The director of the last two Final Fantasy games, Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, Motomu Toriyama, talked about how Square Enix would try to avoid large-scale internal productions in the future at GDC Taipei this week. Why? It seems that XIII-2 was a bit of a bitch for them.
"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," Toriyama said. (The breakdown: 180 artists, 30 programmers, and 36 game designers.)
According to Gamasutra, Toriyama said that this large team couldn't use their time well, and they all suffered from communications problems. Beyond this, because they were trying to keep the project a secret for as long as possible, user testing happened too late in the process.
The fix? Outsourcing: "We are also thinking that we will not do large-scale internal development any longer. 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."
Now, don't go running off crying, expecting that the Final Fantasy franchise is ruined. A different, tighter approach could be a good thing, and might make for quicker releases. Besides, Square Enix has been outsourcing projects for some time now.