Final Fantasy XIII Should've Remained Exclusive
Somebody has to say it.
When I first heard the news that Final Fantasy XIII would also be available on the Xbox 360, I was one of the few ardent FF fans who really didn't mind. In fact, I'm such a big fan of the legendary franchise that as far as I'm concerned, the more people who get a chance to play such masterpieces, the better. It would also be amusing to watch the hypocritical 360 fans, who took every chance they got to bash on the series before it came to their system, pull a 180 and crow about how they get FFXIII. But I've now realized that if there's one game that should've remained exclusive to the PS3, it's this one.
Let's just face up to facts: you simply can't jam as much information onto a DVD (dual layer or no) as you can in comparison to a Blu-Ray disc. And when it comes to Final Fantasy titles, they have always used a gigantic amount of information and data, even back when cartridges were still being used. Secondly, while it's certainly nice to expand the series beyond its normal bounds and appeal to others, it's the PlayStation owners who really made this franchise what it is today (and don't even start with me, old-school Nintendo-ers; you know the truth of the matter). At first, I figured that provided the PS3 owners still got the better version - which of course is going to be the case - it wouldn't matter. But now, we're starting to think about what we're missing...
This past week, we heard that a whole ton of content didn't make the final cut in FFXIII and not surprisingly, it received a whole lot of feedback from irate fans. To be fair, we can't say beyond any shadow of a doubt that all the content was edited out merely to allow the game to fit onto the 360 but...I mean, come on. I think we all know what's going on, here. Then there's the argument that this particular FF is far more linear than FFXII, which can be interpreted as smaller environments for the sake of more refined graphics. This doesn't really concern me; what concerns me is the following thought: what if the developers were allowed to cut loose with the PS3? What if they were allowed to generate plenty of open environments with a certain visual quality the 360 simply couldn't handle?
See, something like this would have a direct impact on the game itself, which really irritates a die-hard like myself. Look, franchises like Grand Theft Auto and Devil May Cry can benefit from going to the 360, and they won't lose much. Final Fantasy absolutely should've remained exclusive to the PlayStation platform. This was a mistake, Square-Enix. I have never before had problems with previous exclusives going multiplatform; I understand the nature of the business these days and I'm not about to say that denying a giant portion of the gaming populace is a good thing. But we're starting to learn what may become an irrefutable fact before long: the PS3 is just more capable when it comes to cutting-edge technology and pushing the envelope. To me, nothing on the 360 can even touch the PS3's best exclusives (Uncharted 2, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Killzone 2, and soon, God of War III, Heavy Rain, The Last Guardian and Gran Turismo 5).
And while all along I've been defending Square-Enix's business strategy in taking FF multiplatform, I'm now going to reverse that decision and abandon my defense entirely. This just sucks. An open letter might read, "Dear Microsoft, thanks for wrecking FF." Perhaps that's a bit too drastic but at the same time, I might formulate another, maybe more accurate, letter-
"Dear Xbox 360, thanks for holding the PlayStation 3 back."
1/15/2010 Ben Dutka