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Final Fantasy XIII: March 9 In North America

Also, uh, Leona Lewis?

You can stop worrying: There are in fact games coming out early next year. One of them is Final Fantasy XIII, which Square Enix has just confirmed will release in North America on March 9. That's both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.

The company also confirmed the game's requisite pop song will be performed by... Leona Lewis. Still scratching my head a bit over that one, though at least this choice will curry more favor in Western markets than the Japanese pop stars that have contributed to previous games in the series. This also marks the first time Final Fantasy and Simon Cowell have come together in a meaningful capacity.

Hey, Square put out a trailer to promote this announcement. This trailer has a host. They are serious about this. 


  

While I'm throwing promotional business at you, here are three new shots of the game, along with the company pitch on the game's story and features (WARNING: STRAIGHT OUT THE PRESS RELEASE). Square would also like you to know that three new characters--Fang, Hope, and Serah--are now on display at the official site, too.

Story

Cocoon — a utopia in the sky.
Its inhabitants believed their world a paradise.
Under the Sanctum's rule, Cocoon had long known peace and prosperity.
Mankind was blessed by its protectors, the benevolent fal'Cie, and believed that tranquil days would continue forever.
Their tranquility was shattered with the discovery of one hostile fal'Cie.
The moment that fal'Cie from Pulse — the feared and detested lowerworld — awoke from its slumber, peace on Cocoon came to an end.
Fal'Cie curse humans, turning them into magic-wielding servants.
They become l'Cie — chosen of the fal'Cie.
Those branded with the mark of a l'Cie carry the burden of either fulfilling their Focus or facing a fate harsher than death itself.
A prayer for redemption.
A wish to protect the world.
A promise to challenge destiny.
After thirteen days of fates intertwined, the battle begins.
 

Features

  • Take Part in a Gaming Experience that Sets New Standards – The first in the series developed for a simultaneous release on multiple high-definition consoles, FINAL FANTASY XIII pushes new boundaries in cinematic presentation, sound and gameplay.
  • Experience the Unity of Speed and Strategy with the Ultimate Active Time Battle system – The familiar system has evolved, granting players the freedom of executing numerous commands in a single turn with the multi-slot ATB gauge. Whether inputting singular commands in each slot for consecutive attacks, or expending multiple slots at once to activate a devastating blow, it’s up to the players to respond effectively to the battle conditions at hand.
  • Adapt to the Ever-Changing Tide of Battle with Paradigms – A brand-new game mechanic enabling players to assign roles to their party members at any time during battle, shifting between combat paradigms. Consisting of various combinations of the game's six roles, ranging from Commando, the offensive specialist, to Medic, the quintessential healer, paradigms allow players to respond and adapt instantly to any given situation to turn the tide and seize victory.
  • Witness the Battle Scene Transform with an All-New Summon System – Introducing Gestalt Mode, a powerful dimension of the summon system that elevates the action to a whole new level. In Gestalt Mode, characters and their transformed Eidolons fight as one, dealing massive damage to enemies through simple button commands.
  • Delve into an Emotional Experience – An immersive storyline connects players to an intriguing cast of characters. Will they have the strength to confront their cursed fates, or will destiny prevail over all that they believe in?
  






Now that FFXIII has a release date and consequently is starting to feel more like a video game and not some nebulous idea, I'm actually kind of getting excited about this thing. Where's your hype level and what platform are you feeling for this one?     Brad Shoemaker on Google+
236 Comments
Posted by Brendan
@Video_Game_King said:
"Will anybody else buy this game for the 360? Or am I an idiot? Or both? "

360 buyer right here.
Posted by Brendan
@Alphiehyr said:
"The douche-bag narrator (wearing a white shirt and Grey suit) that said: "Now an exclusive never-before seen look at Final Fantasy 13" and then it rolls about a minute of gameplay with Lightning and her team fighting a creature on the desolated grassy land, surround by hills. I hate marketing fags like him. We've seen many, many Final Fantasy 13 battles through countless internet videos that are released by users or officials and/or have played the demo, why the FUCK would he exaggerate by saying "now an exclusive never-before seen look at final fantasy 13" when it's just some stupid battle scene that we've seen before and is no different then any other besides a slightly different team, scenery and beast. "

Why are you getting angry at the random dude who was hired to be given lines to say?  Be mad at the marketing guys at SE that made the commercial at least.
Posted by Brau

It looks like we've come full circle.  

  

 
 
Edited by momentarylogic

Please don't hate but there might actually be one thing that will keep me from wanting to play the next Final Fantasy, and I agree with anyone reading this comment that the reason is absolutely rediculous.  
 
Seeing "Paradigm Shift" pop up on the screen... it's just something about it, it just makes me want to vomit, and to have this happen more than once in the game. ugh.

Posted by Remy3k

The more I see of this game the more it's bumming me out, those menus look gaudy and like they fell out of 1997.  I still have some hope though, if the combat is solid im totally still in.
Posted by LaszloKovacs

Dude's a tad overconfident in his English skills, there.
 
And maybe a little overconfident in his "reading off the prompter" skills as well.

Posted by Meowayne

His prompter skills are oscar-worthy in comparison with Yamamoto's (see 2:50 for hilarity).

Posted by WinterSnowblind
@Slippy said:
" @WinterSnowblind said:
"@demonbear said:

" @ryanwho said:

" @demonbear said:

" @Vito_Raliffe said:

" Most likely the PS3 version for me. It just feels wrong for me to get it on the 360. "

Since it was developped on the PS3 first and adapted to the 360 second, this is the correct choice. "
In other words, don't play Fallout 3 or any first year multiconsole games, because they were developed for the 360 and ported to the PS3. Sound logic, goober, good luck with all that. Never forget, man.  "
Be a fanboy if you want, i don't care. All im saying is that if you have the choice, go with the console on which this game was originally built for. They came up with the 360 version pretty quickly, there's a rish there and one more thing :   CD Swapping. "
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_Tools
 The game was NOT developed on the PS3.  It uses a specially created system on a PC platform to make porting it over to either Windows, PS3 or 360 as easy as possible.  (or even the Wii, although that obviously wouldn't be possible in this case)Although the PS3 version has been worked on the longest, there's no reason to beleive there will be any significant difference because of the Crystal Tools.
That's not totally true. Try not to asume everything you read on Wikipedia is the whole uncut truth. Crystal Tools was not unvelied until GDC2008 - a whole two years after the game had been show at E3 2006 running on PS3 hardware. It's precursor, the White Engine, had been specifically designed to take advantage of the Cell's SPUs (4 out of the 7 iirc, back when IGN interviewed them post-E3 2006). The engine was not initially designed to be for games or platforms outside of Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII on PS3 - it was only made multiplatform friendly later on to accomodate an Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII, which was unsurprisingly announced a couple of months after GDC.   So yes, there was a large gap of time before Crystal Tools inception, dating back as far as 2005, when the game was being developed only on the PS3 under the White Engine. You are also forgetting Square's own words regarding the 360 version - they will only begin the porting process after they have finished the main work on the PS3 version. This further cuts down on the amount of time they are allowed to spend on the 360 version. The early 360 taster they showed at E3 2009 demonstrated a framerate quite a bit worse than it was in the PS3 Advent Children demo. Now, not to sound like a pessimist, but it isn't as good a situation on 360 as you are imagining it to be. It's not like they are using an engine as versatile as Capcom's MT Framework engine - that thing is like a poster-child for multiplat engines, yet even it had some serious teething troubles on PS3 and has only now started to show some real platform parity. "
Unless you're getting this information from somewhere you can provide a link to, I'd say this is purely speculation.  We have no idea how their own specialised systems work, or how long they've been working on the 360 version for.  Unlike most, I find it very hard to believe they only decided to work on a 360 version more recently and much of Square's "own words" can be put down to poor translations or misinterpretations.  The gameplay footage they showed of the 360 version looked near identical to the PS3 one and most definitely did not have any frame rate problems, so I'm not sure where you're getting that..  Plus this footage of a near complete 360 version which "won't be worked on until after the PS3 version is complete" was shown well before the PS3 version would have been finished.
 
But the most important thing to remember is that unlike porting games to the PS3, there are relatively few problems with porting to the 360.  I don't see this being the 360 version of Ghostbusters, or Bayonetta.  This footage alone shows that 360 owners have nothing to worry about.
Posted by bambionice

OF ALL TIME!!
Posted by Jim_uk
@lightsoda said:
" Japranes peopre shouldn't speak english. "
You should try it.
Edited by Slippy
@WinterSnowblind:
I'm getting all this information from reading interviews and actually following the game since it was debuted. It has been quoted that the PS3 version is utilising 4 of the 6 SPUs in the Cell, was being optimised for PS3 exclusively blah blah, all lthe way up to the debut of Crystal Tools. I'm not going to hunt down links for you - it's well enough documented if you look, as we all know how probing the gaming press was regarding PS3 development difficulties. Crystal Tools mainly took steps to transition the development back to the PC as the cost of PS3 White Engine development was becoming too high, and it was becoming apparent that their lead platform sales were not meeting expectations.  
 
From what i've read on blogs such as Digital Foundry, it's likely that they introduced multi-threading to the engine to accomodate the 360's CPU. The Cell and the Xenon are similarly powered CPUs, but the architecture is different and a game will need some work to get it up and running. Porting a game to a different architecture is not a simple task. Easier to go from PS3->360 than 360->PS3, but still not 'easy'. The consoles are similarly powered with a slight edge going to the 360 in the GPU department, but that doesn't mean that it can just apply brute force to every situation. It'll probably handle alpha effects better, but the RSX can do things like shadowing pretty much for free (see: Modern Warfare 2, GTAIV without dithering). And I don't see the 360's 'free' anti-aliasing coming into play as the PS3 version is already using 2xMSAA, unless they want to waste resources going for 4xMSAA on 360.
 
And re-read what I said about the 360 version - it won't be worked on until the "main work" on PS3 has been finished. Games having the main work finished early but releasing much later is common - Heavy Rain and Alan Wake spring to mind.  It's just a case of how long the polishing stage will last. Square have probably had everything laid down and relatively complete since June or July 2009, and were just in a state of polish until late October when it's shipped off for certification and manufacture. The PS3 version will continue to be optimised and improved alongside the port to 360, so the fact still remains that the 360 is getting less time devoted to it AND is also having to keep up with ongoing development.  
 
I don't see what can be misinterpreted about starting a 360 version after the main work on PS3 is complete - come on now, It's not like their interviews were completely lost in translation.  If they had started it back in early 2008 or so, they would have said. Hell, they still haven't even revealed exactly how many discs it will ship on. Frankly, I would rather believe what comes straight from the horses mouth rather than some musings on a forum. I doubt your claim that the 360 was 'near-complete' is accurate either. They showed a 5 minute section taken from right at the beginning of the game, which was probably built specially for E3. And as I said before, the PS3 game is gonna be mainly done at around that June timeframe when E3 was held.
 
And yes the framerate was choppy. Several posters on Neogaf who actually own the PS3 demo commented on it with concern. Indeed, looking at the footage, it dipped a fair number of times into lower numbers than the PS3 version. But shit, I can't exactly leap over to your monitor and point it all out for you..
Posted by Maxszy

Really looking forward to this! More RPGs, yay! Can't go wrong with that!
Posted by AutomaticSnake

i dont know about this game it looks gay and combat is like wtf... jap games have been pretty crap lately...

Posted by AnthraX

I hope FF13 turns out OK. I'm a little skeptical because it seems to be missing something IMO. this is the crew who made FF X-2 and I didn't care for that one at all. I hope all turns out well and I hope I'm just being paranoid about it.

Posted by Ham08

I'm buying it for the PS3, then I'll have TWO games for that system along with Valkyria Chronicles!  LOL

Everything else I have bought for the Xbox360, PSP, NDS, or the PC.


I am a big fan of the Final Fantasy series, but 12 was my least favorite because the battles were boring and I was never really interested in politics, not to mention the main character was just a tag along little kid.   The graphics are absolutely beautiful in FF13, though.  And I love the character art.  I'm definitely going to buy it, I just hope the combat is more fun than the typical button masher on offer.

Posted by AnthraX
@Kyle: Exactly! I was thinking the exact same thing when I was writing my post.
Posted by Rahvar

I'm getting it for the PS3, mainly because I prefer the system. Not in a fanboy way since I do own a 360, just various factors including the controller that makes me chose the PS3 version.

Posted by DukesT3

And I will see you in '10!

Posted by CrescentFresh

"The most anticipated gaming experience of all time" ? Please, this isn't 1997.

Posted by mracoon

People shouldn't be surprised that the two version are releasing simultaneously because they announced that way back at E3. It probably would have been out this year if they didn't have to release them at the same time. Also the article title really should be changed to include that it's being released on Europe on the same day as otherwise it's kind of misleading.

Moderator
Posted by Karmum

All is left to ponder now is if I will have a PS3 by March, or if I will have to play the X360 version.

Posted by skins2153

If he announced the release date at the beginning that would have been better.
 
Imagine if at the end, for whatever reason, it hinted at our precious FF7remake.

Posted by AzureSupernova

Leona... fucking... Lewis? Meh... she's not that bad a singer actually, though I usually enjoy the songs featured in FF, here's looking at 1000 Words
Posted by Kombat

PS3 version here.  Nothing against the 360, but I don't want to deal with disc swapping, and I'm sure the visuals will be better on Sony's powerhouse.

Posted by RYNO9881

There something about this guy. He's cooler than you and he knows it.

Posted by woltkezero

FF hasn't been good since FF9 for me.... FF10/10-2/12 disappointed me.  FF11 had a clunky interface and what not, only thing I liked about it was Cross compatible :-)  Still I got to say FF13... Looks great..maybe I will pick it up.  I'm more curious about FF14(MMO).
Posted by Myrmidon

I'm looking forward to this. I'll definately go for PS3 though, it would just feel totally wrong to play a final fantasy game on anything else. Unfortunately, that means I need to actually buy a PS3.

Posted by Raspinudo
@Adamantium said:
" Game looks cool, but I had to wiki Leona Lewis just to find out who she is. If they're not gonna use some J-Pop star that I've never heard of, what's the point?  Edit: also that dude's a tool. I'd rather have some unintelligible Japanese dude in a t-shirt telling me to buy the game; it just feels right. "
Agreed.. 
This game is going to be a ripping good time, although im more excited for versus and FFXIV
Posted by jmrwacko
@Meowayne said:
" @xyzygy said:

FFXIII is going to have to be insanely good if it wants to top Lost Odyssey. "

This. I hoped XIII was going to improve on the storytelling, but every trailer tells me that this is not the case, quite the opposite. It seems to be the same melodramatic embarrassment that Lost Odyssey was; only Lost Odyssey made up for that in the combat and dungeon/level design department. "
Is melodrama a bad thing? FFVII is one of the JRPGs ever, and it's got melodrama pouring out its eyeballs. Then again, that characterizes basically every JRPG.
Posted by jtavano1

 I'm gonna play this, and for the 360, because that's what I own and because I don't have any loyalty to a particular system anymore. I'm a huge fan of FF, and by huge fan know there are some to be skipped (X-2, XI, XII, etc.). They've put a ridiculous amount of time into this one, so I can't wait. 
 
And the theme songs always suck, so who cares. The in-game music always shines.

Posted by Adamantium
@Raspinudo said:
" @Adamantium said:
" Game looks cool, but I had to wiki Leona Lewis just to find out who she is. If they're not gonna use some J-Pop star that I've never heard of, what's the point?  Edit: also that dude's a tool. I'd rather have some unintelligible Japanese dude in a t-shirt telling me to buy the game; it just feels right. "
Agreed.. This game is going to be a ripping good time, although im more excited for versus and FFXIV "
QFT. Versus looks good, but FFXIV is gonna be simply awesome. Can't wait.
Posted by Xeiphyer
@AzureSupernova said:
" Leona... fucking... Lewis? Meh... she's not that bad a singer actually, though I usually enjoy the songs featured in FF, here's looking at 1000 Words "
Ah.. yeah that was a good song. Same with the opening haha. I really hope FF13 has an amazing opening.. Can't wait!!
Posted by Karmann
@Brau: @Brau said:
" @pirate_republic: I just saw this guy in a different spot for Lawyers.com. 
  
  I guess he's just like the rest of us.  Gotta pay the bills somehow.  They should have had the woman in this spot host the Final Fantasy promo in a wardrobe furnished by Team Ninja.  We'd probably have fewer complaints. "
HEY! IT'S SOME GUY!!!!! I'M A HUGE FAN!! ...LOL
Posted by Floppypants

That promo is hilarious.  The amount of hyperbole had me in stitches.  You'd think FFXIII is the greatest human achievement since the moon landing.
The best part is that the game itself looks like a train wreck, lol.  I'll be playing God of War 3 and I'll let Giant Bomb tell me if FFXIII is worth picking up too.

Posted by Asurastrike

Wow, the actual game parts look like a mess.

Posted by TIGER

WOOT!!