If there’s one thing this generation of gaming has been, it’d have to be unpredictable. Sony has had to play catch-up for several years, Valve has released a polished title on the PlayStation 3 (Portal 2), and most of all, Square Enix has been in a slump. Final Fantasy XIII has been just one of several causes of concern for one of the world’s best RPG series, and while the game wasn’t bad by any means, it definitely didn’t meet the enormous expectations set during its over five-year development cycle.
Square Enix Developer and Producer, Yoshinori Kitase, was recently interviewed by GameReactor and shared that he feels the development of FFXIII took far too long. He stated:
The current generation console, Final Fantasy XIII, was obviously the first game, and personally I think we took a little too long getting it out.
When you think of Western triple A titles like Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Assassin’s Creed, they seem to work with a lot shorter turnaround – they make a new game in 1-2 years. That is something we need to follow up, because that seems to be the best way to keep our fans interested and attracted to the franchise.
It’s understood that a large part of the development cycle went into the new Crystal Tools engine which will also be used for subsequent releases. What was probably most frustrating is that as development took longer to complete, competing games improved graphically extremely quickly, so Square Enix felt the pressure to go back and polish the visuals to ensure that they were competitive on its release in 2009/2010. Thankfully, Final Fantasy XIII-2 has taken fewer than two years to complete, which is partially because it uses a large amount of the assets used in the previous game. Even then, it sounds like Square Enix doesn’t want to spend five years development any games in the future, so hopefully we don’t have to experience that pain again.