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Final Fantasy XIII American release season, new character, scans, interview

By Heath | August 26, 2009 at 2:29 am

Via the mouth of Yoshinori Kitase to VG247.com, Final Fantasy XIII will be headed to North America in the Spring of 2010. Read that, a full Dengeki interview, and say hello to Jill below.
Kitase was stating his thoughts on the PS3’s price cut when he said, “We’re taking it as really good news, actually, because we’re planning to release Final Fantasy XIII this winter in Japan and next spring for both European and North American territories.”

But the producer didn’t stop there. Kitase and writer Motomu Toriyama were interviewed by Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki. The full text of the interview, translated by Awntawn at NeoGAF.

Q: How is the development of FFXIII coming along?

Kitase: Of course right now we’re focusing on the PS3 Japanese version, so we’re talking over 90% with regards to that. We’re starting to enter the final stages of development.

Q: What?! That’s faster than we thought. So does that mean that it will be playable to the guests at TGS in September?

Kitase: We’ll see (laughs). But the goal is to get it out this Winter, so if we were to give people a chance to play it beforehand, TGS would definitely be the place for it, so we’ll give it a shot.

Q: Speaking of which, are there plans for another demo?

Kitase: Since the demo bundled with ACC was for Japanese users only, we have to take into consideration the other territories as well, so we’re not going to say no to another one. But in Japan we plan on just going straight to launch without putting out another demo. We haven’t officially announced the release date yet, but it really is a lot sooner than most of you expect (laughs).

Q: Should FFXIII make an appearance at TGS, what part do you want people to pay the most attention to?

Kitase: If anyone thinks that they were satisfied with the demo, the latest build has summons and other parts that weren’t available in the first demo, so there’s plenty to look forward to.

Toriyama: Also in the latest build, there will be a new system just as important to summons being introduced, with regards to this (indicates towards a monitor with the combat being shown)

– With regards to the combat system’s “Paradigm Shift”:

Q: During the battles, the words “Paradigm Shift” are displayed.

Toriyama: It has to do with the combat tactics within the ATB system, it’s something we haven’t formerly introduced yet. It’s called “Paradigm Shift” in English (and will likely be called something else in the Japanese version). It’s used to change “roles” and the AI patterns of your characters on screen, for example offense/defense, or more situational setups. These can all be changed within the heat of battle.

Q: How many different types are there?

Toriyama: There are a lot of different roles on their own, couple that with the different combinations you’ll end up with between the three characters in your party, and the sky is the limit. For example, you can go for a heavily defensive setup with the defense/defense/healer setup.

Q: So do you get more different types as you progress through the game?

Toriyama: That is correct. You get more roles as you progress through the game, and you can customize them in the menus. You can kind of think of it as a system similar to the Gambit system in FFXII that you can change on the fly in battle. Also changing them has no affect on the ATB, so if you want to get a higher rank in battles, you’re going to have to utilize your role management efficiently.

Q: So does magic and whatnot also change according to this role system?

Toriyama: Yes. For example, there are some players who play very offensively, and don’t want to bother with the boring support magics. At least, that’s how I play (laughs). But if you set your roles correctly, they will be used for you.

Kitase: It’s especially helpful for long boss battles. Of course, however, it is possible to play the game going all out offensively without giving any concern to defense.

– With regard to summons, and what’s special about FFXIII’s system.

Q: Tell us as much as you’re allowed to about the summons.

Toriyama: Summons have a normal mode and a driving mode. With Shiva, you’ve already seen both modes from what we’ve shown. However, Odin has a driving mode as well. For Odin, he transforms into Sleipnir (Odin’s mount), and Lightning hops onto his back. In driving mode, the game has an action-game type of feel to it.

Q: The driving mode seems powerful, so is this going to be the primary way the summons are used?

Toriyama: Driving mode is powerful, but the time that you can use it is limited. This time is affected by the chains that you get in normal mode, so if you want to fight in driving mode, you have to fight in normal mode first.

Q: Even with the Summons and the Paradigm Shift, there’s still a lot of depth to FFXIII’s combat that you haven’t talked about?

Kitase: With regards to lasting appeal, we haven’t even talked about the character growth system yet. Just keep in mind that it’s kind of similar to FFX’s sphere grid system and FFXII’s license board system.

Toriyama: With regards to the combat system, the demo only allowed players to get their hands on the more action-related parts. Combine that with the more tactical part that comes with the Paradigm Shift system that we talked about earlier, and you’ll start to get a more complete picture of what FFXIII’s combat feels like.

Kitase: Also, the demo had you inputting commands one by one, but how we have it now is a lot more smooth with the players changing Paradigm Shifts. People who have played the demo will probably feel that the final version is a lot speedier.

Q: In the demo, it was important to knock enemies in the air and do follow-up attacks. Is that still the case?

Toriyama: In the build we have now, both the player controller character and the AI controlled characters have roles to them, which determines the actions they perform. If the proper roles are set, stuff like knocking enemies in the air can be done automatically within the right circumstances by the AI characters as well.

Q: Please talk about the difficulty levels.

Toriyama: Since we have a system in place where even when you die in battle, you restart to the point immediately before, we’ve made the battles a lot more difficult this time. Sometimes it’s important to focus on defense and wait for the perfect chance to strike.

Q: So the bosses are going to be hard?

Toriyama: We expect people to die a lot in the beginning (laughs)

Kitase: Before, you would have to go back to a save point when you lost, so we would make the bosses a bit easier. Since you can just rematch the battles now, we’re making them hard. Keep trying until you can find a tactic or role setup works.

– With regards to the characters and the story, and the new mystery female character!

Q: We talked a lot about the system today, but could you give us a few pointers on the story?

Toriyama: We’ve talked about it a bit before in previous interviews, but the theme of this story is “Determination”. Our heroes have been chosen as l’Cie by beings known as the fal’Cie; this is the equivalent of being given the “powers of the gods” from the gods themselves. They have to figure out how they should utilize those powers, and as we get closer towards the climax of the story, they have a very strong “decision” to make.

Q: So Lightning has her determination/decision, Snow has his?

Toriyama: Yes. The story is told from many perspectives. And with regards to main characters, there’s still this girl that we haven’t revealed yet…

Q: Whoa! A sweet, lovely girl with completely different image than that of Lightning or Vanilla. She wears a miniskirt, almost gives off a high school girl type of vibe.

Toriyama: She might be the cutest type of female character (laughs). Also, she is absolutely crucial with regards to the story, so when we reveal her details I believe that a lot of the story will finally start to make a lot more sense to people. In any event, it’s not a stretch to say that FFXIII has the most character-focused drama that we’ve ever had in the series. We hope people enjoy it along with the gameplay.

So the producers expect gamers to “die a lot” in the early going of Final Fantasy XIII. North Americans can see ow they fare in the Spring of 2010 while their Japanese counterparts will be doing so this winter.

Sources: Dengeki, VG247, NeoGAF

Topics: Final Fantasy XIII