Back in 2008, Japanese game company Square Enix revealed that role-playing game Final Fantasy XIII was coming to the Xbox 360 — everywhere except Japan. That has changed.
The game was originally thought to be a PS3 exclusive. Last winter, it was released as a PlayStation 3 exclusive.
In August 2008, Microsoft Taiwan's Grace Chou apparently confirmed that an Asian Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII was getting released in Taiwan. This Asian version (which would conceivably be released in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea and Singapore) made Japanese Xbox 360 owners excited as it possibly meant they might be able to import FFXIII and play it on Japanese Xbox 360s. Microsoft contacted Kotaku at the time, telling us that this statement GNN Gamer was actually incorrect.
Square Enix remained steadfast on the PS3's exclusivity and even went as far as including "For PlayStation 3 Only" after trailers for the game in Japan.
When asked by Dengeki Online in 2008 about the possibility for an Xbox 360 release in Japan, Final Fantasy XIII producer Yoshinori Kitase replied that an Xbox 360 version of the game would not be released.
Fellow Shinji Hashimoto addressed the same issue later that year, saying that Square Enix had "absolutely no plans" to bring Final Fantasy XIII to the Xbox 360.
Even as late as late fall, the game's director Motomu Toriyama was asked by Dengeki Playstation about an Xbox 360 version going on sale in Japan. He replied, "We definitely will not release it [in Japan] ."
Then last August, Japanese language Xbox 360 Achievements for the game started popping up online.
A recent issue of Japanese game magazines Dengeki states that Final Fantasy XIII is finally coming to the Xbox 360 in Japan.
What's more, the Xbox 360 is going to be a budget version and priced at ¥4,980 (US$59), which is nearly half of what it cost on the PS3. The game will feature a new "Easy Mode" as well as an English voice option.
The game will be released in Japan on December 16, a year after it hit the PS3, under the name "Final Fantasy Ultimate Hits International".
Plans change, companies take inventory and make new decisions according to the business environment. Yet, after repeatedly denying something for years, Square Enix has decided to release Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360 in Japan.