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.