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Square Enix has released a video showcasing the development studio behind Lightning Returns on their official Youtube channel. In it you can see a lot of people sitting in a room watching Youtube videos, some blurred PCs, and about 2 seconds of Lightning Returns pre-alpha footage. When they attempted to film the Versus studio, they realised no one could remember if it actually existed.

A rumour started by Kotaku last week has been debunked by Square-Enix’s own Yoichi Wada. He laughs at the rumour and goes on to explain that he has just left one of his regular meetings regarding Versus, and that we’d all be very impressed by the presentation shown. Well, time to show it then.

“It seems someone is spreading a false rumor about Versus being canceled. Heh, just a few moments ago a regularly scheduled meeting for Versus ended. If you were to see the city etc. presented today, you’d wouldn’t be able to stand from surprise, lol.”

Source: Neogaf / Forums

As well as the FFXIII-2 details, Famitsu has also interviewed Tetsuya Nomura in their latest issue. He mostly discussed Kingdom Hearts 3D but he did give a few development details on Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Nomura told Famitsu how he performed a walkthrough of the entire world map recently, checking out the towns and dungeons on the way. He said he was amazed at how wide and impressive everything was. A slightly subjective opinion which isn’t much use to us but he does confirm the use of a new lighting engine. Previously, he stated that the games lighting was being improved and that he was aiming for Versus to be photo realistic. Today he confirmed that an entirely new engine was being used just for it.

The Luminous Engine which was announced back in August is Square Enix’s next generation tool kit and parts of it are being implemented into Versus. The engine does have a small tech demo showing what it can really do (not constrained by specific hardware however). Below is a photo and a screenshot from the tech demo. The left is the photo and the right is the render from the engine. A slightly unfair comparison but it still looks impressive. The 15 second walkthrough video of the scene is available here but only works on some browsers (IE). Youtube however, doesn’t do it justice.

Nomura also says another engine (seperate to Crystal tools) is being utilized for action. The fact that the games engines are still a major talking factor does douse any expectations of an upcoming release. With in-engine trailers already released though, there may have been a lot of work done to what we’ve already seen.

You’ve probably forgotten that a half-hour television special for Final Fantasy XIII-2 aired on the 15th in Japan. How could you not, with all that juicy TGS action going on? Turns out you didn’t miss much. Most of the information shared by Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama has already been revealed and the latter half of the programme featured Masashi Ebara (Sazh’s Japanese voice actor) paying a visit to select departments working on the game.

Among the few notable segments, composer Mitsuto Suzuki demonstrated the music production process with a track that hasn’t been heard before. You can check that out below. After having a chat with co-composer Naoshi Mizuta about the new Archylte Steppe theme and checking in with the game’s foley artists (that’s sound effects, for you clueless types out there), there was a brief montage of various visual processes. You can find shots of those a bit further down, too. Images include a demonstration of the animation process using a frightening dragon-type creature, manipulation of Sazh’s eyebrows, a city locale and Serah running through a city (maybe the same one) on a rainy night.

Two months ago inside a Famitsu interview with Nomura, he confirmed that after 6 years, they were finally preparing to go into full production of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Yesterday it was confirmed that this has begun.

During yesterdays Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fan meeting, Kitase was questioned about the development of Type-0 and Versus. His answer, “for Type-0 and Versus XIII we are giving 100% to development”. With just over a month to go until Type-0 is out, that’s unsurprising but the fact that Versus is now in full production should give a lot of people hope. Just for reference, it was also confirmed that XIII-2 is 90% complete with a development period of 1 and a half years.

Source: Nova Crystallis

With the demo for Final Fantasy Type-0 being out for a few days now, Square has had plenty of feedback on the experience from the players themselves. There have been a couple of major complaints, mainly the poor camera and the Phantoma system. Quite surprisingly the games director, Hajime Tabata, has posted a video on the Square Enix Members Twitter where he assures fans that the camera and Phantoma system are being fixed. It’s great news that feedback has been taken onboard so quickly.

SQUARE ENIX MEMBERS | Hajime Tabata Type-0 Twitter Video

As well as the Dengeki feature posted earlier, comes a new Final Fantasy Type-0 interview with Director Hajime Tabata and Art Director Yusuke Naora. The interview explains a few details on the development of the game, as well as the story and world featured within it. It has thankfully been transcribed by Sokuho@Hokanko and translated by Andriasang.

On Type 0′s Development

Type-0 was announced in 2006. At the time, only Tabata, Naora and Tetsuya Nomura were on the staff. Work was being done on Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII, so it was only in 2008 that actual development began. Even then, the development team had to work on The 3rd Birthday, so Type-0′s development was kept at a minimum level for about a year.

Naora said that this is the longest he’s ever worked on a single game. At the time of the game’s announcement, they had nothing but a single main visual ready.

On Price
Tabata admitted that the price is a bit on the high side, but he said the quality and volume would match the price.

On Naora’s Involvement
Naora is overseeing the main visual and the designs of each of the game’s countries. Co Art Director Yusaku Nakaai is working on characters and monsters.

On Multiplayer Play
Here’s a bit about how the game’s multiplayer component will work. As previously detailed, Type-0 isn’t played multiplayer for extended periods. Instead, other players come into your game to assist briefly during battle[...]

Read the rest of the interview at Andriasang

Source: Sokuho@Hokanko

As promised last week, Tetsuya Nomura has released new details on Final Fantasy Versus XIII in the form of a short interview with Famitsu in their latest issue. Unfortunately, a lot of the new information given is difficult to understand without actually seeing what Nomura is talking about or the screenshots he showed the editors but that didn’t stop him.

Cutscenes were a major topic in the interview. Final Fantasy has always had cutscenes in 3 flavours. CG, pre-rendered and real-time. Historically, they’ve never been controllable but Nomura wants to end that. He says that all real-time cutscenes in Versus will be controllable  in order to keep the game from stopping. How it’s been implemented it is unclear but we can assume it could possibly involve NPCs talking while the character you’re controlling is still able to explore. If that’s the case, it doesn’t sound incredibly revolutionary but we’ll have to wait and see.

Nomura goes into more depth about cutscenes, this time concerning facial expressions which he claims will be much more natural, unlike the “game-like” expressions of past games. Although what he means is unclear, he also mentions a new system in that area which he thinks hasn’t been done before. We’ll have to wait to see what he means.

Three screenshots were shown to the editors, all in real-time, and all apparently stunning. They include shots of an Italian like city, an afternoon shot of a highway, and the same but at night. Nomura says the real-time looks so good because the low quality and high quality models are almost identical, apart from the hair which is slightly better looking on the pre-rendered models. Takeshi Nozue is responsible for the near pre-rendered look of the real-time shots thanks to his knowledge on lighting and other pre-rendered tricks. While the editors noted that the screenshots looked like photos, Nomura also said that you can take photos in-game with Noctis’ cellphone. The screenshots won’t be available to the public yet but when they are, he says they’ll look even better thanks to an improvement in the lighting technology.

Concerning development itself, Nomura says that they’re preparing to enter full production. Voice acting is being slowly recorded now so hopefully our next trailer could be fully voiced.

Source: Andriasang

The first scans containing information released during E3 have begun to appear on Japanese soil with Jump being the first as usual. Very little is revealed in the single page that’s been released so as usual we’ll have to wait for Dengeki and Famitsu to fill us in on the real dirt in the coming days.

Here’s the couple of details we do have. Firstly, the Optima Change system from the Japanese original will now be called Paradigm Shift just like the international version. Secondly, development has been confirmed to be roughly 70% complete meaning that delays are unlikely – barring a catastrophe. It’s not much but see the full scan below.

Lightning’s House That Never Was
Date: April 25th, 2011 Author: Kitmitsu
News Category: Final Fantasy XIII
Tags: , , ,

During the development of Final Fantasy XIII, some cuts had to be made. One of them unfortunately was Lightning’s very own home which, although appeared in a cutscene, was supposed to be navigable by the player during gameplay. Square-Enix claims that it was removed due to “storage issues” but the artwork has survived showing the full inside and out layout. I somehow doubt it will make it into XIII-2 unfortunately.

Source: Hetima-Sokuhou

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    Release Dates:
    Final Fantasy XIII
    Japan Japan: December 17th 2009
    NA NA: March 9th 2010
    Europe Europe: March 9th 2010

    Final Fantasy XIII-2
    Japan Japan: December 15th 2011
    NA NA: January 31st 2012
    Europe Europe: February 3rd 2012

    Final Fantasy Versus XIII
    Japan Japan: TBA
    NA NA: TBA
    Europe Europe: TBA

    Final Fantasy Type-0
    Japan Japan: October 13th 2011
    NA NA: TBA
    Europe Europe: TBA

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