Terra Battle Is Sakaguchi’s Second Try On Smartphones After Failing Once

By Sato . July 4, 2014 . 1:00pm

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Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi recently revealed his new smartphone project, Terra Battle. During an interview in this week’s Famitsu magazine, he talked about how the project started and other aspects of its development.

 

Sakaguchi explains that Terra Battle is a smartphone game that he originally planned to work on a little at a time, but since it’s an RPG, there’s was a lot of data involved and it too much longer than expected. After about a year of development, the game is almost complete.

 

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Terra Battle has a fairly small development team, and as previously reported, the project consists of a few people that have a background working at Squaresoft.

 

“It depends how far you look into it, but the core staff is about six members,” Sakaguchi says. “There are about eight people in charge of the monster graphics, and about two people working on the backgrounds. Additionally, two more on music and sound effects… and that’s pretty much it.”

 

Famitsu points out that it must feel rather different compared to the major projects Sakaguchi has taken on in the past.

 

“With the core staff and myself included there’s about seven people, which kind of reminds me of the first generation of Final Fantasy, and it’s really fun,” Sakaguchi exclaims. “Back then, the early stage consisted of about four people working on [the project], but that increased over time, which was still only around 12 people in the end.”

 

“When it’s around that scale, communication is very quick and it feels great. However, it can be troublesome whenever there’s a quarrel,” he adds with a laugh.

 

Famitsu asks if that means quarrels happen often among the development staff of Terra Battle, to which Sakaguchi jokingly responds in the affirmative.

 

“Even last night, we had an argument that got into pretty loud shouts and we got scolded by the guys from the restaurant,” he says with a laugh. “ We often have people saying things like, ‘Well maybe Mr. Sakaguchi’s ideas just aren’t that great?’ and me going, ‘Huh? Maybe it’s the people around me that suck!’ and stuff like that.”

 

Famitsu mention that they were pretty surprised to hear Terra Battle announced as a smartphone game, and ask how those plans came to be. Sakaguchi responds that Mistawalker originally worked with hardware companies on bigger projects, but over time, it has become tougher for them to do so.

 

“However,” Sakaguchi says, “we have excellent staff members here at Mistwalker, so we can’t just stop working and only spend our time playing around, so we figured that we could make something that fits our size. And we started with a smartphone game called Party Wave.

 

Famitsu points out that Party Wave was quite the unique game coming from someone like Sakaguchi.

 

“Honestly, it hardly sells,” Sakaguchi responds with a lighthearted laugh. “That was my first game for smartphones, and I really learned about the gap between what’s successful and unsuccessful in this area.

 

He concludes: “Again, this is also the first time I learned about marketing techniques like ‘simply changing one button in the app has an effect,’ and it was really refreshing for me. And that’s when I started having a strong feeling of ‘I’d like to give it another try, and challenge [the smartphone space] properly this time’.”

 

Terra Battle will launch this September for smartphone.


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  • Stephen Mc Devitt

    Did Sakaguchi made a tower defence game between Party Wave and Terra Battle?

    Let’s hope this IS his last try (in terms of moderately scaled RPGs) on smartphones.

    • Kaetsu

      The tower defence game was called Blade Guardian.

  • Jin Kisaragi

    I think he should try consoles instead of smartphones.

    • mikanko

      I think he’d rather work on consoles too. It sounds like they don’t have the money, enough people, or the opportunity to do so.

      • Kaetsu

        He said if it becomes successful enough he wants to release it on consoles.

  • MK

    He should try Kickstarter

  • DesmaX

    Seems like he knows what he’s doing now.

    The market in the mobile is different from your regular gaming market. Hope this game do fine for him

  • http://hatintime.com/ ShadowFang

    Yeah… this was what I thought. Mistwalker really is quite small.

    My gut reaction to this announcement was, like most, disappointment that it’s a mobile game. But then I remembered that Lost Odyssey was actually developed by FeelPlus, Blue Dragon by Artoon/Azrest, and Last Story by Marvelous. They always find another company to actually handle graphics and programming; they just design cool worlds/characters/stories and then… can’t do anything with them with such a small staff. Can’t do anything besides smartphone titles, it seems.

    Indie teams are usually the same size though, and can tackle projects like Archeblade, Strike Vector and A Hat in Time. So I’m not sure that’s a valid excuse. I feel like they could do a non-mobile RPG if they want to. I mean, Soul Saga is the work of one guy and the artists he can outsource work to. I’m also pretty sure games like Snowcastle’s Earthlock: Festival of Magic and Shiness are being made by small teams. So maybe it’s just because he’s old school and wanted a return to NES-style game-making? Which is cool… but man, why can’t this be released for a PC too then, at least?

    Man. The Japanese game industry is just too different right now, I guess. Sure hope Unity Japan (and Unity Chan(^▽^)) can convince more devs over there to get a tad more ambitious than “mobile – mobile – mobile” so often.

    • DesmaX

      Wasn’t Mistwalker mean to be a concept developer (They would make a concept and find a developer to work on it)?

      Kinda hard to work with those conditions

      • Yause

        It’s easier than the alternative, which would be to bankroll a large team of full-time developers. Under those conditions, Mistwalker would’ve laid everyone off long ago.

        Mistwalker is semi-retirement for Sakaguchi. The crew today is completely different from the one that handled the console games, so he can partner with whoever he wants on demand. None of the announced names had integral design roles at Square Enix (they were never on Sakaguchi’s development team, for that matter), so we can probably assume that they’re among the masses of programmers who quit the console industry for freelance social/mobile development.

        • DesmaX

          Sorry, I meant that it was hard for him to work on a full-pledged game on that condition. Shoud’ve choose my words better.

    • Yause

      The devs go where the money is. A push from Unity would just convince more people to make mobile games (using Unity middleware).

      • DesmaX

        Oh yeah, it’s pretty easy to compile Unity games to iOS and Android. heh

  • Based Ignacio Puppo

    I wish Sakaguchi would return to consoles though. As far as I know, since I didn’t play it myself, Last Odyssey was really good, and as polarizing as The Last Story was…. I liked it a whole lot. Ah well, hopefully this does well enough so that they can return to consoles :(

    • Kornelious

      I think he should return to consoles too…..he makes the best games! :)

      Also what does “Polarizing” mean?

      • Based Ignacio Puppo

        It means that some loved it and some hated it. I saw both low and high scores in equal measure, heck, two of my favorite critics(Jim Sterling and ProJared) hated it, and I happen to have a similar taste with Sterling. I think it had to do with the ally AI, ProJared and Jim said that it was terrible, but Gamesradar, that actually liked the game, praised it. And I did find the allies to suit my playstyle and had no issue with it, but I’m just guessin’.

        • Kornelious

          I dunno, It wasn’t the greatest game ever, but i really liked it :)

          When I read reviews I take it with a spoon of Salt, I end up liking a lot of games that most people don’t (Partially because i feel it pisses people off :P) So i don’t let what reviewers say detour my opinion…

          • Based Ignacio Puppo

            I don’t let them either, but I do like seeing points of view from other people, particularly when it comes to critics I like, like Sterling or ProJared. Usually, when I see a game I know if I will like it or not from Gameplay alone, but I do enjoy watching dem video reviews!

    • Monterossa

      I don’t know what he’s thinking. he made a few jRPG games for X360, the system that doesn’t has a good jRPG fanbase then he released another game for a dying system like the Wii. so he thinks that console market is not good and want to make money like the other devs who are doing good in smartphone market. he’s a good game producer but probably has no idea how to do business.

      • Based Ignacio Puppo

        To be fair, he took a gamble with Final Fantasy 1 and paid off(Or rather, the Square CEOs did with Sakaguchi?) maybe he was hoping for another “miracle” xD

      • Rayhan PromisedGallery

        maybe he thought on PS3 there are already too many JRPG as competitor lol (as if)

      • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

        The one on Wii actually become the best selling title for X-Seed though and i do consider that Sakaguchi till now still had some black blood with Sony consoles here.

        • Monterossa

          hmm what happened between him and Sony?

          • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

            Can’t really remember, but i remember the problem he had was during his time in Square Soft with Crazy Ken. Which lead him into not making any more game for Sony platform here.

      • Godmars

        He supposedly has bad feeling towards Sony and even more so against its current president, Kazuo Hirai.

        Then there were the production/coding issues with the PS3 itself and the fact that MS gave him lots of money to make JRPGs on the 360 – the costs and poor returns of said games left him with nowhere to go but Nintendo and iOS.

    • Heropon

      I suggest you should try to play Lost Odyssey for yourself .LO fanboy complain about FF13 but they don’t even acknowledge their game is as horrible as FF13

      • Based Ignacio Puppo

        I don’t own a 360 so I can’t really check, what’s so bad about it?

        • Heropon

          it is about the story .The concept about immortal is good at first but fall apart after Kaim regain his memory. It turn into anime Hero try to save the world with a lot of plot hole and cliché. You can watch it on youtube . Gameplay is ok but nothing innovative . Music is Average and forgettable , worst soundtrack from Nobuo

        • shomangaka

          My brother and I on the other hand were on the verge of tears yesterday
          from how happy LO makes us. It’s pretty fun and different from current
          rpgs. We hadn’t played for a while because we misplaced the xbox 360 hdmi
          cable.

          We still love the game, the characters, the fighting system and the music. It’s worth a try. It’s a very good game.

      • Twilleppac

        Wut, I liked XII but you’re just flat out wrong, LO is WAAAAY better than XIII

  • Vyse Legendaire

    “Even last night, we had an argument that got into pretty loud shouts and we got scolded by the guys from the restaurant,” he says with a laugh. “ We often have people saying things like, ‘Well maybe Mr. Sakaguchi’s ideas just aren’t that great?’ and me going, ‘Huh? Maybe it’s the people around me that suck!’ and stuff like that.”

    No Gooch I think your critics have it right this time. ;9

    • http://twitter.com/crxuchilbara MegamMix

      yeah that was kind of an conceited A hole remark by da Gooch.

  • Kornelious

    Y’know I love you Sakaguchi but I really think that “If first you don’t suceed with a phone game……Port it to a console, or DON’T try again” X(

    Though the game looks pretty interesting,,,,And I heard that if it succeeds he might release it on consoles….So I’ll give it a chance :)

  • Strain42

    Party Wave was fun, but it was ****ing hard. It had the potential to be..well…a party, but it ended up being frustrating. He certainly knocked it up a notch with Blade Guardian, and I’m hoping Terra Battle will be successful.

  • Ric Vazquez

    *sigh*

  • prinnywin

    Sakaguchi is one of my videogame heroes.
    While I don’t really like the direction this game is going, mobile and all, and will be skipping this one out, I’m still hoping for more from the gooch.

    One day, Sakaguchi is gonna make a huge comeback with a great game for consoles or proper gaming handhelds. And I’ll be there cheering him.

  • Chiupon

    those character designs are getting pretty limited

    some of those characters look like Drakengard 3 ones almost exactly. :C

  • CozyAndWarm

    It’s depressing reading this. Sakaguchi has really suffered a fall from grace, stuck making underwhelming smartphone games that don’t sell, while Square crumbles from its continued mediocrity.

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