I received a request on my FF Wiki talk page to translate the scans of the interview included in the LRFF13 Ultimania which have been posted here:
As the interview goes on for a few pages, I have decided to post the translations here. I've translated the first two pages, but unfortunately the subsequent pages are too blurry to be read accurately and I can't find alternate images. Please let me know if you find better scans/images~
[We wanted to include content to make it so Lightning would be loved for 10 years to come.]
Q1 - When did you start working on the final installment?
A1 Kitase: Formally, we started after the final DLC of 13-2 (Requium of the Goddess) was released in May of 2012.
Toriyama: Not everything was made clear in the DLC so we had always wanted to tell Lightning's story with another piece.
Q2 - In comparison to when [the series] started, it seems this installment was produced rather quickly.
A2 Kitase: We thought players would forget the story if there was too long of a gap, so we set a goal of one year. At the time, it was still quite difficult to make the open-world maps you see now, but thanks to tremendous efforts of the staff, we were able to create a final product that exceeded expectations.
Toriyama: The shortened production time also had to do with the timing of the transition from PS3 and Xbox 360 to next-gen hardware. The concept of "time management" in this installment perfectly mirrored the situation we faced in producing a game while next-gen hardware was right around the corner (laughs).
Kitase: Which is to say, we were able to bring the FF13 series neatly to a close on current-gen hardware.
Q3 - Why was it titled "Lightning Returns FFX13" and not "FF13-3"?
A3 Kitase: If we put a "3" in the title, it would be hard for new players to get into. We wanted to avoid creating such a hurdle and allow as many people experience the game [with new emotions] as possible.
Q4 - Kitase-san, what kind of a piece did you want to create this time?
A4 Kitase: What I originally said to Toriyama was: "While Lightning is popular among fans, I think there are players who can't get into her 'cold' personality. So that Lightning will continue to be loved for 10 years to come, for the final installment, I would like for there to be content that allows players to develop an affinity for her. In that sense, secret ending included, I believe the piece turned out just as I hoped it would.
[TL: Kitase uses the word クール (cool) to describe Lightning, but unlike in English, the word can also mean things like 'cold-hearted' which is probably what he meant.]
Producer: Yoshinori Kitase (Representative works: FF5, FF6, FF7, FF8, FF10, FF13, FF13-2, Dissidia FF, FF Type-0, Chrono Trigger)
Director: Motomu Toriyama (FF10, FF10-2, FF12, FF12 Revenant Wings , FF13, FF13-2, Blood of Bahamut)
Game Design Director: Yuji Abe (FF13, FF13-2, Kingdom Hearts 2, Kingdom Hearts 2 Final Mix+)
Insider secrets of the current installment:
- This time, we went all around the world for PR. Overseas, we were interviewed by everyday fans and owners of fan sites alike, as well as invited to interact at events. In October of 2013, we met lots of fans in New York. When I returned to Japan and saw the news about the PS4 going on sale, I was surprised! Why, the first person in the world to purchase a PS4 was a guy we had met in New York! - Kitase
- The DLC garb "Moogle Queen" was originally designed to have kittens and we had even created a polygon model for it. But, after considering overseas animal rights and ethics, we used Moogles, which are imaginary animals of an imaginary world, instead. Also, a number of battle lines had to be scrapped. It was unfortunate we couldn't let you hear the Sakamoto Maaya's wonderful performance, but let's take this opportunity to introduce a few of those lines to you. - Toriyama
- "How does it feel to lose to a kitten?" *in a sadistic voice*
- "I've got kittens on my side" *just as it says*
- [Picture too blurry, can't see it]
- "Let me sharpen my claws"
- [Can't read this one either]
- The locked ability on the Miqo'te Dress, Magic Slash, has both physical and magical properties and is favorable when both Deprotect and Deshell have been cast. It can be quite amazing when both are active, but as it is affected by both physical and magical defense there are times when its damage drops dramatically, as well... - Abe
A5 Abe: I was the first one to bring a proposal to the consultation meeting held right after development had begun. It was brief, condensed version of what was to become the model for the game, which I created based on the concept I heard from Toriyama. I was put in charge of game design since the game developed around it.
Toriyama: Of course we didn't put him in charge just because he happened to be the first to submit a proposal (laughs). Even before the consultation, I had asked him, "would you use your experience of constructing the battle system in the previous installments to design something that unifies the game as a whole?"
[The "World Driven" concept moves the world and changes the player's experience.]
Q6 - What kind of a concept did Toriyama-san suggest in the beginning?
A6 Toriyama: The key words were "World Driven." For this installment, I wanted to make it so the changes in the world around the player would alter their gaming experience. I also wanted to create a world that utilizes a network connection to loosely connect players and have them go about their business with the awareness that there are others out there. In the FF13 series, the first installment was "Story Driven", the second was "Player Driven", so with the world in mind, this time we went with "World Driven". As such, we considered what would make for a good key element in a setup that drives the world. What came from that was the concept of "time".
Abe: With that concept in mind, we had come up with the idea of time counting down and saving the world within that time limit, but the "Doomsday Clock" I happened to see on the news, was a big inspiration. I learned that the clock, depicted how close humanity was approaching extinction, and it would progress or regress based on the state of the world. I thought it was interesting. When I heard about the concept from Toriyama, what came to mind was that "world movement = time" and the fact that it was connected with the Doomsday Clock created the concept of "Time Management"
Kitase: Looking back at the FF13 Series, we heard that people wanted to be able to explore more freely since the first installment. As such, perhaps it was only right that we implemented the concept of Time Management, which would allow for players to freely decide how to progress.
Toriyama: However... [something about the countdown to the end of the world being hard on players that want to play at their own pace...]
To be continued...