In an interview in Ultimania magazine, both Motomu Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase, respectively the Director and Producer of the highly anticipated Final Fantasy XIII title from Square Enix, discuss the reasons behind the linearity of the title.
In response to a question relating to such factor, which has been a noted criticism of the game in recent reviews, Toriyama responds “We made the map and battles function as part of the story, so that players get the same feeling as the characters. To achieve this, we wanted the story to progress non-stop [in a linear fashion], until Chapter X*.”
The interviewer then asks as to why Final Fantasy XIII has fewer towns compared to previous titles in the story, and whether this relates to seeking a ‘non-stop’ story, to which Toriyama explains “Yes, it is one of the reasons, but more importantly, it is a result of considering HD graphics will be the mainstream. Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve HD, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style.”
He continues “In the limited period of development time, to convey the the great story that deserves the name of Final Fantasy, and to convey the battles that entertain players enough, we condensed each element.”
*Chapter number removed as to prevent potential spoilers.