Saturday, February 23, 2008

Final Fantasy XIII Continues to be Vaporware at GDC

I remember reading last week that Square Enix was going to have a talk about their White Engine and possibly show off Final Fantasy XIII in real-time.

According to this news, however, that didn't happen:

"'Crystal Tools': Final Fantasy Engine Renamed, Supports Wii

By Chris Kohler February 22, 2008 3:45:11 PM Categories: GDC 2008

SAN FRANCISCO -- 'Crystal Tools' is the new name of Square Enix's company-wide 3-D game development engine, and it'll support Wii.

At Game Developers Conference, Taku Murata, GM of Square Enix's research and development division, announced the new name and more details on the multiplatform development tools, originally called "White Engine."

Although "White Engine" was originally announced in 2006 as a PlayStation 3 game creation platform, it has since become multiplatform, including Xbox 360 and PC capabilities.

"Crystal Tools," Murata said, will also be used in the development of Square Enix's upcoming next-gen MMORPG.

Some of the "Crystal Tools" features will work on the Wii, Murata said, although "it's a secret." Well, it's certainly not a secret anymore.

Murata showed the assembled audience, comprised mostly of programmers, some screenshots of the tools. He showed a character model viewer and a cut-scene editor. The latter allows designers to craft real-time cinematic scenes using tools very much like Final Cut Pro or other movie editors.

Murata finished by showing a trailer of Final Fantasy XIII. Unfortunately for everyone expecting a giant info blowout or a real-time demonstration of the power of Crystal Tools, it was the same BLIZZRAD! pre-rendered footage from E3 2006."

I disagree that Wii compatibility for the White Engine is news, because the real news here is, where is Final Fantasy XIII? Why are they still using older, PRE-RENDERED footage to show off their game engine?

Perhaps this mythical 'White Engine' is nothing more than a white elephant.

1 comment:

  1. Little harsh there? But it has been almost two years and we've yet to see any significant footage, so I don't blame you. Not everything in the trailer is prerendered (mainly the battle scenes and forest scene at the end are real time, and yes you can see the straight polygonal edges if you look close enough), though most of it is fancy CG work. SE will probably show something more worthwhile later this year, however, they've been yanking people's chains a lot lately. I lost a great deal of faith in the company post FFX-2 and beyond. They have not renewed that faith at all - only trashed it even further - and my hope is that this *might* be their saving grace because it looks (conceptually) very, very sharp. Conceptual design doesn't yield a finished product, though. They need to get their act together or risk losing an already eroding fanbase.

    Once they do their big reveal at Tokyo Game Show (one would hope), then we'll see how much wool has been pulled over our eyes. It may not be much.... But it may also be nothing but wool, driven by vaporware as per your suggestions.

    I personally hope they pull it off. A man can dream. I just don't think they will.