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Final Fantasy XIII 60% Complete

Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama discuss changes from the demo, localization efforts and more.


Final Fantasy XIII's development is currently at the 60% complete mark, Yoshinori Kitase revealed yesterday to Dengeki Online during an interview following Microsoft's E3 press conference.

Kitase, producer of the game, appeared along side director Motomu Toriyama at the conference to debut first gameplay footage from the Xbox 360 version of the game. The chosen scene looked somewhat like it was taken directly from the recent PlayStation 3 demo (bundled with Final Fantasy VII Advent Children). However, it had English voices, English text and Xbox 360 button logos. It also marked the unveiling point of the game's first summon spell, Odin.

In a post-conference interview session, Dengeki asked the two about progress on the game in general. "The basic areas of the game are quite far along," said Kitase. "Looking at the game as a whole, we're at 60%. From here on out, we have to brush up a variety of areas as we approach completion."

Toriyama spoke specifically about the 360 version. "Even the Xbox 360 version, whose development was decided upon afterwards, has progressed smoothly enough that we were able to to play on the machine," he said. "Looking at completion level, there's still a difference, but we can see the end point and believe we can achieve the same level of performance."

The different platform aside, we were apparently shown a more advanced version of the battle system than what was featured in the PS3 demo. "The biggest change from the demo version is the battle system," explained Toriyama. "The command menus and other areas may at a glance appear to be unchanged, but they have the systems that are set to be included in the retail version, so the control has changed greatly."

Unfortunately, Toriyama wouldn't share specifics on those differences. As a hint, he said, "In the demo, the point was to finish with the 'uchiage' (launch) command. But the strategy does not end there. The specifics are still a secret, though (laughs)."

[end_p text="Click for more on Final Fantasy XIII" /]

I think this is the only new screenshot Square Enix has released of Final Fantasy XIII thus far.

Kitase touched upon a separate area of change from the demo version. "The party members in the demo version had the role of following the main character from behind in a support role. However, this has expanded, and evolved. Throughout the last entry [in the series], the image was of a character moving only after the visual effects of magic cast by the previous character had cleared. But for this title, the next character will begin moving while the previous character is in mid move."

Aside from the debut of Xbox 360 gameplay footage, one major point of note for the press conference demo session was the Odin summon spell. Prior to the press conference, Square Enix had not provided a glimpse at the game's summon system -- not even through the usual Japanese publications like Famitsu and Jump.

Toriyama explained the summon system a bit. "Each character has his own crystal, which he uses as a key for summoning. The image is of Odin appearing behind Lightning as a knight who protects her."

Kitase made mention of a "driving mode," where the summon beasts will transform into a vehicle. His comments appeared to suggest that you'll be able to actually ride the summons. However, he also said that you'll also frequently rely on the summons to fight along side the characters in their standard form.

Lightning is slowly showing her true form.

The two also commented on the upcoming E3 trailer for the game. Asked about points of note for the trailer, Toriyama joked "It's in English."

Perhaps a bit more seriously, however, he noted, "It's a first for the Final Fantasy series to have footage in English at this point. I believe it's a big evolution development-wise for the overseas version development to follow the Japanese version development to this level. It's because we want to deliver it as soon as possible to fans throughout the world."

Kitase revealed that the game's English voice recording is being handled by the same director ho worked on the Final Fantasy X series and other past titles.

(NOTE: I originally noticed this interview through Namae no Nai Heya, one of my favorite link amalgamation sites. The link to the original Dengeki Online story as provided by the site was dead -- or perhaps removed. However, I was able to find a version of the story at Yahoo).

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