Every Sunday we haul an exciting article out of the Eurogamer archive so you can read it again or enjoy it for the first time if you missed it. Wesley's piece on Xbox's trials and tribulations in Japan was originally published on 14th December 2012.
Hate is a powerful word. How often does it really apply? I'm not a fan of novelty crisp flavours or the Black-Eyed Peas, but do I truly hate them? Probably not.
Final Fantasy XIII on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 was one of the biggest Face-Offs we've produced, but more than that it was an analysis of one of the biggest games - in terms of actual scope - that we've ever had to cover. In putting together the original piece, we were about a week ahead of the release: enough to do the game justice in terms of the comparison coverage, but not enough to see the whole game through to its conclusion, let alone on both platforms.
There's no launch quite like a Final Fantasy launch, and there's been no Final Fantasy launch quite like this one. The first ever multi-platform entry in the main series, the thirteenth game is also the first in this generation of hardware, arriving rather late after an epic development that, at its peak, involved a staff of 300 people.
The joke, so it goes among Final Fantasy's legions of hecklers, is that aside from some new belts, buckles and hairspray nothing ever really changes in Japan's most misleadingly-titled RPG franchise. Rather, each subsequent release echoes the preceding one in both form and function, the aged, crumbly mechanics that drive each game merely obfuscated by ever more dazzling CGI.
Our last meeting with Final Fantasy XIII - playing the half-hour demo on the bonus disc nestled in the Advent Children special-edition Blu-ray in a tiny Japanese living room, back in April - was rather more intimate than this month's gamescom demonstration. It was possible to gain a real feel for the colourful, sleek science-fiction setting and revamped Active Time battle system, and both impressed us with their innovative spark as much as their predictably professional implementation. FFXIII is, in keeping with series tradition, a bright departure into a brave new universe rather than an incremental update.
It's late on the second day of E3 2009. A hot and bothered collection of half a dozen game journalists from the US and Europe is crammed awkwardly around one side of a table in an interview room at the back of the Square Enix booth, straining to hear against the muffled boom of the show floor. They're bristling with cameras, microphones and grumpy, it's-been-a-long-day attitude. It has. It's been a long week.
Welcome to the Digital Foundry channel at Eurogamer. Check out the Editor's blog to find out what it's all about, and make sure to explore for loads more technical breakdown and analysis.
Playing the Japanese demo of Final Fantasy XIII - released in Japan today as part of Advent Children Complete - you're struck by something: this is the first Final Fantasy universe to be created with years' worth of titles in mind rather than just one or two. It shows in the scope and detail of the world. It's a gorgeous, colourful and imaginative science-fiction fantasy; what Star Wars might have looked like if it had been designed by the Japanese, seeping polish and style from every pore. The character design might be vaguely familiar from previous entries in the series, but the world, with its enormous, shining biomechs and fighter spacecraft, emphatically is not.
This week we've already guided you through the coming year's hot picks for Indie and Esoterica and Sports and Music games. Still to come are Fighting, Strategy, Action, Adventure, Shooters and Racing. But today we're looking at two sectors with the same dice-rolling roots that are heading in more than two different directions in 2009 - role-playing games (RPGs), and massively multiplayer online games (MMOs).
There were plenty of things about the Xbox 360 E3 press conference that were surprising - not least, what wasn't in it - but none more so than the announcement that Final Fantasy XIII would be coming to Microsoft's console, at launch, in the US and Europe.