In an interview at the Game Developers Conference Taipei Summit 2012, the directer of Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, Motomu Toriyama, admitted “The development time was quite long. Within our company, developing on PlayStation for Final Fantasy XIII we required a huge amount of graphical data. … At the peak, there were over 200 people working on it.” That is quite a lot of people, and communication between the different departments must have been hard, which he admits to. “With a large-scale development team, we didn’t use our time well. How do you communicate to everyone in the department what the drive of the game is? We decided we needed to create more practical milestones, not story-based ones.”
It is interesting to hear that maybe Square Enix will try to be more practical with its time and money depending on the scale of the project that it is trying to achieve. It’s not to say the games before hand and current are horrible, but every Final Fantasy game after Final Fantasy X has been seen as mediocre to bad by fans, even though I personally like Final Fantasy XII myself. That felt more like a fantasy than any other game in the series.
Toriyama then comes to a sense of realization when he expressed that when keeping a large-scale project a secret, things like game testing becomes harder to accomplish. Realizing that, he also has to include western technology and production techniques which could make the process longer. This in turn forced him to release Final Fantasy XIII without the changes he wanted to implement into it. So he released Final Fantasy XIII-2 with the changes that he would have placed in the original title. The director even admits, “We are also thinking that we will not do large-scale internal development any longer. We have a lot of great creators in Square Enix, but for larger-scale development we will be doing more distributed and outsourced development to reach our targets on time.” The director already has a set idea and plan ready it seems. “In the beginning of a month we decide the achievements for that month. We decide the core of what we need to do, and plan for that.”
So what do you guys think? Is his plan and ideas for how Square Enix does its development for future Final Fantasy games a sound idea? Let me see your comments below.