From "Famitsu Weekly," issue #1048, dated 2009 1/9-16, as part of Famitsu Weekly's interviews of 21 creators from the gaming industry.
Interviewer (hereafter "I"): First of all, we'd like to hear what kind of year you've had.
Kitase (hereafter "K"): This year I was set to work on Sigma Harmonics and Final Fantasy Dissidia, two portable games.
I: What was your impression of the game industry as a whole this year?
K: That'll also turn into talk of portable games, but I can't help but think that this past year, portable game systems have become even more a 'typical' thing. That is, before the DS was released, playing portable games outside would get you a bunch of strange looks from others (he's talking about adults playing portables), but now it's totally normal for people to play.
I: I see. Incidentally, is there anything you observed in regards to already released (not sure if 'released' is the right word....) hardware?
K: Personally, I think the casual games available for download were fun, and I played them often. The few hundred yen price is quite nice. I also often buy extra content for games, haha.
I: Do you plan to add those elements to the games you're working on yourself, Mr. Kitase?
K: I wonder, haha. For example, with a game type like FF13, you really have to put the whole thing in one package, so it's not easy to do that (add extra content for purchase). If we made plans to make new downloadables, it would turn into a full blown game, I think.
I: Then, what kind of year do you think 2009 will be for you personally?
K: It's the year that XIII speeds toward facing completion. Together with that, I want to see the PS3['s popularity] gain ground, too. In spring, there's the plans for the demo to come out, so if we're (the industry) given the energy to speed both along, it would be great.
I: In order for the hardware to catch on, what do you think it needs more of?
K: Of course, having interesting and fun software for the system would make users think "I want to play those games."
I: If that [software] was FFXIII, that would be great, wouldn't it?
K: Of course, if FFXIII became a reason for people to buy a PS3, I would be most happy. From FFXIII's announcement until now, we've shown much pre-rendered material. However, after we get into 2009, I'm thinking we'll be showing more realtime rendered material. In the demo, I want to show the definite form of FFXIII, and gradually build on the game from there.
I: In the demo, to what degree will we be able to play?
K: There's still quite some time before the game comes out, so the demo will probably extend to 'pinning down the foundations,' but I believe you will be able to properly experience 'the new Final Fantasy on the Playstation 3.' By all means, please try it out.
I: So 2009 will be a year focused on FFXIII, it seems?
K: 3rd Birthday and Agito XIII are also being developed side by side [with FFXIII], but it's certain that the focus will be more on XIII. The entire work is quite large, and it will still take some time, but it seems the base pieces have been finished, and it seems like the completion is coming into view.
I: It seems 2009 will be quite busy, doesn't it?
K: Constructing the foundation of FFXIII has taken a long period of time, so I want this year to be the one to bring the fruits of our labor, I think. Also, for people to feel the force of FFXIII as a unified work, we'll be doing various promotions. Right now, the public isn't very involved, but we need to push FFXIII out into the light, I think. If we produce a great work and rouse demand [for games], Japan's economy could brighten up, maybe, haha. By all means, I'd love to see the game industry pull up the economy, you know?