Square Enix On Bringing Theatrhythm To iOS, Adding Songs From Other Series

By Spencer . January 16, 2013 . 5:02pm


Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy made its debut on Nintendo 3DS and in December the game was re-released for iOS. While Square Enix has ported DS games to iOS, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is their first 3DS to iOS port. We asked the mobile development team about the challenges of porting Theatrhythm.


"It was quite a challenge technology-wise to adapt a rhythm-based action game to the iOS and to optimize the gameplay experience. Specifically, it was important for us to keep the music and video synchronized even with the high frame rate of the animation, and optimizing the gameplay experience using the touch screen. Even while we were developing this for the 3DS, we had pushed the limits of what we can do specifically for that device.


So when we switched over to programming for the iOS version and tested it out for the first time, the movement of the triggers wasn’t very smooth, and it was not a very optimized gameplay experience. From there, we needed to go through much trial and error of both technology and how the game is set up in order to get to our ideal state, including the way the touch controls felt. Also, we didn’t want to compromise the quality of the beautiful hi-resolution graphics, so we put in all we could to accommodate for the acceleration of processing and rendering. At the end, I think we were able to give this game a wonderful feel on the gameplay and the animation!"



"There are 2 major additions in terms of features on the iOS version: ‘Quest Medley’ and ‘Edit Mode.’ Both are indispensible elements for the game style of the iOS version, in which the player chooses (and downloads) the songs that they want. With the Quest Medley mode, you can play through your favorite songs one after the other and enjoy the sense of going on one big adventure using downloaded ‘scores’ created in the Edit Mode by players from around the world. With these elements, this game has the potential to provide an infinite play cycle. Please look for (or make your own!) scores that challenge you beyond what is prepared in the official version, or arranged to your liking, and enjoy the world of your favorite Final Fantasy songs to your hearts’ content!"


"Also, this is a subtler feature of the game, but if you shake your iDevice during party selection, the screen switches to a slot machine and you can select your party at random. This feature is one of my personal favorites! There are other parts of the game in which you can activate a certain function by shaking your iDevice, so I recommend you trying it out."


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As the title suggests, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy features music from the Final Fantasy, but Square Enix expanded the track selection on iOS with songs from Final Fantasy Tactics and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I asked if they had plans to include songs from other Square Enix series like the Mana games or the two Chrono titles to Theatrhythm.


"Of course, if the iOS version is strongly supported by the community worldwide and if there is a great demand for additional songs, we believe we will need to start considering adding more songs to our library in order to expand the Theatrhythm world.


Also, although I understand that there are even more challenges in releasing songs from other game titles, if there is a strong voice from our community backing us up, I think we can overcome such obstacles."

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  • Seijien

    Android…. please?

    • Mithfalath

      I concur!

  • Ethan_Twain

    It seems that the trend continues of Square Enix games getting high quality ports to iOS. Let us celebrate that – no other mainstream video game publisher has kept their iOS quality as consistently high as Square Enix. Their products are pricey, but they take the time to make ’em right.

    • Are you kidding me? This version is a cash grab hack job. To get even the same amount of content as the 3ds version you need to pay over 90 dollars…….the rest of there ios games are worse versions. There isnt one port thats better than on another platform.

      When square does things not on IOS, then its worth caring about

      • QBninja01

        Then don’t buy them all at once. Every once in while buy one or two songs that’s it.

        • Ace Trainer Chris

          I think you missed his point. The NON-DLC songs from the 3DS version, the ones you unlock like in any normal game, are available as DLC. So you’re basically paying more for something that’s cheaper and complete on another platform.

          • Time Sage

            You actully only get 3 songs with the base version of the iOS version.

  • tubers

    Why not the VITA? Seriously. Basically the same CPU and GPU of a lot of mobile devices.. (EDIT: well at least near ipad 3 levels xD.. goes not really “a lot”)

    Does SE have a form of hate towards Sony? Or does Sony have such an expensive “TAX” if a game is available for their system?

    • Enzo

      I can give you several reasons they didn’t want to put it on the Vita.
      1) The Vita isn’t selling very well right now. It’s near the bottom.
      2) Developing for the Vita is more expensive than developing for iOS
      3) It’s Square-Enix, they’re going all out for the iOS. They seem to care more about the iOS than anything else.

      • tubers


        2.) Isn’t it both the same like 99 bucks for the SDK and 99 for a yearly fee for being available to Sony?

        This also seems to be a rhythm game with basic graphics.. I don’t see how it’s any more expensive than an iOS port. Not to mention hardware is basically the same.

        1.) Sure it ain’t selling well right now but they may still get some sales from the VITA but only if my “2.)” is valid.

        3.) I’m kinda noticing that too.. some remakes of FF games go to iOS right.


        Guess they’re realling banking into the phablet future huh. Can’t really blame them though >.<

        • Enzo

          From what I understand, the reason why people even moved to iOS at all was because developing for a console is more expensive and the process is more arduous. I mean, if the Vita was going to get only a download copy of the game, maybe it would be cheaper but that would not promote sales at all. Especially true when the memory cards are so expensive.

          Another thing would be that there would need to be an incentive to get the PS Vita version instead. That would mean implementing something unique instead of simply porting it.

          • tubers

            I see.

          • Time Sage

            Except as I recall, the Vita uses some tech from cellphones to make porting and game creation easier then normal

          • tubers

            not just some tech though.. basically the same gen cpu and gpu from the ipad 3 (ARM)..

            Oh well..

      • Elvick

        Part of the reason it isn’t doing well is because one of the biggest PSP supports and provider of fantastic 3rd party releases isn’t bothering to even give ports to Vita… xP (I’m talking about SE in case that wasn’t clear)

        I love Theatrhythm my 3DS, but damn I would love it on my Vita too. I can only imagine how it would look on that 5” OLED screen.

        That said, it’s not SE’s job to sell the Vita. I know if Sony were doing better as a whole company, they’d be throwing money at them to make things happen for Vita, but they can’t.

        So we (SE fans that want stuff on Vita too), just gotta hope they eventually take that risk. Outside of FFX HD if it ever comes to fruition.

  • Enzo

    What I find funny is that they’re kind of lying when they say they pushed the 3DS to its limits with Theatrhythm. That game is definitely not the best the 3DS can do, and from what they’re saying is that the iOS can barely even do what the 3DS did with the game, in the technical sense. Struggling with keeping high frame-rates with synchronized video and audio and it’s picture-resolution.

    • leeorv

      way to completely miss what they said.

      They said that ported directly, at the same algorithm and engine used by the 3DS, they experienced performance issues (and assuming they didn’t mention on which device, they were probably referring to the iPhone 4 or 3GS).

      Once they optimized it, they managed to get it running at a perfect frame rate at a resolution that contains 8 times the amount of pixels in the original game.

      That’s very different from what you said.

  • J_Joestar

    Wish they would at least retroactively add in the new songs to the 3DS version, even if it is without the new modes.

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