of ANY company (remember that's what Square-Enix is) is to make money. This doesn't make them greedy; it keeps them in business which in the long run makes you happy too. Consider the following: Developing on more than one platform = More Money/Profits More Money/Profits = More Staff, More Developers, and Very Happy Shareholders More Developers = More Games and New Game Ideas More Staff = Faster Development Time Very Happy Shareholders = Freedom to continue with what you're doing with little to no interference More Developers + Happy Shareholders = No Rushed Titles (nice, wouldn't you say) More Staff + More Developers + No Rushed Titles = Great Games with less development time Great Games + Gamers = Very Happy Gamers (that's you) and High Sales Figures High Sales Figures = More Money/Profits See how that works … Now, you might disagree with the faster development time part, but consider how long a title like Final Fantasy XIII would take if they had less staff than they do now. tu2pac you are absolutley RIGHT!!!!!!!!

bunnies4ever
bunnies4ever

Man, I want to get a 360 so bad now. All the awesome-filled RPG's are on it. Final Fantasy forever!!!!

ZOnikJJ
ZOnikJJ

I wants this game now!!!

Livewirez
Livewirez

Kitase said they will use some sort of compression for the pre-rendered cut-scenes and voice work that won't really affect the quality, even if it does a little i'm sure that it won't make that much of a difference especially if they decide to put it onto two discs. Plus the installtion option with the new dashboard update will allow a better framrate and feinately shorter loading times so I'm sure kitase is thinking all about those things before he has even got the xbox 360 dev kits and they'll be able to use those features available to sustain max quality. Hopefully. If he doesn't, apparently ps3 games are alot easier to bring to the xbox than the other way around, so i'm not worried about loss of quality in the porting process. Anyways, i'm confident that it's going to be a great game for both consoles.

tu2pac
tu2pac

For those who think Square-Enix "betrayed" Sony ... read my blog :-)

rpgNerd321
rpgNerd321

Either way,this game looks pretty tight. Since i own a 360 i don't care for ps3. Just saying whatever system you get it for,i'm sure it will be a deep,compelling game. However,i like 360 more because it has achievments so HAH!

homestarmy6
homestarmy6

I have both and I really don't care which one's better. I mean each system has their advantages...but for the most part they are pretty much the same as far as graphics go. Blueray is mainly for media purposes and doesn't have anything to do with development except that DVD's hold less memory...but i will say that xbox live is a lot A LOT more pro than ps3s online system...

alrweesm
alrweesm

First of all i hate to say that but ( GameSpot u have gave us hope when u said it's gonna be a 08's but now most of us r disappointed ) i think the game will be released in the late 09 if not early 2010 . For those XBOXERSsSs FanboysSsSs ;P , come on guys it's really simple just face the truth that ps3 was released after xbox 360 . ps3 has a BLUERAY do u know what this means ?? it could carry a 25 GB and up to 50 GB if it's daul layer . PS3 had MGS4 which made lots n lots fanboys like u to buy (PS3) to enjoy the game , to be honest i think the guys who bought ps3 selled the empty box , u know why ?? cuz it worths nothing compared to ps3 . At the end i really like u guys to enjoy the xbox cuz sony in no need for u to buy the ps3 , they already had their loyal customers ;PpPp~~

LordReithgar
LordReithgar

if you don't care about Bluray, why do you keep posting loads of stuff about it? Another 360 fanboy...

kerrdogg
kerrdogg

Any one notice that Gamespot has put a November 20 release date for this? They are dreamin'.

EvtheMan
EvtheMan

They said there would be a similarity in battles between X and XII. I hope they do something truly unique because I love playing XII with active, gambits make it so fun. My biggest wish however, is the ability to go online and play co-op. We don't know how battles are gonna be played, but I can imagine in a setting like XII where each player controls a character. I've always wanted a co-op or at least a vs. mode where players parties can fight each other or with each other. They need to use GTA4 as an example of seamless online co-op, and then this game would be teh sh33t.

Vasot
Vasot

---------------------- LMAO I've been saying this for ages! Blue-ray advantage is in media. programming doesn't require that much space XD --------------------- +1 Exactly Bluray does not make any difference from DVD concerning programming And concerning space...in the XBOX360 version they can release it into 2 DVDs if 1 is not enough... PS3 fanboys can believe whatever they want

Kiriyama12
Kiriyama12

"the plan is to optimize compression for the disc-space hogs, which are prerendered cutscenes and voice work, so the quality would not be adversely affected. " this means that the 360 version will be a less of a game if it has some FFXIII features "optimized" or so to say removed, i mean, i play RPG's for the story and how it is delivered, realistic conversations or "scenematics" is also the reason you pay for the game, and through Kitase's words said it, he is basically covering the flaws of the DVD so that it would still sell, i am not a PS3 fanboy, i would just rather play this game at it's best.

elmstterror
elmstterror

Blah, better not be another linear I can see the battles coming FF. These games have gottin lost with to much garbage being packed into them, I miss my old FF's.

Vasot
Vasot

Who gives a sh*t about Bluray If i wanted to have a bluray to watch movies i would go to newegg.com and buy a cheaper and faster Bluray driver from the one that is installed in PS3 Consoles are about gaming I do not care about Bluray PS3 developers can put their bluray solution deep in their fat japanese a$$

scorch-62
scorch-62

I'm definitely checking this out.

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

@ecs33 actually you can buy much cheaper blue-ray players for the PC. www.pricespy.co.nz or newegg.com? for PPs in US.

Great_Ragnarok
Great_Ragnarok

"the plan is to optimize compression for the disc-space hogs, which are prerendered cutscenes and voice work, so the quality would not be adversely affected. " LMAO I've been saying this for ages! Blue-ray advantage is in media. programming doesn't require that much space XD

Renegrade
Renegrade

anti-viper, don't forget Tales of Vesperia (10th Anniversary Tales game) next month! Full voice-overs for North American Tales for teh win~ (I'd still prefer having the Japanese version with subtitles, though. That applies to Final Fantasy as well, or any JRPG for that matter.)

anti-viper
anti-viper

Lol, I don't play many rpgs, but if I did, I would be glad I bought a 360. Between this, Last Remnant, Star Ocean, and Infinite Undiscovery (yes, I realize 2 of those are on the PS3) the next year and a half is going to be a rpg frenzy. Not to mention White Knight, and Versus on the PS3, AND of course Final Fantasy 13, Last Remnant, and a port of Eternal Sonata with added content. Fanboys: sheath your swords. Finally, everyone wins.

ecs33
ecs33

"PS3 more expensive than XBOX360 so why I pay more think about it." Because PS3 has a blue ray player. Lol my dad actually bought a PS3 for his entertainment center just because of the blueray. It's one of the cheapest ones out there!

ecs33
ecs33

How is this game still early in the development process??? Didn't they originally say it would be released in '08? That makes me kind of pissed. Oh well - atleast it's coming to 360.

gperks1986
gperks1986

i cant believe someone said that fflll was gonna be a final fantas x2. all i can say is your nuts man. And i am stoked that fflll is coming to the box along with other square titles. Lets face it for those of us who own 360's we have been a little disappointed as far as rpg's go. Lost Odyssey was the worst money i have spent on games for my box and i didnt bother to buy blue dragon cuz it looked like a dragon quest wanna be. So i am super stoked for this game even though it may be a yr or so before i can play because the only downfall to the final fantasy series if you can call it one is that all the games lets face it get delayed atleast twice.

aaaaaa12
aaaaaa12

-____- No one will play this game in the Xbox360. Since Final Fantasy 13 versus is still 100% exclusive PS3, Playstation will still be the ideal RPG console. Square-Enix is just experimenting whether the XBOX360 would be popular with RPG fans in NA and Europe. Since Final-Fantasy grew famous with the playstation brand, the fans will usually buy the PS3 lolz. Even still i dun think the game will look good in the XBOX... -_____- Hey there is still other PS3 rpg titles such as White Knight Story and Valkryia Chronicles! XBOX taking Final fantasy 13? No biggie for sony PS3.

bennae66
bennae66

for me i have a ps3 and a 360, tho the sad thing is alot of the reasons i bought a ps3 for are for exclusives that all pop up on the box. which version to get... i may get the ps3 version just so i have a reason to play on it

King_Wii
King_Wii

Wow... I'm sorry but if your a PS3 owner and your here in our X360 haven trying to tell us that our version will be crud in comparission to yours... you need a life. Lets look at the facts though, PS3 is not that much better than X360, unless you haven't seen gamespots own comparisions, and blue ray isn't that amazing. Sure us Xboxers will have to switch discs possible one more time than the PS3 owners but the game itself is going to be the same and just as good. Xbox has stayed ontop of the game since luanch and gamespot has proven that themselves. Lets face it PS3 is overly complex (in developers eyes) and Xbox just works well... afterall its basicaly a PC that only plays games... which was Microsoft's intent and that is why so many games get ported back and forth from and to PC. So to all thos PS3 owners who feel hurt and betrayed remember, your system is not as "high end" as you think, heck my PC could run laps around your PS3 and my X360. So face it both versions of the game will be nearly identical, and look into your hearts and come to the truth your only flinging durt because YOU feel hurt and upset at SE's move. Honestly every company has their day, Sony was big in the PS-PS2 era, just as Nintendo before them, now its Xbox's turn so face the facts and you'll be much happier, on the bright side you can still have pride in your PS3 you have one thing over me a Bluray player. Bottom line is: Both versions will rock!

VenDaler
VenDaler

The new trailer... and/or the 360 announcement, really got me excited about this FF. My concern is that the game might be as linear literally as FFX. Thinking back to that game, seems like a good bit of it involved running straight. But that's the only FF that was quite like that, as I recall, so this one might not be too bad. At least it doesn't require a subscription!

boywonder8886
boywonder8886

luigi13579 you're bang on there mate, who cares? trey112vonte1, surely just because this FF is going to Xbox doesn't mean that Microsoft and Sony have partnered up at all... It just means Square Enix have partnered with both. xialon "I enjoy FF more on Sony brand consoles. No offense." How the hell would you know that?!

luigi13579
luigi13579

If I owned a PS3, I wouldn't give a damn if FFXIII went to the 360. If Halo 3 came out for the PS3, I wouldn't have cared. As long as I can play the game, what does it matter? If anything, FFXIII going to the 360 might even be a good thing. The more money they make, the more money they can invest in future games (or even ones that are currently in development).

trey112vonte1
trey112vonte1

I highly doubt this title will be anything like FFX-2, that game was simply an afterthought and quickly forgotten about. With all popular and 'exclusive' games, it's only a matter of time before all titles are ported to all platforms (Wii included) and there will always be the graphical and playability differences between them. Everybody wants a piece of the 360 action seeming it's the leader in next-gen, it has a robust 'live' system and it's marketable and attractive to many markets. That said, it is sad to see Sony partner with Microsoft when they have been head to head in competition since Halo was first introduced. FF13 was a primary reason I bought the system and have no intention of buying it on xbox-- who cares if there are achievement points it's not like I'll be receiving a check for my high scores-- the PS3 is quieter, looks better, has blu-ray capacity and I don't have to worry about that thing...what's that called again... something about 2-4 blinking red lights telling me there's a problem? I should gently submerge that unstable device in water and go Office Space on it.

Fists1
Fists1

Unfortunately to me this game seems like another X2 (as in 10-2) so probably not the strongest debut to the xbox (i know it isnt a real debut but I dont pay any attention to mmos). I hope they prove me wrong though

Merc1319
Merc1319

i dont really care about fanboy battles, im just happy that i'll be able to experience this without having to buy another console for $750. multi disk issues would be minor for the 360, as by the time this is released you will be able to just save the other discs to your HDD instead, an play from disc 1

xialon
xialon

Final Fantasy has always kept up a good series. Of course they will do the same on the Xbox 360. However, I enjoy FF more on Sony brand consoles. No offense.

roboticCoward
roboticCoward

There's two things that we all must remember about this: When they make PS3 games on a Bluray, they actually have to put the data on the disc 3 or 4 times (good example = Elder Scrolls 4) just so it can load decently. On top of that, the game must be installed. As far as storage and HD capacity goes, Bluray ftw. As far as disc reading speed goes, the DVD explodes Bluray. I think we should be happy about this. Now Gears-of-War-playing frat boys AND hardware nerds can enjoy this soon-to-be great game, so stop whining!

Glenny027
Glenny027

@ -Skyriderlink and anyone that has a xbox nd playstation, Its just a game and a console, would be like gears of war on ps3 or mgs4 on xbox.... both are great games on great consoles.

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

This just might be the best Final Fantasy ever.

rinks361
rinks361

Well there is also Final Fantasy Versus XIII which seems to be exclusive to the PS3 system. But you should be happy anyways. The blue-ray visuals will completely blow out the Shytbox 360's HD graphics. Can't wait to see some footage for Versus soon! AAAAND cant wait to see what the news about Final Fantasy VII is going to be on August 2nd and 3rd! (Please be a new remake of the game!!!) [-o

Limality
Limality

Well, this news is a kick to the balls for those people (including me) who bought a PS3 for (but not only) FF13. I think a lot of people slapped their foreheads in surprise and a bit of anger towards SE for not mentioning that little detail that they were planning to release FF13 for the X360 too. SE can say all they wan't about bringing the experience to all fans, but in the end, it really is about dishing in more money. I hope they don't f*ck it up though. Because maybe, FF13 could bring X360 and PS3 gamers together to discuss the game without comparing graphics and bashing each other over which console had the better version or which console is the best. That said, at least I'm able to play the game on the console of my choice. We'll see if SE made a wise choice in going multiplatform when they actually release the game. Which won't be anytime soon...

hyukjuk
hyukjuk

Final Fantasy series is not only Blockbuster for the Playstation... Look deeper in to the game selections. I think its fair since Xbox games are now coming to PS3 too, for example Bioshock. I'm a PS3 owner and I am not upset, rather I'm happy because there will be more people in my region to dicuss the game with. I think it was a great idea to make it an multi-platform game.

Agent2800
Agent2800

stop trying 2 convince yourself that SquareEnix gives crap about playstasion Stryker521 they are just as greedy and money hungry as any other developer they know where the money lies when they first developed FFXIII they expected sales in PS3 to increase but when they didn't thats when they had to go with there plan B i say they should have done it from the beginning u may be right about one thing the 360 version may be stripped down due 2 the lack of blue ray but i hope u are wrong