In terms of programming issues, one of the strengths of the Xbox 360, similar to the current Xbox, is the ease of porting Windows programs to the console. But surprisingly, porting programs isn't completely hassle-free, says Square Enix programmer Yasuhiro Yamamoto of his experience with Final Fantasy XI. "Windows PCs and the Xbox 360 have differences, so it'd be a lie if we said there aren't any headaches [in porting programs]. Sound is one example. The Xbox 360 uses a proprietary format, and it gave us a little bit of confusion. A bigger point is the CPU. Windows uses Intel, while the Xbox 360 uses the IBM's PowerPC. Under certain conditions, the two companies' CPUs will display programs in totally opposite ways. Flipping that around took us some time."
JG: As we know, the Xbox 360 version will make use of the hard disk drive. Can you estimate the free HD space; the game will make use of?
Toshio Murouchi: The final HDD space required has not been determined yet, but approximately same as Windows version. The HDD space that Final Fantasy XI requires will increase eventually depending on version-updates and the installation of expansion packs.
JG: Will the final game come with every expansion and on a DVD?
Toshio Murouchi: Yes. The Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI will include both expansion packs Rise of the Zilart and Chains of Promathia and their registration codes.
Reports online are indicating that Square-Enix’s upcoming Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XI will only be playable if you’ve got a hard drive jammed onto Microsoft’s next-gen machine.
The massively multiplayer version of the popular RPG franchise has already enjoyed widespread success on the PS2 and PC - despite the fact that the game never saw a European release on Sony’s machine. In fact, the 360 version will be the first to hit consoles on European shores, likely meaning a lot of fans will be eager to pick up the title at launch.
However, the news that a hard drive is required to play is likely to come as a blow, not only to FF fans intending to snag the cheaper, hard drive-less Core version of the 360, but to Microsoft itself. Since the announcement of the dual packages, the company has been insistent that a hard drive won’t be mandatory to enjoy next-gen titles, but that the inclusion of one will enable developers to offer slicker, enhanced gameplay experiences.