Recently, Final Fantasy Versus XIII director Tetsuya Nomura sat down with Famitsu to discuss, among other things, the elusive title. Unfortunately Famitsu, being a Japanese magazine, has the obnoxious gall to print interviews in their own language, thus making life ever-so-diffucult for this most pitiful of Anglophones. Thankfully Andriasang was kind enough to post a translation of the pertinent info, thus sparing those of us on this side of the ocean blue from the bother of learning Japanese.
The most disconcerting fact, for those eagerly anticipating the game, is that it is not yet in full production. That's right; despite teasing everyone with a rather stunning trailer some time back, and more recently giving a peek into Versus's gameplay, the g** d*** thing has yet to go into full production. At the risk of going on a rant, I understand that Square-Enix bit off a bit more than it could chew. Our pals across the pond seem bent on releasing Type-0 for the PSP, thus proving wrong my prediction that the interminable wait would necessitate that its respective territorial releases would include a date for "Earth and the outlying colonies." Then there's Final Fantasy XIII-2, which seems to be consuming a good deal of Square-Enix's resources in order to meet the Q4 2011 (hopefully) Japanese release, with the North American and European released following soon thereafter. All that being said, I do find it moderately annoying when companies stir up buzz around a game and effectively place it on the backburner, particularly with a game like Versus which, despite my sometimes-vocal discontent with Square-Enix - I will say, however, that Dissidia and Dissidia 012 are two of the best games on the PSP - strikes me as one of the company's more interesting projects in recent years, and harkens back to the dark and brooding mood that caused me to fall in love with the series.
At present, Nomura states that the company is "making preparations" for Versus to enter full production, and that the team is slowly chipping away at the game's voicework, sometimes employing the use of multiple voice actors in a single session in order to give verbal exchanges a more natural feel. The interview also addressed one common complaint with RPGs: lengthy cutscenes. This is something that the Versus team is hoping to remedy - no FF pun intended. According to Nomura:
There will either be pre-rendered movies or realtime event scenes that the player can control. These scenes are part of a new gameplay feature which, as far as I know, hasn't been done anywhere else. It's something that allows for very natural changes in the game experience, a form of expression you don't really see in games. It's not something you can explain quickly since the experience can change with each situation, but you could say it leads to the sort of storytelling you see more in FPSes than in console RPGs.
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While I happen to be in the camp that enjoys those terribly long cutscenes, it will be interesting to see what the Square-Enix kids have cooking up - particularly what Nomura considers "something that hasn't been done anywhere else." The visuals seem as though they will be highly impressive, with the screenshots shown to Famitsu's editors (Square-Enix has yet to release them to the public) leaving them stunned that they were the product of real-time rendering. According to the article, the aesthetic wonder of Versus is due in part to the fact that high and low quality model are not terribly dissimilar, "with exception to the greater hair detail in the high quality versions."
While the wait for Versus may be obnoxiously long, particularly for those of us who (long ago) found it more immediately intriguing than FFXIII, it's nice to know that Square Enix is planning to release the game, well, sometime. In the interim, Final Fantasy enthusiasts can whet their appetites with Type-0 or, for those without a PSP, FFXIII-2. I'm not entirely sure what to expect of the latter, but if FFX-2 is any point of reference, I think we can all expect to find Lightning in her post-hero career as some kind of roguish runway model (eye-candy by day, gun-toting rebel by night) with a pocket full of dreams and a heart that harbors contempt for Johnny Law - or something along those lines.