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Potentially major Final Fantasy XIII freezing issue emerges

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: tips@gamesradar.com.

Mar 16, 2010

56 comments

  • Ghostaku - December 26, 2011 8:57 p.m.

    This problem started with me about two days ago. I really thought it was my system and then i turned it off and then vacuumed the tar out of it and it did help make the ps3 run smoother. The downfall is that it is still freezing on me after a couple of minutes of playing and i started to wonder and then got to this site. I had no idea that a lot of people was going through the same headache as i am and nothing is still being done about it. After reading some of these threads i dont even want to try to play because i dont want to brick the dang thing but like my wife says its a good intervention lol. Well hopefully i get some good news on whats going on even though its been months and i am getting problems now. If there is a fix for this i would really appreciate the info and thanks guys have a good one.
  • Mykayel - February 21, 2011 10:43 a.m.

    My girl friend's PS3 will not read any disks after Final Fantasy XIII crashed. I reformatted the console hopping that some bizarre codding error caused this issue, but no luck. It can't be a coincidence, the system wasn't old, the bluray wasn't even used that often (she played around 5-6 games on it and hasn't completed most of them) yet after the FF13 crash, the bluray drive seems to be broken. This cannot be a coincidence, now she is stuck having to buy a new Bluray drive for the system and neither Sony nor Square Enix will accept responsibility for this. Way to go Square, I used to be a major fan, but after this happened, I'm staying away from your products including the game that I basically bought my console for: Final Fantasy Versus XIII.
  • muscleplant5 - September 5, 2010 6:02 p.m.

    People who think this is a scratched disk or a poorly maintained PS3 need to hear our experience. Both my husband and I have been playing FF XIII on PS3 concurrently. He started before me and is on Ch 13. Like the poster gmclinn, I got stuck between ch4 and 5 in the loading page. I thought it was a bad save, started the game over and saved 4 times before that cutscene. No matter what save I use, the game will not progress. The disk is immaculate, not a scratch on it, and my husband got past that point using the same system and the same disk, so if it hasn't happened to you, then count yourself lucky, that's all is - pure luck.
  • troy1991 - June 21, 2010 2:09 a.m.

    Xbox 360 System Final Fantasy 13 Fails! Bought Brand New FF 13 Yesterday! Beat disc 1 no Freezing. Every battle on Disc 2 cause game to Freeze! Details My Xbox 360 is in great condition. Never over heated. Gots a cooler. And the disc does not even have any scartches or finger prints. Its a pile and waste of cash. It truly pains me to say it. Sense I am a huge Final Fantasy fan. Beated FF1-12.
  • hamstergeval - April 25, 2010 11:20 a.m.

    Got a xbox360 and got the game last friday. I got like 12 hours into the game and then I got distortions in the start of chapter 8 when you gain control of vanille and sazh again. Now at first I restarted and got further by skipping the scenes, but then it happened again. I restarted it again and it doesn't even get past the 'now loading' screen when your data is loaded... Counts for every save file I got for disc 2, and for disc one it still works.... So my guess is that the game discs are messed up when they start to freeze.
  • deanesaunders - April 16, 2010 11:10 p.m.

    My old UK 80gb version wouldn't read the disk 9/10 times, changed the disc and still had the same problem. I suspected a weak laser, however after reading this post on the net about resetting the filesystem and rewriting possibly corrupted drivers, it seems to work so far. I backed up my data as stated (and separately copied my save game files as they don't always restore properly) and then followed the instructions to restore the filesystem. Afterwards it seemed to have kept my files anyway, but the disk read the first three times I ejected and reinserted it. Time will tell if it's ok, but if it saves me £50 on a new laser, that's good! Instructions copied below: I figured this belonged here and maybe some other places on the forums ill let boss decide that but the other day I fixed my blu ray drive in my 60 with out spending $1. I updated a game, RB2 and my system froze when I got it rebooted it I could no longer access any discs (cd, dvd, blu ray, games) i was ejecting and re inserting disks when I realized that the drive wasn't making any noise and also ... not spinning disks anymore they come out the exact same way i put them in. here is how: Ok so I’ve fixed my issue. I will run through what you will need to do to fix yours if you are having issues with the blu-ray drive and general PS3 system operations like the XMediaBar this is totally worth a shot ... I doubt this will fix any other issue. If not then your blu-ray drive/ PS3 is probably dead and needs replacement via the method listed above or by sony. If you can, I suggest you back up your PS3 first. The menu that you will access to can fully erase your PS3 if you choose the wrong option! I do not take any responsibility! Please proceed at your own risk! If you read and follow the instructions exactly you should not loose any data! Feel free to ask questions if you are confused so you don’t make a mistake!! Sorry, I had to say it, I don’t want anyone mad at me if they make a mistake, don’t back up their data and erase it, and then blame me… The current version of the ps3 firmware has a “recovery console”. You access it by 1. Start with having the system in standby (redlight is on) 2. Hold the power button down; the system will turn on and turn off once again. 3. Press and hold the power button again and keep holding, it will beep as it turns on and then it will double beep. When you hear the double beeps immediately take your finger off the power button (if your system turns off before you get a double beep just try again and hold the button, it should double beep the 2nd time you try) 4. You will be prompted to plug in your controller via USB and then hit the PS button You will now have a screen with these options (I have attached a picture of this screen below) 1. Restart System: Restarts the PLAYSTATION®3 System. 2. Restore Default Settings: Reset all system settings back to default. CHOOSE THIS ONE 3.Restore File System: Checks for corrupt/missing system files. 4. Rebuild Database: Rebuilds the OS for the PLAYSTATION®3. 5. Restore PS3 System: Fresh restore; Deletes everything and starts from Scratch. 6. System Update: Update the PLAYSTATION®3 System IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT CHOOSE THE WRONG OPTION HERE OR YOU WILL LOSE ALL YOUR DATA. The one that fixed my blu-ray drive is option 3: RESTORE FILE SYSTEM I REPEAT CHOOSE RESTORE FILE SYSTEM After this, it is going to restart and bring up a screen reading something like “you have Corrupted System Data. Your PS will now replace this data” Then you choose continue and that should be it. This option reinstalls the system files and drivers inside the PS3 with the original ones that are stored on your hard drive. In this case, it replaced a corrupted driver for the blu ray drive thus fixing my issue and hopefully yours!! This option will only replace all system files thus saving you from loosing any data that’s stored on your hard drive. Again this option does nothing to your hard drive it reads a file from the drive and rewrites it to the PS3 system. If you want a more technical understanding of what this is really doing continue reading. DO NOT NEED TO READ THIS TO COMPLETE REPAIR. The PS3 does not boot from your hard drive as a computer does. It has a flash memory like a cell phone that stores all system files and system firmware updates that you get when the PS3 updates. This is why reformatting your hard drive will not fix your problem, none of the system files are stored on your hard drive (ex. XMB, system firmware, etc.) nor do they run from the drive. However, your hard drive does contain a full backup of your SYSTEM files and thus when you choose option 3: RESTORE FILE SYSTEM it rewrites the original system files from your drive (which aren’t corrupted) back to the flash memory which is corrupted thus fixing the problem. Read more: http://www.ps3news.com/forums/ps3-guides-tutorials/how-replace-ps3-blu-ray-drive-laser-lens-100237.html#ixzz0lJ8bz5xj
  • matthewrosado - April 15, 2010 8:42 a.m.

    I Agree With most people in this. I put the game in, It worked perfect. Left the game in played about 3 days, 30 hrs or so a little less and now my ps3 wont read anything disk's. Cant play dvd, cd, or bluray. It played 1 more dvd before it craped out. There are TONS of other websites saying the samething. I bought the game when it got released and Complete disappointment! I will never Buy another ff13 game on the first day. Broke my ps3 which I have had almost 4 years with no problems and im almost 100% sure its something to do with the bluray drive or a software glitch. I have started to have problems when my the PSN had its problems in feb, since then my ps3 has been acting up. They better Offer some kind of fix for this thats not going to cost me. Very Upset!
  • Maatix - April 13, 2010 7:10 p.m.

    On my PS3, it seems to crash every time... Well, I don't want to spoil anything, but as I run through Palumpolum as Snow, during the Purge, I wind up crashing every time. It tries to go to a cutscene, and only stays black. I've tried skipping the cutscene, quitting the game, nothing works once I get to that spot. And since it's right after a save point, I've tried it multiple times. The disc is near-spotless. A finger print or two, but no scratches. And this is after only about ten minutes of playing, too, so overheating isn't the problem.
  • christophero - April 7, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    I have a launch 8 GB (I know, upgrade...) 360, and it started freezing in the 2nd chapter. I stopped playing for a day and went back. I played for 30 minutes and it froze 3 times after playing for 20 minutes. I went to my Dashboard, and left my 360 on after rebooting a 4th time, and now my whole system is freezing wherever its left. My system was RROD resurrected once already, and I am just getting into FF13. Whats the deal?!
  • daphnehughes-nelson - April 4, 2010 2:12 a.m.

    My game has been freezing during mid-battle and the mission icon is screwing up...I've played a total of 1 1/2 hours or so into the game...a friend of mine used the same disc and he played about 3 or so hours into it and didn't seem to have a problem...this is on 360 I've restarted several times and it still freezing at different places 5 mins into the game
  • charliecooksey - April 3, 2010 8:04 a.m.

    Until Square comes out with a patch for the systems, the only way to combat the problem is to follow RPG common sense: save at every opportunity.
  • frostyraptor - April 2, 2010 11:18 a.m.

    Having been a big fan of SqareEnix and the Final Fantasy series since FFXII on the Playstation I did think it was strange why there were so many save points in Final Fantasy 13. I found out after 10 hours of play on my Xbox 360. The game has a bug and crashes. I'm 22 hours into it and its crashed on me 15 times so far. The music stops seemingly randomly and then I can never exit the fight over scene. SquareEnix would obviously know about this before release and I have also written to them after making my way to their website where they boast that they have hit the 5million+ sales world wide mark. Its happened on all three of my Final Fantasy discs and none are scratched and it seems to be across all consoles. Nothing will get done about this so all we can do is have a little moan and wait for it to crash again. I was a huge fan of SquareEnix but I guess even the big games developers put money before quality! There I'm done
  • sal - March 31, 2010 4:02 p.m.

    360. im on disc 2 chapter 9 and i cannot progress any further because this freezing issue wont let me. im probably gonna bring the game back for a new copy.. unfortunately if it still happens i'll end up smashing my xbox because im not exactly that good at keeping a cap on my temper.
  • Shinra - March 30, 2010 3:36 p.m.

    My Xbox 360 is fried because of FFXIII, funny thing is I can still watch films from my eksternal harddrive and DVDs but I can't play games... First FFXIII botched up and now I can't play other games :(
  • sharneemalouf - March 28, 2010 5:20 a.m.

    Well its happening to me now and Im on 360. Was playing it last night for five hours and had no problem, now I can't get through one movie sequence. Been trying now for a good hour to get through it. Tried skipping it and then It wouldn't load, funny thing though it still pauses. Cant be good for my xbox though. Im in Australia so Im guessing its a international problem.
  • rbindc - March 28, 2010 1:38 a.m.

    I got my wife a brand new slim PS3 a few weeks ago and FFxiii. The PS3 runs great on every other game but FFxiii. The disk is band new with no scratches, not even a small one. After 17 hours of playtime, the game started freezing on the same spot and the save file related to that spot. I found this and other forums that described the same problem, which appears to be a game coding issue. She eventually got it to play past the problem but only after multiple hard resets to the system and an amazing amount of patience. It is likely only a matter of time before it hangs again, so she is now saving often. The fact that it is happening on both XBOX and PS3 should make it clear that there are some unresolved game logic issues. Hopefully, they will patch it soon!
  • Spegma - March 27, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    Before I even played the game, I installed all 3 discs of the Xbox version to the hard drive and so far about 30 hours in, not even a glitch. Only bad part is once all 3 discs were installed the game ate up 18gb's of space.
  • arisibrisbegovic - March 24, 2010 1:20 a.m.

    This has happened to me on my 3 or so year old 80GB PS3 with B/C. It has never had any freezing problem before and it didn't have any on FF13 till I got to chapter 4 or so and I wasn't able to advance anymore... My PS3 wasn't overheating as I checked every time and it had the same old heat as it generates from any other game. It is or was dust free. Still after all this it kept freezing over and over after 5-6 or so hours of playing with no freezing at all. I finally got so frustrated with it that I traded in my PS3 which again still works it just freezes on FF13 and got a new slim for 50$... I'm at the end of the game with no freezing. I just cant get myself to believe that it was my PS3 even if it still ran other games like Uncharted 2 perfectly fine.
  • j223 - March 23, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    O and btw my ps3 model is the 80gb CECHE01 which was the mgs4 ps3 bundle.
  • j223 - March 23, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    Yes, after playing 28hrs into the game(ch.9) the same thing has happened to me. I was walking around and suddenly the music stopped, I knew something was wrong so I tried walking around in the game and most of the enemies that were originally there were gone. After a little while my character just stood in one spot and my ps3 crashed. After waiting about 5 mins I rebooted my ps3 system my blue ray driver no long functions as it does not read any cds/dvds/blue rays(games&movies). I know this was not due to the FF13 disc being dirty because there are no apparent signs of scratches or dirt and I always put my unused game discs back into their original cases when they are not in use. I believe the game caused my blue ray lens to burn out since I have tried all other methods to revive the driver and related issues. I'm very confused because I keep my ps3 very clean and in an open area so that it does not collect any dust or overheat. I hope this issue can be addressed properly so that we can all get on with our lives cuz I spent well over 30 hrs researching this problem. I even ordered a replacement driver to see if it would remedy the problem. Ill post the results of replacing my drive to see if it solves it.

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