|English Interview Translation
About Fabula Nova Crystallis in general:
Motomu Toriyama: "The development of the three games was started at the same time and we gathered to try and find a common platform to stand on and try to build from. But since then, we've been working completely independently of each other. Each game is evolving in its own direction and take place in separate worlds with their own main characters. There exists basically no cooperation between the different teams. I wouldn't even want to claim that we communicate with each other."
Tetsuya Nomura: "The only similarity between the games that you can find is in the vague crystal theme."
Final Fantasy XIII
Q: "How does it effect you, and Square Enix, that FFXIII is such a big project that it's been divided in a lot of separate projects?"
Toriyama:"We've definitely been forced to change our habits and work in new ways. In the center you have the crystals that define Final Fantasy and unite the three XIII projects. But every single game is evolving in its own direction and take place in their own worlds with their own characters. Nomura has designed Lightning, but she's our character."
Q: "So who is she then?"
A: "I can't say much more than that she likes to call herself that. And that she's a female character who's vastly different compared to Yuna."
Q: "Ten years ago, Final Fantasy VII became a symbol to the entire PlayStation format. Could FFXIII come to mean as much for the PS3?"
A:"FFVII was a milestone in PS history. The game changed the entire RPG genre and set a lot of new trends. Strictly content-wise, the theme alternated between fantasy and futurism and we're doing something similar with FFXIII. The game mixes a new kind of fantasy with futuristic elements that have never been seen in a game before. It's very interesting to explore the new hardware. When you've managed to harness the power in it the results become unbelievable. We're accomplishing things you hardly can manage without the PS3."
Q:"So there will be a mix between fantasy and sci-fi again?"
A: "Last time, our time worked with the Asian-influenced world in FFX and wanted to do something completely different this time around. So we took the futuristic theme to its limit. FFXIII will truly define the term futurism. You've never seen anything like it."
Q:"You've worked at Square Enix for a long time, but this is the first time you're in charge of such a big FF project. How do you cope with the pressure?"
A: "The difference between the side projects and the big games, the one with numbers, isn't really that big. I know I have to deliver, but I knew that when I worked on Revenant Wings as well. The pressure from outside is almost worse. A lot of people view FFXIII as a title that can decide the success for the PS3. But I can't think about that. We've had a lot of time on our hands to prepare our game, and now we're working full-speed."
Q: "If you look past the visuals, how will FFXIII be a game for the next generation?"
A: "It's never solely about graphics, but at the same time you can't deny the meaning of the looks for the experience as a whole. The technique allows us to create characters so realistic that the player perceives them as being alive. It adds something emotional to the entire game experience. Which in its turn makes the combat system feel different since you care about the characters and you feel for them in a way that you've never done before. When you play FFXIII, it feels like you're controlling something that's not a 3D model, but a real creature."
Final Fantasy Versus XIII
Nomura: "There's been times when I've wanted to take FF in a completely different direction than the game's producer has wanted. I'm not saying that his or mine opinions have been right or wrong, just different. One thing I've always wanted to explore deeper is human emotions. By going in that direction, you risk to make the target group for the game narrower, and FF is appreciated by a very large audience. But with Versus XIII, it feels like the right time to take that risk. Since the script isn't done yet, I still don't know exactly how far I dare to go, but I know I want to squeeze humanity out of these characters. I want Versus to feel in the entire body."
Q: "You've also said that this is going to be the darkest FF game ever."
A: "When I produced Kingdom Hearts, I was in a world so bright that I almost got blinded. So now I want to do something completely different. Maybe it has something to do with my love for extremes. FFvXIII is about man in the real world. In that sense, the game will contain less fantasy than usual We've created some dark environments and shown them in our trailers. But the entire game won't look like that; we've only just begun."
Q: "When you talk about the real world, do you mean modern life on Earth?"
A: "I don't want the characters in the game to feel fabricated, so my focus lies on designing them through their humanity. They have to be perceived as humans, as someone you and I could meet in reality. The world in Versus is reminiscent with the one we live in today. That doesn't mean I'm inspired by locations or persons that actually exist, it's more of a feeling that the characters and locations are believeable, like something you'd be able to find in your daily life. I want to take this concept and make it into an FF experience. That's the challenge I've given myself, anyway."
Q: "So that's how you will use the power of the PS3?"
A: "The PS3 is such a powerful machine that the technical possibilities have a great influence over the game design and in the end, the entire game experience. I can't go into details about my ideas, but many of them would never have been possible during the last console generation."