Motomu Toriyama, the director said to have been the driving force behind Final Fantasy XIII’s notorious linearity, has stated once again that the main reasons for the changes were that he wanted a “story-driven” game and that it was too much trouble to make “not truly important” elements like towns in HD; he does however promise that towns and traditional RPG elements will be returning in future titles.

The development process was, he says, limited by the amount of effort required to make non-linear environments, echoing his previous comments:

“In the previous Final Fantasy games on non-high definition consoles, we were able to kind of take everyone’s ideas and include them in the games.

I call it a bento box system, where you have all of the different little things in there. So we had minigames or towns were you were able to talk to all of the townspeople. But with the HD console you’re not really able to do that because it takes so long to develop.”

Odd that Bioware and others seem to have managed what Square Enix claims is impossible even with some of the highest budgets in the industry.

“If you think about how long it’s already taken to develop this game, to have to have included all of those other aspects, it would have been too long.

So what we did instead was define what was truly important to the game, and include those aspects and really emphasize those items we wanted to include.

We had to consider the amount of time it took to create the game engine, which we built from scratch, as well, and so with that additional time included we had to decide what we could and couldn’t do.”

Asked directly if it might not have been better to pursue towns rather than cut them completely, Toriyama is dismissive:

“You can wait longer for the game where we can improve those elements!”

He also admits he personally made the design decision to strip out the traditional RPG elements:

“Personally, the Final Fantasy games that I have worked on have been very story-driven, so in terms of the development I wanted to, of course, use my personal strengths which where those.”

He does however seem chastened enough to promise their re-inclusion in future titles:

“The next title that we will create will have those elements, and the improvements to those elements that you were mentioning.”

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    Comment by Anonymous
    12:25 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well I'm a long time fan of the series and I was bashing on the game before playing because of all the things i read/saw/heard about it and now when I have it I must admit that it is not what expected but still one hell of a good looking game, its like they really made one hell of an engine and now we're just gonna have to wait for the real deal to come out.

    The game is all about great graphics and no loading times so its all in one hell of a ride. It reminds me much of FFVI where you have the characters splitting up all the time (but without choosing party members). 10 first hours of the game is just pushing the X button and walking a straight path. I cant understand how ANY gamer would like that (if you're not SUPER casual).

    They really did a great job with character growth but not in an RPG-way. It feels just as if they made a movie/tv-show and wanted you to be involved through the fillers.

    I very much enjoy it as an experience but not so much as a game. Great battle system but it just take too long to get into the "hardcore-mode". Its not for a fan but rather for newcomers.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:11 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    After being sucked into the whole, "oh its sooooo bad of a game because it's linear" mindset I decided to risk it and buy it. Turns out it's really enjoyable and has a great cast. It's just as linear as X was, which wasn't so bad, and the battles are a ton of fun. So far I'd give a B+.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:38 14/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    X had dungeons with puzzles in them and multiple paths. X had towns and npcs with quests and secret unlockables. X let you change your party whenever you wanted.
    Comparing this game to X is like comparing the original megaman to megaman X. Sure, they're both similar but 'X' is clearly superior in every possible way.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:43 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    There is no such thing as a JRPG That name is fake. look into the truth and you will see that they are IAG's (interactive anime games) to even call it a rpg is an insult to the great emo in the sky.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:16 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What do you mean "again"?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:30 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    sheesh seriously I liked ff13..a breath of fresh change from a system stereotype.. if you like it buy it, if not rent it...or don't bother at all..I rarely let reviews affect my game purchase decisions...I read them reviews and weigh in on it..but most of the time if a game pleases my eyes and I like the way it plays out (there's youtube and tons of other sources anyways for game references) so you guys can bash ff13 for all it is and yet turn out to be hypocrites since you still bought the game and played it..(that alone has earned SE money) an RPG can range from a linear story telling game (like MGS4) or an action packed game like GOW3 or RE5...or can be both...to each his own taste...you don't like ff13? will your bashing change anything? no? by not buying the game yes you can change...but for every person who doesn't buy the game, another new guy will fill his shoes...so what's the point? I suggest you guys just enjoy it..

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:50 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This is a case of (most probably "Agile") software development gone wrong. Program manager pressures developers to implement the most important features first (ie, story), and to leave other features for later (ie, mini games, towns, more npcs, etc).

    Developers gives in and build the game architecture without taking into account (ie, stub subsystems, classes and function hooks) the additional features.

    When they're finally want to implement the mini games and extra towns, they find the game architecture to be too rigid to change.

    While I believe Square Enix has some of the most creative story tellers/game designers in the world, I think their (current) software development processes are far behind game companies like Bioware.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:24 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    if toriyama was talking about the battle engine, I'm more than statisfied with the ones from Crisis Core and Dissidia (FF7 isn't my favourite, but I think is the best Squeenix has made since FF 9). I just hope Agito doesn't become the PSP combo breaker.

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    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    15:49 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I will hold on to your promise, Square-Enix...

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:13 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    just give us Dissidia 2 and a sequel to Chrono Trigger/Cross and we might think of forgiving what Square-Enix did with FF13

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:39 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Chrono Break isn't coming, they have made so many denials it's not even funny any more, I wouldn't bother waiting; if it comes out rejoice, but don't expect it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:57 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I know about that, but I'm kind of disappointed with how the main series has evolved. Denying the FF7 remake and the Chrono sequel contradicts Squeenix's need for cashing in more money... what the hell are they smoking now?

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:14 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So they can't make towns in HD, yet their next game will have them? So their next game must be for a non-HD system? Megaton?

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:12 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm about 30 hours into the american version of the game. So far it's been great. It's no linear than parts of FFX and I enjoyed FFX. The story is good (I don't know what kind of story some of you are expecting). The environments look amazing. Chapter 11 has a huge open area that looks like it will take me a while to explore. It's not that they can't make freely explorable towns in FFXIII....I think they just wanted to do something massive with it and they just didn't have the time. FFXIII is nowhere near as bad as some of you guys say.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:25 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    So after playing through the game once already and now moving onto a second round to see if I can play out my characters a bit differently, evaluate different elements of the game. . . all in all soak in more I shall give my first impression.

    This game is no where as terrible as people seem to make it out to be. And you can rage, etc etc, but I had lower expectations for this game than it itself came out to be. It was no FFVII, but it also was not a X-2 or my least favorite (proper as I see it) FF which is XII. A bit too linear in many elements, I think Motomu hit off exactly what I want to see in the next FF. I honestly believe he got most of what he was aiming for right. This game actually gave me faith in a series and genre I was beginning to despise. Dragon Age and stuff is fine, but the characters and such of JRPG games have always appealed to me due to growing up with them.

    Linear yes. 2 character combat quite honestly sucks. Hope made me wish I could keep characters permanently dead. But it all worked out and showed improvements. Oh and in regards to the article as a whole. . . the first thing I noticed. A relation between Bioware and Square Enix. I'm sorry, I can't compare SE and Bioware. Similar games, different strategy/focus/characters/scenarios/etc.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:34 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I liked Final Fantasy X-2, it as fun, cheesy and had a laugh with itself; the fan-service got a bit much, but that balanced out with the great fun battle system, which was fast paced and had good tactics too, even if the gun-mage was utterly useless and you always ended up with one alchemist ;cos they're a little overpowered. It wasn't an epic story, and the characters where at times annoying, but it was an enjoyable ride which had you laughing and face-palming in a good way the whole way; and itching for the next big battle because they where so much fun. And as such, I would disagree with your review, and continue to believe that the game isn't good. I'll admit I've not reached the elusive 'one day of your life wasted before you can have any fun' mark, but I find the battle system is good, but not goo enough to keep me interested; the humour is sparse and horrible, and the story is nothing amazingly special if you compare it to 'story focused games.' There's nothing that keeps me interested for that long, and maybe it will all get better, but I still don't want to spend 20 hours of my life for it to; I could just play a game which starts out fun, and continues to be so.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:58 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's a simple. . . to each his or her own.
    X-2 is usually the brunt of many sad jokes in my friend circles. It provided a new edge of game play that I feel did find it's way into XIII unlike XII. I know a few folks who liked XII in terms of combat system because of the flexibility as they saw it. I still do prefer the combat roles of X-2 over the new synergist/medic/commando/ravager/etc roles of XIII.
    I suppose you can say that there is the full out day spent doing nothing. I didn't see that, maybe you are a bit slower (Hate me more for insulting you if you wish). I got through the grindfest of the game in a mere 16 hours. That's really very little compared to most RPGs these days. I felt XII was a lot more cumbersome. And as far as I am concerned, it's about moving forward. XIII is advancement from XII. Though at the same time I agree with my best friend who said, "This game feels like test run. They needed to scrap most of it at the end and redo a large part of it. Probably put off selling it for another 6 months and it could have brought a lot more to the table"
    So for now, I'll disagree with your review too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:38 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And now we wait five more years for FFXV. (FFXIV doesn't count-its a MMORPG)I didn't play FFXI for that reason. I'm one of those people that doesn't like to "Pay To Play" SUE ME!

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:50 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I prefer Eternal Sonata over Final Fantasy XIII.

    I've ordered on the internet both at the same day and I must say, I'd find Eternal Sonata's storyline interesting. Amazing enviroments, likeable characters, fun gameplay, and epic soundtrack. An underrated game for sure.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:42 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    haha, you're nuts. Eternal Sonata is a joke. XD Kid's game. XD

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:10 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I assume you haven't played the game. Don't judge by the looks, you idiot.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:24 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Just like Unlimited SaGa I presume?

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:30 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ok, have you played Wind Waker by any change? Do you think it's shit?

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:31 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wind Waker was cool, too easy, but it was a fun game, and makes to three heart running (or four, can't remember if this one forces you) pretty well. It was a well designed game in that respect, newer players could 100% it more easily because it was easy to track what you had, and veteran players where equally challenged by skill runs. Now may I ask what your point about the game is?

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:33 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Someone has already described FF13 like it is, a visual novel. Thats about as bad as it can get.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:59 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    in my opinion if FFXIII was a OVA o movie , they don't need to apologize in this moment

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:02 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The headline is horribly retarded...in a good way.

    Avatar of red candle
    Comment by red candle
    09:08 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Square Enix: “Next Final Fantasy will be an RPG Again” ....OK no shit what else would it be? Am I missing something? I'm not buying XIII after learning that the game is pretty much a straight path and that the developers said they were too lazy to include towns.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:54 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They weren't too lazy to make towns because there are towns in the game....they look amazing too...they just don't let you roam freely through all of it....so it's not like they didn't make them. (I been playing the game for a good while now).

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:36 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They modelled towns, making a town is a very different thing. Try GMing DnD, FUDGE, GURPS... game and you'll see what I mean.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:35 14/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Disguising a dungeon as a town doesn't make it a town. If you can't buy shit from stores, take quests from people, and use the various facilities, then it isn't a town.
    Mass Effect pretty much proved this guy is full of shit, not to mention even tales of vesperia managed to shove in tons of towns into a current gen console. Eternal Sonata was similar in that it was linear as shit, but had a good battle system, music and presentation just like this game. But even ES had towns in them, and you could BACK TRACK, GO OFF PATH, and EXPLORE DUNGEONS WITH PUZZLES IN THEM.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:14 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    All I'll say is so far this gen EVERY western rpg has been better than EVERY JRPG. Mass Effect 2 i hope it winks RPG of the year

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:04 16/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Seeing how Dragon Age was my first PC game/western RPG I am inclined to agreed even though Valkyria Chronicles is a good SRPG.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:03 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    FF7/8 were great!
    They need to go back to that type of game play.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:07 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The series died after IX.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:23 13/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    XIII is just fucked up movie with a minigame battle, nuff said.

    thx 2 you, toriyama.

    personally i dont think the story was THAT BAD, but still no better than even X.

    Toriyama, i would be glad if you step down from that fakken prestigious chair and give it to the more suitable one. thank you

    Avatar of Abel Liegod
    Comment by Abel Liegod
    14:14 16/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    they should do one like FF VIII
    now that is a final fantasy!

    Avatar of Bigall
    Comment by Bigall
    07:26 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    FF8 is not as good as FF6, FF5 or FF7. People should really try FF6. The game has bad graphics and sound compare to today's games (super fanicom or snes game), but the story is one of the best, along side FF7...

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:48 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I will get XIII when it hits the bargain bin it's not worth 60 bucks.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:29 16/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    XIII, to me, feels like a punishment for not liking XII. They took away the complete control and expxlotarion they had given us and handed us the linear, cutscene-laden mess that is XIII.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:29 16/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Not liking XII enough" that is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    20:40 17/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    FF games never were RPGs.
    They've always been stat based adventure games. When do you ever get to make any choices that affect the story? That's what RPGs are all about.

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:28 22/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    at least... there are some of JRPG that lead to different path and ending because of our action in the game.

    for WRPG...i don't know?? is there any?? all i know is the evil always got beated up by some dark/neutral/holy warriors.... nothing ever change from the past

    not that i hate WRPG, but WRPG also tend to very "short" and sometime the gameplay could be very easy in the long run.. the "feel" of fixed level mostly come from bioware games is a bit annoying for me (i love grind ^^)

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:37 26/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    “In the previous Final Fantasy games on non-high definition consoles, we were able to kind of take everyone’s ideas and include them in the games.

    ...But with the HD console you’re not really able to do that because it takes so long to develop.”

    You see what graphics are costing us? Stop focusing on them!

    Avatar of Vance
    Comment by Vance
    16:29 15/05/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yay. Maybe final fantasy will be worth playing again.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:33 04/08/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    seriously dont see how its that hard, like Bioware nail RPG so much on the systems just sounds like excuses. But I thought it wud suck but all the great reviews threw me off but now it all comes gushing out which is interesting.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:30 15/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    pulento la wea final fantasy forever

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:26 15/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I hope SE will produce RFG

    role fucking game

    so go hentai plissss you bastard SE

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:26 14/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can see the complaints has escalated in their intensity and reasoning. At this rate, FFXIII will end up being responsible for people's self-esteem problems, the economic crisis and murdering people's dogs...

    To be honest, I think FFXIII has been quite enjoyable. Sure, if you have played a lot of JRPGs, you will probably not be surprised by some of the twists and events. But overall, it is a very polished package with solid characters and fantastic visual. It is nice actually to see Square Enix experimenting with the RPG formula every now and then. FFXII didn't get the balance right, but FFXIII is a vast improvement. If Square Enix simply makes FFVII+1 iteratives, sure the fans will be pleased, but that's when the franchise is really going to die from stagnation.

    So yeah...don't hate FFXIII unless it actually does murder your dogs. Enjoy it while it lasts, the next one won't be here for a while.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:31 14/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, it sounds like that everyone was expecting FFXIII to be a sun of such perfection that its brilliance will erase all the empty voids in our lives that we need to play RPGs to fulfill.

    Unfortunately, it was only enjoyable...though from the way some people are complaining, you would think that FFXIII entered their houses at night and murdered their dogs.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:31 14/03/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh yeah?
    They are just trying to create an overhype by blurting out all these promises, I'm sure that in the near future they will refer to the next FF as "The best FF yet to come!". Just like with XIII.
    Don't let them fool you and make you fall into the trap people, Square games turned into shit after most part of the original FF team left Square Enix.

    Comment by Anonymous

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