Exclusive Final Fantasy XIII Interview
We were recently given the unique privilege of sitting down with Final Fantasy XIII’s director Motomu Toriyama and its producer Yoshinori Kitase to talk exclusively about their upcoming game and the future of the franchise. Here’s what they had to say.
Q: Do you find it difficult to live up to the legacy of this series?
Motomu Toriyama: Obviously the pressure is on, but it is always a unique challenge each time we produce a new title. We’re not really bound to what we’ve done in the past and that’s traditionally been the case throughout the series. As a product starts off we’re quite relaxed about it.
Q: With each game being so different in terms of setting how do you go about designing a new world?
MT: We take the universe very seriously because it is the core of each game so we take our time in building that up. For Final Fantasy XIII we wanted a world of fantasy, but set in a kind of near future. To start with the team produced a few image boards, we picked the one’s we liked and we began adding details from there. That was a process that took about a year to complete.
Q: Final Fantasy XIII feels much more Sci-Fi than previous titles, so is that a direction you’ll continue to move in?
Yoshinori Kitase: We don’t really think of it as sticking with one setting or another. When a new Final Fantasy is started we have in mind that we aren’t going to do something the same as last time. We don’t want to repeat the same setting or style. Final Fantasy XII was not very Sci-Fi as you probably know, so we wanted to make XIII more Sci-Fi to make it different. That doesn’t mean though that we’ll do Sci-Fi again with the next game.
Q: Is there a resistance to changing the gameplay of Final Fantasy given its history?
YK: If you look at the battle system, the Final Fantasy series is obviously known for a turn-based style so we’re familiar with many forms of evolved turn-based gameplay. But we use that knowledge in order to keep clear of what’s been done and that’s helped us to create a fusion of tactical and action elements for Final Fantasy XIII. This was something that was fairly new to us and as such there was a great deal of experimentation and test playing until we were convinced it was going to work out and that it would be something everyone would enjoy.
Q: Can you foresee the series moving in drastically new directions in the future?
YK: Well, we have several different games in development simultaneously with Final Fantasy XIV being an MMO type game, but Final Fantasy XIII also has two more games in Agito and Versus, which will be much more action orientated. That offers a great deal more variation.
Q: Does having a female lead character like Lightning change anything about how you went about designing this game?
MT: Final Fantasy XIII features a very strong female character for the first time in the series. That reflects the fact that we wanted to create a character who was attractive to gamers because of their strength and toughness so that they would appeal to both male and female gamers. That doesn’t have any immediate impact on the gameplay or style of the game.