Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy Director Discusses Fighting Game Mechanics

By Spencer . March 18, 2011 . 1:37pm


With only a few days until Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy arrives in North America, we caught up with Mitsunori Takahashi, Director, to discuss how he designed the game. Dissdia 012[duodecim]’s story takes place before the events of Dissidia: Final Fantasy, but manages to expand the roster. Lightning, Tifa, Laguna, Yuna, Vaan, and Gilgamesh are some of the new characters you can play in this game.


Since Takahashi also worked on the original Dissidia, we asked him about the evolution of the fighting system and his thoughts on the RPG turned fighting game trend.


Why did you make the story a prequel to Dissidia: Final Fantasy?


The story for Dissidia came to a concrete conclusion. There’s nothing more to tell in terms of the world’s future. So we decided to depict a story occurring before the events seen in the last game. Once we started development, it was decided that the concept for this title would be to create a story that would make players want to go back and play the last game again.


The focal point in the story of Dissidia 012[duodecim] is to shed light on what allowed Cosmos and her warriors to be victorious in Dissidia. The acts of a few of Cosmos’s chosen allowed their allies to be victorious, but what are the details surrounding those warriors? We really wanted to focus on that aspect in the story for Dissidia 012[duodecim].


Can you tell us how you fine-tuned characters from Dissidia: Final Fantasy?


Generally speaking, there were many instances in Dissidia where players would have to use fairly defensive or passive strategies to win. So we made a conscious decision to adjust battles so that it is better if players go on the offensive. We’ve also added some new moves for each character in hopes of expanding the strategies a player can utilize, and re-evaluated and made adjustments to existing attacks that were not frequently used by players of the last game.




How did you come up with the idea for assist characters?


Our main priority was to create a new system that would act as a counter-balance for the EX Mode system. We saw many cases where a player’s entire strategy revolved around EX Mode in Dissidia since the EX Mode was so overwhelmingly powerful in that game. That’s when we thought about adding a new option for players besides the EX Mode that could possibly bring greater depth to battles. We also thought that this new system would need to be on par with the EX Mode visually, and that’s how the Assist system came about.


The original quest system is a fantastic idea. How did you create this feature? What kind of fan created stories are you looking forward to seeing?


Realizing the importance of social elements in today’s games, we felt that it would be great to incorporate such social elements in Dissidia as well. We had initially planned to implement a simple event creator tool, but Dissidia has a variety of design elements that could be employed. So we decided to allow players to make full use of those assets, allowing players to not only create original events, but to allow players to freely create in terms of gameplay elements. And that’s how the original quests came to be. I hope fans make use of the original rules and create masterpieces with a great blend of story and game elements.




How did you select new characters for Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy?


The Final Fantasy franchise has so many interesting characters, so the selection process was an extremely difficult one. In the end, we basically decided to add globally popular characters, or characters we felt would be fun to use in this type of game.


We were aware of issues like memory limitations as soon as development began, so we knew that we wouldn’t be able to expand the cast drastically. Based on that, we decided on a number of additional characters, and were able to get all of the planned characters into the game.


What do you think of the trend of RPGs turned into fighting games?


I think it’s a really interesting endeavor and hope that a diverse catalog of games emerges. However, when RPG elements are introduced to a game, it becomes extremely challenging to create a system allowing for players to battle one another at any time, regardless of their progress. Various factors like a player’s development of a character or obtaining custom items and how many have been obtained make guessing the conditions for a battle between players difficult to predict. But for this game, I believe that we’ve been able to address those issues with the use of the bravery system.


For several Square Enix games, the western version was released near simultaneously. Fans in the west are happy, but was it difficult to keep up with the pace?


It certainly was not an easy undertaking. However, if our fans around the world can share their passion for this title with a near simultaneous worldwide release, I think that our efforts will have been worth the hardships.




As an expansion for the Final Fantasy universe, the Dissidia series is interesting.  What else do you hope to do with the Final Fantasy series?


Dissidia 012[duodecim] primarily uses a one-on-one battle system, but I think creating an action-centric game revolving around party battles would be very interesting.


The Dissidia 012[duodecim]: Final Fantasy staff has been developing a 1-on-1 fighting game for several years, now what genre would you like to take on?


To be honest with you, there’s really no genre that I’m set on. I’ve obviously gained a lot experience in action games over the years, so it’d be a shame to let that expertise go to waste. However, I think it’s more important to constantly think of how to provide gamers with an amazing experience. I want to be able to provide a truly groundbreaking and innovative game experience that has never been seen before.

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  • I can’t freaking wait for dissidia 2

    all the new characters seem appealing to me so i’ll be using them all

  • wait what so they’ve chosen the “globally popular” prishe instead of vivi THIS IS MADNESS!!

    • suzaku_hien


    • I know! I was so sad when I heard Vivi wasn’t going to be present. ;_; Alas my poor Vivi…you’ll get your time to shine.

      • lol Vivi is …. compare to shantotto that’ why it wasent added or even think about adding..

    • i think shantotto is so much better then vivi but then again vivi is the original blm.

    • They probably end up saying Vivi was in KH2 so we didn’t put him in Dissidia. I wish they make extra characters as DLC I’m waiting for a playable Cosmos.

      • doomspeller10

        That’s not what they’ve said (they’ve only mentioned music and costumes for DLC) but we can only hope. I only wanted characters from VI and IX… I got owned.
        *Cheers up with Tifa’s jiggling*

        • I want characters from VI me and some of my friends had discussed some play styles for some of the characters VI really has some of the best characters ever.

      • I call Vivi and Setzers roles in KH2 complete BS. They didn’t even pose and true role, IMO. All they did was compete in the lame struggle competition. I was glad Seifer, Fujin and Raijin were actually intertwined into the storyline somehow and just their overall roles in the game, ya know!? I just wished Vivi and Setzer had roles similar to Squalls and Clouds. Cloud always seems to some sort of fancy role when he makes appearances though..

        All in all, SE just drowns fans with FF7 spin-off games, character appearances and other stuff, well I’m tired of it! I want some love for the other games out there like FFV and VI and IX!

        • Testsubject909

          Well, as time passes by, you’ll notice that Squeenix seems to have a dwindling interest and respect towards FF 1-6 and FF9, while catering to the fanboyism and fangirlism of FF7 and 8’s brooding protagonists and sometimes caving in to give attention to the eye candy FFX and FFXII protagonists…

          “What about Dissidia, as stated above?”

          I’m not really biting. They’ve started with a mentality to please the fans, and it showed with Dissidia 1 as far as I can tell, everyone had their time to shine, with a lot of respect given to the original Warrior of Light who, indeed, saved Squaresoft’s ass back in the days.

          The fact that Duodecim has a lot of good stuff going for it, right off the bat, with how much they just shove lightning in my face during their advertising campaign/marketing prior to the game’s release. It really felt like they wanted to promote FFXIII-2 coat atop it all… Also, if you’d look at the majority of newly added characters to the roster, you’d notice there’s a certain lack of anybody new from the earlier Final Fantasies.

          Gilgamesh is in there, which is wonderful, but you can also argue that he’s appeared in multiple Final Fantasy and his appearance in FF12 certainly helped, which in turn allows FF to show that it’s still ‘deeply tied to it’s roots’ by pairing Gilgamesh properly to FF5 rather then FF12…

          And we’ve seen Squeenix’s continuing boner to advertise FF4 with Kain added.

          Ah, but they added Prische. Well, I’ve nothing against her. Though I get the feeling she was added mainly because they felt they needed more girls and fanservice… Seriously, if they ran a poll to see which FF9 character fans would most want to see. Do you REALLY believe Prische would’ve made it?

    • Numaz

      Yeah i was have a high hope for Vivi to get in DDFF….
      and the end, he was not…
      truly dissapointment!

  • 200 hours will be wasted on Dissidia again…

  • karasuKumo

    Pre-ordered like a boss! I’m looking forward to dedicating too much of my time to getting everyone lvl 100 … again ^^

    • From what I heard, your characters’ levels and whatnot get sent over to 012.

      • doomspeller10

        That’s completely optional. When you create your savedata in 012 you can choose whether to transfer your old data from dissidia/prologus or not. A compulsive completionist (like me) will likely grind everyone again.

  • Some of the decisions they made were thoughtful and well-warranted, like counterbalancing the sheer power of EX Mode in the original game and creating assists and new attacks in an effort to make a more offensive style of play viable in a game that originally favored turtling.

    I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of Dissidia, because this interview indicated to me that they have some idea of how to fine-tune and improve it beyond just expanding the roster.

    • Shadow_Raskolnik

      I agree in that I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see of the Dissidia franchise. I would love to see them implement more ideas in an NGP sequel (or prequel) with more characters and further enhancements to existing characters and gameplay elements.

    • doomspeller10

      Trying the game right now… yes, the EX mode and EX burst were really nerfed. Criticals only deal 2x damage instead of 5x damage, and being hit by an assist during your EX mode will completely deplete your bar. The assists aren’t almighty either, they can be blocked/hit and if you use EX revenge you’ll deplete your opponent’s assist bar completely as well. The effort for balancing the game really shows, even accesories got balanced (the one which inflicted Iai strike now decreases your defense by 20%).
      The only thing I haven’t liked so far is that some old characters were adjusted subjectively, many were balanced while others got overpowered and others got nerfed. In the long run that means some depend less on assists than others. Take Sephiroth for example, he can’t DC combo now, he was given only one new ground BRV attack and no HP attack, so he’s more of a punisher than he was before. So if you want to punish, don’t expect your assist bar to be full, but you’ll need your assists to make combos otherwise your damage will be pathetic. Really Sephy never did amazing damage (unless you had some really insane ATK-oriented build or an insane multiplier one) but criticals helped a lot, which were also nerfed. Oh, and heartless angel now has longer cooldown. The Warrior of light got “balanced” but I’d say a bit nerfed. They did justice for Ultimecia, she is really competitive now. Take the Emperor or Exdeath, they were freaking improved. The emperor has the thundercrest in the air as well (almost invisible), his flare attacks now wall rush you to the ground, he has a new ground HP attack (the one he uses against Terra in the opening FMV), the bombs now guard break when fully charged, and he can move while casting starfall. Exdeath can now cancel any attack in order to block, and if you hit with the teleport attack you can use a counter option. Plus, he’s got this maelstrom HP attack which has insane range and deals good damage (and it also allows him to move while casting). Oh, and the counters come out faster. And Gabranth… jeez, he charges his EX bar way faster than before, he has a new ranged brv attack in EX mode, and some of his brv attacks in EX mode were given guard breaking properties, like the spinning attack. The new characters feel pretty good and original in my opinion, Gilgamesh is really fun to use. Even if this felt like a rant, the game is really enjoyable, you won’t be disappointed (even if your favourite character isn’t in this game). The original quest system may be a bit limited but it’s fun as hell.

  • kupomogli

    Who has a PS3 for adhoc party?

  • Guest

    “Once we started development, it was decided that the concept for this title would be to create a story that would make players want to go back and play the last game again.”

    Sounds cool but then that means no Noctis in future games? and what became of all the “new” characters in this game that weren’t in the original “sequel”. They died??

    • theoriginaled

      Its mentioned in the original dissidia that the battle between cosmos and chaos is not the first and over time as the warring factions have battled the universe has become more and more dissolute. The First title we saw, the 13th battle in the war of cosmos and chaos had a number of the factions simply striving to end existence completely. I think the implication is that all thats left of the war is the main players. As we go back in titles to previous battles more characters appear new mechanics arise graphics improve, etc. Its really quite ingenious.

    • doomspeller10

      Dude, the whole purpose of the Dissidia 012 storyline is to show what happened to the new characters, you have to play the game if you don’t want to be answered with spoilers. If they make another Dissidia prequel (the 11th war for example) they could include Noctis and other characters. They’ve just said they can always go back and work with the past wars, but the one featured in the first Dissidia is the absolute last one (reminds me a bit of God of War if more titles were to be made). Hopefully they will make it either for the PS3 or the NGP to have more freedom regarding memory, controls (a bit cluttered by now, a 2nd nub would really help), and obviously Advent Children-level graphics.
      As to playing the 13th war again, the good thing is that it comes with the new mechanics (assist, ex revenge, etc.) and you have access to the overworld during these quests as well, while keeping the old cutscenes. So it’s not going to be exactly the same experience.

  • PrinceHeir

    it’s kinda funny how the latest characters in the FF franchise only shows up in the prequels instead of the final battle. but then again Dissidia doesn’t have a timeline(it’s more of a strong being; Cosmos, Chaos being calling all the warriors from their perspective times, kinda like Castlevania judgement)

    hope to see Noctis, Type-0 Characters, FFVIII-FFX characters in the future :P

    ” I think creating an action-centric game revolving around party battles would be very interesting.”

    i wouldn’t mind if it was FFXIII or X-2 gameplay(fast paced ATB but let’s you control each party member)

  • I can’t wait till friday for this :D It’s a shame they’re not gonna keep making them – I would have loved to see Auron and/or Vivi in the game :) Or maybe Palom and Parom with similar mechanics to the Ice Climbers in smash bros?

    But I understand the longer you keep pushing these games out, the more contrived they seem, hopefully they’ll pick it up again for a commemorative edition at the FFXV and FFXX marks, so they’ve got a couple of years to make Dissida III live upto it’s awesome XD

  • I hear there no Vivi in DDFF….
    -longggggggg hard stares at SE-

  • I found The prologus for this game to be rather shitily done.
    If the main game is going to be anything Like the prologus I do hope Square Enix dicides to start making better Games.
    No one should be paying money on a quickly declining Franchise thets currently becoming nothing more than poop

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