Final Fantasy XIII hasn’t been released in North America yet, but it has been out in Japan for almost two months, meaning that early impressions from the eastern hemisphere (and western importers) have begun trickling in. One of the game’s major complaints is that Final Fantasy XIII is too linear for an RPG, especially as part of a franchise that is known for its exploration and side quests. In a recent interview with the PlayStation blog, Square Enix’s Yoshinori Kitase, Motomu Toriyama, and Yuji Abe sat down to answer some fan questions about Final Fantasy XIII. Because of concerns about the game’s linearity, this one in particular caught my eye.
What do you say to those who say the game might be too linear? Does the accusation bother you?
The earlier part of the game was intentionally created to be a linear experience because we wanted to make the experience similar to a movie or drama where players really get to know the characters and what is behind their actions.
And also, since this is a brand new system for FFXIII, we wanted to take the correct steps to make sure players can control that system at will. So it is a surprise that so many people are commenting that the game is linear, but once you get into the area of Pulse in the game, it’s much more of a free world and the battle system really comes to life. And once you have a good idea of how to control it, you can go full force and it should be a completely different experience.
Reading this, I’m reminded of Final Fantasy X, which was fairly straightforward for the most part, but still an excellent game. I’m less worried about the linear aspect of FFXIII now that those concerns have been addressed. I just hope it doesn’t take long for the battle system to “come to life”, as was described above.
The rest of the interview is available for your perusal over on the PS blog. You can also check out some new screenshots from Square Enix in the media gallery below. Maybe if you flip through them really fast you’ll speed up time and it will be March 9 already. Seriously, give it a try.