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Why Should Japanese Gamers Buy Final Fantasy XIII On Xbox 360?

Why Should Japanese Gamers Buy Final Fantasy XIII On Xbox 360?

Written by Darryl — 08 Sep 2010

After the achievement list was leaked via a Japanese site and Square Enix were very coy about it last month, Final Fantasy XIII was finally confirmed for an Xbox 360 release in Japan. However, the whole thing just seems like it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of consumers.

Sure, as Square Enix claim, there probably are some people in Japan who only have an Xbox 360 and really want to play Final Fantasy XIII. But considering how successful JRPGs have been in Japan so far, it's hard to believe that there was a significant demand from Japanese gamers for Square Enix to release the title.

I don't remember seeing Final Fantasy XIII on Xbox 360 anywhere in Famitsu's weekly lists of "Japan's Most Wanted", the same lists that had The Last Remnant on PS3 featured heavily - that title never emerged though and stayed Xbox 360 exclusive despite lots of consumer demand.

So, either there was some pressure from Microsoft to put title out in perhaps a last throw of the dice to try and win over Japan. Or, Square Enix figured they could make a quick buck. Either way, it doesn't really paint a very pretty picture.

For those who aren't aware, what's known as Final Fantasy XIII Ultimate Hits International Edition probably has to be the worst International Edition in Final Fantasy history. Previous versions have, despite the name, not really been International in the slightest, as save for Europe, which got a few that were localised, they've never been released outside of Japan. However, the difference is that those International Editions actually featured a lot of bonus content. Final Fantasy XIII's features none.

In fact, Japanese gamers will have to be subjected to well, the International version of the game. It'll have full English dialogue with no option for them to change it to Japanese, despite the fact Square Enix of course have the Japanese audio from the PS3 version. There will be subtitles though. It'll also feature the controversial choice for an ending theme, in Leona Lewis' 'My Hands', as opposed to Kimi Ga Irukara from the Japanese PS3 version.

There were reports of some bonus content, but these reports have since been amended by Square Enix. There will be a finite amount of books to accompany the release called Final Fantasy XIII - Corridor of Memory, but the actual game will be identical to the Western Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII.

So, what this means is that Square Enix are going to be selling what's, in comparison to the PS3 version, a sub-standard product and hoping that they won't notice. It's not all bad though, as in what's effectively an admission of what they're doing, Square Enix will be releasing the game at almost half price.

You also have the very fun point about how gamers now feel about Square Enix. As with in the West, Square Enix promised gamers that Final Fantasy XIII would be a PS3 exclusive. That didn't turn out to be true, but in Japan, it really was true. Vast numbers of gamers went out and bought PS3s specifically to play the game, but some of those were surely to have been Xbox 360 owners, if the aforementioned claims from Square Enix are to be believed. It means that not only is their reputation now shot in the West, it's now completely shot in Japan too.

I just hope this isn't a trend which is continued. The only other example of this that I can think of would be Shenmue 2, where the Japanese version was essentially released in Europe and North America didn't even get a release. That was down to resources though, so it's quite a bit different from what Square Enix are doing.

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.