E3 2008 FFXIII Details

One of the biggest news to come out of E3 2008 has to be the loss of Sony's exclusivity with a behemoth line-up called Final Fantasy. That's right, FF XIII is coming to Xbox 360 as Square Enix attempts to reach as broad of an audience as possible for its next epic role-playing game, which means bringing it to a Microsoft system in North America and Europe. Japan will not see an Xbox 360 release.

While I not completely surprised at this move, I am still in awe and denial -- this is a great loss only Sony, but I guess on the upside, Versus in still a Sony-exclusive (?). According to IGN's coverage, the team plans on cutting down the time it takes for games to go from Japan to North America to Europe. There also are no plans to have the games be different on Xbox 360 and PS3. Nothing has been decided for sure yet, but the team is looking at ways to compress the audio and pre-rendered cutscenes that take up a lot of data without affecting the quality when bringing the game from a blu-ray format to the DVDs that Xbox 360 reads.

As far as the battle system goes, details are still slim. The system is called "ATB" and is said to be an enhanced version of FFXII. FFX, for those that aren't in the know, did not display the enemies on the battlefield and then teleported the player to a separate screen for the randomly occurring fights. FFXII, meanwhile, had a battle system closer to what you find in a standard MMO where the enemies can be seen in and then engaged on the same screen. Kitase says he "took the best of X and XII and created something entirely new and evolved it... there will be monsters on the field but it's a little bit different from the MMO style that XII had."

Kitase spoke briefly about the audio direction Final Fantasy XIII is taking. The team is in the midst of casting voice actors for the Japanese version right now, so there are no key names that could be given. In terms of the music, the team will start working on putting together the soundtrack after the cutscenes are finished and polished to match them properly. This hasn't happened yet, but they do have an idea on what direction the music should take. For this game, the team would like to incorporate more voices and choral work.

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