Final Fantasy XIII's troubled development process and reception has led to Square-Enix moving away from large-scale internal development projects. At GDC Taipei, Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama admitted that the company learned from subsidiary Eidos and other Western developers after the launch of that title.
"Within our company, developing on PlayStation for Final Fantasy XIII we required a huge amount of graphical data. At the peak, there were over 200 people working on it," said Toriyama. "Because it's a large-scale project, we had to keep it secret, but this led to user testing happening way too late in the process."
"We decided that we would have a milestone every month, and realized we needed to applied more Western technology and production techniques. We learned this not only from GDC, but also from Eidos."
"We feel like we need to add more buffer time for player testing in the future. We improved for FFXIII-2, but it's still not enough time to add everything we learn back into the game," Toriyama added.
Toriyama then said the development difficulties have made Square-Enix shy away from larger in-house projects.
"We are also thinking that we will not do large-scale internal development any longer." he said. "We have a lot of great creators in Square Enix, but for larger-scale development we will be doing more distributed and outsourced development to reach our targets on time."
Square-Enix has had a tough time in the last few years. Final Fantasy XIV crashed and burned upon launch, prompting Square to rework the title with a 2.0 version. Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still in development with no concrete release date in sight. One of the company's best performing divisions is European subsidiary Eidos, who successfully relaunched the Deus Ex brand and has new versions of the Himan and Tomb Raider franchises coming. This revelation comes as another shot against the Japanese game industry and its development practices in a global market.