Final Fantasy XIII is finally coming to the Xbox 360 in North America and Europe that had all of us buzzing the moment it was announced. Now the problem with this is that there grew some concerns as to why a seemingly PlayStation 3 exclusive went multiplatform with the announcement of Star Ocean IV also a 360 exclusive. At least for the time being anyways. We heard a lot of buzz everywhere and from all the analysts and top notch guys at the conference and most were convinced something bigger is occurring between Square Enix and Sony. Something very seven-ish. To elucidate, Final Fantasy VII-ish for the PlayStation 3 only. After our preview of Heavy Rain for the PS3 behind closed doors, we caught up with Shinji Hashimoto for an interview of all things Final Fantasy XIII and any fallaciousness behind exclusivity in general and that of Square Enix titles.
WhatIfGaming: So, Final Fantasy XIII for the Xbox 360 is the biggest announcement Square Enix saved to make for E3 2008. How did all of this come to happen? Did Microsoft contact Square Enix and say: “This is what we want, let’s get to what we need to do,” or was it more of a company decision to begin with?
Shinji Hashimoto, Square Enix Ltd: To start off, it was more so a collaborative decision than anything. We have The Last Remnant, a 360/PS3 role-playing game that we have been working very hard for since it is development and this presented a lot of efforts for newer projects. We also recently announced multiple collaborations with tri-Ace for Star Ocean IV for 360 and of course Infinite Undiscovery. We want to share as much of our games with many people as possible and felt this was the right time to do so.
WhatIfGaming: But in order to share as much of its games as possible, wouldn’t Square Enix want to make Star Ocean IV on the PlayStation 3 as well?
SH: We want to share as many as possible, but sometimes certain conditions come in the way that prevent that. Next question please.
WhatIfGaming: Why is Final Fantasy XIII taking so long to make? I mean, we know that Square Enix is localizing the production towards these newer and upcoming titles for Fall, but there was more of an urgency to see something on Final Fantasy XIII in the near future. Instead, Square Enix is devoting time to Last Remnant and Infinite Undiscovery which is getting a lot of people embroiled. Even for us, it seems like Square Enix is taking a lot of titles under its belt and not really focusing on one especially Final Fantasy XIII for which we heard the progress is going awfully slow.
SH: That is quite a powerful question (laughs) but a good one. As for us taking too many titles under our domain, I have to disagree. We have teams working on all the projects all around but it is very well true that some are more in full focus than others. We want to take our time with XIII and get it out when it is ready and when we feel it is ready. It is a highly expected title so we want to give people the best.
WhatIfGaming: Alright, that makes sense.
SH: Just want to add that we are always trying our best for balance in titles and listening to what people are expecting of us and fulfilling that.
WhatIfGaming: Speaking of that, I know that the PR will be pretty pissed that I’m asking this anyways but you and I both know I have to. Even if it does not get an answer, I need to (fist clench gesture)!. Back when PS3 was launching, there was a pruriently impressive demo of Cloud at a subway station and all of that. Since then a lot of people have been asking and hoping for a remake of Final Fantasy VII only for the PlayStation 3. Will there be any announcement at all before the release of Final Fantasy XIII for an exclusive Final Fantasy VII on the PS3?
SH: (laughs) I hate to avoid this question but I will say one thing. We currently know a lot of people are asking for this but we are already very busy with all of the titles as you mentioned before to be even considering a remake at the moment.
WhatIfGaming: Mr. Hashimoto thank you for taking the time to answer all of our questions here today at E3 2008 and we look forward to being in touch with you for the future.
SH: It is my pleasure. Thank you.