Final Fantasy Versus XIII was a game planned for the PlayStation 3 as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy series. It was intended to be a companion game to Final Fantasy XIII alongside the mobile game Final Fantasy Agito XIII, the three sharing from the same Fabula Nova Crystallis mythos. Bearing many originating themes carried on into its succeeding game, the theme of Versus XIII was "a fantasy based on reality", and the game was to take place in a setting similar to contemporary Earth.
However, Final Fantasy XIII—headed by Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama—ended up becoming a series on its own, Final Fantasy Agito XIII—headed by Hajime Tabata—became Final Fantasy Type-0 for the PlayStation Portable that spanned its own world and series, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII—headed by Tetsuya Nomura—never really took shape, and its concepts were eventually reworked into Final Fantasy XV for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The trio of games for the series then called Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII was unveiled in 2006. Although Final Fantasy Versus XIII was unveiled then, it stayed in preproduction stage for years and there were long periods of media silence on its status, harboring much speculation among fans. In E3 2013 the game was officially rebranded and re-announced as Final Fantasy XV, and in 2014 it was announced Tetsuya Nomura was no longer heading the project, the title passed to Hajime Tabata known for directing Square's portable titles Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and Final Fantasy Type-0.
Some gameplay was demonstrated in trailers (See external links), but it is unclear whether the game ever had a fully playable form as the gameplay demonstrations appear to be scripted and possibly existed in "proof of concept" stage. Noctis was shown wielding a myriad of weapons, teleporting, and even using a gun turret. Some footage showed blood spilling from enemies when stricken.
The interface bore similarities to the menu system used in Kingdom Hearts. In addition to showing the common commands of Attack, Magic and Item, another option showed "EX Arts", assumed to be some kind of Limit Break system or series of special attacks. Party members were to have their portraits in little bubbles on the screen that displayed their battle stats, and it was said the player could switch between party members on a whim.
Playing as different characters meant engaging in their fighting style. Gladiolus was said to wield heavier weapons easily while Prompto was planned with a third person aiming mode allowing for targeting enemy weak points that could not be hit when playing as Noctis. Without Noctis the party couldn't use magic, as the ability was said to be intertwined with story elements, as powers were granted to those under the regal fellowship of the crystal.
The game was to be an action RPG and the player was to be able to control vehicles, an airship included, and the game was to be fully seamless with a world map.
Most of the characters announced remained in redesigned forms for Final Fantasy XV, apart from Stella Nox Fleuret who was removed altogether, and replaced by Lunafreya Nox Fleuret who shares some design elements from Stella. Noctis Lucis Caelum was the main character and remains such for Final Fantasy XV, and he was to be joined by party members Gladiolus Amicitia, Ignis Scientia and Prompto Argentum, although all of them went through a redesign on both their outfits and their physical appearances. Other characters glimpsed from trailers were Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII, the king and Noctis's father, and Iedolas Aldercapt, the leader of the enemy state of Niflheim.
In Final Fantasy Versus XIII Etro was the patron goddess of the kingdom of Lucis, where Noctis was the crown prince. Because Etro was known as the goddess of death, Lucis thus had a dark design, only showed at night time, and Grim Reaper motifs recurred in its crests. The royal family and other citizens of Lucis were also to wear black to go with this theme. Nevertheless, the primary conflict shown was that of the politico-resource strife regarding Lucis's possession of the last crystal in the world, and the cold war that it spawned in its wake due to the inequality of powers between Lucis and the rest of the world; it is unknown what measure the lore of Fabula Nova Crystallis and the influence of Etro would play in this.
The game was to open with a formal party to celebrate the treaty-signing between Lucis and Niflheim, where Stella Nox Fleuret talked to Noctis about a legend from her home country of Tenebrae. The legend stated that whenever Etro opens the Unseen Gate, the souls of the dead ascend as a streak of light to the heavens and through the Gate. It is said that when few among the dying see the light, they are given power from the Kingdom of the Dead. Stella stated she can see the light, as could Noctis. Noctis guessed both of them had had a near-death experience.
The treaty-signing was but a ruse and Niflheim forces stormed the city to steal its crystal, Noctis and his friends having to fight their way through soldiers and Behemoths. Noctis was to face a mysterious white-clad man who also appeared to wield the power of the crystal, and even fight Stella, who would display the same power to summon weapons via magic.
This opening scene was removed altogether for Final Fantasy XV where, although Lucis is still attacked, Noctis is away from the capital when it happens.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII was to be directed by Tetsuya Nomura and to be released for the PlayStation 3 as part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII series, where three games—Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy Versus XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII—were to form a new subseries with shared mythos. Final Fantasy Versus XIII was originally developed with the Crystal Tools engine for the PlayStation 3, but it was announced in December 2011 the game had been moved to a game-specific engine for the gameplay mechanics with the lighting being done by the Luminous Engine and the Crystal Tools still doing the real-time graphics.
The "Versus XIII" name came into play in juxtaposition to Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels that take place in fantastical worlds that are literally and culturally disconnected (e.g. Cocoon and Gran Pulse in Final Fantasy XIII). For Final Fantasy Versus XIII Square wanted the world to be different from the original Final Fantasy XIII by presenting one whole, connected world.
Hajime Tabata, chosen as the new director for Final Fantasy XV, has described the situation with the game as unique, and that he had learned that releasing information about a game early, as was the case with Final Fantasy Versus XIII—a game that never really took shape—forms a different view by the world to what the developers themselves think. The moment it goes out the information stops being just a thing for the developers, but becomes something for the fans who form attachments to things like characters, such as Stella, who was ultimately replaced for Final Fantasy XV. He said that handling the way people relate to the released information is something that will be important for the future, as Square Enix had done a big mistake in revealing Final Fantasy Versus XIII so early.
Unveiled at E3 2006 with a trailer, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was said to be "not merely a sequel, but a wholly independent story unfolding in a different world with different characters." The game was going to be developed by the team responsible for the Kingdom Hearts series. Tetsuya Nomura would be the director and character designer, but not costume designer, as Square Enix signed a contract with Japanese fashion brand Roen to promote their clothing designs in the game through different characters, and thus Roen Creative Director Himuro Takahara served as the game's costume designer; before his designs were implemented Noctis was shown wearing a placeholder attire designed by Nomura.
The production team was bare-bones for a period of several years, with Eiji Kitada, a digital artist and then-employee of Square Enix's Visual Works department (the division responsible for CG cutscenes), and one other person, doing all the CG work together. Kitada wrote in his blog at the time that other projects took precedence, but that one of the first things he participated in on the Visual Works team was Final Fantasy Versus XIII's preproduction. The person he worked with was the modeling supervisor on the project, and he was the lead position, and the duo handled all of the preproduction modeling and rendering. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete was running as a separate project, and the two also supported the Advent Children team.
The game's engine history implies about its development process: Square Enix revealed Crystal Tools at Game Developers Conference 2008, which means that the real-time conversation they showed off between Noctis and Stella a few months later was likely some of the first content actually created for the game. Despite its 2006 announcement, chances are that not much more than concepts and a trailer existed for Final Fantasy Versus XIII until nearly two years later.
After nearly a year of silence, Final Fantasy Versus XIII was briefly shown at Tokyo Game Show 2009 in a private theater showcasing the game's first gameplay footage, though Nomura commented it was merely a demo and most footage would not be used in the final game. He said the clip was made to prove the game was still in development.
At Jump Festa 2010 Noctis's new outfit was put on display. It had a more modern look with a jacket and pants, as opposed to his old outfit from past trailers. 
After Final Fantasy XIII launched resources could be shifted back to the Final Fantasy Versus XIII project, but technical issues were bringing the project nearly to a halt. According to then-Technology Director Julien Merceron, the "universal engine" Motomu Toriyama's team built for Final Fantasy XIII couldn't handle Versus XIII anymore because it had been designed to fit the former's specifications, and buckled under the open-world environments designed for Versus, making it virtually unusable. Ultimately, Square Enix was forced to commission the creation of a brand new engine for Final Fantasy Versus XIII called Luminous Studio.
During an interview with Famitsu, Nomura stated he was unsure whether Versus would be shown at E3 2010.  When E3 took place, the game was not shown.
On May 18, when asked by a Square Enix investor at a shareholders' meeting about a possible Xbox 360 port, president Yoichi Wada stated "We'll be looking into it internally until right before the formal announcement." After some backlash, he clarified his original statement on Twitter: "It looks like the [inter]net is heating up. Versus on Xbox? What I said at the earnings press conference was just that until a formal announcement is made at the announcement time; all points about all titles are not finalized."
On June 29, an issue of Dengeki PlayStation stated Nomura and the fashion company Roen had completed all character designs and the scenario was finished as well.
On August 9, Nomura announced via Twitter that voice casting for Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII had begun along with other bits of news. 
On August 25, Yoshinori Kitase announced, during an interview with GamingUnion.net, that Final Fantasy Versus XIII "may not be released until after 2011".
During the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix confirmed they planned to present Final Fantasy Versus XIII in their January 2011 conference, which was part of their Fabula Nova Crystallis conference.
On September 17, the 30-second trailer for the game had been leaked onto the Internet along with that for Final Fantasy Type-0. The footage contained Noctis in his new outfit briefly running through the areas shown in previously released screenshots. The trailer ended with Noctis fighting a Behemoth and there were instances of blood shown whenever Noctis slashed at it. On October 8, the combined Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailer from Tokyo Game Show was officially released on the Internet through the Japanese Square Enix Members website.
On January 18, 2011, Square Enix held the 1st Production Department Premier. It was originally named the Fabula Nova Crystallis Conference and the original date was set on January 11. The event included new trailers and the announcement of official release dates. Fans got to hear Noctis speak for the first time, along with the other characters. Besides Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the event featured new video content of Final Fantasy Type-0, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep Final Mix, and other titles. Square Enix hinted at several new titles to be revealed at this event, such as Final Fantasy XIII-2.
In summer 2011 Square Enix got its first look at the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which threatened to make the PlayStation 3-exclusive Final Fantasy Versus XIII irrelevant before it was even finished. Sticking to the game's origins was no longer an option and the project had to change.
On July 2011, in an interview with Tetsuya Nomura, it was revealed that Final Fantasy Versus XIII hadn't yet entered full production. He went on to say the date for the next showing of the game had been set. In early August for the 500th issue of Dengeki PlayStation magazine, Nomura stated Final Fantasy Versus XIII would not be shown at Tokyo Game Show 2011 in September.
On August 31, 2011, a renewal for the trademark of Final Fantasy Versus XIII was filed by Square Enix.
On September 10, 2011 during the Final Fantasy XIII-2 fan meeting, producer Yoshinori Kitase was questioned about the development of Final Fantasy Type-0 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. His answer was: "for Type-0 and Versus XIII we are giving 100% to development."
On the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, Nomura announced the game will be a mix between real-time cutscenes and pre-rendered cutscenes with a ratio of 7:3 (70% real-time and 30% pre-rendered). He stated the next time the game would be shown there would be a demonstration using real time footage. Nomura said working on Final Fantasy Versus XIII took priority, in response to fans' requests for a Final Fantasy VII remake.
On July 24th, 2012, the then Square Enix president Yoichi Wada posted a tweet dismissing rumors that arose about the game being cancelled after a long period of media silence, also hinting its progress would surprise its fans, particularly in the game's city environments.
On September 1st, 2012, in the event of Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary, Tetsuya Nomura did a sketch of Noctis for the event. "Congratulations on the 25th anniversary. Please wait for his turn to appear".
On October 10th, 2012, Nomura said that Final Fantasy Versus XIII was still in development and asked fans to wait for more detailed news regarding the game.
In 2012 it was decided development would shift to next-generation consoles, and the name was officially changed into Final Fantasy XV within the company, although the public revelation of the re-branding would wait until E3 2013. In July 2012, around the time of the cancellation rumors, Wada ordered the Final Fantasy Type-0 team to join the Final Fantasy XV development to create a prototype for the next-gen consoles.
In December 2012 Hajime Tabata became co-director to finish the project, which would eventually have him transition as the new director. He sat down with Tetsuya Nomura about the direction of the title to ensure that characters, like Noctis, would be maintained in the best possible way. Tabata has later said that when Final Fantasy Versus XIII became Final Fantasy XV, it was around 25% complete.
Tabata spearheaded a massive restructuring effort where not even the most well-publicized parts of Final Fantasy Versus XIII were safe. Stella would eventually be cut altogether, and many features Tetsuya Nomura had personally praised, like character switching in battle, were scrapped.
On February 21st, 2013, GameSpot reported that Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, said about Final Fantasy Versus XIII that "I have some knowledge, but I'm not in a position to talk about it".
On March 19th, 2013, VG Leaks reported that not only had production been halted because of the failure and subsequent rebuilding of Final Fantasy XIV, but that it had been moved to the PlayStation 4 and was being co-developed by Sony as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and was reworked into Final Fantasy XV. Square Enix refused to comment.
On April 17th, 2013, during the inaugural episode of Square Enix Merchandise Radio, Tetsuya Nomura spoke briefly about the game: "It's a delicate situation within the company. The date for our next reveal is set and we are working toward preparing information for that. Perhaps the details as to why information couldn't be released might be touched upon with the next information announcement."
During Sony's press conference at E3 on June 10, 2013, a prerecorded video of Tetsuya Nomura was played where he acknowledged that not much information on the project had been released as of late, and that while he couldn't immediately share new details, new information would be revealed in the coming days. Following the message, a new trailer for the game played with the end of the trailer announcing the game has been renamed Final Fantasy XV, with development moved to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
As part of Fabula Nova CrystallisEdit
Final Fantasy Versus XIII was intended to be a part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII series, of which the numeric was later dropped when Final Fantasy Agito XIII became Final Fantasy Type-0. Thus it was to share the common mythos and overarching concepts of a world divided in the realm of the living and the realm of the dead, the unseen realm, the only way between them being Etro's gate operated by the goddess of death. Uniquely for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, it was said that those who had had a near-death experience could "see the light of expiring souls" and gain power from the Kingdom of the Dead. An aspect that made Final Fantasy Versus XIII distinct from the rest of the series was its focus on the human perspective of the mythos' core divine conflict, as opposed to Final Fantasy XIII which focused on the mythos' deities and their goals.
An element of all Fabula Nova Crystallis games is to re-imagine the series' core concepts, such as the role of crystals and those bestowed by their power, called Warriors of Light in the early series. Thus Final Fantasy Versus XIII was also to have these elements, Noctis's kingdom possessing the world's last crystal that appeared to have bestowed the royal family, and thus Noctis himself, with power to summon crystal weapons, use magic, and to teleport. Stella appeared to have these powers as well.
Souls appearing as glimmering crystalline lights is one of the main motifs of the Fabula Nova Crystallis series and featured prominently in early Final Fantasy Versus XIII trailers. In fact, the crystal shards were more prominent in Versus XIII material than what they ended up being in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0, where the "crystal souls" are merely glimpsed at. The theme of the glimmering crystal lights carried over to Final Fantasy XV. The thematic core of the mythos also provided the base for original lore in the world of Final Fantasy XV.
Concept Game Design
|Co-Director||Hajime Tabata (2013-2014)|
|Image Artwork||Yoshitaka Amano|
|Mechanic Concept||Takayuki Takeya|
|Clothes Design||Hiromu Takahara (Roen Creative Director)|
|Scenario Writer||Kazushige Nojima|
|Theme Song Performer||Aundréa L. Hopkins|
|Lead Programmers||Hiroshi Harata and Kentarou Yasui|
|Lead Planning Directors||Yuuichi Kanemori and Takayoshi Nakazato|
|Planning Director (World)||Takeshi Endou|
|Planning Director (Event)||Jun Akiyama|
|Graphic Director (Character Model)||Tomohiro Kayano|
|Graphic Director (Animation)||Tatsuya Kando|
|Graphic Director (Map Model)||Masahide Tanaka|
|Graphic Director (Visual Effects)||Shuichi Sato|
|Graphic Director (System Menu)||Takeshi Arakawa|
|Art Director (Character)||Tomohiro Hasegawa|
|Art Director (Map)||Takayuki Ohtachi|
|Movie Director||Takeshi Nozue|
|Noctis Lucis Caelum||Tatsuhisa Suzuki|
|Ignis Scientia||Mamoru Miyano|
|Gladiolus Amicitia||Hiroki Yasumoto|
|Prompto Argentum||Tetsuya Kakihara|
|Stella Nox Fleuret||N/A|
- ↑ http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=445773
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV’s Map Is One Giant, Connected Land Mass — Gamespot.com
- ↑ Gamescom 2015 : Interview Hajime Tabata (ENG) (Accessed: August 22, 2016) at Finaland
- ↑ http://na.square-enix.com/e306/titles/fabula/versus/
- ↑ 北田栄二の武者修行!! (Accessed: August 22, 2016) at Eiji Kitada's personal blog
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV: Everything You Need to Know (So Far) (Accessed: August 22, 2016) at USGamer
- ↑ http://scrawlfx.com/2009/09/nomura-talks-final-fantasy-versus-xiii-gameplay-development
- ↑ http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/2009/12/19/jump-festa-09-noctis-new-outfit.html
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 How Final Fantasy 15 almost destroyed itself (with help from FF13) (Accessed: August 22, 2016) at Gamesradar
- ↑ http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/2010/02/17/nomura-final-fantasy-versus-xiii-may-not-appear-at-e3.html
- ↑ http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/2010/06/23/new-final-fantasy-versus-xiii-details.html
- ↑ http://imagenes.es.sftcdn.net/ongames/scrn/4000/4803/final-fantasy-xiii-versus-ps3-57978.jpg
- ↑ http://scrawlfx.com/2010/06/final-fantasy-versus-xiii-scenario-complete-confirms-dengeki
- ↑ http://www.ff-xiii.net/index.php?page=content&name_id=versus_info
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/news/final-fantasy-xiii-producer-commit
- ↑ http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/2010/09/17/tgs-2010-final-fantasy-versus-xiii-and-agito-trailers-leaked.html
- ↑ http://finalfantasy-xiii.net/2010/10/08/tgs-2010-final-fantasy-versus-agito-xiii-trailer-released.html
- ↑ http://www.siliconera.com/2012/05/15/nomura-knows-fans-want-a-final-fantasy-vii-remake-but-hes-working-on-new-games/
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=3366
- ↑ http://www.siliconera.com/2012/10/10/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii-finished-versus-xiii-still-in-development/
- ↑ http://projectcrystallis.org/nomura-speaks-e3-final-fantasy-xv/
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 http://gematsu.com/2014/09/final-fantasy-xv-director-talks-development-open-world-combat-demo
- ↑ Meet The New Man In Charge Of Final Fantasy — Kotaku.com
- ↑ Final Fantasy XV is a 'bromance'. We ask its director why — Wired.co.uk
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/2015/08/final-fantasy-versus-xiii-was-around-25-complete-when-it-became-final-fantasy-xv/
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/news/yoshida-talks-all-things-playstation-4-6404291
- ↑ http://www.screwattack.com/news/rumor-final-fantasy-versus-xiii-now-final-fantasy-xv
- ↑ http://www.examiner.com/article/square-enix-comments-on-versus-13-ps4-rumor
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/2013/04/nomura-the-situation-on-final-fantasy-versus-xiii-within-the-company-is-very-delicate/
- ↑ 16 More Things We Learned About Final Fantasy 15 (Accessed: August 30, 2015) at Gamespot
- ↑ 『ファイナルファンタジーXV』発売時期を示唆、『Just Cause 3』との技術協力も決定【gamescom 2015】 QUOTE:
- ↑ http://www.finaland.com/?rub=site&page=news&id=5516