We have received direct reports that both PS3 and 360 versions of Final Fantasy XIII are sporadically freezing mid-game, or erroring on startup. A slew of forum threads describe same problem, but no clear cause or work-around has emerged. We have e-mailed Square Enix regarding the issue, but are still awaiting a reply, and according to most reports, Microsoft and Sony are blaming scratched discs.
Poster spoonyalchemest wrote on the official PlayStation forums:
"On my 60 gig, I can usually play for about 30 min before the screen freezes up and the game starts making these weird repetitive noises. It has happened while navigating the menu, at the beginning of cut scenes, at the beginning of battles, and while starting up the game. When it happens I can press the PS button and select "quit game" but the screen goes black after that and i have to restart the system. Once it restarts it doesn't even recognize the FFXIII disk or gives me a startup error message. If I wait about five minutes I can get the game to play again but only for a few minutes before it freezes again. All of my other games are fine."
The 9-page long thread (which is just one of many) bursts with complaints, and Square Enix's solution is as vague as Rep. Eric Massa's definition of a birthday party. The FFXIII support center states that freezing can be caused by a scratched disc or faulty hardware. This implies a surprising number of borked discs and broken consoles.
RuneWalsh sent us a YouTube video documenting his problems, which includes video evidence of a bugged-out boss battle. His exposé is somewhat tainted by his anger over previous FFXIII gameplay videos being removed, but the video has prompted more comments describing the same problem.
Ardamis, another victim of the Final Crashasy, documented his communication with Xbox support. According to his post, Microsoft also implicated a scratched disc, and claimed to have not heard other reports of freezing. Despite his best efforts, Ardamis could not identify the cause of the problem, and even suggested that his 360 may be tainted entirely, causing other games to crash. PS3 owners have also claimed that, after FFXIII crashed, other discs ceased to play properly.
In defense of the game, we asked our twitter followers to check in and received no complaints - most had no idea the issue existed. It is possible, then, that this issue has only affected a certain batch of discs, or is the result of the game's popularity causing many gamers to boot up dusty systems which were about to crap out anyway (though that theory is a stretch).
Has FFXIII crashed on your console? Let us know in the comments. And if you have any other tips for us, drop some words in our shiny new inbox: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GamesRadar is the premiere source for everything that matters in the world of video games. Casual or core, console or handheld - whatever systems you own or whatever genres you love, GamesRadar is there to filter out what's worth your time and to help you get even more from your games. We deliver the best advice, the most in-depth features, expert reviews, and the essential guides for all the top games.