Final Fantasy Versus XIII (ファイナルファンタジー ヴェルサスXIII Fainaru Fantajī Verusasu Sātīn ) was to have been an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the Sony PlayStation 3 video game console. Alongside Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Agito XIII, the game was intended to be part of the Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy XIII compilation. Unveiled at E3 2006, the game was to have focused on a mysterious protagonist, named Noctis Lucis Caelum, who is the last heir of a dynasty ruling over the only remaining city to control crystals. Under unforeseen circumstances, he makes a stand against marauders seeking to take the crystal as their own. The game was to have used the Crystal Tools engine.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII was, according to its developers, a wholly independent story unfolding with different characters and a different visual design. Although it is set within the Final Fantasy XIII universe, it is unrelated to any other entry within the compilation and was thus intended to be neither a sequel nor a prequel to any other entries in Fabula Nova Crystallis: Final Fantasy XIII.
There was little information surrounding the gameplay and battle system of Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Only three images of gameplay were publicly shown from the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. One of the images shows Noctis, the main character, in the city charging and attacking a Behemoth which in a reveal by Nomura is part of the Final Fantasy Versus XIII world government. The other two images show Noctis standing in the desert behind a gas station and the other is of him standing on a mountain and looking at the sky. It has been indicated that Square Enix may reveal more information at the Tokyo Game Show in September 2010.
Within interviews in Japanese video game magazines, director Tetsuya Nomura stated that Versus XIII's gameplay was to have been a realistic derivation of Kingdom Hearts's battle system with some elements of a third-person shooter aspect. Nomura also stated that the game would depart from the light and magical aesthetic of his previous directorial games (i.e. Kingdom Hearts) and opt for a darker, bleaker world that was intended to counter previous Final Fantasy installments. According to Nomura, the world of Final Fantasy Versus XIII was based on the modern Shinjuku district. In formulating a realistic world, Nomura has stated that he wanted the characters to be "believable" and thus realistic. As a testament towards his desire for realism, in the PlayStation Premier trailer, in contrast to previous Final Fantasy titles, Versus XIII had a greater display of graphic violence with an instance of blood.
Nomura also stated in Dengeki PlayStation that he aimed to create previously unseen "tricky" battle sequences, reminiscent of the CGI film, Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. He has also stated that the development team had been implementing a traversable world map, used in the main Final Fantasy series up until its removal in Final Fantasy X. Nomura later commented, in an interview conducted via Twitter, that players would have been able to control an airship around the world map.
The game would have featured large open fields which would have allowed players to walk through almost anything on the field apart from the mountains. Nomura also mentioned that the fields ware truly vast and that it was very far to traverse from one end to another; thus, to facilitate easy navigation, the game would feature the return of vehicles, such as the airship as well as the car, allowing players to easily traverse the large fields.
The game would also have featured both symbol and random encounters, which means that players can usually see all enemies on the field, although certain monsters may appear suddenly and attack the player immediately. The game was to have been almost seamless with no loading screens when entering battles and moving about on the field, though there may be certain event or cutscene tie-ins.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII was to have involved Noctis Lucis Caelum, the last heir to an isolated nation, which holds the last Crystal protected by kings. Its isolation is due to the city's resistance; to protect itself against invading heretics. The game has been said to initiate at the "clearing" of a long cold war between warring nations that revolved around the crystals.
The official trailer starts with the words, "This is a fantasy based on reality." The trailer shows modern technology such as cars, freeways, and automatic weapons and bears a striking resemblance to the real world today.
Very little information regarding the plot of the game has been revealed since E3 2006; however, Square Enix representatives have commented that Versus may be the darkest Final Fantasy game yet.
Recent screenshots from Japanese gaming magazine, Famitsu, have revealed a large city reminiscent of Tokyo which showcases a recreation of the real-life Shinjuku, surrounding Square Enix's office, in game. The lead character is seen battling a Behemoth in the dead of night with cars and flames in the distance.
- Noctis Lucis Caelum (ノクティス・ルシス・チェラム Nokutisu Rushisu Cheramu )
- The protagonist of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, Noctis is the last heir to the Caelum Dynasty, which rules over the only remaining city-state that controls the Crystals. Noctis attempts to protect his city-state against those who seek to conquer it and take the Crystals by force. Nomura has compared Noctis's family to the modern-day Japanese mafia. The color of his eyes have been shown to change from blue to crimson during battle; according to Nomura, the color changes are both intentional and significant. Noctis's full name is Latin for "Light of the Night Sky,"  and his nickname is "Noct".
- Noctis wields many weapons, ranging from swords, spears, and lances to guns. He controls them with telekinesis (through the power of the Crystal), using them for both attack and defense. Nomura has stated that each weapon has a different usage and is not directly limited by normal standards of attack; for instance, some weapons are also usable as shields. Noctis also has the ability to teleport or to suddenly move at a high speed, though it is unknown what role this skill will have in the actual gameplay.
- Noctis's personality is different from other characters in the Final Fantasy franchise and is one that Nomura had wanted to try out for a long time. In the past, protagonists were given strong personalities while distinctive ones were delegated to the supporting cast, but Nomura states that Noctis's idiosyncrasies mark a departure from this tradition. Although his character is said to be hard to define given his complexities, a good measure of his personality can be sensed from his first meeting with Stella. Noctis hides his shyness underneath a façade of coolness in front of her, which creates a cold and unsociable impression. However, he smiles and acts more openly around his friends, a testament to Nomura's statement that "[Noctis] is not the least bit a silent, gloomy little boy."
- Stella Nox Fleuret (ステラ・ノックス・フルーレ Sutera Nokkusu Furūre )
- A young woman with golden-blonde hair, Stella is said to be the daughter of the Fleuret family of the country Tenebrae (Latin for "darkness") and an enemy to Noctis, though her allegiances are under suspicion. Fleuret is the French name of the fencing foil, a direct reference to Stella's weapon of choice, a rapier. Like Noctis, she is able to materialize weapons from thin air, as she is shown summoning her rapier from a rune similar to one used by Noctis to summon his sword, though Stella's rune is golden while Noctis's is blue.
- Like that of Noctis, a good measure of Stella's personality can be sensed during her first meeting with Noctis. For instance, in their discussion about the power they share and its connection to an old legend, Stella is very open about the matter while Noctis seems reluctant to talk about it, suggesting that they keep it a secret. Stella is described to be ladylike and extremely polite but direct in her manner — a reflection of her proper but strong upbringing. She acts according to her beliefs, and doesn't shy away from problems. Nomura states that she will be the first to stand out from other female characters in the Final Fantasy franchise, although it is not specified how.
Noctis has three companions who have been revealed in the video game magazine Famitsu. The first is a man with light brown hair and glasses who is seen wearing a suit and driving the protagonist's car. The second is a bulkier man with dark brown hair and a scar on the left side of his face. The third is a younger man with blond hair who is seen carrying a shotgun and teasing Noctis. These three people are Noctis' friends; they speak casually and amicably with him, and they also accompany him during his travels.
Another character, shown in a white robe, is seen facing off with Noctis. Noctis approaches the character with intent, implying that they are enemies.
Soldiers have been seen in the trailers as well. These unknown warriors wear medieval-styled armor but carry assault rifles that resemble modern automatic weapons.
Another man, older than Noctis and dressed in a business suit, is shown leading a meeting with several other men. He is seated at the head of a long table in a large room that resembles a cathedral.
Final Fantasy Versus XIII began development as early as 2003, two or three years prior to E3 2006 in conjunction with Final Fantasy XIII, after the PlayStation 3 Final Fantasy VII Technical Demo was completed. Led by Tetsuya Nomura, the game was developed by the team responsible for the Kingdom Hearts games as well as Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. As with Final Fantasy XIII, development initiated on the PlayStation 2 but was later shifted to the PlayStation 3 when the development team determined that the PlayStation 2's hardware would not suffice for the "visual expression" that the team had initially decided upon and that the single DVD format did not have the adequate storage requirements. As such, most of the development was restarted on the PlayStation 3. Versus XIII was considered unsuitable as an iteration of the main Final Fantasy series due to the concept and thinking behind the game's plot and structure.
Along with Final Fantasy XIII, the game utilizes the Crystal Tools engine—an engine specifically designed by Square Enix for the seventh generation of video game consoles. However, in early 2007, Square Enix had announced they had licensed Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 for use in their future next generation titles, like The Last Remnant. Some speculated that Final Fantasy Versus XIII would be developed using the Unreal Engine 3, however, Square Enix has stressed the White Engine—later renamed Crystal Tools—would be used in Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII in the Fabula Nova Crystallis compilation. It was announced that the game would use the PlayStation 3's motion-sensitive SIXAXIS controller.
Reports of June 2008 that Final Fantasy Versus XIII had been put on hold so that the Versus team could assist work on the main title, Final Fantasy XIII, were later debunked by Square Enix, stating that this was a mistranslation of an interview from Famitsu and misinterpretation of the article, and that both games are moving along at their original schedules; occasionally, Versus developers would assist with Final Fantasy XIII development. Square Enix announced at its DKΣ3713 party in August 2008 that the demo of Final Fantasy XIII, as well as new trailers of Versus XIII and Agito XIII, would be released in the highly-anticipated Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Complete Blu-ray Disc. Square Enix announced the release date of the new Advent Children Blu-ray release to be some time during March 2009 (later changed to April 16) and asked fans to disregard previous release dates. Famitsu released a 50-minute DVD entitled "Re: Riplai" on December 13, 2008, including trailers from the Fabula Nova Crystallis series and other Square Enix titles.
On December 19, 2009, gameplay footage of Final Fantasy Versus XIII was shown as part of a trailer shown at Jump Festa 2010 in Japan.
When asked by a Square-Enix investor at a shareholders meeting about a possible Xbox 360 port, president Yoichi Wada stated "We'll be looking into it internally until right before the formal announcement." After some backlash, he later clarified his original statement by saying on Twitter "It looks like the [inter]net is heating up. Versus on Xbox? What I said at the earnings press conference was just that until a formal announcement is made at the announcement time; all points about all titles are not finalized."
During GamesCom 2010, Yoshinori Kitase cast doubt over a release within the next year as he stated that Square Enix wouldn't commit to a 2011 release.  A trailer for Final Fantasy Versus XIII was shown at the 2010 Tokyo Game Show, where Square Enix announced that a press conference regarding the Fabula Nova Crystallis series will be held in January 2011.
The game's development was eventually restarted, and it became Final Fantasy XV, which was released to high expectations on November 29, 2016.
- Final Fantasy Versus XIII. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-12-12
- Square Enix unveils the next generation of Final Fantasy. Square Enix (May 8, 2006). Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- McWhertor, Michael (July 14, 2008). No Changes On Final Fantasy Versus XIII Being PS3 "Exclusive". Kotaku. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Dengenki (2006). Dengeki E3 2006 Interview. Final Fantasy-XIII.net. Retrieved on 2009-03-08
- Jackson, Tyrell (February 22, 2008). GDC: Square-Enix announces Crystal Tools. PlayStation Universe. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Brudvig, Erik (May 8, 2006). Final Fantasy XIII Preview. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Anoop Gantayat (June 23, 2010). This Week's Flying Get. Andriasang. Retrieved on 2010-06-23
- Dengeki Final Fantasy Versus XIII Interview Translated. Final Fantasy-XIII.net (August 31, 2008). Retrieved on 2010-02-10
- INTERVIEW: Tetsuya Nomura. Edge (June 25, 2007). Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Kitase and Nomura interview (updated). FF-XIII.net (November 20, 2007). Retrieved on 2010-01-05
- Yoon, Andrew (March 17, 2010). Yep, there's a world map in Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2010-03-18
- Gantayat, Anoop (June 23, 2010). Tetsuya Nomura on Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Andriasang. Retrieved on 2010-06-23
- Gantayat, Anoop (March 18, 2010). Tetsuya Nomura Interviewed at Twitter. Andriasang. Retrieved on 2010-03-18
- Haynes, Jeff (May 8, 2006). Final Fantasy Versus XIII Preview. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- IGN Staff (January 10, 2007). Final Fantasy XIII Update. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- LEVEL magazine (May 2007). LEVEL May 2007 Interview Transcript. Final Fantasy-XIII.net. Retrieved on 2009-03-08
- Full Final Fantasy Versus XIII Famitsu Scans and Interview. Final Fantasy-XIII.net (June 24, 2010). Retrieved on 2010-07-04
- Gantayat, Anoop (2007-03-02). Tetsuya Nomura on FF Versus XIII. IGN. Retrieved on 2010-02-10
- Gifford, Kevin (2008-10-22). "Tetsuya Nomura Discusses FF Versus XIII Characters". 1UP. http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory%3FcId%3D3170824. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- "Final Fantasy XIII: His name is Snow". GameKyo. http://gamekyo.com/newsen29267_final-fantasy-xiii-his-name-is-snow.html. Retrieved 2009-03-03.
- スクウェア・エニックスのクローズドメガシアター、注目の最新情報をまとめてお伝え！ (Japanese). Famitsu (October 9, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-03-03
- Gantayat, Anoop (January 19, 2007). Final Fantasy XIII Update. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Versus guy's name coming soon and you might not like him. Final Fantasy-XIII.net (February 7, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Famitsu (October 11, 2008). TGS08: Nomura Interview: What you should know about Noctis. Final Fantasy-XIII.net.
- IGN Staff (October 22, 2008). New Final Fantasy Versus XIII Details. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Famitsu: Final Fantasy XIII, Versus & Agito scans. Final Fantasy-XIII.net (October 22, 2008). Retrieved on 2010-02-10
- Final Fantasy Versus XIII DKS3713 Trailer. GameTrailers (December 16, 2008). Retrieved on 2010-02-10
- Final Fantasy Versus XIII Dengeki Special Edition Trailer. GameTrailers (December 15, 2007). Retrieved on 2010-02-10
- Gantayat, Anoop (2007-05-31). "Gaimaga Blows Out Final Fantasy XIII". IGN. pp. 1. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/710/710761p1.html. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- Gantayat, Anoop (2007-05-31). "Gaimaga Blows Out Final Fantasy XIII". IGN. pp. 2. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/710/710761p2.html. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
- Jenkins, David (January 25, 2007). Square Enix Licenses Unreal Engine 3. Gamasutra. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Goldstein, Hilary (January 25, 2007). Final Fantasy Meets Gears of War. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-01
- Kitmitsu (June 18, 2008). Final Fantasy Versus XIII Development Temporarily Suspended. FinalFantasy-XIII.net. Retrieved on 2008-06-18
- Bramwell, Tom (June 19, 2008). Final Fantasy Versus XIII Development Temporarily is Not Suspended. Eurogamer.net. Retrieved on 2008-06-19
- Haynes, Jeff (August 2, 2008). DKΣ3713 Private Party Impressions. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-04-30
- Miller, Ross (January 19, 2009). FFXIII demo, special edition 160GB PS3 coming April 16 to Japan. Joystiq. Retrieved on 2009-04-30
- Square Enix将发售DKΣ3713影象合集 (Chinese). Game518 (November 25, 2008). Retrieved on 2009-04-30
- Sal Romano (December 19, 2009). Final Fantasy Versus XIII real-time trailer shown at Jump Festa ‘10. Scrawl. Retrieved on 2009-12-19
- Gantayat, Anoop (May 18, 2010). Xbox 360 Final Fantasy Versus XIII Under Consideration. Andriasang. Retrieved on 2010-06-19
- Gantayat, Anoop (May 19, 2010). Wada Clarifies Final Fantasy Versus XIII Xbox 360 Statement. Andriasang. Retrieved on 2010-06-19
- Expecting Versus XIII In 2011? Don't Count On It. GamingUnion.net (August 24, 2010). Retrieved on 2010-08-24
- Tong, Sophia (September 16, 2010). Final Fantasy Versus XIII Trailer Impressions. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2010-09-17
- Romano, Sal (September 15, 2010). Square to hold Fabula Nova Crystallis conference in January. Scrawl. Retrieved on 2010-09-17