Final Fantasy XIII interview

Final Fantasy XIII is out in Japan, and has been tearing up the charts. With the North American release looming, we sat down with a few of the key creatives behind Square Enix’s role-playing juggernaut to get more details about the new summons and revamped battle system. We also learned where all the towns went, and why getting rid of them helps make XIII the most film-y Final Fantasy to date.   

Above: Meet Yuji Abe (Battle Director), Yoshinori Kitase (Producer) and Motomu Toriyama (Director). They work on a little franchise called Final Fantasy

GamesRadar: First off, we'd like to congratulate you on the successful launch of Final Fantasy XIII in Japan. There’s a lot of anticipation over here for the English version, which leads us to our first question. What do you think makes Final Fantasy so popular with Western gamers?

Yoshinori Kitase: The quality of the visuals in Final Fantasy games has always had a great impact with our audience overseas, I think that's one thing that really draws in players from around the world. The team is always striving to make top quality graphics in Final Fantasy games. Another thing is that there are a lot of very realistic, very attractive characters that are present in the Final Fantasy series and rich stories filled with human drama and relationships.

GR: Can you tell us a bit about how the battle system has changed from previous Final Fantasy games?

Yuji Abe: The main concepts behind the battle system for Final Fantasy XIII are that it's speedy and tactical. The team was striving to create an experience where the speed could keep up with the high quality graphics on the high-def machines but also keeps the strategic element alive and strong. What makes it very different from past Final Fantasy titles is that there's much less micromanaging of different characters in your party. In Final Fantasy XIII the focus is more on the overall flow and how players can adapt to the changing tides within each battle.

GR: To that end, you've changed the way Summons operate as well.

YA: In Final Fantasy XIII each character is tied to a single Summon, and there's this combination act that happens during battle. A Summon will fight along side you as a party member, and then there's a Gestalt mode where the Summon transforms into a ride for the player. It really heightens the action, turns it into an action-oriented game where pushing buttons translates directly into attacks so it's really exciting for the player and there's a lot of movement.

GR: You've also added two new Summons. Can you tell us about the inspiration for their design and where their names come from?

Motomu Toriyama: The character Sazh summons Brynhildr, who transforms into a car. Design-wise, the transformation aspect was the key. Once we knew she was going to transform into a car, that affected the design of her more human form as well. Brynhildr was inspired by a female goddess from Viking mythology. The other new summon is Hecatoncheir. He’s inspired by a Greek god who has a thousand hands. In Gestalt mode he transforms into a Magitek armor-like ride for Vanille.


  • ranzatsu - February 24, 2010 7:47 a.m.

    @Cyberninja: FFXIII is for both platforms, but PS3 sells better anyway. And Halo looks better on PS3. Not on Xbox.
  • ranzatsu - February 24, 2010 7:45 a.m.

    This might be the best release yet. Not so sure, but let's see. @ Mr. xboxrulez: What's a pigsniff? I happen to think the PS3 rocks better. And you weren't 5th, you were 6th. Try counting again! Fix your spelling, for our sake, and use proper grammar. we speak English, not xboxrulez-English. And if you wanna go to "the way to cool" stop acting like society-racist, type in PROPER English or don't even post comments. And BTW, FFXIII: can't wait!
  • oryandymackie - February 16, 2010 10:55 a.m.

    I own an Xbox - and a PS3. I, unlike some people, also routinely attend English class. Whenever I see your inane comments spattered over a previously-reasoned debate I get a migraine and a mental image of Bill Gates facepalming himself. You remind me of a guy in our school. He eats squirrels.
  • oryandymackie - February 15, 2010 11:09 a.m.

    But, a Leona Lewis soundtrack?! And, sorry, but 'xboxrulez'? You really drag down the good name of Microsoft. How old are you, five?
  • HDBawllz - February 14, 2010 9:02 p.m.

    @Cyberninja Damn straight! Anyway. Want to play XIII. Now!!
  • Cyberninja - February 14, 2010 7:21 p.m.

    @xboxrulez you are a idiot in japan xbox is the worst selling system and ff13 is only for ps3 i think that being said the reason they made it mutiplatiform is so undesevering fanboys of xbox like you could play on your machince of choise and what you said was a total contridion of your self you would have to go to the sony website for that info if that was true. i am sorry that all xbox fans look bad because of this guy. end rant on a article related note i hope this game has dlc for all systems so that if the game is as linear as it sounds it would give me a reason to play it more after my first playthough
  • punkmetalmage - February 14, 2010 2:02 p.m.

    @ Lovinmyps3: If you where never a huge fan of Final Fantasy, this is not a well suited entry to start with. PS: Mexicali is my mexican hometown!
  • lovinmyps3 - February 13, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    I was never a huge fan of Final Fantasy, but I'm looking forward to this! =) reCAPCHA: mexicali this
  • BluesyFish - February 13, 2010 8:57 p.m.

    There's stuff to do after beating the game!? And you don't have to download it!? Baroo!?
  • lewis42025 - February 13, 2010 7:27 p.m.

    this might be the first final fantasy that i'll own since VII
  • RebornKusabi - February 12, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    Wow! My comment sounded like it was written by an 5 year old so lemme try that again. I am really looking forward to this game for a multitude of reasons that would take an unnecessary amount of time to disclose, so this article was right up my alley. Great interview.
  • RebornKusabi - February 12, 2010 11:33 p.m.

    I'm really looking forward to this so reading this was fun. Nice article.

Showing 1-12 of 12 comments

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