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Square Enix CTO comments on Japan’s projects

November 3rd, 2012 by Tony Garsow

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!

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  • Chris

    Agni’s Philosophy for the Wii U and Playstation (4?). Xbox 360 is dead and needs no more FF ports please.

  • TheBadass

    I have so much faith in FF Versus XIII. The game will be the best JRPG this gen along with Xenoblade.

  • AgitoXIII

    FINAL FANTASY XV Cometh! Lead us into a new era!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • rube

    every time i hear versus news i get happy, no matter how predictable and repeated the news is

  • alexsam

    This was perhaps one of the most promising interview I’ve read from anyone related to Sq-En in a long time. It’s good to be reminded that Versus still exists (although I seem to recall Nomura stating back a few years ago that Versus would be different from any FF we’ve ever experienced and now Wada comes out and says it’ll have a more nostalgic feeling… wish they’d get their facts straight). Also LR:FFXIII should be pretty good if it’s using Versus elements and it’s good to know they’re listening to what the fans want! And another thing. It seems Sq-En is getting ready for the next gen of consoles beforehand. This is great because we won’t have any long waiting time like what happened with XIII (or now with Versus). It seems they’ve learned from their mistakes and they’ll be better prepped for the next gen. A lot of good things to come in the next couple of years hopefully…

  • Defrift

    Can’t wait for Lighting Returns magic in the making, I won’t be able to enjoy versus cause I own a 360 but hell won’t be the first FF game I’ll never play won’t be the last either.

  • AgitoXIII

    The more hardcore FF fans got a PS3. Just saying…

  • Defrift

    @Agito

    I am not someone that needs to own every FF game, the numerical ones are what I am after and few of the spin-offs not much else. My current collection is missing 1-3 and 8 but I have all the others :)

  • TheBadass

    @Defrift

    You have nothing to worry about. I’m sure Versus XIII will come to the 360 due to the huge 360 userbase in NA and EU, how long Versus XIII is taking to make and how many copies FFXIII and FFXIII-2 have sold on the 360.

    When FF Versus XIII is next fully revealed, it will be announced for PS3 and 360, maybe even also Wii U and PC.

  • AgitoXIII

    that’s some pretty wishful thinking, saying that Versus is going to be for 360, Wii U, and PC. I highly doubt the PC.

  • TheBadass

    @AgitoXIII

    I just highly doubt it’s still a PS3 exclusive. Even Nomura said back in 2010 that he had no control over if the game stays exlusive or not. It’s up to Squenix management.

  • dreams

    @TheBadAss: I don’t think versus should be ported to the Xbox 360 but it unlikely for japan, i think the west might have a bit of the chance. That might be wishful thinking, there might be some uproar if it was ported to the 360.

    A. Japan Xbox 360 is unpopular in japan.
    B. Majority of final fantasy multi-platform current generation sales are from ps3. Consider ff13 6 million ps3 copies sold to around 2 million Xbox worldwide.
    C. Nomura prefers ps3 over xbox360, even though I agree that Nomura has no control but this game is cratering to ff fan-base. FF13 graphics were better in ps3 (only ps3 at first) than xbox360. Fans want at-least one game that is exclusive.

    I prefer this should be stay on a ps3 game since some advantages like 720p graphics(native, not upscaled), more content. It being made for ps3 primarily. There are other reasons, I guess same reason for kingdom hearts 3 which will stay on ps3.

  • TheBadass

    @dreams

    I think that there is a high chance that FF Versus XIII will go multiplatform. There was an uproar for FFXIII coming to the both PS3 and 360 but that never stopped Squenix. Also, FFXIII-2 and LR are for both PS3 and 360.

    A. Xbox 360 is not popular in Japan but yet Squenix released FFXIII, FFXIII-2 and LR on 360 in Japan. FFXIV was also initially planned for PC, PS3 and 360 but Microsoft wouldn’t allow Squenix to use their own servers to shared with the PC and PS3 players.
    B. FFXIII has shipped 6 million. 4 million for PS3 and 2 million for 360. So 1/3 of the total FFXIII sales are from the 360 version. That’s a large amount of sales.
    C. Nomura prefers PS3 over the 360 but he has stated that he has no say in if the game will be a PS3 exclusive. It’s up to Squenix management if the game will be ported to the 360 and other platforms.

    I think there’s a high chance it will get ported to 360 and maybe even the Wii U and PC.

  • Defrift

    @Dream Xbox is 720 native it only upscales for 1080p, PS3 is native on both 720p and 1080p…but this not the place for such things.

  • rabbiman

    I don’t think it will be ported to the 360. As it is originally done for the ps3 the port version for the xbox360 will and are probably going to be pretty crappy (the graphics as seen in FF13 and the disc-capacity).

    If they decide to port it they probably will cut the ps3 version so that it’ll be on par with the xbox version which is kind of sad if they have to do that….:I

    But in the end everything comes down to the gameplay AND story 😀

  • TheBadass

    @rabbiman

    I think they will port it to the 360. As I said before, even Nomura knows he has no final say in the matter. The decision over porting is done by management based on the current market trends and development costs.

    –The current market trends show that the 360 has sold more than the PS3 in NA and EU.
    — The development costs must be high as Versus XIII has been in development for over 6 years so far.

    It’s very likely that Versus XIII will get ported. Also, in the end everything comes down to gameplay. Story is no longer important for the success of a JRPG in the West.

  • Youfan

    Hello guys,

    I’m from the future, approximately 1 year from your time. In my time, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is renamed into Final Fantasy XV and becomes an entry in the main numbered series, not just a spin-off. Also, approximately 1 year from your time too, Sony will reveal PS4 and Microsoft will reveal Xbox One. Final Fantasy XV (or Final Fantasy Versus XIII in your time) is going to be in PS4 and Xbox One.

    No, they won’t port it to the PS3 or Xbox 360, whatever personal arguments you have. Your thinking is wrong, although it’s indeed going to be multiplatform. Sorry guys, no matter how expert you are, you couldn’t predict the future.

    ~A man from the future