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FFXIII focus feedback came "too late," devs admit


Despite conducting global focus testing on FFXIII following concerns that the game's linearity may not appeal worldwide, feedback arrived "too late" to be implemented, the team's confessed.

"We were already quite far along in development, and knew it would be too late to implement most of the feedback from the player test sessions," FFXIII devs Motomu Toriyama and Akihiko Maeda wrote in the latest issue of Game Developer (via Kotaku and GSW).

"Even so, we still signed up for the opportunity, as this would be our only chance before the game's release to see how western players would respond to all that we had been working on."

The game, which was heavily criticised for sticking to the JRPG staple of linearity, became a worry for the team as it realised its traditional approach was unlikely to hold sway with a surging western games space.

"Even before the current generation of consoles was introduced, it was obvious that the game market in the West was gaining momentum, and we couldn't ignore it," Toriyama and Maeda added.

"The sentiment that stood out the most to us at the time was the increasingly harsh criticism towards JRPGs.

"Linearity and command-based battles were two of the features being perceived negatively. This was something that the team was very conscious about, and there were concerns about whether JRPGs would still be accepted in the West.

"Because Final Fantasy XIII's mission was to succeed worldwide, we could not ignore this issue, as we felt it could deeply affect the future of the franchise."

Final Fantasy XIII released last December in Japan for PS3, with a western release last March for PS3 and 360.

The game was announced to have sold 5.5 million units in May this year.

The game will release in Japan for 360 in December as an International Edition.

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Patrick Garratt

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Patrick Garratt is a games media legend - and not just by reputation. He was named as such in the UK's 'Games Media Awards', the equivalent of a lifetime achievement award. After garnering experience on countless gaming magazines, he joined Eurogamer and later split from that brand to create VG247, putting the site on the map with fast, 24-hour a day coverage, and assembling the site's earliest editorial teams. He retired from VG247, and the games industry, in 2017.