FFXIII reviews seen “from a western point of view”, says Toriyama

Tuesday, 16th February 2010 11:54 GMT By Johnny Cullen


Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama has said to CVG he reckons the review scores so far for the RPG have been seen “from a western point of view”.

We think many reviewers are looking at Final Fantasy XIII from a western point of view,” he said.

When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like.

[It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you’re given that much freedom.”

Recently, reviews for the Japanese version of the game have been mixed. OPM UK gave the game a 9, but PSM3 was revealed last week to have given 70 percent.

For the record, what we’ve played of the Japanese version so far is awesome.

FFXIII is out in the west on March 9 for PS3 and 360.



  1. dirigiblebill

    Review from you at some point Johnny? :)

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Psychotext

    [It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you’re given that much freedom.

    So work harder. Why is everything that comes out of their mouths lately about how difficult it would be to do something?

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Johnny Cullen

    Na. :P

    What I’ve played was the first three chapters (two-and-a-half probably) before it just stopped working on me. :(

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Eregol

    I’ll be getting this.
    From what I’ve heard it’s structurally similar to FFX. Which I loved and finished twice.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight

    “[It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you’re given that much freedom.”

    I have to agree with him in a way look at Fallout 3 all that freedom yet it has a subpar story. Bioware games while great feel a little watered down especially with the same formula they use in every game. I remember games like Parasite Eve and Vagrant story better than I do Bioware or Bathesda games.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. PolyGoneWithTheWind

    When my Boss threatened to fire me because I spent all afternoon in the pub, he was looking at it from a North London perspective and not a South London perspective…

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Freek

    Mass Effect has already shown how to do freedom and a verry compelling storyline together.
    Sure, it ain’t easy, but nothing worthwhile is.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Hunam

    mass effect was both, mass effect 2 just forgot to add the story bit in.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Phoenixblight

    The story was not that compelling they follow the same formula in every game. There is a site with a template of how they make their games.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. OwningXylophone

    “When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like.”

    Because no JRPG’s that square have ever had their hands in are like that…

    #10 5 years ago
  11. M2Kx

    lol, sounds weak…

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Soong

    What’s their excuse for the lame storyline in FFXIII then? (yes, I understand Japanese) You really can’t get much more linear and dumbed down than FFXIII so according Toriyama’s logic the story should have been amazing – but it isn’t.

    Biggest disappointment of the year so far :(

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Hunam


    You would have been right untill Mass Effect 2, which doesn’t use the open – 4 hub – close formula.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Freek

    Oh i’m sure somebody can break everyhing down to a simpel hero saves the world chart, if you wanted to. They do that sort of thing for JRPGs aswell. But that’s missing the point somewhat. You expect certain themes and arc types to be there, but it’s usually with a new spin on things and it’s the details that determine the experience. Details that are somewhat in your control. That’s what makes the whole thing so great.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight

    It does just tie in the 12 members you have to get.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Hunam

    Yeah, but it’s done in a more chapter style way, and you don’t have to get them all, more focus is on side missions and more linear story missions.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. Hunam

    To be honest though, FFXIII seems to follow the same formula as X, which is just walk is a straight line the entire time and mix it up with battles and cutscenes rather than exploration and side missions.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. The Hindle

    This is from the development team who made FF 10 so i will like it i think.

    #18 5 years ago
  19. OlderGamer

    Here is the thing.

    You put the players char in a SETTING, a world if you like, with a backdrop. Then you allow the player to write their own story as they level up and progress throught the game.

    I have been saying this for years the whole idea of a story driven RPG is crap. You don’t play a story, your told a story. The game is what you do within the game. The things that you do, the events that you trigger, the quests you do, complete, unlock and such is the story being told. Without that freedom, your just along for the ride and have zero control.

    Maybe it is less that reviewers are looking at it with western eyes, and more that Toriyama is looking at with eastern eyes? Samething? No. Why? Because he trying to pedel his product to the open world market, while it is going to appeal to the JP market he has to expect it to be lost somewhat on the rest of the world market. First rule of writting(and I assume most forms of enetertainment) is know your audience.

    The west is no longer a captive audience that must rely on the games out of JP for its entertainment. I will take a western rpg any day of the week over anything SE or most JP rpg makers crank out.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Blerk

    If you want your games to appeal to an international market then surely you have to anticipate that Western reviewers will look at them from a Western perspective and tailor the games accordingly?

    Saying it’s ‘too hard’ to tell a story in a more open environment is a bit defeatist, I think. If they’re that worried about what the West thinks then it would be wise to take Final Fantasy back to the drawing board and reboot it completely.

    And if that makes it unpopular in Japan, then perhaps it’s time to split the series in two like they already did with XIII and VS, but this time having a Western-flavoured RPG on one side and a more traditional Eastern-flavoured one on the other.

    #20 5 years ago
  21. zoopdeloop

    Recently we’ve been hearing a lot of BS from SE.
    But they may have a point with this one.

    FFXIII isn’t like any other Wrpg out there.It’s more story driven but they did something that you rarely seen done this good in any other game in general…Character development where the story evolves more around your 6 characters,their emmotions that tries in a much better way for you to attach to them rather that the main story(the crysis in the game)…
    You could say FFXIII is in the Rpg genre what Heavy Rain is in Adventures.

    SE did gave more freedom with FFXII but you couldn’t attach yourself to the characters.Even the main character was non-existent in the game…thus many loved the freedom it had and the gameplay value but much more people especially fans of the series hated that it was underdeveloped in story and characters.

    I believe FFXIII couldn’t have much freedom the way it is now cause of limitations,whatever that means.
    Surely in the future SE or other Devs will find the best formula to combine a very deep story, very deep character development with a much free roam gameplay

    #21 5 years ago
  22. Blerk

    I’m sure someone will crack it, but I doubt it’ll be SquareEnix.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. Telepathic.Geometry

    WTF? If they’re western gamers from western sites and magazines, playing the western version of the game in the west, how the fuck are they supposed to review it from any other perspective?

    #23 5 years ago
  24. Dralen



    #24 5 years ago
  25. zoopdeloop

    i doubt it too Blerk.But seeing how good they can pull emotion out of a game and out of the themes in some of their games(which many of them can be called pieces of art excluding some of the OSt’s) i doubt other devs could achieve that any time soon.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Eregol

    I’ll be playing it from the perspective of lying on my sofa while drinking a beer.

    #26 5 years ago
  27. DaMan

    I agree with Older, pretty much all their stories have been told already. these games feel like predictable extensions of the same ones from 90s.

    I wouldn’t want them to make battle systems like in western rpgs though, they should just improve on the stuff like Valkyrie Profile or Star Ocean combat.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. DrDamn

    I think the point he is trying to make is that reviewers are wanting it to be a Western style RPG when clearly it’s an JRPG and should be viewed as such.

    I don’t get all the hard and fast rules people want to apply to a genre. Combat must be real time, worlds must be open etc. They are just preferences – they aren’t better than the alternatives, just a different approach. When done well they all have their merits. Genres today are all about variety and sub-genres. If you want a particular sub-genre then look for a game in that area, don’t bitch about one which isn’t and doesn’t want to be.

    #28 5 years ago
  29. Blerk

    I’ve found SE’s stories variable, zoop, but I’d agree they can pull a corker out of the hat on occasion. You do have to wonder if doing that at the expense of the game itself is a reasonable compromise, though – FF is supposed to be a game at the end of the day and SE may well find that in this day and age players aren’t as willing to accept being constrained for the sake of the fiction. Shouldn’t gameplay concerns be at least as important as the story itself rather than the entire game being specifically designed to fit around the story?

    #29 5 years ago
  30. zoopdeloop

    pretty much all their stories have been told?
    It’s like saying there’s no meaning in watching movies pretty much everything has been watched before…and yet we watch them “again”

    #30 5 years ago
  31. DaMan

    well, was Surrogates a great movie to watch, zoop? or The Air I Breathe? or something like that..

    #31 5 years ago
  32. Eregol

    To be honest I prefer to have a story to follow. It gives me reason toc arry on as I want to see what happens next.

    Creating my own story only works for me in something like WoW.

    It’s this reason why I like stuff like Uncharted and I loved FFIX and FFX.

    #32 5 years ago
  33. zoopdeloop

    I agree with you Blerk,but do you know that there are much more non gamers that fraud gaming overall,they find it too generic and for geeks and yet when they see something similar to the most common piece of entertainment they show admiration.
    My older sister despise video games yet with FFVIII (back then) she was asking me all the time what happens next,i wanna see this scene too e.t.c and thereafter she played FFVIII herself till the end (i had to train her though)

    #33 5 years ago
  34. Blerk

    Yeah, my missus is much the same – she’ll quite happily sit and watch me play a JRPG just for the story. But she’d never play herself, so those people really shouldn’t count in the grand scheme of game design unless you’re also going to go the whole hog and make a game that casuals can actual play as well.

    Personally I think they’re heading in the wrong direction. I don’t want less involvement in the story, I want more. I don’t want to feel like I’m watching someone else’s life, this is supposed to be ‘role-playing’ – it’s supposed to be my story. That’s not to say that everything they do is wrong, but given the hardware we now have at our disposal there really is no excuse for the games becoming more like films and less like games. If they want to make films then they should make films.

    #34 5 years ago
  35. Psychotext

    If they want to make films then they should make films.

    They tried that…

    …I didn’t mind it. Apparently it’s shit though. :D

    #35 5 years ago
  36. Gheritt White

    Real-time with pause FTW.

    #36 5 years ago
  37. NoxNoctisUmbra

    Face it, for an RPG, this game is too liberal..

    #37 5 years ago
  38. Blerk

    Watching Advent Children for the first time a few months back was one of the things that made me start wondering whether that FFVII remake was such a good idea after all.

    #38 5 years ago
  39. DrDamn

    Why does it have to be that way though? Surely that’s just your preference rather than the “wrong direction”. For me FF games are more about the battle engine with the story being something that keeps you going forward. The meat of the gameplay is the fights. Not every game needs branching story lines and multiple endings.

    #39 5 years ago
  40. Blerk

    It might not actually be the story, Doc – for me it feels like FF games have been gradually becoming more restrictive with each release since FFVII, more story, less game. Aside from FFXII which was… completely different. Let’s leave it at that. :-)

    #40 5 years ago
  41. DaMan

    @39 just out of interest, when did you start playing FF games? or jrpgs in general?

    #41 5 years ago
  42. Gheritt White

    Surely to be defined as an RPG, a game would at least need branching storylines (if not multiple endings)? I mean, if you follow the Gary Gygax model of RPGs, that is.

    #42 5 years ago
  43. DaMan

    yeah, these games were always more like adventure games mixed with rpg.

    #43 5 years ago
  44. Blerk

    I don’t think you actually need branching storylines and multiple endings as long as you feel in control of the story – that it’s your story that you’re playing out as you see fit, rather than a story that someone else wrote and you’re required to dance along to.

    #44 5 years ago
  45. DaMan

    how can you actually be in control of the story if you can’t change anything (no branching)?

    #45 5 years ago
  46. DrDamn

    First JRPG I played was Sword of Vermillion on the Megadrive, first FF was VII though I’ve played older titles as remakes post VII.

    #46 5 years ago
  47. DrDamn

    There is control of the story and control of how the story plays out. For example how you evolve your party’s skills will determine how you best defeat a big boss. The overall story that you beat them is still there but you controlled how you did it.

    #47 5 years ago
  48. Eregol

    I remember when Zelda games were refered to as RPGs.

    #48 5 years ago
  49. Blerk

    I said “feel in control”, DaMan – perception is everything. :-)

    #49 5 years ago
  50. Gheritt White

    Well, ‘A Link To The Past’ is still an RPG though, isn’t it?

    EDIT: No, it isn’t. Yet another reason I don’t feel bad about having never played a Zelda game.

    #50 5 years ago
  51. Hunam

    Erm… about that…

    #51 5 years ago
  52. DaMan

    Blerk – ah, that yeah I misunderstood.

    #52 5 years ago
  53. The Hindle

    Its funny that people on gaming forums say Western rpgs are better then the Jrpg but no western rpg has yet to have the impact that FF 7s aeries dying scene had on me or FF 10s ending which was absoluetly amazing.

    #53 5 years ago
  54. Blerk

    Mass Effect is the WRPG that immediately springs to mind when I try to think ‘Western RPG with awesome story’. I think SquareEnix could do a lot worse than buying a couple of dozen copies of that, giving them to the FF core team and telling them to come back in a couple of weeks with some ideas.

    #54 5 years ago
  55. Mike


    #55 5 years ago
  56. Gheritt White

    I’ll see your Final Fantasy VII and raise you one Planescape: Torment.

    #56 5 years ago
  57. Mike

    Johnny, you’ve only got the Japanese version, right? So the view “story” is pretty much moot until we get hold of a proper translation, innit.

    #57 5 years ago
  58. Psychotext

    no western rpg has yet to have the impact that FF 7s aeries dying scene had on me


    …I don’t ever recall a WRPG that had a scene like that in it though. There’s been a number of them which got me heavily invested in the story though.

    #58 5 years ago
  59. DaMan

    forget FF7, Planescape Torment was the Chrono Trigger of the west..

    #59 5 years ago
  60. DrDamn

    I always thought, and still feel, that Zelda games are effectively RPGs. Action RPGs yes, maybe lite-RPGs but still RPGs. Things aren’t always so clearly defined these days, genres blur.

    #60 5 years ago
  61. Hunam

    I think Zelda was seen as a RPG before the action adventure banner turned up, then we all had a meeting and decided it was one of them and not an RPG.

    There was scones and minutes and everything.

    #61 5 years ago
  62. zoopdeloop

    Eventualy it all comes down to preferences.
    Others prefer a linear gameplay with deep sentimental story with character development(more like a movie)where you follow and interact (in this case) on how the story being told.

    Others prefer less sentiment but a good story with a lot freedom in gameplay,making choices while progressing “making” the story themselves.

    But if you think about it just like many found boring Heavy Rain’s intro because you do things like in your everyday life so do many people find boring having too many choices/paths in a game where in real life almost every second is about choices and even some people don’t take them easily and eventually they feel confused

    In the end i don’t think it will be wise if every or each genre follows one certain formula…that will be boring.
    I don’t want Rpg’s to become generic like what most games have become this gen because they are influenced by a certain genre “shooters” just to be in the “trend” that is right now

    #62 5 years ago
  63. OlderGamer

    Lots of good sense to what you said there Zoop.

    #63 5 years ago
  64. theevilaires

    I’ve been wanting to say a lot about this, but the proof is in the pudding and the internet has spoken. If you own both systems and still pick up the 360 version you don’t deserve the title “GAMER”….I’m looking at you O’Connor (360 version of tekken 6…are you nuts?!)

    #64 5 years ago

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