First thing's first, I would like to make a note of the fact that I am doing what most are -not- doing, which is keeping cool on this matter. I'm not doing some knee-jerk "Final Fantasy Versus XIII is DEAD" titled post, nor even alluding to the fact that there is a real possibility that the game has been cancelled. I'm not saying "Report: Final Fantasy Versus XIII Cancelled" like it's gospel truth. I am merely taking something that is not only of personal interest to me, as well as a fairly big, recent story, and putting down what's been said of it, not only just so it gets out there, but also so that it hopefully does so in the correct manner. Since I see so many people are doing it wrong. (At least, wrong in the sense of just trying to post up stuff versus trying to ensure something is read by a bunch of people who will completely misinterpret what's there.) Considering the, er, 'origin' of this story, I think it's a particularly egregious misstep for many folks out there, but not a surprising one, I guess.
So let's not dawdle and just lay things out on the table so that we may explain them, yes? Kotaku (yes, they're still around, yes, the site is still miserable) has said that 'various sources' have confirmed to them that Final Fantasy Versus XIII is no longer a thing in development. They are claiming that the game itself has been quietly cancelled, where the lengthy development time and results are merely being folded into another project which may or may not be a numbered Final Fantasy title. This is all, both the quiet nixing and the folding, are apparently on the hush-hush because Squeenix fears that the mere notion that they are dumb enough to put six years worth of costs into an entirely new game without releasing the game they were attached to will scare away investors and affect the overall stock price. Which is pretty much the only bit of any of this that does, in fact, make a little sense.
So yes, that means that the entirety of the story is that Kotaku has made a post about something that very well could be true without providing anything to back it up beyond what 'sources' have claimed. Just let that sink in for a moment while I repost IGN's post on it titled "Report: Final Fantasy Versus XIII Cancelled" which is in no way a thinly veiled criticism or anything of the sort, let me assure you. And when I point out that the actual Kotaku post itself which started all of this ends on this note: "So, is Final Fantasy Versus XIII finally and officially dead? Without confirmation from Square Enix, we can't say for sure. [...] But if the game fails to make an appearance at either the upcoming Final Fantasy celebrations or the 2012 Tokyo Game Show? Then yeah, given what we've heard (particularly of Square's reported desire to kill the game quietly), you'd be a lot safer assuming Versus XIII is kaput and start looking forward to the next big FF game." which is about as non-committal as can be, it's certainly not me indirectly stating my disappointment and dissatisfaction with the various news sources who have not only gone full-bore on something with a shaky leg to stand on, but have done so on something Kotaku themselves isn't even fully behind.
Is it easy to believe? Absolutely. Versus XIII is quickly on its way to becoming another Duke Nukem Forever considering that in the six years since it was shown off first and announced, we have received maybe half a dozen trailers, some screenshots early on, and some sketchy information that you generally...you know, back up with it being in motion which obviously Squeenix has lacked in doing. If any other site had broken the 'story' first with something at least a tiny bit more concrete than 'inside sources', it would definitely be at least a little more believable since who honestly know just how much of Versus is done? It only officially entered 'full production' last September, which I'm assuming means that they at least had an Alpha build of the game built at that point. Which suggests, you know, kind of more of a game than one that you'd want to cancel, barring if you're Activision and have gone somewhat crazy. But I don't think we're beyond thinking Squeenix is capable of doing something on that level of dumb.
I'm clearly a little unconvinced, of course. I whole-heartedly believe that this is a thing that is possible, in spite of the fact that GAF (who is a surprisingly valid source) has people who has said Versus will be shown off at TGS and the fact that Theathrythm has recently received DLC (in Japan) featuring songs (a song?) from Versus XIII. Strictly because Squeenix has done nothing to earn my, nor anybody else's, good will with something like this. The actual fate of Versus, specifically just how the final product will turn out, has been nebulous since day one beyond "Action/RPG in a modern setting" which, in all fairness is more than enough to begin to generate the hype. But you've got to follow up and follow-through, which Squeenix has simply failed to do. So, much like Kotaku (ugh), I have to say that we'll just have to see how things go at TGS. Perhaps it's just my own hope, but I think it'll be there. Unfortunately, I'm not willing to back that up with 'inside sources' which