The past five and a bit months have been hard on fans eagerly awaiting news and developments regarding Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy Versus 13. News has been few and far between, and not to mention in desperate need of deciphering. Here is the wrap on all the game-related information from 2008 so far.
January - January saw the brunt of the news in regards to Final Fantasy 13 and Versus 13, starting out with a landslide of magazine scans out of Japan. Although most were just images and not much information was squeezed out of them, a few translations of Famitsu and Dengeki (Japanese Magazines) articles revealed a few note worthy tidbits about the games.
Furthermore, one particular statement by Final Fantasy 13 character designer and Final Fantasy Versus 13 director, Tetsuya Nomura. This is the translation of his infamous statement:
"2008 will be the year. There will be tons of news bits, info on characters and summons, and an unexpected connection between the keywords Cocoon and Farushi."
We'll get to that further on, but first, game related information. Square Enix is planning on getting a demo out to the public, although not specifying any particular region. The demo is planned mainly to showcase the new and very different battle system of Final Fantasy 13. The theme of the first game is determination, something that has been translated well so far in Lightning's actions and expression.
There are two special sort of beings besides just humans as well, Farushi (or Farsi) and Rushi (or Lusi). Farushi have supernatural powers, of which they used to build the sky city of Cocoon. Rushi are those chosen to carry out the orders of Farushi. The magazines speculate that all three known Final Fantasy 13 characters are Rushi, Lightning, Mr. 33cm, and Pigtails Girl. As well, summons in the game are in digital form. What this could mean is they're basically data, and like data, can be manipulated into different hardware, like a motorcycle, or strange discs (as seen in scans).
February - February saw a Famitsu interview with Final Fantasy 13 character designer and Final Fantasy Versus 13 director, Tetsuya Nomura. The magazine was celebrating their 1001st Issue, of which Nomura drew the cover for.
In the interview, besides mentioning a few of his working habits and some past Final Fantasy tidbits, like the bickering that went into how spiky Cloud's hair should be in VII, he also dropped more random info on FF13 and Versus 13. Regarding FF13, he told that lead character, Lightning, has muscular legs, isn't sweet, is strict to herself and others, and doesn't like whiners.
Regarding Versus 13, Nomura spoke of it's lead character as well. The unnamed character, dubbed simply as "The Prince" by fans, is unlike Cloud nor Squall as people are expecting. Nomura thinks that peoples impression of The Prince will change once they hear him speak. This is in regards to what he's saying it, not how he himself verbally sounds. Lastly, Nomura announced that The Prince's name is weather related, and that the next time Square reveals info on Versus 13, they will reveal his name. To note, there has been no information on Versus 13 since this statement.
March - With March came the Game Developers Conference 2008 (GDC 08) and within that, a Square Enix press conference. Discussions began with Final Fantasy 13's graphics. In regards to the how SE works with the Uncanny valley, Isamu Kamikokuryo said this:
"In terms of the uncanny valley, that is something we have to fight against. We can't go there -- that's basically how we feel about it. For all the things we create, many of the section creators get together and we make adjustments so this uncanny valley phenomenon doesn't happen. We don't usually use that phrase, because all the staff has this in mind while we do our work."
Kamikokuryo told that for Final Fantasy 13, they want to keep Tetsuya Nomura's uniqueness for character designs, but also have more realism to the designs. There was talk of FF13 and Versus 13's shared engine, the Crystal Tools. Nothing too interesting, but a few images were released of it from GDC 08 which can be seen below!
April - April saw no new information.
May - May was a pretty dry month, a bit better than april though. Square Enix announced a $28 000 000 loss from last year, and to compensate for this, Square has axed a "revolutionary mobile development". As to which game they could be talking about, speculation points to Japan-Only cellphone game Final Fantasy Agito 13 due to it's use of cellphone networks to simulate an MMORPG feel to the game. Fortunately this matters very little to North American and European Final Fantasy fans as no one in either region were going to get their hands on it anyway.
That is basically all the real information that has come out specifically about Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy Versus 13 in the past 5 months. As we can all plainly see, Nomura was a wee bit misleading when declaring 2008 as the year of FF13 news and media. We don't blame Nomura, as it's Square Enix itself that is blocking the release of information, likely not Nomura.
Good news is though, Square Enix is appearing at E3 2008. This is looking like a good sign as the Expo returns to the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Last year when E3 was in shams, Square Enix choose to basically sit the entirety of E3 07 out, to the dismay of FF fans worldwide. As the Expo is returning to a singular location, and Square is confirmed to have a very large both to itself once again, and not to mention the drought in news, E3 2008 will almost certainly bring news on FF13 and hopefully Versus 13 as well.
E3 2008 takes place in Los Angeles from July 15-17th. Whether SE will hold a press conference the day or two before hand, like in 2006, is yet to be known.
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