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FF Versus XIII dev time will be shorter

Square Enix team experienced now.

Square Enix has said action spin-off Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still part of the plan, and that the development time should be "comparatively faster" than that for FFXIII.

Character modelling is taking around one-third of the time, for example, producer Yoshinori Kitase told Kotaku at gamescom.

And that's because Versus developers borrowed by FFXIII have gained valuable "knowledge and experience", not to mention that the game-engine and build-tools are up and running and proven.

Kitase mentions no date for Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but the chances of seeing the game before 2011 are slim.

Directing FF Versus XIII is Tetsuya Nomura, the man who made characters like Cloud and Sephiroth. He wants his action-orientated game to focus on the darker, uglier and truer side of life. He plans to examine "the humanity of the characters", Nomura told us in 2007.

We know Versus aims to ditch RPG menus in favour of a Kingdom Heart-style action approach, and that Nomura had his team research Western third-person shooters to try and match their tension. Otherwise details are scarce.

Final Fantasy XIII will be released at the end of the year in Japan. A Western release - simultaneous on PS3/360 - will follow in Q2 2010.