In two separate chats I asked Jeff Bell, Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing, and Peter Moore the head of Microsoft’s interactive entertainment division if they could have one third party Japanese franchise on the Xbox 360 which would they pick. Mr. Bell immediately responded with Final Fantasy. Mr. Moore let out an optimistic roar for Mario and I mentioned that since it’s Nintendo's that is probably not going to happen. After Mario, Mr. Moore picked Final Fantasy. Mr. Moore said he would “go all the way to Japan” to make Final Fantasy an exclusive on the Xbox 360 and he mentioned that there have been talks about bringing Square-Enix’s RPG series to the Xbox 360.
Mr. Bell seems more enthusiastic about seeing Final Fantasy on the Xbox 360. “I think now it’s very clear we are here to stay and that we are going to sell an awful lot of consoles globally. I don’t think we have to be quite as persuasive as we needed to in the past. You can see that with our line up that we have available now. We have a lot of third party exclusives and we are very proud of that. How far [would we go to bring Final Fantasy to the Xbox 360]? I think what we would like to do is convince anyone they are going to make more money by partnering with us than they will by spending the money developing and partnering with the entire industry.” If part of Final Fantasy XIII came on the Xbox 360 Mr. Bell said, “that would be a start”.
In a candid chat Mr. Bell acknowledges that the Xbox 360 isn’t selling well in Japan, even though there are RPGs on the console. “We are not happy with our situation in Japan. We’ve got a great team though. Sensui-san is doing a great job at making things better. We launched Blue Dragon and our sales have doubled. Now granted that’s a thousand a week, so that’s not enough. We are at least we are making progress. We hope that we double again when we do Lost Odyssey. We are very happy about Trusty Bell or Eternal Sonata coming to the platform. What we got to do is win over the confidence of the third party publishers that they can bring the great titles that are Japanese inspired and continue to grow the install base and have a console for everyone.”
Besides Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonata and Lost Odyssey the Xbox 360 has other RPGs coming out this year including Bioware’s Mass Effect.
I asked Mr. Moore if he felt that Lost Odyssey is a competitor to Final Fantasy XIII. “I think Sakaguchi-san certainly has a competitive spirit in his mind. I think he would like to see it do very well and compete with Final Fantasy. But we needed Lost Odyssey to be Lost Odyssey. I think they (the Playstation crowd) are going to look at Lost Odyssey as is in the spirit of Final Fantasy.”
On other Xbox 360 RPGs I asked Mr. Moore about the status of Blue Dragon 2 and he said, “It’s a rumor”. On Infinite Undiscovery Mr. Moore said, “I haven’t seen the game recently, but think it’s going well. I haven’t been to Japan in awhile. I’ll be in Japan in September and I’ll probably have a look at it then. ” Will we get to see it September? “I’ll know more I get there.”