Square Enix: 360 FFXIII development hasn't begun

Director Motomu Toriyama and Tetsuya Nomura reveal they're focused the PS3 edition of the anticipated role-playing game--and haven't yet received dev kits from Microsoft.

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TOKYO--Today at its DK Sigma3173 Event, Square Enix made a series of announcements, including revealing the March release of a Final Fantasy XIII demo. However, those on hand were also impressed by a video shot by series designer Tetsuya Nomura which offered some raw behind-the-scenes insights into the game's development.

The video started off with an inside look at Square Enix's internal studio and its overall development environment. However, the scene quickly switched to a meeting where developers spoke bluntly about Final Fantasy XIII in general--and the Xbox 360 version in particular. The game's announcement was a major surprise at the E3 Media & Business Summit last month, where producer Yoshinori Kitase held a roundtable--but left many questions unanswered.

In the video, director Motomu Toriyama didn't beat around the bush when Nomura asked him questions about the 360 FFXIII. Starting off, he reconfirmed that, "We haven't changed the direction of the development. We're making the PS3 version first, and then porting to the 360 later." That means that since the game will be released simultaneously on both platforms in North America and Europe, the PS3 release will be held back in those territories until the 360 version is complete.

Furthermore, Toriyama also revealed that, as of July 29, his team hasn't yet received the tools needed to begin work on the Xbox 360 version of FFXIII. "I'm telling them to not think about the Xbox 360 right now," he said. "We can think about it after the development kits arrive."

The director also reassured PS3 owners that the game's quality would not suffer due to the 360 port. "We aren't going to change any specifications [of FFXIII] because of the multi-platform announcement," he declared. "Right now, we're fully concentrating on the PS3 version."

Nomura and Toriyama also debunked rumors that a PC version of FFXIII is in development. They explained the confusion arose from a misunderstanding when producer Yoshinori Kitase mentioned at E3 that Square Enix is working on a PC project. "We've always been developing on PCs," laughed Nomura. "In fact, I've been doing so since Final Fantasy VI."

Judging by the video, development on FFXIII seems to be in full swing, and the remaining character designs are on schedule to be finalized in October. The voice cast has already been chosen, and it will be partially announced at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show, also in October.

Unfortunately, a playable FFXIII demo is unlikely to be at TGS 2008, which is Japan's biggest game expo. In the video, the developers openly complained when talking about the bonus demo disc that'll come with the Blu-ray disc of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children in March. Considering how long it takes to mass produce it onto Blu-ray discs, Square Enix must finish the demo by December in order to ship it out with the computer-animated film.

Luckily, the wait looks like it will be worth it, as Toriyama promised the demo will be quite large. Though he didn't divulge many details, he mentioned that the demo takes place a little bit before the game's current trailers, with a vast and complex three-dimensional map.

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