Bad news for European Final Fantasy fans: It could take Square-Enix up to a year after its Japanese launch to release Final Fantasy XIII in the Old World.
When it comes to multi-market releases, few companies drop the ball as thoroughly as Square-Enix does - particularly when it comes to getting its products across the other pond to Europe. It took almost a year for Final Fantasy XII to see the light of day in the EU - March 16th, 2006 in Japan, February 23rd, 2007 in Europe - and unfortunately, it seems like that trend will continue.
Speaking with Videogamer, Producer Yoshinori Katase said that the company was aiming to minimize the time in between market releases. Traditionally, said Katase, games in the main numbered Final Fantasy series would see half of a year pass between their Japanese and US releases, and then another half-year before the game launched in Europe. For FF13, though, they were trying some things differently:
"For example we have already started recording English voices, and also the text localisation [sic] has been in progress, too. Normally we complete the Japanese version first, then move on to the US and EU versions, but this time there are some tasks that are happening simultaneously. So this time we're hoping to release sooner than a year later than the Japanese release."
"Sooner than a year," eh? Well, technically speaking, Final Fantasy XII's wait was less than a year, too - it was 344 days, but that's less than a year. At this point, with such a track record it's hard to give Square-Enix the benefit of the doubt. It can't really be blamed on having a ton of text to localize, either - Metal Gear Solid 4 managed a worldwide simultaneous release, and its plot was just as long, complex and convoluted - and just as dialogue-heavy and overwritten - as any Final Fantasy game. Either Konami's localization team has superpowers, or Squeenix just isn't trying hard enough.
Sorry, Katase-san, but I'll believe it when I see it.