Final Fantasy XIII Interview
Posted on Wednesday, March 24 @ 18:17:01 Eastern by Blake_MorseDestructoid: Speaking of the world, how do you keep XIII fresh?
Kitase: It all comes down basically to putting a lot of time and effort into the planning and creating of these worlds. Before actually getting into the development of the game, about a year was spent just coming up with these concepts; like the futuristic city world of Cocoon - where essentially a planet is carved out and the city is placed within it. Those kinds of things are written on paper and then taken to the art team and then they would come up with different image boards. And there was a long process of selecting the right image and really putting a lot of time into carefully crafting this story and world, and it's probably what contributes to creating a new and fresh world.
GR: Kind of along those same lines, what are some of the influences outside of gaming that you drew from when creating a game like FFXIII?
Kitase: With X the world was sort of more Asian-oriented and we were able to base the designs off of existing concepts and really work out the details that way. But with XIII, the base world is in the future, and the future doesn't exist right now. So we didn't really have any specific ideas to go off of. But the art team was sent to the US, they visited NASA and took these space technologies and military technologies and got inspiration from existing things that way. That was for the world of Cocoon, where all the futuristic elements are.
For the world of Pulse, where it's a little bit more organic and nature-oriented, the art team looked to the grand canyon and how nature is evolving there. And also we wanted to create an organic world in which there were forms of nature that humans had never really seen before. Creating unique natural elements was something we put a lot of work into.
Destructoid: In the pre-production phase, name some of the things you knew had to be in FFXIII.
Kitase: Chocobos! [laughs] Going into development we knew that it had to be a really story-driven gaming experience where there would be a lot of drama and human relationships that would unfold. Also in terms of battle, the speedy and tactical elements were a must. What we really wanted to achieve was, while keeping the strategy element alive and strong within the battle system, still create an action-like and effective battle environment with really spectacular visual effects.
GR: Who or what is your favorite reoccurring character in the FF world, and also, who is your favorite new character?
Abe: I feel that Tonberry is really cute in his design. Having that adorable appearance, yet having the knife and stabbing... I like that character a lot. In the new game, I really like Ochu (the name of the character in the Japanese game we never found out in the American game). As soon as I saw the art designs for this character, I basically fell in love with it... I thought it was really cool. It's something for players to look forward to when they go into battle.
Destructoid: What are some of the challenges going from a Sony console to a Microsoft console?
Toriyama: Obviously this is the first time [for us] creating for a 360 Microsoft console, so the programmers and engineers did have to put in a lot of effort to make it work, because it was the first time doing something like this. But when they were creating the basic engine, once they knew they were working for high-def consoles, they had actually started creating [the engine] with both the PS3 and 360 in mind before they actually knew they were going to be making a game for the 360. So that did, in a sense, act as a little bit of damage control. They didn't go into panic when they had to create for the new console, but there was a lot of effort that went into creating for the 360.
We were set on creating only the PS3 version for Japan but when looking to the overseas market and analyzing the results from the year end sales and marketing trends and when we looked at what was going on in the global market at the end of 2007, we saw that the 360 was a vital aspect - especially in the North American market after doing some extensive analysis that it would be good to make the game available for both platforms. The ultimate goal is to have as many players as possible play your game. So in order to reach out to as many gamers as possible, the decision was made towards the early part of 2008 and then was announced at E3 that year.
GR: I'm curious if we'll ever see another final fantasy that uses the more classic turn-based system.
All: [After a long deliberation between the three of them in Japanese] The final opinion of the three of us is that it's not likely to go back to the turn-based system.
Abe: With each FF there's the base concept and then the team works to create a battle system that best fits that. So, it's not to say that the possibility is 0% that it will ever go back. But depending on what the concept of the game calls for, we'll create a system that best fits that concept and that may be the form of turn-based battles.
Toriyama: Gamers today are really looking for [a] speed- and action-based battle system. So the current form that FFXIII has taken might become the base for future titles as well. It's on a case-by-case basis, but we personally don't think it will go back to slower-paced turn-based battle style.
Every FF game has a different team, so depending on that team's preferences, there's definitely a chance that turned-based battle may come back in a future FF title. But as far as the three development staff sitting in front of you, if we ever work on a future FF title, [we're] probably going to try and evolve it even further from what XIII turned out to be. So, “no” from us, but “maybe” as a series.
Destructoid: Are there any plans for downloadable content in the next few months?
Kitase: We don't have any plans for DLC at this time. Just because we really set out to create a full experience with XIII, so anyone who buys the packaged retail version will be able to enjoy the game fully with just the discs available.