Square-Enix Explains Necessity Of Linearity In FFXIII
Last week, Square-Enix tried to explain that some of the lower review scores for Final Fantasy XIII came because of two reasons: firstly, the Western viewpoints are different than Japanese and secondly, the reviewers didn't like the game's linearity.
We're still not on board with the former but as for the latter, it's definitely a possibility. Critics these days really don't like linearity for almost any reason, even when it's absolutely essential for the telling of a cohesive, well-written story. And Square-Enix boss Motomu Toriyama elaborates on this with an official statement over at the European FFXIII site; it's right there in front of you when you click through. Oh, and to alleviate any concerns that the "entire" game is linear, he adds that the second half of the game places you in the open-world atmosphere of Pulse. But here's the most important aspect of the linear explanation:
"In order to allow the player to become absorbed in the drama of the storytelling and the new and exciting world of Cocoon and be drawn to the characters without getting distracted or lost we have deliberately used a linear game design for the introduction sections so they can be enjoyed in the same manner as watching a film. We are aiming for a vibe while playing that is similar to the experience of an FPS style game, where the player rapidly progresses through a series of dramatic events and experiences one after the other on an imposing and atmospheric battlefield.
This kind of design is also very beneficial for the player in allowing them to gradually and systematically learn the brand new battle system that this installment brings to the series. It is set up such that the player will experience and try out each character’s possible roles in battle and naturally internalise the intensely tactical nature of the paradigm shift system."
We have never questioned the need for linearity in story-based games. It's simply a necessity. Therefore, nobody should be condemning FFXIII because it isn't like Oblivion or Fallout 3, two games that - in my opinion - nobody plays for the storyline. That bit about Western critics just not "getting" the appeal of the game isn't flying with me, though; Western reviewers have loved just about every major FF title in existence. So if they have problems with FFXIII, we shouldn't just gloss that over. However, to say "it's too linear" simply means you A. have no clue what is required to produce a great plot, and B. have no interest in stories in games...well, that doesn't fly, either.
Related Game(s): Final Fantasy XIII
2/22/2010 10:28:27 AM Ben Dutka