How A Final Fantasy Versus XIII Song Got Into Theatrhythm And Other Questions

By Spencer . July 2, 2012 . 5:36pm

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy comes out in North America tomorrow with songs from Final Fantasy all the way up to the still unreleased Final Fantasy Versus XIII. We caught up with Ichiro Hazama, producer, and asked him why Final Fantasy XIV was absent and how they settled on the Kingdom Hearts Mobile / Final Fantasy Brigade art style for the 3DS game.


How did you get the Final Fantasy Versus XIII song "Somnus" available as downloadable content? It must have been tough since the game, although it was announced six years ago, hasn’t come out yet.


Ichiro Hazama, Producer: A fan like yourself, who have heard the song before would be pleasantly surprised with a Versus XIII tune in the game. The music was announced earlier [through a trailer] and many people have heard the song already. It wasn’t anything too secretive.


Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is commemorated as a 25th anniversary title, so we wanted to be a little bit playful by adding this song. When we asked Nomura-san he casually approved it saying, "let’s do it" and that’s how we got it in.



Yeah, while this is a 25th anniversary title, there aren’t any songs in for Final Fantasy XIV, which is available for PCs, or spinoff titles like Final Fantasy USA (aka Final Fantasy Mystic Quest in Japan).


When you look up the collection of music in Theatrhythm, songs were collected from the mainstream Final Fantasy titles. We didn’t use spinoffs or anything like that and because of that USA was not included. Versus XIII is part of Fabula Nova Crystallis, the Final Fantasy XIII family, and we put music from every single game in that series into Theatrhythm.


In terms of Final Fantasy XIV, I personally thought that they were not ready to be incorporated into it. This was just my opinion, but they are changing the game. Maybe in the future, when they are ready, we may add songs from XIV.


Will DLC be the same in North America?


Nothing has been confirmed yet, but we also don’t have a plan to just do all of those DLC songs for Japan only.


In Japan, it looked like Theatrhythm Final Fantasy sold beyond expectations since stores had to restock the game right away. As the game’s producer, how did you feel about this?


As a producer, I felt sorry for fans who were waiting for the game because it was sold out. Some people had, in a worst case scenario, had to wait two weeks so the only feeling I felt was sorry.


7846image2012_0227_1733_2In an Iwata Asks interview, you mentioned you had the idea for Theatrhythm after working on Advent Children when the DS first came out, but the hardware wasn’t powerful enough. How has the concept for Theatrhythm evolved?


It didn’t evolve from that time because it wasn’t possible on DS. I had to stop thinking about making it. In my mind, I was always warming up the idea, but we didn’t move forward with development. When 3DS was available and we had a talk with Nintendo, I thought with this we can resume planning and that’s how development resumed.


Did you always settle on the Kingdom Hearts Mobile art style or did you test other designs for the Final Fantasy characters before choosing the cutesy art style?


From the beginning, we were discussing how to present characters from the entire Final Fantasy franchise. When we saw the designs of the Final Fantasy guest characters in Kingdom Hearts Mobile we thought this is going to work.


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It’s interesting that you used the gods from Dissidia in Theatrhythm. Are Chaos and Cosmos now overarching gods for the entire Final Fantasy universe?


[Laughs.] I didn’t feel that ambitious when I was planning Theatrhythm! The only titles that cover the Final Fantasy series from the first game to XIII are Dissidia and Theatrhythm. Nomura, the creative director, thought it would be great to use the artwork from Dissidia. Did you notice the logo has the gods on it? I worked on the Dissidia: Final Fantasy games too and because I worked on those titles, Nomura and I wanted to continue using those gods.


Do you view Theatrhythm as a series now? What series would you want to work with… Manarhythm? TheatrhythmHitman?


[Laughs.] Personally, I hope this will be come a series, but Theatrhythm Hitman will probably be really far off. There are many series that I would want to work on for Theatrhythm. Dragon Quest has a lot of music and Kingdom Hearts would be wonderful to do if it’s possible. I’m not to familiar with the Eidos collection, but Tomb Raider has a long history so it must have a great collection of songs. That might be fun.


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Can you tell us what you want to work on next?


In my career, I used to work on merchandise. I worked on movies like Advent Children, then I worked on social games in Japan. Theatrhythm is something new too. It’s a music game for the Final Fantasy franchise. If I can do something new that nobody has done that would be very exciting.

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  • Nitraion

    So does that mean we played XIII versus already? on our console That is BRAIN?

  • KHSoraKeyBlade

    I’d take a Kingdom Hearts, Chrono, Dragon Quest and Mana Theatrhythm game any time.
    The demo for this actually persuaded me to go buy it this Friday, it’s really fun and the music is just wonderful. Plus, it definitely gives me something to play while I wait the two weeks for KH3D :D

    • Solomon_Kano

      Chronorhythm would have a nice ring to it…

      • That would be THE best. It would scratch my Chrono itch. Especially since they both have such catchy songs.

        • Solomon_Kano

          Yea, now that the idea’s been brought up, I kinda need SE to make it happen.

          Or, if SE decides Chrono’s not big enough, how bout we just get one massive SE rhythm game with everything from Live a Live to Xenogears? I’d buy.

  • MrRobbyM

    I thought it was leaked FFVXIII footage skimming through the title really fast.


  • Syltique

    Great interview.  I kind of wonder what his favorite music games are though, and if he finds any inspiration in titles like Rhythm Thief, Project Diva, or Elite Beat Agents.

    I also would like to know if they plan on doing any significant rerecordings for future games.  Since he worked on Dissidia, he knows how amazing that OST was. As good as the music is from the original games, modern remixes really add a ton.  The only ones that really fully hold up just in sound quality are FFIX-FFXIV, but nothing before.  

    I’d also love to see the series branch away from tapping and swiping.  Personally, I prefer the mixed buttons of Project Diva.  I’m still really looking forward to this game though, and will pick it up as soon as I get a 3DS.

  • OatMatadoQuatro

    The image that linked to this article made me wonder if Noctis was bored out of his skull since he was hired six years ago by Square and probably doesn’t even know what’s his role in Versus.

  • LunarKnite

    I would absolutely LOVE a Dragon Quest Theatrhythm! The Overture for me is more nostalgic than any Final Fantasy theme.

  • MrKappa

    Huh, FFXIII Versus? What’s that? I recall hearing about such a game 6 years ago but there doesn’t seem to be a game by such a name released.

  • Riian

    Theathrythm Kingdom Hearts would be the greatest thing ever, seriously.

  • I’m really disappointed they didn’t consider any music from spinoff titles, I was really looking forward to hearing some rockin’ Mystic Quest music…

  • Ethan_Twain

    I feel like if Square Enix chooses to make a sequel to this game, Dragon Quest is definitely the way to go.  Dragon Quest has a long history with a LOT of great music, it has a more uniform art style than Final Fantasy which would make creation easier on a couple of levels, and it has great brand name recognition in Japan.  Since Theatrhythm sold really well in Japan, even if it bombs in international markets it still makes sense to make another release for Japan featuring Japan’s favorite RPG franchise.

    Heck, the hardware even lines up.  You know what hardware the modern Dragon Quest fan owns?  Nintendo hardware.  IX and X are on Nintendo hardware, but do you realize that all the spin-offs are these days too?  Dragon Quest Monsters, Dragon Quest Rocket Slime, Dragon Quest anniversary, even on DSi Ware there’s Dragon Quest.  A celebration of Dragon Quest should certainly, considering the current market, be released on Nintendo hardware.

    It would be easiest from a development perspective to put another Theatrhythm game on the same hardware as the prequel so as to maximize development team familiarity and asset re-use.  Any other hardware on the market would require a move up to HD resolution which would mean upgrading any and all art assets to fit.

    So to summarize my argument, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest for the 3DS makes sense from a franchise perspective, a development perspective, and a marketing perspective.  That’s my pitch.

  • Solomon_Kano

    If this became a series… good lord, yes! Theatrhythm DQ and KH would both be incredible. I had no idea that they had been planning this since the DS was around, but it’s nice that they were able to make it happen for the series 25th anniversary.

  • dem random side games,need ffv13

  • Barrylocke89

    A Dragon Quest or Kingdom Hearts Theatrhythm would be AWESOME.

  • Great interview . My copy is preordered at Amazon .

  • Hoshi星

    We should have a Theatrhythm Classics featuring songs from not only one Square-Enix franchise but all the franchises combined in one game. Mana serie, Breath of Fire serie, Romancing Saga, Chrono, Chocobo Dungeon, Kingdom Heart, Dragon Quest, Valkyrie Profile, Star Ocean, Grandia, etc

    Though, it would be kind of too much to handle.

    • Theatrhythm Star Ocean?  How can you even tell enough Sakuraba songs apart to make a whole game out of his music?

      • Sweet Voices

         By actually Listening to them?

      •  Ahah, made me laugh so hard :P I really like Sakuraba’s compositions, but since he composed for so many videogames now, it is only natural that he tends to reuse lots of assets. I do highly recommend the Beyond the Labyrinth OST for a very different Sakuraba though.

  • X

    I would love to see a Theatrhythm Dragon Quest! I was leary of this till I watched a video, and now it looks like a lot of fun, a nice way to put the nostalgia goggles on and do something new at the same time. Definitely want to buy!

  • komiko12

    Hehe. A Theartrhythm for each of Square Enix’ popular series.
    Then there will be a Theatrhythm Square Enix.

  • Rock Volnutt

    Chrono Theatrhythm. Square, you must do it. It’s not as though you have a shortage of characters.

    Fund it.

  • Göran Isacson

    Ha ha, I’m glad I kept reading because him saying “I’m sure that you were all very excited about seeing a song from Versus XII in there” just made me froth at the mouth in fervent desire to just grab him by his lapels and scream “ADSLGHDJKGHJÖASF NOOOOO WE WANT THE GAME THE GAME THE GAAAAAMMEE NOT A REMINDER WE DON’T HAVE THE GAME.”

    BUT I persevered and read on, and it was quite an interesting interview! I would definitely be interested in them turning “Theaterrythm” into a sort of tribute-game to their many beloved franchises, and a Dragon Quest version would probably sell like gangbusters in Japan. Not so sure about the West though…

    Also, speaking of Eidos- while I know Hitman has an awesome soundtrack, does Tomb Raider have any really recognizable music that would lend itself well to a Theaterrythm-style game? Any fan out there who can inform me of this?

  • Well, I disagree with his assessment about Final Fantasy XIV. Given the current state of the game and how they currently are a mere month before starting a full blown marketing campaign for 2.0, putting one or two XIV songs as DLC would be extremely smart.

    And it’s not like it’s OST was the reason for it to have been badly received.

    • Solomon_Kano

      Well, he did say it was his personal opinion. Besides, it’s still on the table for DLC. The song you linked to in particular would certainly make for some nice DLC.

    • RablaAndrews

      ‘Twilight over Thanalan’ would make the game a must-buy for me.

  • Showmeyomoves

    Theathrythm: F-Zero. You know you want it.

    Make it happen, Squeenix and Nintendo!

  • Josh Gordon

     Hows about asking the man when and what we can expect from VERSUS. Just bring it out before next gen arrives and make sure its PS exclusive

    • Solomon_Kano

      Of course. Because this was an interview with Tetsuya Nomura.

    • Because Hazama isn’t the producer of director of Versus, this was an interview about Theatrhythm. 

  • “When you look up the collection of music in Theatrhythm, songs were collected from the mainstream Final Fantasy titles. Versus XIII is part of Fabula Nova Crystallis, the Final Fantasy XIII family, and we put music from every single game in that series into Theatrhythm.”

    While you’re at it add some Tactics songs since it’s part of the Ivalice Alliance, the XII family or Crisis Core songs from the Compilation Final Fantasy VII family.
    Admit it Square-Enix, you’re just trolling us!

  • If there was Manarhythm, I’d be playing the hell out of “Pain the Universe” 24/7.

  • I hope it becomes a series! I’d love to play the KH and DQ music songs!! >W<

  • the9reen9uy

    I love this game =D Haven’t been able to put it down since I got it.. As others have said, making this into a series would be amazing!

    • Same here XD I cannot get enough of this game. One of 3DS’s best games this year. Mamba de Chocobo… cannot resist playing it over and over again! 

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