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Where is Final Fantasy Versus XIII?

(This feature originally appeared in issue 232 of Game Informer)

Many gamers are looking ahead to the next generation for exciting games, but for one of Square Enix’s most anticipated upcoming titles, we have to look backward. Final Fantasy Versus XIII was unveiled six years ago, but remains seldom-seen and mysterious. Concrete answers about the game’s status are rare, so we’ve assembled this timeline of Final Fantasy Versus XIII’s progress, major appearances, and related comments from director Tetsuya Nomura and producer Yoshinori Kitase.

May 2006 
At E3, Final Fantasy Versus XIII is announced as part of Fabula Nova Crystalis, as is Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII. Along with Final Fantasy XIII, it is revealed as a PS3 exclusive. 

January 2007 
Nomura says Versus XIII will feature some kind of unique support for the PlayStation 3’s Sixaxis controller.

July 2007 
Versus XIII is absent from E3.

September 2007 
Versus XIII is absent from the Tokyo Game Show.

December 2007 
Square Enix releases a new video adding more content to the original reveal trailer, showing a stylish fight and more of the protagonist’s powers in action. 

June 2008 
Nomura says Versus XIII is on hold while the team helps complete Final Fantasy XIII. Square Enix later denies this, attributing Nomura’s statement to mistranslation.

July 2008 
Square Enix announces that Final Fantasy XIII is going multiplatform at E3. The company claims it has no plans to change the PS3 exclusivity of Versus XIII, which is otherwise absent from the show.

August 2008
A new trailer debuts at a Square Enix fan event, showing a new female character battling the protagonist.

October 2008
At the Tokyo Game Show, the protagonist’s name is revealed to be Noctis, and the woman he was fighting in the previous trailer is named Stella. The first in-game footage is revealed in the form of a conversation between Noctis and Stella. The video shows no exploration or combat.

June 2009 
Versus XIII is absent from E3.

September 2009 
Gameplay footage in a closed theater at the Tokyo Game Show depicts Noctis running around in various environments, but no combat is shown.

December 2009 
Final Fantasy XIII (now multiplatform) releases in Japan. The North American release follows three months later.

March 2010 
Nomura reveals via Twitter that players can navigate the world of Versus XIII with an airship.

June 2010 
Versus XIII is absent from E3. Nomura claims that the game’s storyline, character designs, and clothing designs are finished.

August 2010
Voice casting begins in Japan. Yoshinore Kitase says that Versus XIII might not release in 2011.

September 2010
Nomura affirms via Twitter that Versus XIII is being developed exclusively for PlayStation 3, saying: “The debate over porting is decided by the management based off the current market and the costs. All I can say right now as a developer is that Versus is being developed specifically for the PlayStation 3.”

What Else Has Happened Since Versus XIII’s Announcement?
  • All three Mass Effect games released
  • The entire Assassin’s Creed franchise
  • The rise and fall of music games
  • Four other main Final Fantasy titles:  XII, XIII, XIII-2, and XIV
  • BioShock, BioShock 2 released
  • Call of Duty 3, World at War, and Black Ops released, along with all three Modern Warfare titles 
  • The PlayStation 3’s entire life
  • The Wii craze
  • Sony and Microsoft introducing/releasing their own motion controllers
  • Duke Nukem Forever released

October 2010 
Listings for battle planner and level design planner positions appears on the recruitment page on Square Enix’s website.

January 2011
Square Enix releases a six-minute trailer highlighting the story, new characters, and the battle system in action. Nomura confirms that Versus XIII will not release in 2011.

June 2011
Versus XIII is absent from E3.

July 2011
Versus XIII is still in the pre-production phase, though Nomura says that  the team is making preparations to enter full production. New screenshots are shown to selected press, but are not published or otherwise released to the public.

August 2011 
Square Enix files a new trademark application for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, indicating that the company still intends to move forward with the game under its current name (rather than dropping the XIII, as many had speculated).

September 2011
Versus XIII is absent from the Tokyo Game Show. Yoshinori Kitase confirms that the game has entered full production.

October 2011 
Final Fantasy Agito XIII releases in Japan (under the new name Final Fantasy Type 0). No North American release plans were announced.

May 2012 
When asked about Versus XIII in an interview, Nomura tells Game Informer: “We would like to ask for your patience on an official announcement for this title. It always takes time when tackling the challenge of doing something completely new, but we are doing our best to bring information to the fans as quickly as we can. Your patience is greatly appreciated.”

June 2012 
Versus XIII is absent from E3. Square Enix gives Game Informer the following comment: “We appreciate the excitement for this title, but at this time, we do not have any new information to share on its development. We are extremely thankful for the continued support for the Final Fantasy franchise and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.” 

July 2012
On Twitter, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada denies rumors of Versus XIII’s cancellation, explaining that he was recently in a regularly scheduled meeting for the game and that the visuals of the city are particularly impressive.

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