What’s The Difference Between Making Final Fantasy Now And 20 Years Ago?

By Matt Hawkins . October 18, 2013 . 3:17am


That’s the question Siliconera asked Takashi Tokita who has been working with the Final Fantasy series starting with Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV. We also talked to Tokita about the 3D remake of Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and one of his unlocalized RPGs, Live A Live.


Final Fantasy IV: The After Years looks very similar to past Final Fantasy ports for the DS. Is it built upon the same engine?


Takashi Tokita, Director: Yes, it’s based upon the Final Fantasy IV remake we’ve done in the past, on the DS, though it’s a refined version of that original engine. Also, we reused environments and polygonal models, though there are new characters and locations as well.


Aside from the graphical upgrade, is it a straightforward port of the original smartphone game? Or is there any new, additional content?


It’s the same story, same characters, though instead of being presented in an episodic fashion, it’s all-together in a single package.


ff4ay-03 ff4ay-05


You started working on games for the Famicom and Super Famicom, but these days, most of your output is via smartphones. Would you like to eventually return to consoles or are smartphones the platform that you’re more comfortable these days?


These days, it’s simply easier to create new projects on a mobile device, to see where it goes from there. Though, I would like to basically create a console game on a mobile device or create a mobile game that could be on a console, as to integrate the two.


The Final Fantasy that is Square Enix’s focus these days is quite different from the ones you helped craft. Or are they? What’s the differences and what’s the similarities between, say, Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy XIII?


Back in 2007, when I was producing The After Years, the idea of making a sequel to Final Fantasy IV was new. But, the fact that we now have Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII illustrates how much has changed. It also shows how much players all love these characters, but more so, enough to make sequels a regular thing.


Square Enix has great success with ports of Final Fantasy games on iOS and Android, plus there appears to be less risk localizing smartphone games as compared to Famicom/Super Famicom games of old. What are the chances of older, more obscure titles of being ported, and therefore getting a Western audience at long last? Like Live A Live for example?


I’ve definitely had some schemes to that extent. It would be ideal if, one day, people all over the world could play these obscure games that are hard to get a hold of. But the problem is, because it’s an older game, we don’t have a base to build to work from, for an iOS version, or Android version. We’d have to have to basically remake the game from scratch, which would cost a large sum of money, and a big budget for that.


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I see. After all, the just released iOS/Android port of Final Fantasy V and the just announced port of Final Fantasy VI for the same platforms are both based upon the GBA versions from a little while ago, correct?


Yes. Because of advances in technology, with everything for PlayStation 1 and beyond, we have the ability to store the data, of all those games and how we made them. But before PlayStation… like Nintendo, Super Nintendo… unfortunately, because we just didn’t have the proper means to store the production and how we made those games, if we were to remake them, we have to reconstruct the whole thing. We simply were not able to preserve the past data.


I’m hoping that soon, there will be some young, ambitious engineers and gamers out there who are willing to be the ones to reconstruct the data themselves.


Wait. So let me get this straight: if some kid from wherever… whether he be from Osaka or Wisconsin… wants to reassemble Live A Live from scratch, for today’s platforms, you’re okay with that?


[laughs] We definitely need to figure out the details, but if anyone is willing to try and do this, I am very open to the possibility!

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  • Rogerrmark

    “Yes. Because of advances in technology, with everything for PlayStation 1 and beyond, we have the ability to store the data, of all those games and how we made them”

    I wonder if that means one could make FFVII~FFIX ports with actual new content and improvements,without having to make from the scratch.

    You know,diminishing FFIX loadings,changing the in-game 3-D models for better ones,and adding post-game stuff,like dungeons or quests,like I~VI.

    Steam FFVII is almost the same…except for achievements.

    • Pockystix

      I would totally eat up a fully HD FFIX re-release

      with none of the story or characters messed with of coarse lol

      Hell, FFV and FFVI have really needed the DS/3DS treatment, but it’s going to get the iOS treatment instead :/

      sometimes less is not more. . . sometimes it’s just a lot less.

      • JuhRo

        FF 6 in the DS format.. Ew. That would completely ruin it. The fat DS sprites.. are just not good to look at. They need actual HD models.. not just the lazy blob that SE has been cooking up for the nintendo handhelds..

    • Remaking the PlayStation games would probably be even harder though, because so much of those games is graphically prerendered. To add new content to one of the 16-bit games all you have to do is copy a few textures, maybe add a few sprites. With the 32-bit games it’s not that simple.

  • Magnumsally

    This is the new square.

    Do whats easiest for them and not whats best for the series.

    The mobile games have ALL been critically panned as nothing more than no thought games

  • Minos

    I think the main difference between FFIV and XIII its that IV is a good game.

    • RichyGaming

      Both are good imo.

    • Herok♞

      So the main difference between them is you like passing off an OPINION as a fact when others might not share it at all, like lets even look at the original FF14 that game was outright bad/broken to the point it needed to be remade from scratch and people still enjoyed it, do you want me to to tell you why because they didn’t listen to people who try passing their opinion off as fact.

      • “people who try passing their opinion off as fact.”

        This is the biggest problem I have with most FF fans. It’s as if whatever game was their favorite is the best for everyone, and the worst is the worst for everyone, and then they try to act like it was set in stone as if it was the damn Uchiha Tablet.

        • William Trengove

          That’s THE biggest problem with FF Fans, this never-ending war between ‘What’s the best FF?’

          • I agree. And it goes a lot further than people think. Because people try passing off opinions as facts, they rally up with others who agree with them and start criticizing SE’s future games and FFs.

            They may not realize it; but fans also have a stake in what’s wrong with Final Fantasy today. Everyone wants something different, and it inevitably leads to no one being satisfied, as Square tries to mix the opinions into one, or tries something new.

            That’s not to say SE isn’t to blame at all– it has it’s share of faults. But I don’t think all the problems lie in their hands.

          • William Trengove

            It’s also funny that these people think that the 10,000-15,000 fans that are constantly bitching on message boards about these newer games, ACTUALLY think that their opinions matter more than the 900,000+ people who will buy their games, Square Enix knows what’s up.

          • Vocal Minorities, lol.

            By the way, I STILL have to buy Tales of Xillia… I seriously have to buy/beat it before Xillia 2 releases overseas…

          • William Trengove

            Glad that my Avatar reminded you, but I have like 250+ games on my shelf that I haven’t even started yet…But yeah I could care less what these Vocal minorities actually believe in, 80% of them are still living in 1995 and need to move the F on

          • JuhRo

            Hopefully it’ll help.. of course people buy it, but not every one of those people will say it’s an epic adventure, like it’s really supposed to be.

          • Minos

            Nop, FF fans biggest problem is its absolutelly lack of sense of humor.

            They can’t take a joke. Fortunatelly, looks like 28 of each 32 have it.

          • Well, if you’re saying that what you posted up there was a joke– understand that text doesn’t lead itself to sarcasm very well, so you should have been clearer. I’m fairly sure that the people upvoting your comment can agree it as the truth and assumed you weren’t joking either.

            However, I still believe in what Herok and I talked about. Whether or not you were joking doesn’t dismiss our ideas. You just opened up a reason to talk about it.

            And trust me, I have a sense of humor, and I don’t mind others opinions, I just think you should have showed that a bit better.

          • William Trengove

            if someone HAS to use sarcasm on the internet, the best way to do is either use ‘…’ or “…” when saying it so that everyone ‘gets it’

          • An exclamation mark and probably emoticons would help to understand it’s an exagerated/sarcastic claim too :V

          • William Trengove

            either way works…The thing that makes sarcasim work in a face-to-face conversation is that someone will usually change the tone/pitch of their voice or use hand gestures to indicate ‘I am being sarcastic’

            but when you’re using a Keyboard…It makes it a lot harder to do so…harder than it sometimes already is.

          • Yaah true.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            Make a stupid comment, expect folks to call you on it here, sorry. It is not our readers job to telepathically know when you are making a funny. Make it your job to make us laugh.

    • Eh kinda didn’t liked IV.
      Prefered it’s SNES brothers V and VI.

    • Sergio Briceño

      Also, XIII has 3D models.

    • Ty Austin

      You misread the article. It’s the difference between MAKING…

      • Minos

        Too many words, didn’t read.


      oh Final fantasy fanbase you are just getting worst by each day

  • “The Difference Between Making Final Fantasy Now And 20 Years Ago?”
    That’s easy. The games from back then were made with quality.

  • Saint_Stahn

    ”Enough to make sequels a ”REGULAR” thing”. This particular statement makes me feel… uneasy. So much for getting new stories in the future… So are we gonna see Kain still creeping on Rosa in his 50s?
    It really blows to be Cecil these days…

  • JuhRo

    Make a quick buck. That’s.. SE… always has been.. RIP Squaresoft.

    Just an to throw it out there: The DS polygon graphic “update” makes it look so much worse. Never enjoyed an FF game in the DS’ art style. Makes it look like a really bad saturday morning cartoon and just feels lazy compared to playstation days.

    • Lyh Scully

      I gotta agree with you on that, i much prefer the 2D though, the psp version of FFIV is my favorite.

      • JuhRo

        Apparently people love the new DS models.. bleh. Maybe it’s Nintendo fanboy-ism… but who knows.. You get downvotes for anything that’s not a popular thought.
        Bravely Default could have been much better if they didn’t use them either..
        The PSP Version of FFIV has AWESOME sprites and UI! Haha.. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it.

  • 無尽合体ブランタコブスキ

    20 years ago was about making good games.
    20 years later (present) is about milking money off those old games.

    • Wish they could actually milk them right.
      *Looks at all the useless iOs releases*

      • 無尽合体ブランタコブスキ

        Just because you don’t buy them doesn’t mean others don’t

      • JuhRo

        I think the conversation that just occurred here… is a win.

    • This is why I don’t want a FFVII remake.

      • Not sure if I get your reason as of why not.

        • I personally find it unnecessary, and I think they should focus on the future rather than time consuming remakes. That’s not to say I don’t mind ports and HD upscalings

          • Doesn’t seem like remakes and ports held them back to do “future” stuff though and since they already started the remake/remaster-a-thon they should finish it properly.

            I think among the Ps1 FFs, VII is the one that aged badly so I think a remaster with better models and polished prerendered backgrounds and cutscenes should be nice. I don’t really want a complete remake with last gen graphics nor voice acting, especially the latter would ruin Cloud greatly for me.
            And what amuses me is that if we talk about IX instead of VII, minority would definetely have a double standard case *Looks at the bottom*

      • FlyingPony

        Its either make a good game remake or continuing to do bad new game..

        So far, the fans reception of the newer FF was abysmal, while the FF10 and FF10-2 look better (and will play good too, like it was before) in HD port. Its better to remake FF7 than continuing doing bad, new FF in my opinion.

        I still reserve my final judgement until FF15 is out, because it is the only new FF that I actually looking forward to play. If even that long time project turn to out to be bad apple, then I highly urge SE to remake FF 7 than waiting money making game that is not fan’s favorite.

  • Shady Shariest

    Could someone please explain where all these “Cash-Milking” comments are coming from? The article has nothing to do with anything like that -_-‘

    • Ferrick

      well idiots will be idiots, so expect unrelated comments to appear here and there in which it’s sole purpose is either to spam, scam, or shitpost.

      • Shady Shariest


        Just sad to see how toxic parts of the community following SE are… In contrast to the people working there :3

        Tokita seems like an interesting person, too:
        “…or create a mobile game that could be on a console…”

        • Ferrick

          well, to be fair, the ones at SE aren’t exactly saints either, considering that they were the ones who decided “Let there be More mobile games”

          does make me wonder though, on how it would’ve been if portables or consoles were the big thing in japan’s market and not mobile phones

          • Imagine All The Bravest and that amateur RPG Maker FFV Remake on the 3ds! Yaaays? :D

            Some more quality to them should be good too.

          • Ferrick

            those wouldn’t even exist to begin with

            and amateur rpg maker ff5 remake = ff dimensions ?

          • Nay, check this out:

            Dem sprite animations! Dat quality! Dat diagonal running! Its…! Its…

          • Ferrick

            …. that thing reminds me of that one scene in aliens resurrection where mutated ripley clone begs to be killed…

          • Nice Boat Quatro

            …Since when does Bartz have a female cleavage?

          • Shady Shariest

            Hmhm~m from what i’ve heard portables are more successful in Japan.

            As for the mobile games… I honestly am okay with the development. Right now they are practicing handling a new platform… With time and progress mobile games might not be that bad.

            These things just need to be looked at in context: Smartphones are taking leaps in development and gaming on them just happens to cross the audience these big companies have hard time catching. It might bring grim ideas to ones mind (Most funny being that they stop making games outside mobile :3) but its just a new scene trying to stabilize. Nothing more :3

          • Ferrick

            well that’s a possibility, that is if they make games with quality that’s main purpose is to let the players have fun, and not be forced to pull out their wallets at every single moment when they fight others or are faced with bullshit stamina systems (and this bullshit is now going into full games like that Jojo game that had just released some time ago)

          • Shady Shariest

            Yeahp… I have no idea how they could’ve thought that Stamina system would go trough… I am all in for trying new ideas, but some sense would be nice regarding these things :/

          • $36598391

            I just wish the android versions didn’t force touch screen controls, my droid 4 has an actual keyboard usable from sliding the part with the screen up

          • Yause

            There’s nothing inherently wrong with mobile games (and honestly, a businessman in Japan wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t make mobile games an important area of development). They’re different from what most of us are used to, but it’s ridiculous for fans to paint this as a “good vs evil” battle.

  • Kamille

    people please don’t get butthurt but I think that FFXIII sucks. To me is not only one of the worst FF games but one of the worst games I’ve played this gen.

    • InReChee

      It actually sits in my top 3 FF’s. The worst to me would have to be XII. It almost made me drop RPGS altogether and is the reason i started to play alot of FPS and Fighters

  • DyLaN

    >Though, I would like to basically create a console game on a mobile device or create a mobile game that could be on a console, as to integrate the two.
    THIS. Might as well cater to both crowd instead of alienating them. As some1 who cannot afford to own a console atm, I will be glad if there some good quality FF for the mobile devices.

  • ivanchu77

    Final fantasy is just not the same without them:

    • mlhope

      You have answered wisely.

  • Barrylocke89

    Ignoring the “Final Fantasy sure has changed!” Aspects, I think the last two Q&As were the most interesting. I suppose it’s alluding to the kickstarter-esque thing that Squeenix is establishing?

    I’m sure there’s quite a few people and teams out there, east and west, who would go giddy over the chance to remake their favorite oldschool Square or Enix game in a way that they feel is best. If we get one or two projects like that, officially sanctioned by Square Enix, I’d call that a win.

  • ShadowDivz

    I’m just here to read the mean comments.

    • Ferrick

      did you bring popcorn ?

  • I would be hella down with a port/remake of Live A Live. Also, when the hell is Tokita going to be allowed to make new games? I was really disappointed when I found out he wasn’t working on Bravely Default. It’s pretty sad that he’s been effectively pushed out of Square’s inner circle while corporate drones like Hajime Tabata and Motomu Toriyama are allowed to take over the reins. Maybe he should quit SquEnix and join Mistwalker.

  • Hector Velar

    before they were cool and had great story line and character development, now they just try to rip off Star Wars and American Idol….

  • Ken C Cruz

    My FFVII is being left out again even if where talking about “what’s the different of now FF to the FF 20 years ago”. Does FFVII does not do anything in that “20 years ago”.

  • Xed51

    Honestly, I like the 2d (smartphone/psp) remakes so much better than the DS remakes. I can’t take the 3d super deformed sprites seriously, everything in does games looks like comedy to me with those graphics. I’m happier that they are remaking FFV&VI in 2d instead that 3d, the only thing I’m bitter about is that they’re getting released on smartphone but not on vita.
    (Or 3ds, it’s just that ff3 for smartphones WAS released on vita. It would make sense for 5&6 to be as well. Although the ps1 version is available on psn…)
    If I sound like a sony fanboy with this I’m sorry, that’s not really my point, I own every active console and don’t really differenciate between any. I’m just saying that I like the 2d remakes better, and those happened to be on psp.

  • Sylveria

    20 years ago FF games were games. Now FF games are fashion simulators that recycle assets for 5 year cycles catering to the creepiest fanboys who buy illustrated body pillows.

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