Final Fantasy 10 & 10-2 HD: ‘These Games Have Something Forgotten By Modern Games’
Final Fantasy 10 HD’s producer, Yoshinori Kitase, has answered Play magazine‘s questions about the upcoming remastered RPG compilation which will also packs Final Fantasy 10-2 HD.
Why did you choose to rework Final Fantasy 10 as opposed to something like, say, Final Fantasy 7? Is there some attachment within Square to Final Fantasy 10 in particular?
It is currently possible to play all the titles in the series up to Final Fantasy 9 on the current hardware generation, through the PS3 archives or on PC, but for the PS2 games it is pretty hard to play them on current hardware. So that is why we felt that Final Fantasy 10, our first PS2 Final Fantasy game, would be most suitable for an HD remaster.
Are you changing much (or indeed anything) in terms of gameplay, or is it purely a visual makeover?
The gameplay itself is basically faithful to the original game. However, the versions of both Final Fantasy 10 and Final Fantasy 10-2 that are included here are based on the international editions released in Japan.
This means that some of the major features from those versions, such as Final Fantasy 10-2’s creature creator, will be available for European and American users to play for the first time and I think that may look like quite a big change for those players.
Will there be any new features to take advantage of the connectivity of PS3 and Vita, both individually and with one another?
Well there will be no features that let you connect with other players online but it will be possible to use the PSN’s cloud saving functionality to carry over save data between the PS3 and PS Vita versions. This means that if you have both versions then you can play at home on the PS3 and then continue your game when you are out using the Vita.
If it proves successful, are you likely to do the same with other games?
We’d love a Vita version of Final Fantasy 12… I am also hoping that this HD remaster will open up some great possibilities in the future.
PlayStation 3 seems logical, but why did you think Vita would be a good fit for the games?
The gaming scene has changed quite a bit from 10 years ago and today’s younger generation who grew up with smart devices now carry these devices around with them to play games whenever and wherever they want, not just when they go outside but also at home, wherever they may be in the house as well. Even when they are in the toilet!
One of the appealing things about the PS Vita is that it allows for this kind of play style. In addition to that, another advantage is that it has a wonderful LCD display that can hold up to the PS3 in terms of graphical quality.
How much do you associate Final Fantasy as being a brand closely related to PlayStation?
Well, we have partnered with various different companies over all the generations of gaming hardware and do not really think in terms of a game or series being “just for one specific platform”. The Final Fantasy franchise has featured on pretty much every platform in its time.
However, I think that the impression Final Fantasy 7 left on the world is why so many people still associate Final Fantasy with the PlayStation. We are of course very grateful that we have been able to build such a good relationship with Sony over the years.
What are the main issues you’ve faced in translating the game to new platforms?
That would be the fact that the PS2 was such a great platform. Of course, the PS3 and PS Vita have better specs but with the Emotion Engine at its core, the PS2 really was a very high performance graphics machine.
We used the graphic engine of the day at full capacity when creating the original game and this allowed us to realise the kinds of visuals that just could not have been done with the standard methods available then. This meant that when we came to port Final Fantasy 10 to the PS3 there was a lot of trouble because it could not be achieved simply by converting the data across to the newer format.
Do you think the more traditional JRPG gameplay still holds up in a market that seems to be trying new things all the time?
If we limit the conversation to Square Enix then it really is not our intention to remain within the boundaries of the “traditional JRPG”. For example, if you take the next two titles in the series, Lightning Returns Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy 15, then you can see that both of these are breaking out of the traditional framework and trying out new things.
If we look at the HD remaster of Final Fantasy 10 and Final Fantasy 10-2 then clearly they do not have new gameplay systems but have maintained their worth as games that can stand up to the current generation.
To look at it from the other direction, I feel that these games have an ineffable something in them which seems to have been forgotten by a lot of modern games and so paradoxically they can feel fresh and different because of that. Does it not follow that something which is intrinsically interesting will maintain its value and not get pinned down into traditional frameworks or generational trends?
Finally, if there’s anything else you’d like to mention but haven’t been able to do so far, please feel free to do so here.
I would actually like to ask a question back to you!
Recently I get a lot of questions that treat the term “J-RPG” in both positive and negative lights. Whether the term is used for better or worse, I feel that the fact that it recognises these games as being distinctly “Japanese” can only be a good thing. I often hear the term “Western style” being used as a comparison or counterpoint to “Japanese style” but am fascinated by this comparison and would really like to ask if there is a distinct “British style” or “European style” or not?
For example, in the world of cinema there is the Hollywood film and then as a comparison there is say British or French cinema that clearly have different personalities and unique characteristics to them. If we look at music then British rock and American rock are also quite different.
It is the same for sports… for example in say, motorsport the flavour of Indy car rallies is very different to F1 circuit racing. So basically for all other fields of culture, art and sport etc., even if they use that “Western” term to lump everything together, it is still understood that the character of North American works and European ones are distinct. Even Japanese people get that when we look at it.
However, when it comes to games, I do not feel that there is a great deal of difference between North American and European productions. I cannot help but think that everything has become confined to an American style, as shown by most FPS and TPS style games.
I personally think that for the games industry to spread and prosper as a form of art or culture then it needs to place value on diversity across different local regions. In that spirit I want to continue bringing out the unique flavour in our Japanese style of games.
I would really like to hear from Europeans the name of the one game title that they feel really represents European games and is strongly rooted in their culture and am intrigued as to what that game would be. Please, I really want to know!
Incidentally, the game that I personally felt was the most “European” in character out of all those I have played was Alone in the Dark, released by Infogram 20 years ago.
The interview is part of Play’s Final Fantasy feature in Play 236, which covers Final Fantasy 15, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 and Final Fantasy 10 HD. The issue goes on sale tomorrow and is available from Imagine Shop and digitally from greatdigitalmags.com