In an interview with Ultimania Magazine, Final Fantasy XIII producer Motomu Toriyama explains the lesser amount of towns in Final Fantasy XIII.
“We made the map and battles function as part of the story,” Toriyama said, “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 [a certain chapter].”
Toriyama goes on to blame high-definition visuals as the biggest problem.
“Yes, [a ‘non-stop’ story] is one of the reasons [for the game’s linearity] ,but more importantly, it is a result of considering high-definition graphics will be the mainstream. Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve high-definition, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style.”
Thanks, The Lost Gamer.