Kotaku recently interviewed Tetsuya Nomura, director of what may be the most cruel practical joke in the history of RPGs, Final Fantasy Versus XIII. For those not fluent in Japanese, the site Andriasang has kindly given a concise summary of the details revealed in the interview. Rather than paraphrasing its content, I've decided to simply provide a link. It's a good read, and answered a few of my questions about what to expect from the game, so I highly recommend taking a few minutes to at least skim it over.
As gogoedward noted in a previous post, chances are Final Fantasy Versus XIII will probably never be released -- or at the very least, it will see the light of day shortly before giant wasps swoop down from the sky, plumes of fire rise from great chasms in the Earth, and the Triune God himself returns in a flash of blinding light to give the game an 8.5 before reducing the unsaved to a puff of red mist.
Hit the jump to read on!
As always, i'm hoping for the best, but i'm not exactly jumping up and down with excitement at the thought of Versus XIII. FFX was the last of the series that truly moved me, and I began to view the then-newly merged Square-Enix with the greatest of contempt after FFX-2, a game I had to stop playing after hour 10 on the grounds that with each passing minute I was beginning to lose more and more respect for myself. I never finished FFXII, partly due to that damnable marriage of ADD and OCD that compelled me to take sidequest after sidequest until list of achievements could fill a tome several bibles thick, but for the most part it simply didn't hold my interest. It's combat system could aptly be described as "single-player World of Warcraft" and the only character that remotely intrigued me was Balister, mainly on account of his accent. The Brits are nothing if not a seductive lot. I never even picked up FFXIII (I understand that my nerd credentials are in jeopardy after that confession), and I barely knew about the existence of FFXIV until it landed on Gaia's doorstep with the chilling thud, for reasons that need no explanation.
The world of Versus XIII seems notably bleaker than previous installments, hopefully spelling a return to the dark, dystopian feel that first attracted me to the series. Noctis, the protagonist, oozes with angst -- and I mean oozes. I've read that our black-clad friend isn't quite as glum as he seems, but in the meantime we're treated too a poor fellow drenched in enough sadness to make Cloud look like the "after" of a Zoloft commercial. Noctis, this wayward soul solemnly pondering his melancholy; the emo prince slouched upon his throne of grief, saving up the pennies he earns from he weekend gig at Hot Topic for that prized teardrop tattoo -- forever inking into flesh that timeless sorrow for the ex-girlfriend who won't return his facebook messages.
Due to the stubborn insistence of the Japanese on speaking their own language, not much story is visible from the most recent trailer, but the link provides a few details. The aesthetics of the world look absolutely stunning; cutscenes in particular treat the viewer to a nearly photo-realistic set of environments, and the characters are among the most painstakingly detailed i've ever seen. The in-game graphics are serviceable, and the design of both the urban and natural landscapes are just as enchanting as ever. As for combat, Versus XIII seems to be sticking to the Action-RPG style, much to my dismay. Call me an old man, but I like my combat turn-based. The music flows well with the pace of the trailer, but Nobuo Uematsu's signature touch is conspicuously absent, leaving me slightly underwhelmed.
Final Fantasy has been an important franchise for me since the days of the PS1 (I was largely deprived of console gaming before that), so I'm not ready to write it off just yet. Hopefully the series can regain some of the magic that first captured my imagination, and regain its status as the benchmark by which RPGs are judged.