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Square Enix Aims for Playable Final Fantasy XIII at TGS

Producer and director discuss release timing and Paradigm Shift system in latest interview.

We could get another sampler of FFXIII's battle system in about a month!

While the focus for the press at last week's Gamescon event appeared to be on Final Fantasy XIV, Dengeki Online managed to score an interview about that game's "predecessor," Final Fantasy XIII. The site got commentary from producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Motomu Toriyama.

The two revealed that the PS3 version of the game, which they said is being developed first, is over 90% complete. "We've entered the what one calls final adjustment phase," said Kitase.

Square Enix president Yoichi Wada previously suggested that a final release date for the game could be announced prior to TGS. While not getting any more specific, Kitase said, "While we still haven't shared a specific release date, perhaps it will be closer than anyone expects?" Yes, he answered it in the form of a question. And he laughed too!

Kitase's "question" came in response to a question about the possibility for a second demo to follow the Japan-only Advent Children Complete demo from earlier this year. "The demo that was included with Advent Children was Japan only," said Kitase, "so if you include overseas, I won't say it's impossible. However, for Japan, we'd like to make a big push for release without any sort of demo bundle or distribution."

Perhaps overseas players will get their demo after all!

Japanese players may get a second chance at the game, though. Asked about a possible playable appearance for the game at TGS, Kitase said, "As we're aiming for a winter release, in order to get players to play the game, TGS is our only hope, so we'd like to aim for that."

Kitase even speculated on what he'd want players to take away from such a demo. "For those who were fully satisfied with the [Advent Children] demo, the new version allows them a chance to sample the summon system and other areas that were not playable then, so I'd like them to look forward to it."

By "new version," Kitase was referring to a demo version that was shown to press at Gamescon. That version showed off the new "Paradigm Shift" system.

The Paradigm Shift system, which will have a different name for the game's Japanese version, lets you switch party member rolls between different combat types. There are a large number of rolls, said Toriyama, allowing for large combination possibilities between your three party members. One sample mentioned by Toriyama is a combination of defense, defense, and recovery type characters, making for a strongly defensive party. Players will earn additional rolls as they advance through the game, and can customize their characters with the rolls in the menu. Toriyama described it as being like FFXII'S Gambit system, but with the ability to switch between multiple rolls during battle.

Sounds like there'll be a whole lot of new gameplay to sample should Final Fantasy XIII actually make it out to TGS!

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