Final Fantasy XV: The Title That Is But Isn’t Versus XIII
Far back in 1999 Final Fantasy and its fans met Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future. Her last words were “Time, it does not wait, not matter how hard you hold on, it escapes you.” Perhaps her last words were in fact a prophecy, a prophecy about Final Fantasy Versus XIII. I feel as though time has in fact escaped the fans holding on and waiting for this release. The first time the world ever laid eyes on Versus was in 2006. As we push through 2013 many fans are left wondering: What happened? How much work has actually been done? Is this game canceled? With quiet responses and scarce news answers to these questions are left in the darkness. But follow me! In this article I’ll be walking readers through the entire progress of Versus.
Let’s start back in 2006. At E3 gamers were put into drawn into footage about a certain game. That game was Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Many revered it as an interesting concept. While it shared the same title as the flagship title Final Fantasy XIII it was simply not related in any way shape or form. It was described as “Not merely a sequel, but a wholly independent story unfolding in a different world with different characters.” So right off the bat it was rather peculiar. To add to the news fans found out that the developing team would be none other than the team who created and developed the smash hit, Kingdom Hearts.
Tetsuya Nomura was appointed the director of Versus while also being put in charge of character design. Strangely enough costume design has been left to someone else. Usually character and costume design are covered by the same person, however this time around Square Enix took a different approach. They signed a Japanese fashion label onto the project. The brand is “Roen” and the creative director for the label, Himuro Takahara, will double as the costume designer for Versus to help promote the clothing brand.
The next few years went at a normal pace, much as many videogames do. Development had been on track though a release date was never set. Enix was working on several titles, with the completion of Final Fantasy XIII, Enix was able to force more manpower into Versus. 2009 approached with barely a whisper from 2008 about Versus.
The Tokyo Game Show was the next place Versus would be seen. And this time it would be seen by even fewer. In a private theater viewers were able to see the first gameplay footage. However Nomura commented that the footage was simply a demo run made to test their software and prove that it was still in production.
At Jump Festa 2009 main protagonist Noctis was displayed wearing his new costume. Designers took a more modern take on the clothing, adding pants and a jacket as opposed to his older model. 2010 approached with clear problems. Nomura announced in an interview that he was unsure if Versus would be making an appearance at the upcoming 2010 E3. As it turned out no trace of Versus was found at E3 that year.
In May many investors asked president Yoichi Wada about a possible XBOX 360 port. The internet exploded because many took Wada’s answer as a yes. He later clarified that his answer was neither a yes or a no. He added that a port is only made after a game has been developed. So news on a 360 point will be left unspoken until later developement of the game. The last news for 2010 came at the Tokyo Game Show when a brief trailer was shown. That however was the last news heard by fans until 2011.
January of 2011 looked nearly bleak in terms of release. This was not surprising to many fan. Rumors of cancellation or a renaming soared to new heights. This was almmost half true. Game producers decided their best bet was a name change. This change was kept quiet though. To the developmental world and staff the game was now Final Fantasy XV, though the public still knew it as Versus XIII. This change was brought on by the recent name change of Final Fantay Agito XIII and the unveiling of the next generation consoles XBOX One and PlayStation 4. This was the only news the public had throughout the year.
The world moved into 2012 and more eyes and thoughts shifted off of the tile. 6 years of progress was almost unheard of. This caused a multitude of problems. Originally Versus XIII was to be developed for the PlayStation 3, but with a limited life span on consoles developers feared further work on a PS3 title would end in failure due to the release of the next generation consoles. The other problem it posed was the name change. For unspecified reasons Enix could not make a public announcement that would re-dress Versus XIII as XV. Development was shifted to support the consoles that would be shown as E3 2013.
2013, E3. With the unveiling of new consoles Enix was finally able to announce Final Fantasy XV. It is to be multi-platform, made both for PS4 and XBOX One. Fans blew a sigh of relief and many were thrilled to see the title finally in full swing again. Gameplay trailers were shown during E3 to help raise morale.
We now push through the year knowing the game is fully underway and most fans eagerly await a release date. Most are hoping for a late 2014 or early 2015 date. I however am very eager to see just how far the title progressed from 2006 until now.