Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania is a behind-the-scenes production book about the game, released by publisher Square Enix, that gives readers insight into the development process and decisions that led to the final product.
Videogames blog The Lost Gamer recently translated select extracts from the book, which shed some light on why certain decisions regarding the game’s content were made, including the reason Final Fantasy XIII doesn’t include hub towns and is a far more streamlined and linear game than its predecessors. It would appear this decision arose from game director Motomu Toriyama’s desire to emphasize “non-stop” story advancement over traditionally playable game content, coupled with time and budget constraints involved in developing for a high-definition game console.
“Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve HD, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style,” reads a quote from Toriyama. He goes on: “In the limited period of development time, to convey the the great story that deserves the name of Final Fantasy, and to convey the battles that entertain players enough, we condensed each element.”
As previously reported, FFXIII protagonist Lightning’s home and rebel squad Team Nora’s secret base were among the elements cut from the final build of the game, allegedly due to “concerns about game balance and game volume.” The game’s art director Isamu Kamikokuryou has gone on record stating that enough content was cut from the retail build of Final Fantasy XIII to develop an entirely separate game.
It appears this train of thought also applies to a potential Playstation 3 remake of Final Fantasy VII. In a separate quote, Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase states, “This issue is related to whether a Final Fantasy 7 remake will happen or not. It is very hard to make games on PlayStation 3 in the same style as the games in that era had. Making graphics will take enormous time.”