An interview with Square Enix reveals that Final Fantasy XIII was actually initially developed as a PS2 game.
Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase reveals in an interview with a Dutch gaming rag that the game was initially destined for the PS2:
This is the first Final Fantasy on the PS3. In what way was the development different then with the previous installments?
This time we needed to work extra hard. Final Fantasy XIII was originally meant to be a PS2 title, but we had to switch systems due to the arrival of the PS3.
That cost us about one and a half years and was constantly a case of trial and error.
However, because we worked so hard at the beginning, we got to a cruising speed much faster than anticipated and therefore could start on the translation and international voice recording process at an early stage of the development.
It’s because of this that we can release both the European as well as the American version barely three months after the Japanese release.
He also claims “we did prepare DLC,” which apparently contradicts the developer interviews published in Square Enix’s own mook.
With the game supposedly in development even prior to Square Enix’s knowledge of the PS3’s release, it seems to have constituted a massive and lengthy undertaking for the company, making revelations that the game dropped its non-linear design elements due to the trouble of designing towns for modern consoles even more bizarre.
Fans could be forgiven for suspecting there is something about the game’s development process that Square has been careful not to let on.