Publisher Square Enix has admitted that it feared this year's RPG release Final Fantasy XIII would receive a rough ride from Western critics before the game hit the shelves.
Even before the current generation of consoles was introduced, it was obvious that the game market in the West was gaining momentum, and we couldn't ignore it,” developers Motomu Toriyama and Akihiko Maeda told Game Developer magazine, as reported by Kotaku.
The sentiment that stood out the most to us at the time was the increasingly harsh criticism towards JRPGs. Linearity and command-based battles were two of the features being perceived negatively. This was something that the team was very conscious about, and there were concerns about whether JRPGs would still be accepted in the West.
Because Final Fantasy XIII's mission was to succeed worldwide, we could not ignore this issue, as we felt it could deeply affect the future of the franchise.”
However, despite the feedback it was decided that the game's development had progressed to such a stage that it would have been impossible to act on the findings.
Unfortunately, we were already quite far along in development, and knew it would be too late to implement most of the feedback from the player test sessions,” the pair added.
There were some minor hiccups, as we did not have much time to prepare for the focus group sessions, but we were able to successfully conduct player tests and interviews globally. Even though it was too late to apply the majority of the feedback, most team members felt the tests were worthwhile, as it gave them insight into what players wanted globally.”