Square Enix blew a lot of minds at last year's E3 with the announcement that Final Fantasy XIII would hit the Xbox 360 day and date with the PlayStation 3 in North America. But the company didn't start working on a 360 version of the hotly anticipated RPG till shortly before this year's E3. Longtime series producer Yoshinori Kitase had this to say at the show last week when I asked how the game's cross-platform development is going.
Up to the trial demo version that was released [in April] in Japan, [FFXIII] was PS3-only in terms of development... The Xbox 360 version is definitely following after the PS3 version, but [we] were finally able to come to a point in the PS3 development where some of the staff could take their hands off and start programming the 360 version.
To be fair, Square is building FFXIII on its cross-platform Crystal Tools engine, which is probably easing and expediting the porting process to some degree. But I'm still impressed they got the game into a playable state in such a short time, as indicated by its appearance at Microsoft's E3 briefing. Here's what that looked like, in case you forgot.
If you're especially interested in how FFXIII is going to make the console transition, Eurogamer recently posted an exhaustive and technically informed breakdown of the forthcoming 360 port, based on analysis of the PS3 demo. If things like alpha channel and fill rate get you excited, I really recommend you go take a look at their findings. Since it looks like the differences will be minimal, my choice of platform will probably come down to my love of achievement points versus my desire for a Japanese language track--and I think you know how that's going to end up. How about you?