Date: January 30th, 2010 Author: Kitmitsu
News Category: Final Fantasy XIII
Tags: Final Fantasy XIII
The Dutch version of Official Playstation Magazine has conducted an interview with Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase as we >mentioned a few days ago. Thankfully our new best friend, Shlizar Axis, has scanned the entire feature as well as translating the interview. Inside it, Kitase confirms the DLC rumour was true as well as revealing a few other interesting facts such as the PS3 and 360 versions of the game using different engines apparently. This seems odd as Square said Crystal Tools was developed to work with both the PS3 and 360 as well as other platforms but whatever he says. See the scans as well as the fully translated interview below.
Interview with Yoshinori Kitase:
From director of Chrono Trigger to scenario writer of Final Fantasy VII; Kitase has had a hand into all major Square-Enix productions during the past two decades. And also his task as senior producer of the biggest RPG of the past decade is almost at its end…
How does it feel now that Final Fantasy XIII is completed?
YOSHINORI KITASE: It’s a big sigh of relief. It has taken a long time before it was completed. It’s good to see that Final Fantasy lives brightly within the people when you are walking down the streets in Tokyo. This is what it makes it worthwhile.
This is the first Final Fantasy on the PS3. In what way was the development different then with the previous instalments?
KITASE: This time we needed to work extra hard. Final Fantasy XIII was originally meant to be a PS2 title, but we had to switch systems due to the arrival of the PS3. That cost us about one and a half years and was constantly a case of trial and error. However, because we worked so hard at the beginning, we got to a cruising speed much faster then anticipated and therefore could start on the translation and international voice recording process at an early stage of the development. It’s because of this that we can release both the European as well as the American version barely three months after the Japanese release.
Are the European and Japanese versions identical, or do the western gamers get extra content in exchange for the long wait?
KITASE: At first we wanted a simultaneous release for all markets, so therefore it was intended that we would create identical versions. When we noticed that we couldn’t make it, we decided that we wanted to keep the period between the Japanese and the Western release as short as possible. We had a moment where we considered to add extra content to the western version, but then the release date of the international version would have been pushed back for a couple of months. We did prepare DLC, but it will also be available in the West in the future.
The Western fans aren’t unhappy that they didn’t have to wait realise months this time…
KITASE: It’s because of the fans that we wanted to do a simultaneous release. A while ago, during my vacation, I went to Europe and talked to many European fans. With each conversation this particular frustration came to order. I didn’t know that it weighted so heavenly with you, so i made sure that the localization process could start early. We didn’t have to take the different television standards into account. No NTSC and PAL anymore, in every livingroom stands a digital television nowadays, so we didn’t have to spend an extra month in development for it.
Didn’t the simultaneous development on both the PS3 and the XBOX360 cause difficulties?
KITASE: We have made it our top priority to deliver the same quality on both consoles. It was self-evident that it brought some difficulties with it. Both consoles require a different approach. Especially on the graphics section. We had to build a different engine for both versions. We needed a year of tinkering on each engine in order to get the same level of graphics.
How do the side missions come together?
KITASE: As you know, the in-game world consists of two parts: Cocoon and Pulse. In Cocoon you will get a strong story-driven RPG. Pulse on the other hand is mostly a wilderness where the game switches to explorations and numerous side missions become available. Without the side missions, the game will be 60 hours long. If you visit the Grand Pulse in order to clear side missions, then you will be busy for a long time. You can keep playing these missions in order to earn Cystarium-points, so basically the length of the game is endless.
We found Lightning didn’t really fit within the line of Final Fantasy-Protagonists. First and foremost, she is a woman and no androgen youngster. Second, she’s the toughest lady we have ever encountered. She doesn’t flinch when it comes to hitting the macho Snow several times in the face.
KITASE: “Change” played a part when selecting Lightning. It has been a while since we had a female protagonist, but gender didn’t really matter actually. We just wanted to create a strong personality.
Has lightning been designed to be the female version of Cloud Strife, or did we discover another fault on Wikipedia?
KITASE: It’s indeed incorrect. The only thing Cloud and Lightning have in common is their background as a soldier. Lightning does come across as cold and tough, but further along the story you will notice that she has a fragile side to her. Cloud didn’t have that. We surely didn’t try to copy Cloud’s success.
You have been working at Square Enix for quite a while now. How do you see Final Fantasy XII in comparison with its illustrious predecessors?
KITASE: I consider this Final Fantasy as the most evolved instalment of the series. On the area of setting, it looks a lot like Final Fantasy VII, but we went beyond that. Much more futuristic then you can imagine. I’m mostly proud of the battle system. It’s one of the most advanced system you’ve ever played. If you experience it for the first time, you will immediately be reminded of Final Fantasy XII, especially because you participate in a battle as a group. But, basically we have taken the best from the previous Final Fantasy instalments and put it into this one.
Why did you choose to replace the original theme song with a song from Leona Lewis within the European version? Wouldn’t have translating the original song been a better solution?
KITASE: We have tried to translate the original theme song, but the singer had difficulties with that. This is a new type of tactic, an experiment if you will. Why not use a different artist for every region? If both the content and atmosphere of the song would match with the game, then we would expect it will score better within that particular region. Square Enix as a company is thinking more and more internationally and localization plays an important part within that strategy.
Is that the reason why the Japanese language option with European subtitles isn’t available within the International version? That’s something the fans would really want…
KITASE: It’s because of the storage capacity. The Blu-ray disc has already been filled to the max due to the countless CGI-movies, so a version with both Japanese as well as English voices was impossible to realise.