Well, by now you must know that Final Fantasy XIII is coming to the Xbox 360. Yes, Microsoft have sealed the deal, most likely with an attractive Western install base and some cake. The key word in that sentence is not “cake”, but “Western.”
As some of you may have noticed, FFXIII has only been announced for the Xbox 360 in the US and Europe. Surely that’s all that matters to Microsoft? That as it may be, Sony’s home country is extremely important to them, and so retaining exclusivity in that territory may allow them to swallow their pride.
Where’s the evidence? A large chunk can be found via a new Japanese trailer for FFXIII, which ends with the words “for PLAYSTATION 3 Only, in Japan.” Note that without my added comma the sentence might read dangerously as ‘only coming out on the PS3 in Japan’… Moving on…
In a Q&A with FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase and Square Enix executive Shinji Hashimoto, when asked of a Xbox 360 release in Japan Hashimoto responded “I think you are right [in assuming that it's not coming out in Japan].”
It was further divulged that development on the Japan version will be finished first, followed by English localization and the Xbox 360 development. Naturally this means the US and European iterations won’t be released for quite some time after Japan, though Kitase adds they’ll try to make it as “close as possible.”
So why forgo PlayStation exclusivity? Hashimoto informs us that the decision had much to do with the “spread of the hardware” and the “install base”, meaning a Western release for the Xbox 360 made sense, but not so much in Japan.
When was the decision made? Hashimto coyly replies that “it wasn’t a long time ago that we made the decision. We had to adjust things, like our relationship with Microsoft. It was recent.” So recent in fact that Xbox 360 development hasn’t yet begun.
Will there be any differences in the two console versions? Apart from presumed a difference in the number of discs the game will use, both versions are planned to be content identical.