Final Fantasy X HD’s struggles & Lightning Returns: FF13′s ‘world driven’ play discussed by Square-Enix

Friday, 21st June 2013 08:57 GMT By Dave Cook

Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD is a neat release if you’re a fan of the original games, but it hasn’t been an entirely smooth project for Square-Enix, while Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13′s ‘world driven’ play has proven to be a coding challenge on the company’s Crystal Tools engine. The heads of both projects have discussed their struggles in a new interview.

Speaking with, Final Fantasy series producer, Yoshinori Kitase shed light on the challenges that came with bringing Final Fantasy X and its sequel into the HD age.

Kitase began, “Just getting an SD quality game and turning it into HD isn’t something we’d settle for. 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.”

The focus of the chat hen shifted to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 director Motomu Toriyama, who explained that while Final Fantasy 13 was quite linear, Final Fantasy 13-2 came with a much broader scale. This scope will continue in the third and final game, but it was a challenge to create this – as he called it – ‘world drive’ style of play using the studio’s Crystal Tools engine.

“Final Fantasy XIII was ‘story-driven,’” he stated, “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.

“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.

“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.”

What do you think of all three projects so far? If you missed the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 trailer from E3, you can check it out here.

Thanks Siliconera.



  1. machy

    let’s hope this ends with the current gen, I can’t stand seeing my be loved FF seires in bad shape next gen as well

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    “Final Fantasy XIII was ‘story-driven,” he stated, “as it was developed to be a game that focused more on the story.”

    Ell ooh ell.

    What next? Kojima can write?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. salarta

    Toriyama’s obsession with time mechanics continues to suggest to me that he hopes for an opportunity to ruin the Chrono series just like he ruined the Parasite Eve series and FF13. I hope to god he never gets the chance; at least let one old great IP remain free of his awfulness.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    @3 Ssssshh, don’t give him any ideas…

    #4 2 years ago
  5. CycloneFox

    “Final Fantasy XIII was ‘story-driven,’”

    That’s ok and all. That’s waht we love about Final Fantasy in general. The problem is, that Final Fantasy XIIIs story was boring, irreproducible, the world was implausible, the characters were mostly dislikable and the story and gameplay consisted only of the stupid plot. No city to explore, no character storys, no whatever. Only stupid textbox sidequests at the end of the game, to power up and kill time.

    FFXIII-2 was alot better btw.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. dizzygear

    FFXIII felt like an unfinished mess as the result of the development hell it was in.
    The story made no sense, the game mechanics made no sense (seriously wtf was up with the upgrade system), the world setting made no sense (talking statues giving you quests…) etc etc

    Id like to give FFXIII-2 a chance but the DLC costs more than the game these days.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Clupula

    Personally, I liked both the story and characters of XIII (okay, Hope inspired a Vaan-level of hatred for the first 15 hours of the game).

    Lightning is probably my favorite female protagonist out of the entire series. Not my favorite character, but my favorite female one.

    #7 2 years ago

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