French Final Fantasy fansite FFDream recently sent an envoy to Square Enix’s Japan headquarters to meet with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy director Motomu Toriyama and producer Yoshinori Kitase. Previously, it was revealed that the Coliseum would return in some form, and now their full interview is available to read. We’ve provided a translation below, but you can read the original report here.
When asked why the team chose Lightning as the singular playable heroine to this title, Kitase commented that they wanted players to understand and appreciate this character — and that’s why the game is dedicated to Lightning. Up until now (with the exception of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII) Final Fantasy games have been designed around several combatants, so they will try to provide enough strategy to compensate for a solo character.
Toriyama re-iterated that this will be the last chapter in the Final Fantasy XIII series; a definitive ending will come, as opposed to Final Fantasy XIII-2′s cliffhanger. Since players will have thirteen days left before the end of the world, the team’s goal is to acclimate them to the vastly changed remnant of Pulse and Cocoon called Nova Chrysalia. You’ll need to find a balance between exploration, and keeping an eye on the clock as Doomsday nears. However, the team assures us that the world will be worth exploring in subsequent play-throughs. The Coliseum will return in some form, but we’re told that it will be different than it’s appearance in Final Fantasy XIII-2.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, there were several paradox endings in addition to the “main ending”. The script of Lightning Returns was designed around this main ending, but the events that occur in the paradox endings may manifest in Lightning Returns.
Composer Masashi Hamauzu, who created the original “Blinded by Light” theme for the Final Fantasy XIII series returns in this game as well. New arrangements of that theme have been created around the idea that this is the final journey of Lightning and the desire to save the world.
Kitase and Toriyama were also asked about any developments with Final Fantasy Versus XIII and a Final Fantasy Type-0 localization, but responded that since they are not on the team working on those games, they could not comment. When asked about other HD remakes or the possibility of a Final Fantasy VII remake, Kitase responded that through working on Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD, it will give them experience for other attempts. He implies there are currently no plans for a remake. The team also hasn’t made a decision on a Collector’s Edition for Final Fantasy X|X-2, but asked for fans to be patient for more information.
In the inaugural episode of mdRadio, the official Square Enix Merchandise podcast, Final Fantasy Versus XIII director Tetsuya Nomura gave us a bit of an update regarding his “warm spring”. The long-awaited title will be fully revealed soon, and Nomura asked for fans to please wait a little while longer. He commented to host Hidemi Matsuzuka that the current situation within the company is “delicate”, and that when the reveal comes that fans may understand why they have been tight-lipped with information. They are currently preparing for this reveal.
Previously, at Sony’s PlayStation 4 event in February, Final Fantasy series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto announced that a new Final Fantasy title will be revealed at E3. It’s led some to speculate (with some rumors interspersed here and there) that Final Fantasy Versus XIII will be given the “Final Fantasy XV” mantle and release for the next-generation.
To listen to the episode yourself, you need only click here.
What are your thoughts regarding the Final Fantasy Versus XIII? Has the time come where we can finally “look forward to it”? How about the next generation of consoles regarding the Final Fantasy XV rumor? Would you rather the title retain its “Versus XIII” identity or be revealed as a brand-new number? Leave us a comment below!
Things have been pretty quiet on the Final Fantasy Versus XIII front for a while. Shinji Hashimoto, the Final Fantasy series executive producer, took the stage at last month’s PlayStation Meeting to announce that a new Final Fantasy game will be coming to PlayStation 4. There was no implication that Versus had made the generational jump, but it’s led some to speculate that the game has been reworked to the point where it could be considered a candidate for the “Final Fantasy XV” title.
Roen, a clothing designer, was tapped to design outfits for Noctis & Co. for Final Fantasy Versus XIII — the new outfits appear in the most recent 2011 trailer. Some internet sleuthing has uncovered that an archive of the company website from July of last year displays “FINAL FANTASY 15(tentative)” in the 2008 section of Roen’s biography page. You can view an archive of the page by clicking here.
How do you feel about a potential rename to “Final Fantasy XV”? Do you feel that Versus is a better fit for next-generation consoles? Leave us a comment below!
Square Enix merchandise manager Hidemi “MadDog” Matsuzuka let the news break that the company is going forward with Noctis-themed cologne — similar to ones that launched for Cloud and Sephiroth in the era of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children promotion and Lightning’s for Final Fantasy XIII. Noctis eau de toilette will retail for 7140 yen (around $77 American fun bucks), and sounds like a great subtle “accessory” for Noctis cosplayers.
It’s led some to speculate that the future of Final Fantasy Versus XIII may be revealed soon. The last we saw of the title was in January 2011, in the Square Enix 1st Production Department Premiere, with Square Enix quelling rumors in the two years since that the game had been cancelled. With next generation consoles set to be revealed between now and this year’s E3, some are enthusiastically predicting a platform hop down the road.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII director Tetsuya Nomura cryptically hinted towards a Versus re-reveal in his comments to fans about the 25th Anniversary months ago. In it, emulating Punxsutawney Phil of Groundhog Day fame, he mentioned that he’s taking care not to catch a cold during the harsh winter and is looking forward to the “warm spring”. Will he see his shadow? Six more months of no Versus information?
Happy New Year from Final Fantasy Network! I hope you’re not too hungover this fine Tuesday morning, because we’re recappin’! 2012 was a pretty exciting year of Final Fantasy announcements, news, and releases, and so we’ve compiled some of the biggest news-makers that made our eyes widen, our heads shake, or bodies seize uncontrollably with one emotion and then another. …Ok, that last one was just me.
Just to be frank, I was going to write you all a nice long poem, but I couldn’t find a decent word to rhyme with Theatrhythm amidst my “New Years reverie”. You’re going to have to settle with a few sub-par limericks interspersed in the article. If you think you can do better (you can’t), leave a merry Final Fantasy limerick of your own in the comments section.
For those less inclined to poetic expression, let’s hear your thoughts on this year’s events and the year that’s to come. What are you most excited to see this year? What were some of your biggest disappointments of 2012? Feel free to check out the video playlist below featuring some of the video highlights of the year, too.
FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 RELEASES
On January 31st, Final Fantasy XIII-2 released in North America for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A sequel to the original Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2 featured Lightning’s younger sister Serah Farron and time-travelling behemoth hunter Noel Kreiss. The game itself was built on feedback and concerns from players not entirely smitten with the first outing, resulting in a game that had less corridor-esque level design and encouraged more exploration.
Despite this, Final Fantasy XIII-2 wasn’t without controversy, as when players finally reached the end credits, they were greeted with a “To Be Continued…” message. At first, fans speculated that post-release scenario DLC would be the ending to this tale, but over the year as more DLC released, a full-on threequel became plausible. Lo and behold, at the end of a long summer, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII was announced as the finale in the Lighting Saga trilogy.
A duo named Serah and Noel,
throughout time and space on a stroll,
met a bad guy named Caius
and a Yeul very pious.
They messed up the world as a toll.
THEATRHYTHM: FINAL FANTASY RELEASES
On July 3rd, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy landed on 3DS handhelds in North America, toting with it the vast repertoire of Final Fantasy music preserved as it originally appeared. The rhythm-based RPG let you select four heroes from the Final Fantasy franchse, designed by Monster Octopus, and level them up by completing various stages that put players back in classic Final Fantasy locales and cutscenes. Later this year, a mobile version of Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy released on iOS, with additional paid content.
10 YEARS OF FINAL FANTASY XI & SEEKERS OF ADOULIN ANNOUNCED
At the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event in August, the 5th expansion for Final Fantasy XI was announced: Seekers of Adoulin. Launching in 2013, the expansion will send adventurers to the continent of Ulbuka where the great city of Adoulin awaits. In addition to brand new Player-vs-Environment content, two new jobs will join the roster — Geomancer and Rune Fencer. The expansion will be available for PC and Xbox 360 users, but if you are a PS2 subscriber, note that support will be limited to Japan. Final Fantasy XI director Akihiko Matsui unveiled some ambitious new projects for the MMO, including revisions to major gameplay systems based on player feedback as well as a hefty update to the game’s user interface.
Tetsuya Nomura’s rendition of Prishe, Shantotto, Kam’lanaut, and Eald’narche from Final Fantasy XI. (@bKvEBVAvUq)
15 YEARS OF FINAL FANTASY VII & PC VERSION RE-RELEASE
Previously published under Eidos back in the 90s, Final Fantasy VII is no stranger to the PC — well, if you’re not old and decrepit like most of us that remember it’s release. We first got a hint of the project back when Steam registry files uncovered a port of Final Fantasy VII and VIII’s original PC version, but things remained silent for upwards of a year. Square Enix updated the PC version with achievement support as well as cloud saving this year for release on it’s official e-Store.
Ten years have gone by for Eleven,
fifteen if you count our dear Seven.
Keep HD remakes at bay,
remember them this way.
Surely this is true F.F. heaven.
FINAL FANTASY XIV: THE END OF AN ERA & A REALM REBORN
It’s been a long, tough road for Final Fantasy XIV, and with Version 1.0 coming to an indefinite close, Square Enix decided to treat its remaining subscribers to an end-of-the-world party. While the final in-game event was mired with lag and disconnected players, it ultimately paid a fitting farewell to a game that had stumbled out of the gate and fell flat on its face. When all was said and done, Square Enix released the End of an Era trailer the night servers shut down, portraying the aftermath of the clash between the Eorzean Alliance and the forces of Garlemald as expertly as Square Enix Visual Works could muster.
Over the next several months, we learned more about Final Fantasy XIV’s encroaching rebirth under director Naoki “Yoshi-P” Yoshida. With each system that brought Version 1.0 its failures being scrapped and built from the ground up, a new vision of the game has begun to emerge. Recently the alpha testing phase concluded, with beta scheduled to commence mid-February. According to the new road map, Final Fantasy XIV should release closer to summer — behind schedule, but director Yoshida assures fans that this time they want to take the time to deliver. They insist that this time they will provide an experience worthy of the franchise caliber.
Kazuya Takahashi illustrates the Wandering Minstrel (Yoshi-P) with his Final Fantasy XIV baby-monster friends.
Eorzea returns in Version Two,
where I’ll get back my slimy goobbue.
I miss my idlin’
In splendid Hydaelyn
But my desk chair will just have to do.
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII ANNOUNCED
After Final Fantasy XIII-2′s cliffhanger ending and “To Be Continued…” message, many fans saw the writing on the wall — a third Final Fantasy XIII game was incoming. Officially announced as part of the Lightning Saga New Developments panel at the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will serve as the epilogue to the XIII trilogy with heroine Lightning at its forefront.
A markedly different approach than XIII-2, players will control only Lightning as she traverses the world of Novus Partus, a broken realm distorted by the flood of Chaos five hundred years prior. However, time is working against Lightning, as she has thirteen days before the end of the world to complete Bhunivelze’s mission: to guide the souls of humanity to a new world. Lightning’s journey will be a highly malleable one; with each play-through potentially yielding experience based on Lightning’s actions. Lightning herself is highly customizable through her equipment and abilities, and combat has been changed significantly — where timing abilities to break apart enemy weak spots will be your advantage.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is expected to release for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in the latter half of 2013.
A woman returned named Lightning,
whose outfit was rather frightening.
Not a belt or a zipper,
now towels are hipper,
surely this game will be enlightening.
THE YEAR OF FINAL FANTASY MOBILE
This year saw a multitude of releases for iPhone and Android-powered smartphones, including Final Fantasy Dimensions (Final Fantasy Legends: Warriors of Light and Darkness). The game itself is a throwback to the SNES-era Final Fantasy games, but told in an episodic fashion, and a cast of two bands of warriors. Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade (Final Fantasy Brigade) also made the localization cut, a gachapon-style Final Fantasy game aimed at those who play games on their smartphone sparingly. Titles like these weren’t expected to make the jump, what with titles like Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII never making the cut, but many fans were surprised when these titles were announced for localization.
Final Fantasy IV recently made the jump to iOS, with more on the way. Accompanying the official iOS trailer for the game, Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy V (and more, presumably Final Fantasy VI) will make their way to smartphones in some form.
TO BE DETERMINED…
Of course, there are three titles that have yet to reach North American shores (one of which is still six years in limbo and still going). Final Fantasy Type-0 for PlayStation Portable has yet to release overseas, despite involved personnel citing the game’s localization as near complete. The reasoning behind Type-0′s stalled fate may be due to weakness in the portable handheld market (minus smartphones and tablets) with regard to PSP and its successor the PlayStation Vita. This may also be the reason behind Bravely Default: Flying Fairy’s lack of a localization after shallow sales of Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light on the DS and with 3DS on shaky ground outside Japan.
A small shoutout must be paid to Final Fantasy X HD, announced over a year ago at Tokyo Game Show 2011. In the time that has elapsed, not a single screenshot nor trailer has made it online, spurring many to believe the game had entered development hell or had been dealt a quiet death. Speculation over problems with the game’s pre-rendered backgrounds being an uphill battle to convert to HD often dominate the discussion amongst anxious fans, though no official announcement nor update regarding the PS3 and Vita-bound title has enlightened us with its development status.
Alas, we’re still without Type-0.
We’re in need of some sort of hero.
Those kids clad in red,
we hope they aren’t dead,
but waiting for our hard-earned DeNiro.
Luminous is something you’ll probably be seeing a lot of with regard to Square Enix games in the future, starting with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and next in Final Fantasy Versus XIII. When the engine itself was unveiled at this year’s E3 in the form of the Agni’s Philosophy tech demo, a lot of rumors swirled that this was the emerging face of a next-generation Final Fantasy XV. Square Enix themselves asked for fan feedback on the main character and world displayed in this tech demo, leading some to believe they were weighing their options — that Agni’s Philosophy could in fact become the next mainline Final Fantasy installment.
One other title we heard bits and pieces about this year was the never-ending saga of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. The current buzz has Versus delayed so that Square Enix can focus the bulk of its developer manpower on finishing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn — which is quite possible. Aside from all this, many cryptic hints were dropped by Square Enix staff, including Final Fantasy series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto and director Tetsuya Nomura himself. While the amalgamation of teasing and vague hints have yet to produce any scrapings of Versus’s ongoing development (other than CEO Yoichi Wada’s confirmation that the project is not dead) 2013 may be the year where we see Versus again.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still hidden in the sleep, after overdosing on a bottle of Ambien.
There once was a game called Versus
that now causes fans to spit curses.
How long must we will wait,
for the new release date?
‘Fore the dev team are laid in their hearses?
Square Enix’s Chief Technical Officer Julien Merceron was the willful subject of a fascinating new interview conducted by French Final Fantasy fansite FFDream about some of the Japan’s upcoming titles and projects. In the following article, we paraphrase Merceron’s comments from the original French language article that appears on FFDream.
Though Merceron admitted his background is in technology and not localization announcements, he echoed the company’s recent statments about Final Fantasy Type-0: they do want to localize the title for fans — but are looking for opportunities to get it done amidst a tough handheld gaming market. Merceron has played the Japanese version of the game and personally enjoyed it.
Having worked closely with Naoki Yoshida on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Merceron had high praise for Yoshida and the team’s new vision of the MMORPG — going as far to say that few at Square Enix could have done what he did in the director’s chair. Thus, he’s drawn admiration from staff around the globe at Square Enix and not just Japan. (Paraphrasing: “His leadership comforts me a lot”, Merceron added, “The Final Fantasy XIV experience Yoshida and the team want to deliver will be very different from the original.”)
Moving on to projects farther in the future, Merceron commented that Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will borrow some tech (and technical skill) from Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Versus has borrowed technology from the company’s new Luminous Engine, such as lighting, but still operates on a highly-modified version of Crystal Tools. This previous engine brought us Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. Lightning Returns will be significantly different from its predecessors, and currently the game is being focus grouped to bring out what fans want to see in the final act of the trilogy.
Merceron commented on the ongoing development of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, stating that there is a lot of ambition behind the game — with CEO Yoichi Wada supervising the game very closely and wanting to push the development team very hard. This reflects a comment Final Fantasy producer Shinji Hashimoto made at the 25th Anniversary Event in Japan, where he said the team desires to make a “nostalgic” Final Fantasy experience. From my own deductions, I think Hashimoto implies that Versus will be an experience that will create nostalgic memories — and a Final Fantasy that is an achievement on all fronts, much like the games in the “Golden Era” of the series.
On the subject of Agni’s Philosophy, Merceron let it slip that we can expect to see the engine running on different platforms other than PC around June (E3 alert) next year. What those platforms are hasn’t been revealed yet, but you could make a safe bet he is alluding to next-generation consoles.
When asked what type of game he would like to see Square Enix dive into, Merceron was openly enthusiastic about large sandbox-style games. He feels some of Square Enix’s intellectual property (franchises) could definitely benefit, having been more traditionally linear and narrative-driven. The level of technology to facilitate that is a type of development Merceron would be excited to pursue.
Should you want to read the entirety of the article (it is in French), you can do so at FFDream!
Final Fantasy character designer Tetsuya Nomura was interviewed in this week’s Famitsu primarily about Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMix, but had a few words to throw fans awaiting the third and final installment in the Final Fantasy XIII series: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Nomura recently completed designs for both Lightning and Snow Villiers characters — confirming the latter will be in the game in some form.
We were also privvy to some information indicating that Hope Estheim would also return, communicating with Lightning through a mobile device. Since the world of Navus Partus is abundant with Chaos, it has had a detrimental effect on the world — including humanity where people have ceased to age. Lightning’s one mission during this period, the end of the world, is to prevent that very event from happening in thirteen days.
A small nod was thrown to Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Nomura telling fans that game development is still in progress and to please wait for more information.
The Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event has come and gone, and we have a smörgåsbord of new topics to discuss. For those of you who missed the event or want an easy way to catch up, type “25th” in the search box to the right to look up all pertaining articles. So — let’s take a look at some of the major news to come out of the event!
Feel free to comment on what was shown, what wasn’t shown, and what you expect for the future of Final Fantasy!
FINAL FANTASY 25TH ANNIVERSARY ULTIMATE BOX + MEMORIAL ULTIMANIA
To open the event, a fantastic new Final Fantasy boxset was announced for Japan. (No plans for overseas release according to Square Enix North America.) The Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimate Box includes every numbered Final Fantasy game that has released except Final Fantasy XIV which relaunches in January. A combination of PS1, PS2, and PSP games in one collection, each disc has new and unique art from Final Fantasy series artist Yoshitaka Amano.
For more on everything included in this boxset, you can read on here.
Additionally, a Memorial Ultimania series was set for the numbered series — the Ultimania guides being lengthy full-featured encyclopedia of everything that went into making the games and will likely include new interviews and retrospectives from the staff.
LIGHTNING RETURNS: FINAL FANTASY XIII
Of course, the elephant in the room was the New Developments presentation which announced the third and final game in the Final Fantasy XIII series.
As the title dictates, Lightning returns as the main character of this title in the distant future where the end of the world looms in merely thirteen days. A major emphasis will be put on players exploring the world of Navus Partus and forging their own end to the series through Lightning’s actions. The doomsday countdown speeds up and slows down accordingly, and the world will change via a multitude of factors — including real life interactions through Facebook. Combat will be quite different as well, as Lightning will be able to manually move, block, and evade in real-time. ATB will return, but substantially different than it’s two predecessors.
You can read more about the developments by clicking here.
What are you anticipating with this third Final Fantasy XIII game? Do you think this departure from what we’ve come to expect in Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 is refreshing or disappointing? Leave us a comment below!
FINAL FANTASY XIV: A REALM REBORN
Final Fantasy XIV was in attendance at the event, with director/producer Naoki Yoshida showing off the game in motion. Much of the footage at the event was similar to the presentation at this year’s Gamescom, but there were a few surprises — such as the reveal of two new jobs: Arcanist and Summoner.
Also, a new feature present in FFXI called Level Sync will allow you to match your friends’ levels to quest with them without impeding your own progress to Level 50. In addition to that, a brand new trailer “Limit Break” was shown, showcasing the evolution of the Battle Regimen that was previously scrapped. An official soundtrack of all the music in Final Fantasy XIV has now been official released through iTunes called Eorzean Frontiers.
For more on what was presented, you can read our play-by-play here.
The alpha testing phase of Final Fantasy XIV is starting shortly, and you can sign up by clicking here.
FINAL FANTASY VERSUS XIII
Final Fantasy Versus XIII did not show up at the 25th Anniversary, and strangely we’ve had a bit of a back and forth on the next time we’ll be seeing it. Final Fantasy series producer Shinji Hashimoto chatted with fans at the event, and when they asked him about the game — he replied (and I paraphrase): “sorry, but there wouldn’t be anything this year in regards to Versus”.
On the second day of the event during the Future of Final Fantasy presentation, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy Type-0 director Hajime Tabata informed fans that he had a message from Versus director Tetsuya Nomura:
“Tetsuya Nomura wanted to give the message that he’ll soon show the future of Final Fantasy.”
It may be worth noting that Tokyo Game Show 2012 is only a few weeks away.
FINAL FANTASY TYPE-0
While Tabata-san pranked the audience of a otome Final Fantasy Type-0 game developed by Luminous Studio, Final Fantasy Type-0 was absent on the North American and European coverage of the event. Approaching a year since the game debuted in Japan, things have been deathly quiet in regards to the game’s localization status.
If you would like to see this game localized, we implore you to use social media to tell Square Enix North America why you want this game. Tell @SQEX_MEMBERS_NA and @PlayStation and use the Twitter hashtag #FFTYPE0. Together we can send a message that the world is still deserving of an excellent addition to the Final Fantasy series.
So that wraps up the major bits and pieces that emerged over the course of the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Event! But while we look forward to news on upcoming titles, we must reconcile that this is a celebration of the last twenty-five years of Final Fantasy. So please, share with us your fondest memories of Final Fantasy by leaving us a comment below — and thank you for visiting Final Fantasy Network for coverage of the event!
Tonight’s panel was a light-hearted roundtable discussion with notable figures in the Final Fantasy-verse: Hajime Tabata, Yusuke Naora, Motomu Toriyama, Isamu Kamikokuryou, Yoshihisa Hashimoto, and Mutsunori Takahashi. Of course, Mr. Tabata had a big surprise for followers of Final Fantasy Type-0… Check it out in the first video below.
Now before you start panicking — it’s a joke. But on to more serious topics: the stream had a video of the history of Square Enix Visual Works. This studio has been responsible for the wondrous and masterful CG seen in Final Fantasy since FFVII. The second video is a compilation of those feats:
Tabata-san did have a message for fans anticipating Final Fantasy Versus XIII: “Tetsuya Nomura wanted to give the message that he’ll soon show the future of Final Fantasy.”
For the last several days rumors had been swirling about a possible cancellation of Final Fantasy Versus XIII that stemmed from a Kotaku report. For several days fans were left wondering about the status of the project as new information has been sparse this year. Today, president and CEO of Square Enix — Yoichi Wada — casually and succinctly commented on the situation through his personal Twitter:
“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.”
For now, it seems we’ll have to take Tetsuya Nomura’s endearing advice to “please continue to look forward to it.”