There has been quite a bit of criticism swirling about Final Fantasy XIII. The price had even dropped to $20 in Japan, not too long ago. The fans of the franchise are the ones that have been most critical of the upcoming title. Most say the series should have ended at Final Fantasy XIV, with some enjoying FFX. However most feel that the series should have ended when Hironobu Sakaguchi left Square Enix, saying that Final Fantasy lost its luster at that point and criticize the linearity of the game.
Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama spoke up on Final Fantasy XIII on the official European FXIII website saying:
Hello there everyone.
The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 editions of FFXIII have finally been fully mastered and we are now eagerly awaiting the countdown to the worldwide release. I have just returned from a three week global media tour where I was interviewed by media people from a huge number of places and sincerely appreciate all the excitement and expectation continuing to build for the release date coming from everyone outside of Japan. I have also truly felt the speed with which information moves these days from talking to all the people who have already picked up on the reception to FFXIII at home.
In particular there have been many who expressed opinions regarding the story driven nature of FFXIII making for a linear gameplay progression so I shall briefly talk about that concept here.
The story of FFXIII plays out across two different worlds; the futuristic world of Cocoon, with its sprawling urban areas built inside a spherical planetoid and the primeval world of Gran Pulse populated by gigantic beasts the size of dinosaurs. The game system itself actually changes between these two worlds, with the first half of the game taking place in Cocoon being a very story driven experience, whereas the second half in Gran Pulse is an open world design with a more free style of gameplay.
In order to allow the player to become absorbed in the drama of the storytelling and the new and exciting world of Cocoon and be drawn to the characters without getting distracted or lost we have deliberately used a linear game design for the introduction sections so they can be enjoyed in the same manner as watching a film. We are aiming for a vibe while playing that is similar to the experience of an FPS style game, where the player rapidly progresses through a series of dramatic events and experiences one after the other on an imposing and atmospheric battlefield. This kind of design is also very beneficial for the player in allowing them to gradually and systematically learn the brand new battle system that this instalment brings to the series. It is set up such that the player will experience and try out each character’s possible roles in battle and naturally internalise the intensely tactical nature of the paradigm shift system.
I make a promise that even if you have never played a Final Fantasy game, or even an RPG before then you will still be able to appreciate FFXIII with no difficulty. I hope that you will pick up and play it and experience the fresh and unique gameplay that is only possible with Final Fantasy!
Let’s leave this open to you, will you still be picking up FFXIII?