Devs Talk Final Fantasy XIII
03.31.09 - 7:46 PM

The newest edition of Dengeki PlayStation featured a lengthy interview with several members of the Final Fantasy XIII development team. Work on the demo that will ship as a bonus with Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete next month was completed late last year. The team apparently wanted fans to play the game's 2008 build. Therefore, the demo only offers a glimpse at the battle system. Apparently only half of the new Active Time Battle (ATB) system's feature set has made it into this demo. Moreover, the level of difficulty found in the trial version will be much lower than in the finished product. The developers explained that they wanted to convey a sense of speed in the demo. The full game is set to offer strategically more challenging battles. Hence, it will be easy to end up with a "game over" screen. To cope with the resulting frustration, the development team has implemented a "retry" feature.

The camera will be freely adjustable on the field map and during battles. Only when death blows are initiated, the camera will move automatically. After casting an ice-based spell, splinters of ice will not just magically disappear, but remain on the field map.

The series' classic victory fanfare at the end of the battle hasn't been implemented in the demo, yet it will be in the final product. Whether the same can be said about victory poses has yet to be determined. The developers are apparently not willing to discuss the character growth system in great detail at this point. What is known at this stage is that characters will gain access to new skills and magic as their experience increases. As expected, growth is not only about leveling up, though. Final Fantasy XIII will feature a more sophisticated system comparable to Final Fantasy X's "sphere grid" or Final Fantasy XII's "license board."

The development of actual game is progressing on schedule. While the demo only uses 50% of the PlayStation 3 hardware's potential, the full game will make use of almost 100% of the system's resources.

Final Fantasy XIII has yet to receive an official release date in Japan. The game's American and European releases won't arrive until 2010. Those who are unwilling or unable to wait until then will have to content with the aforementioned demo which will hit Japanese retail store shelves bundled with the blu-ray version of Final Fantasy VII Advent Children on April 16th.

Chris Winkler