Features / Weekly Musings

Versus XIII Gameplay: Why Did Square Enix Even Bother?

Versus XIII Gameplay: Why Did Square Enix Even Bother?

Written by Darryl — 03 Oct 2009

Final Fantasy Versus XIII has been in Final Fantasy XIII's shadow for quite some time now, as Square Enix have expectedly diverted all their attention towards their biggest asset. People had been hoping to see something new at TGS, but following Square Enix's announcement that Final Fantasy Versus XIII wasn't going to be shown there wasn't any real surprise.

However, there was surprise when reports surfaced that it was actually being shown, and of course Final Fantasy Union had to investigate. It turned out that gameplay footage was being shown in what was essentially their very toned down "Closed Mega Theatre".

This was the first time Final Fantasy Versus XIII gameplay had been shown, and the footage was recorded by a video camera that was pointed at a computer monitor. Not exactly the most compelling start, and certainly not the way to drum up enthusiasm or excitement. To compound this, the footage was actually quite dispiriting. It initially showed Noctis running around a town while displaying a very awkward looking running animation. Following this, he went outside into a Final Fantasy XII-esque environment, with some flying enemies surrounding him. All the time, there was a small box in the corner displaying his facial animations, which were changing, but for no real reason.

Obviously the game is still in development, but the question is, why did Square Enix decide to show this clearly under-developed footage? They've said it was a technical demo designed to allay people's fears about its development, but all it did was succeed in making people worry about a product they thought was going to be stellar. The audience in the Closed Mega Theatre no longer displayed the joy they had while watching the Final Fantasy XIII trailer, instead their faces displayed confusion.

Final Fantasy Agito XIII really impressed, and it's a game that's in a similar situation, so it's confusing why they didn't take a similar approach. The only logical explanation is that they didn't have a new trailer prepared, but they felt they had to show something, to convince fans that the game was still in production. If this is all they had to show, it would probably have been better to show nothing, or at least a modification on an old trailer.

Here's hoping the next time Square Enix decide to show something from Final Fantasy Versus XIII, that it's at least a bit more polished and represents the final product. Otherwise, what's the point?

Edit: It might be worth pointing out that this article isn't an attack on Final Fantasy Versus XIII, more, disappointment at what Square Enix showed. Just because it was a tech demo, it doesn't mean it's a defence for it being uninspiring. There aren't many people who complain about the Final Fantasy VII tech demo, for example. Square Enix wanted to make people believe the game is still in development, but a tech demo made up mostly of Final Fantasy XIII elements isn't exactly convincing - a press release would have had the same effect.


Darryl was playing Final Fantasy before he was even born - quite a feat! Often very opinionated on the Final Fantasy franchise, you will often find him musing about small details. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.