For a video game to truly exist, it needs players. Otherwise, it simply stands still. Role-playing game Final Fantasy Versus XIII doesn't have players, it has viewers.
Of course, people at game studio Square Enix might be playing Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Those people are probably making the game!
The vast majority of the gaming public, however, is left out in the cold. A shame, because gamers breathe life into video games. Game designers create the world, the story and the characters, but it's players who set everything into motion.
Work on Final Fantasy Versus XIII apparently began as early as 2003. Eight years later, Square Enix has released a handful of screenshots and Hollywood style movie trailers. Last year, a trailer with gameplay was shown.
Tonight in Tokyo at a Roppongi movie theater, another trailer was shown. Nobody got to actually play the game, which still does not have a release date. Instead, everyone looked at the pretty pictures. And since Square Enix prohibited the filming of the trailer, gamers read online descriptions of a trailer of a game that the general public has yet to play.
According to online reports, the trailer showed what looked like a Japanese highway, a party in which a king says he'll be the last heir on the throne. And apparently, the trailer was loaded with gameplay of fight scenes with guns and swords, of gun sights taking up the screen and of swords being used to slay an onslaught of enemies. Sounds great, doesn't it?
But nobody can play this, and as of tonight, only a movie theater full of people got to see this trailer. So not only have players been unable to demo the game for years, but they can't even see the trailer. At a later date, Square Enix certainly might release the trailer, but...
Granted, there are rumors that development isn't continuous, that the Versus XIII team was pulled off the project to work on other titles, namely Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy XIV.
As with Final Fantasy XIII, the game's developer is fanning the fanboy flames, promising that the game is for the PS3. That's fine. If Square Enix wants to focus on one platform to make their game, so be it. But the developers have been focusing on this game for the past eight years. Maybe it's worth the wait, maybe not. But until gamers get to check it out, it doesn't yet truly exist.