Final Fantasy’s Key Developers Talk About Their Progress And Struggles Of Late

By Sato . June 20, 2013 . 4:50pm

When Square Enix asked fans to “Please be excited for E3 this year,” during the PlayStation Meeting 2013 event a few months ago, they weren’t kidding, as they had one of the company’s biggest E3 showings in recent years. Key Square Enix developers in Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama talked about the latest developments in Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.



As previously reported, the development status of Final Fantasy X HD and Final Fantasy X-2 HD are at 80% and 65%, respectfully. According to the series’ producer, Yoshinori Kitase, the current plan is to have both titles be released sometime this year, but as they’re approaching the final stage of development, it’s hard to provide a concrete release date at the moment.


After announcing that Final Fantasy X would be re-released in an HD remake back in September of 2011, Square Enix had to go through a significant amount of trial and errors to ensure the game would meet the expectations of new and old fans of the series. asked Kitase about the greatest struggle development has faced thus far.


“Just getting an SD quality game and turning it into HD isn’t something we’d settle for,” Kitase replied. “The production is based on the memories of those who’ve played the game 10 years ago, but we’re taking our time to develop it so we can make sure that the new HD look and its beautiful form won’t ruin those memories. We’ve modified the characters and polygons, one by one, and we’ve also revised the textures.”


“Not everything has changed, but the main character expressions in cut-scenes have been altered,” Kitase says in regards to expressive comparisons to the original version. “However, simply adding polygons can subtly change impressions, so we’re constantly checking while revising to make sure we don’t ruin the image of Tidus and Yuna for the fans.”


We previously reported that Final Fantasy X-2 HD may not include the Last Mission. Kitase touched on the subject by mentioning that they are currently exploring possibilities and will be revealing more in the near future.


Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster is going to be Square Enix’s first major Vita title. Kitase feels that the Vita and its fine screen is a great match for an HD remake and has been impressed by the device. In regards to any touch panel and other features, he couldn’t say much for now, but feels that it would be a waste not to utilize these features.


The topic of the interview then shifted to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and its director, Motomu Toriyama, who started out by saying how they’ve barely finished adjustments for the whole game and are currently testing out the new game system’s balances.


The game system for the series’ third installment appears to be quite different from the past titles. Gamer asks about the concept behind Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.




Toriyama explains, “Final Fantasy XIII was ‘story-driven,’ as it was developed to be a game that focused more on the  story. Then, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was developed with a form of freedom to go with the story. The idea of having a lot of freedom hasn’t changed for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, as the concept behind it is ‘world-driven’.


“This means the world and environment that surrounds Lightning, and the NPCs, will always be changing regardless of your actions. And, the experience of the player will change according to how Lightning will have access to this changing world, thus freely being able to enjoy the story,” Toriyama concludes.


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be the last title of the XIII series. We’ve seen plenty of new trailers the past few weeks, but many still have questions regarding characters from the first two titles that have yet to be shown. According to Toriyama, all the mysteries and character stories will come to a conclusion in this last game. There are still many characters who haven’t shown up in trailers but are expected to appear in the finale in a similar manner to Snow and Noel.


Then, it was Toriyama’s turn to talk about any notable struggles he may have faced during the latest developments of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.



“The Crystal Tools which we’ve been using as the base engine, honestly, it wasn’t made for an open-world game,” Toriyama admitted. “Hence, we used this occasion for a version update and have been able to improve it to make something in a currently trending open-world style.”


Toriyama reiterated, “In order to have an expressive method to increase the feeling of freedom, I believe that it was required for it to be an open-world game. Again, we’ve introduced the concept of time in this title, so players will get to further enjoy the world.”


To conclude the interview, Kitase and Toriyama finished with a message for the fans, starting with a message from Kitase on fans waiting for Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster.



I hope that those of you who’ve played the PlayStation 2 version will get to play and feel a sense of nostalgia. Again, I believe that there are new players who met Tidus and Yuna for the first time in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. For those people, I believe that this is a great opportunity to fully understand the story of Final Fantasy X, as it is a game with a rich story and game elements even for today, that I hope you get to experience.”


Toriyama then finished with a message for the fans waiting for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.



“This time, it will be Lightning’s last story. On top of making the already cool Lightning even cooler, the drawn ‘coldness’ is the most polished it’s been thus far. It’s a title that will have you liking Lightning in various ways. Thank you for your support.”


Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is slated for release in February 2014 in the U.S. and Europe for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. And Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster is currently in development for PlayStation 3 and Vita.


  • Herok♞

    Well I can’t wait for all 3 games as one of the few fans of the FF13 series and hopefully they include everything from the international editions of the FF10 games

    • They have stated that both X&X2 are international version though I dont know if this includes the last mission for x2

      • Herok♞

        Thats why I said everything because I think it includes last mission

        • Hmm..

        • James Williams

          I think they said awhile ago that Last Mission was just going to be extra DLC.

          • Randy Marsh

            Never stated. That was just a theory going around.

    • Wait what

      FF13 fans aren’t really that “few”, we’re just not as obnoxiously loud as the haters.

      • Herok♞

        Looking at the comments above definitely not as loud as the haters.

      • whatinthewolrd


    • Anime10121

      Though I’m more a fan of the cast of XIII-2 than that of Light herself, I’m hyped for this game too. Everything they’ve said about it thus far has led me to believe this’ll be an awesome game to play, even if I’d rather be playing as Noel or Serah.

      • Herok♞

        Well looking at the gameplay footage they released so far it looks really good

  • Lightning Returns looks pretty good, I’m not excited about it but I’ll get it

    • ShadowDivz

      Im actually looking forward to it. Gameplay wise it looks great(up my alley anyway).
      I still have to finish 13 one though.

      • Glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t finished FF13 ^^; I’ll probably do that during July or another off month since Lightning Returns is not coming this year =(

  • Nightmare637

    can’t wait till we get a Release date for FFX/X-2 remaster.(hopefully a october-November release)

    • sherimae1324

      who knows maybe a christmas release?

  • KnifeAndFork

    What about the jerky sped up framerate of the NPC’s in FFX will they fix that

  • TheExile285

    Please SE…. make any Vita gimmick control uses optional

  • Lukhart

    “This time, it will be Lightning’s last story. On top of making the already cool Lightning even cooler, the drawn ‘coldness’ is the most polished it’s been thus far. It’s a title that will have you liking Lightning in various ways. Thank you for your support.”

    Lightning, Lightning,Lightning… That’s all FF13 legacy is about folks. Next FF game, please!

  • Guest

    I hope that those of you who’ve played the PlayStation 2 version will get to play and feel a sense of nostalgia.

    How can you feel nostalgia for something you’ve never experienced?

    • Nyandroid

      those of you who’ve played the PlayStation 2 version”

    • NightzeroAX
    • revenent hell


    • Syn


    • OathkeeperSoraXIII

      The responses to this comment are the best I’ve ever seen. Itachi facepalm ftw

    • Lolita

      Lol even Itachi facepalms at your comment.

  • Randy Marsh

    I’m starting to assume we will be getting Last Mission as part of FFX-2 International. Since in an interview last week, they did say some of the original cast was called in to do extra voice work, although they could not comment on what the new recorded dialogue was for at the current moment. So either it is for the six new cutscenes in Last Mission or they are re-recording over the stock voice overs for the Dark Aeon cutscenes in FFX.

  • $36598391

    Lightning’s Final Game YAY!!!!
    now Square Enix can move on to something else

    • Pekola

      If you can’t handle me at my XIII, then you definitely don’t deserve me at my XV.

      *fixes bow*

      • $36598391

        Uh… what are you talking about?

        • Pekola

          It’s a joke…I’m not trying to attack you or anything, haha.

          • Suzaku

            I think he’s just referring to the fact that your comment didn’t make a lick of sense.

  • りんごタルト@エスカのアトリエ

    Insert obligatory “People still care about Squeenix?” comment here.

    • SpecDotSign

      More like “they should have never made sequels for XIII”. Because they should have never made them.

      • revenent hell

        XIII-2 definitely didn’t need to exist.

        I was hopeful about it until the story deteriorated in to a complete and utter mess. The first games story (even while being completely incoherent because of how it played out) was at least good , XIII-2…. someone had to have been tripping when they came up with it. Period.
        I still wasn’t a fan of the characters, even if I just detested them a bit less.
        It also didn’t help they kept the same crappy battle system that played itself more or less.
        Overall I did enjoy XIII-2 more than the first game but its like they went from one type of horrible to another: XIII Good story bad everything else. XIII-2 Bad story and still mostly bad everything else except this time around I hated the characters less.

  • Chee Yang

    I have seen people played FFVII & FFX, X-2, but personally I have never played a FF game. So should I get into FFXIII & XIII-2? And beat those games before Lightning Returns.

    • revenent hell

      People are 50/50 I guess. Either you hate the games or you love them.

      I am not a fan of them but since im an anal person I would play the first two before the third.

      Buy XIII if you don’t enjoy the experience don’t get the other XIII-2 or Lightning returns. I think there’s things you unlock with having the previous games saves to.

      But, if you dislike the games or even if you like them please go back in time and pick up some of the older Final Fantasy games. Everyone has their favorites but they tend to be, to me, still much better gameplay/story wise even if the graphics aren’t as purdy

      • Chee Yang

        If I do get into FFXIII, i’ll definitely get the HD of X

        • revenent hell

          I happened to like this game (like I said 50/50)
          But id still go a little farther back with the games as well

        • Anime10121

          Well in of the opposite mindset of many fans in that I think XIII-2 is by far a better game than the original XIII.

          I honestly recommend you try them both, as they are completely different types of games.

    • NightzeroAX

      Most people will recommend the older games if your new to the FF series. If you have a PS3 I’d pick up either FF6 ,Tactics on PSN or wait for FFX HD. (My personal favorites so far out of the series) If you really want to give XIII a try just a heads up (dunno if you an RPG fan or not) it is a linear game and doesn’t feel open worldish till a certain point in the game. Not saying that’s bad as I for one enjoyed the game for what it is. As with anything that has a sequel or trilogy I play the first before playing the others.

    • Herok♞

      I say go for it you can get both FF13 games for under $40 dollars and they are a love-hate affair personally I liked them both, some hate both and some like one but not the other, just get them used to try them out.

    • Don’t play XIII if you’ve never played a Final Fantasy game. IV-X are generally agreed to be the franchise’s golden age; try any of those if you’re looking for an introductory FF.

    • Crimson_Cloud

      FF game series is not like Halo games, where you pick one game and have general opinion in how it plays. To appreciate the entire FF history, you should play them all or at least check YouTube videos to get a sense how each one of them look. I had a few friends who couldn’t get into older FF unfortunately because they were, if you pardon the words, graphic whores. I loved and enjoyed every FF from I to X. The last ones, not so much…

      • Dmonik

        i dont get why people dont like FF12 its the perfect evolution of the formula.. its basically open world.. no overworld map.. its fucking massive and has a fantastic story.. it blows FF10 out of the water in my opinion. and the jarring difference between 12 and 13 is what made me hate 13 so much.. because 12 was so good.. no random encounters, no waiting to go into battle sc enes as they happen right in the world. i dont understand what people dont like about FF12 to be honest i cant find many flaws with it.

  • Johnny Mike

    That’s just lazy if they don’t include Last Mission.

  • The only reason 13 was made into three separate “games” (And i use that word loosely…) is to get all the mileage out of their crappy crystal tools engine which failked from the get-go with a horrible first title out of the door. Had the game become a ‘success’ like every other FF title BEFORE sequels were even conceived (X-2 doesn’t count considering X was a success by FF standards) They wouldn’t need to milk the Crystal Tools Cow like they have been all this time.

    What they DO need to do now is NOT make sequels, but make (dare I say it) Side stories with previous ‘engines/systems’ that they have used in previous titles. A game with the Materia system from 7, or the junction system in 8 (it was broken if you knew how to use it, so don’t hate) then those would be games I would gladly fork over 60 bucks over a PS3/4 title any time. They dont have to be sequels, just the same basic concepts from said titles is good enough. Hey, at least it’ll be ‘different’ and different is good, because it REALLY what SE needs right now.

  • Umar Fong Wong

    So the cutscenes in X has been altered …….
    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha …. in HD!!

  • Can’t wait to find out about FFX-2 touchscreen features… *looks at Senran Kagura* OH WAIT!

  • DriftSlave

    When I can pre-order LR:FFXIII from Gamestop I will add it to the list of many pre-orders, KH1.5HD, Tales of Xillia, PxZ, Dragons Crown, and many other games are on my pre-order list.

  • Sylveria

    You keep using the word “cool”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Hedge

    Yay, thank you SE for finally making a vast and expansive FF with exploration as a selling point – and then putting a time limit on it, forcing you to play through it multiple times to experience everything!

  • SunOatBoatMatadorQuattro

    Mmm… They really need to do something about the voice acting. It was acceptable in 2002 when Metal Gear was the only franchise with good voice acting but if a game is released in 2013 with that acting quality it could be laughable. Take into account that this is game that relies a lot in voice acting.

  • DerpEnix

    Dont care about their plans unless its to take the thumbs out of their asses and release good shit like Type 0 worldwide instead on insisting that it cant do well outside Japan, I hate their whole region exclusive nonsense over the years then complaining about not making a profit when they pull that crap

  • artemisthemp

    I hope FFX/X-2 will have Cross-Save feature, so I can continue my FFX on my Vita.

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