Was All That Final Fantasy XIII Fuss Worth It?

Illustration for article titled Was All That Final Fantasy XIII Fuss Worth It?

In one word, "no".

When Final Fantasy XIII was originally revealed, it was slated as a PS3 exclusive. Square Enix was adamant about it. Incredibly adamant.

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Then, at the E3 gaming expo in July 2008, the inevitable happened: Final Fantasy XIII was coming to the Xbox 360, but only in Western markets. The game was getting a PS3-only release in Japan. Gamers were sent into a tailspin, with players in Japan wondering if the game was in fact truly a PS3 exclusive.

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In an interview that July with Dengeki Online, FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase quelled fears and stated clearly, "In Japan, a Xbox 360 version will not be released." That same month, Square Enix's Shinji Hashimoto said, "There are no plans whatsoever" when asked if the game would be released on the Xbox 360 in Japan.

Square Enix remained steadfast on the PS3's exclusivity and even went as far as including "For PlayStation 3 Only" after trailers for the game in Japan.

In August, Final Fantasy XIII director and writer Motomu Toriyama was likewise crystal clear when told Dengeki PlayStation magazine, "There will absolutely not be an Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII for Japan." Earlier that month, the Xbox Taiwan head Grace Chou reportedly confirmed the Asia release (Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong) of Final Fantasy XIII — causing speculation that the game could be played on Japanese Xbox 360 consoles. Microsoft, later, played damage control.

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Then in summer 2009, Xbox Japan "accidentally" uploaded a Final Fantasy XIII page to its Japanese language site.

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This summer, a list of Xbox 360 Achievements for Final Fantasy XIII appeared on the Xbox LIVE site. There were 35 Achievements, all localized into Japanese. In August, Kitase said he "couldn't say" whether Japan would be getting FFXIII on the Xbox 360 or not.

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Then the game was finally penciled in for a Japanese release. This December after years of build up and expectation, Final Fantasy XIII was released in Japan. a budget version and priced at ¥4,980 (US$59), which is nearly half of what it cost on the PS3. Dubbed "Final Fantasy Ultimate Hits International", the game features a new "Easy Mode" as well as an English voice option. Microsoft launched a television campaign promoting the game's Xbox 360 release.

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In its first week on sale in Japan, the PS3 version sold over 1.5 million copies. A year later after the hype and ballyhoo died down, the Xbox 360 version sold less than 22,000 copies. It didn't even crack the top twenty and actually came in at number 39. Granted, the Xbox 360 version might have done better if it wasn't released a year later.

The most disturbing thing is that DLC seemed to have been teased for the game. But those plans went out the door. Toriyama apparently told a Japanese game magazine, "We had plans for DLC, but those plans disappeared. Apologies!" One can't help but wonder if those plans went out the door when focused shifted to releasing the game on the Xbox 360...

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スクエニってなんで360版FF13を日本で強行発売したの?ユーザー裏切ってまでやりたかった事って何? [はちま起稿] [Pic]

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DISCUSSION

thelaughingmann
TheLaughingMann

Let me put this out on the table.

I bought this day one of its release.

It is definitely not traditional Final Fantasy. There's no level grinding involved. You have to consistently grind for your different roles and learn techniques that will give you an advantage in your fights. In battle, changing roles up is key to both winning and earning enough points to learn more abilities.

The storyline isn't the best. Simply, you end up with a group of people on the run from the bad guys all because each of them are branded criminals for being what they are. And it conflicts with the law of society.

The characters aren't the most well thought out, either. They are simply twists on character builds that have already been established.

I've played the mainstream Final Fantasy series (save for 11 and 14) over the years. I agree that FF3 is the best with all of its elements meshing well together. FF7 was a revolutionary title for the series because of its graphical advance beyond the traditional 2D. And FFX was much a graphical advance as FF7 was (but I thought that its elements were better).

If I had to evaluate FF13 as a whole, it would get a 4/5 (or an 8/10 from me, which would be a more accurate score). The lowest score I'd give a Final Fantasy title in general. It is simply a graphical advance that has some bad elements, but it doesn't entirely suck to me.

I still own my copy (whose value at this point is consistent with the fact that the game's sold enough copies to earn Sony's 'Greatest Hits', and is priced as such now).

I am the kind of guy who appreciates RPGs as a whole when they do something beyond what's already been done. And in the case of titles like FF7, FFX, FF12, and FF13...not the best in the series, but they all have contributed new elements to RPGs as a whole.

Now, I do have a question for everyone. Is there anyone who has played the series and didn't appreciate 13 because it was predominantly another deviation from the traditional builds that got established long ago? Or didn't appreciate it because they thought it was simply a bad RPG?