"Dude, we gotta practice our victory pose! aaaand... NOW!"
With the demo finally released to the public (videos here!), Final Fantasy XIII (PS3, Xbox 360) is now in its last stretch. Square Enix is on the move to make last-minute improvements to their build, and if you remember from previous reports, game director Motomu Toriyama and the rest of the team are already in the process of tying loose ends now.
But what exactly are those refinements to be made? What differences will there be between the demo and the retail version of FFXIII to be released in winter 2009? Take a deep breath, let's take 'em one bit at a time.
The following outline is from 2ch, summarizing details from interviews on Famitsu, Famitsu PS3, and Dengeki PlayStation (translation from 1Up):
- Battle difficulty will be greatly increased. In fact, Toriyama expects XIII to be "the most difficult FF ever".
- In the demo, party members are CPU controlled. In the final, you'll be able to issue them directives.
- Continuing your "Chain" in the demo isn't very important in the demo, but will vital in the final.
- The classic FF victory fanfare isn't present in the demo, but will be in the final.
- Victory poses may be incorporated into the final; the matter is currently under consideration.
- If the first hit of a chain kills an enemy in the demo, your character continues attacking air for the duration of the combo. This will be remedied in the final.
- Snow is barehanded in the demo, but will have weapons available to him in the final.
- Encounters occur solely from the front in the demo, but various encounter styles will be present in the final.
- The final will have a level system.
- The demo only allows you to control one character, but the final will have a new system for managing other party members in battle.
- The final will have command shortcuts.
- Selecting your target in the demo can be a bit of a chore; the final will have a more streamlined targeting mechanism.
- The final will have an "item" command in battle.
- NPC dialogue will be subtitled in the final. In the demo, there is only voice.
- Sazh's rather bizarre battle animation will be altered to be less strange, and more "jolly".
- The Time Gauge maxes out at 3 in the demo, but you'll be able to add more segments in the final through a new character growth system.
- Summons will be present in the final. The mysterious "TP Bonus" that appears after battles in the demo relates to them.
- Finally, the occasional frame rate drops in the demo will be fixed, according to Toriyama.
[cue Victory Fanfare, twirl gunblade in air]
- FFXIII: 720p, 30fps, pauseable/skippable cut scenes, readable text on different screens
- Dev status update: Final Fantasy XIII nearing completion, no plans for DLC yet
- Final Fantasy XIII screenshot brawlfest: cutscenes, battle, chaining, ATB gauges, and victory music