We were given the opportunity to sit down for a brief roundtable group discussion with Final Fantasy XIII's director, Motomu Toriyama, and producer, Yoshinori Kitase, shortly before getting eyes on with the newly announced summon Gestault mode. Check after the break for the full interview and, if you haven't already, make sure you read through our impressions of the summon system.
We know the game is coming out at the end of the year in Japan and next Spring in the US, but what about Europe?
We're targeting to release Final Fantasy XIII in Europe in 2010.
Can you share any details regarding the story?
The world is split into two areas -- a futuristic city called Cacoon and an outside wilderness called Pulse. The game's main characters, such as Lightning and Snow, have been influenced by Pulse and as a result the Holy Government of Cocoon is attempting to exile them. They have to stand up to their destinies. It's hard to explain the story without giving too much away.
What makes Final Fantasy XIII different from previous Final Fantasies?
Final Fantasy XIII is the most evolved version of the series, so far. It's set the furthest in the future and features a new evolved combat system.
Which of the previous Final Fantasies is XIII most similar to?
In terms of the world and the futuristic setting, it's most similar to Final Fantasy VII but in terms of the group-based simultaneous combat system, it's more similar to XII. We try to take the best of every Final Fantasy for each new game, so all the other games have had their influence.
Can you explain what we'll be showing to us today?
We'll be showing you the Shiva summon and the newly announced summon Gestault mode.
Can you go into detail on summons?
You saw Odin being summoned by Lightning in the latest trailers, so you've seen one of our summon animations. One summon partners with each character in the game. These summons have individual Gestault modes, which changes the style of the combat system.
How was the game's story developed?
I (Toriyama) tend to start with the overall story of the game first, then I'll create characters to fit within that framework. Then I'll develop both of these together simultaneously.
Will there be the option for Japanese voices when the game is released in the west?
I (Kitase) would be interested to hear what you think. Is there a demand for it?
I think definitely, yes.
It would depend on how many discs the game takes up. Voice data tends to be massive and we want to keep the number of discs to a minimum.
Does that mean there's the possibility of having multiple discs for the PS3 version?
We're planning only one disc for the PS3 version, as it's a Blu-ray.
How many discs are you expecting the Xbox 360 version to have?
Not a ridiculously massive amount. We want to keep it to a minimum as the more discs a game has, the more expensive it is to produce.
You're showing us Shiva's motorbike Gestault mode, but what about the other summon we've seen so far, Odin?
Our big reveal for this show is Odin's summon animation. We can't go into detail regarding his Gestault at the moment. Fans of the series should have an idea of what to expect from Odin's transformation. Keeping imagining for a little while and we'll have more footage for you as soon as possible.