Features / Weekly Musings

Final Fantasy XIII Isn't Actually Taking That Long

Final Fantasy XIII Isn't Actually Taking That Long

Written by Darryl — 04 May 2009

On the eve of the Eidos takeover, Yoichi Wada, Square Enix's CEO, came out and fielded questions about how things will work moving forward. One of the questions pertained to how Square Enix will influence their qualities on Eidos and Wada proceeded to offer a response that was rather unexpected.

Instead of suggesting that Eidos games will be approached with the same diligence that Square Enix titles are, he suggested that Square Enix actually spend too long developing titles and that he'd like to see shortened development cycles with the same amount of quality. Now, it's unknown how long games are actually in development for, but it's assumed that Square Enix have two teams that work on Final Fantasy titles, and that work on the new title generally starts 1-2 years before the release of the previous title.

When looking at a graph of how many years there have been between the releases of main Final Fantasy games, it doesn't necessarily back Yoichi Wada up; unless he wants more than one main Final Fantasy game a year, a move which would obviously saturate the market.

The above graph looks at Japanese release dates and shows that on average, a Final Fantasy game comes out every 1.69 years, with the majority coming out every 1-2 years after the previous title. This average has actually only been put up by the development period of Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy XII and now Final Fantasy XIII. However, Final Fantasy VII is arguably one of the greatest RPGs of all time, and Final Fantasy XII, which was also pioneering had an extended development time due to the unforeseen illness of director, Yasumi Matsuno.

It's unlikely that audiences would complain about the development time if Final Fantasy XIII matched either of the aforementioned titles, so is Wada effectively saying that he wants to squeeze as much money out of his creative staff as possible by expecting the same quality of title in a shorted time period? It seems so.

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.