Final Fantasy XIII Fact Check: What We Know So Far

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Final Fantasy XIII

Is Final Fantasy XIII 720p or 1080p?

No one's seen the back of the US retail boxes yet, but the back of the Japanese import case (I own a copy) reads 'Supported HD video output: NTSC, 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p', which sounds like it supports the top-level HDTV display standard (1920 x 1080 lines of resolution). Just below that, however, it reads 720p HD, which suggests the game actually tops out at the second-best progressive scan setting (1280 x 720 lines of resolution) and that 'supported' simply mean 'capable of running on a 1080p television'.

Still confused? So am I. When in doubt, ask someone on the development team. In this case, the game's battle director Yuji Abe (from a February 12 interview on the official PlayStation blog).

Q: What is the native video resolution and audio format on the PS3?

A: Final Fantasy XIII runs in 720p and Dolby Digital 5.1

For those who thought the PS3 version displayed the cut scenes at 1080p and the in-game bits at 720p, or that the whole thing runs in 1080p native, I read Abe's clarification as: "Bzzzt, wrong."

As for the Xbox 360 version, Square Enix hasn't said as far as I know. There's a "story" grabbed from a popular message board circulating that it actually runs at 576p (720 or 704 x 576 lines of resolution), but it's based on comparisons of dubious screenshots, kind of like gauging the authenticity of a Picasso from pictures of the painting snapped with a disposable camera.

So which version looks better? Xbox 360 or PS3?

Both versions look fantastic. Read any of the recent hands-on previews and that's what everyone's saying, no ifs, ands, or buts.

So why all this squabbling?

Cable news tends to be 80 or 90 percent crap to fill the 24 hour news hole. Same applies to message boards. 80 to 90 percent babble, 24 hour dialogue-hole, and gamers with nothing better to do than fuss over screenshots and hatch conspiracy theories and generally poke each other with sticks, just to see what happens.

If you're after a technical comparison, none yet exists. Don't assume the guys at Game Site X claiming to know have a clue. For all you know, they've got their PS3s plugged in HDMI and their 360s connected VGA to an HDTV with mismatched input variables. Besides, what the heck does "slightly crisper" mean, anyway?

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