When it comes to Final Fantasy, Square Enix has traditionally appeared to be a firm believer in that old adage "the best things come to those who wait." Because they sure have made those of us in the English-speaking world wait inordinate amounts of time after each installment's initial Japanese release before we could get our grubby hands on a localized version.
Not so Final Fantasy XIII, according to an interview on VideoGamer.com (via Joystiq), which indicates the company wants to get FFXIII out in Europe and North America much more quickly this time. Longtime series producer Yoshinori Kitase put it thusly:
"...it takes about half a year between the release in Japan and the release in North America, and another half a year before it's released in Europe. But we would like to minimise this, this time. For example we have already started recording English voices, and also the text localisation has been in progress, too. Normally we complete the Japanese version first, then move on to the US and EU versions, but this time there are some tasks that are happening simultaneously. So this time we're hoping to release sooner than a year later than the Japanese release." Commenting on the gap between the US and EU release, Kitase said: “We would like to make the gap as short as possible.”
Especially good news for those of you in Europe. Joystiq cynically points out this will allow Square to put out the inevitable "International" follow-up version even sooner, but I'd like to think it's just a sign the company grasps the popularity of its core series in other territories--and the importance of catering a little more specfically to those markets.