NEWS - Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Final Fantasy XIII Update

Tetsuya Nomura and Motomu Toriyama have dished out the latest on Final Fantasy XIII in this week’s Famitsu. For those who’ve been keeping up with the game, the comments from the two are particularly revealing this time.

Let’s start off with some character trivia. Recently, we shared details on Oerba Yun Fang, the sexy black haired girl from the Tokyo Game Show trailer who, although a l’Cie like Snow and the rest of the main cast, appears to support the government. It turns out that she wasn’t so sexy when the FF project began. According to Nomura, she was originally scheduled to be a male character. When they switched her to female, they decided to give her a sexy quality, which they removed from Lightning in order to differentiate the two. So remember -- Lightning originally had sex appeal, Fang was originally a guy.

In other character trivia, Nomura revealed that Sazh’s character setting was originally going to be even more ridiculous. How can you get more ridiculous than having a baby Chocobo residing in your ’fro? How about by placing a hat on top of that ’fro? Let’s hope we’ll get to see some concept art for this one!

Toriyama didn’t really share anything in the way of trivia, but he did give us one big hint on a future character reveal. What’s the one character name you always see in a Final Fantasy game? If you answered Cid, pat yourself on the back (and somewhere else if you like). While not specifically mentioning Cid’s name, Toriyama did say that a familiar Final Fantasy character will have a major role in FFXIII.

Toriyama also shared some technical details on the game. Save data will take up 500KB. Trophy data takes up 3,080KB (yes, it looks like the game supports Trophies!). In case you were stocking up munitions for a big system wars battle, there won’t be a hard disk installation.

Worried about load times? Don’t be. The only time you’ll see load times is when you transition from town to field. Once you’re out on the field, the game is seamless. Toriyama explained that the game’s tech staff tackled loading early on in order to keep the experience as smooth as possible.

Nomura also shared some details on some of his other projects, including Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Final Fantasy Agito XIII, and The 3rd Birthday.

Visitors to Square Enix’s Tokyo Game Show booth were shown what looked like first gameplay footage of Versus XIII. This footage, Nomura stressed in the interview, was just test footage.

Towards the end of the footage, we got to see main character Noctis running about an expansive open field with giant dinosaur-like creatures roaming about. The giant beasts had no textures, explained Nomura. The staff put the creatures in as a means of testing how large they could make them (they were pretty big!).

A town sequence shown prior to the field sequence featured some human characters who shined with a white color. There won’t be any such characters in the actual game, Nomura revealed.

The actual Versus XIII gameplay experience, explained Nomura, will be an extension of Kingdom Hearts, but blended with the "newness" and "nostalgic feel" of Final Fantasy. The development staff is placing a particular emphases on the game’s level design.

There will be some sort of partner system, with characters moving independently of one-another, but always connected. The TGS footage apparently had a window in the lower right of the screen displaying the position of your partner characters. This window probably won’t make it in, as it gets in the way of making players feel like they’re in the game.

We’ll get our first real look at non test footage for Versus XIII some time next year. At earliest, we’ll have to wait until E3.

On Agito, Nomura said that the Tokyo Game Show battle footage represented something close to the final form of the battle system. The game is, at present, quite difficult, he said. Expect Agito to enter the spotlight more next year.

Finally, Nomura touched just a bit on The 3rd Birthday. This PSP sequel to Parasite Eve was shown minimally during the Square Enix TGS video reel. The blurred bits of gameplay shown during the reel made it look like a third person shooter. The footage was blurred, explained Nomura, because there were some areas that the staff did not want to show. We’ll get updates on the game starting next year.


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