When Square Enix asked fans to “Please be excited for E3 this year,” during the PlayStation Meeting 2013 event a few months ago, they weren’t kidding, as they had one of the company’s biggest E3 showings in recent years. Key Square Enix developers in Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama talked about the latest developments in Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
As previously reported, the development status of Final Fantasy X HD and Final Fantasy X-2 HD are at 80% and 65%, respectfully. According to the series’ producer, Yoshinori Kitase, the current plan is to have both titles be released sometime this year, but as they’re approaching the final stage of development, it’s hard to provide a concrete release date at the moment.
After announcing that Final Fantasy X would be re-released in an HD remake back in September of 2011, Square Enix had to go through a significant amount of trial and errors to ensure the game would meet the expectations of new and old fans of the series. Gamer.ne.jp asked Kitase about the greatest struggle development has faced thus far.
“Just getting an SD quality game and turning it into HD isn’t something we’d settle for,” Kitase replied. “The production is based on the memories of those who’ve played the game 10 years ago, but we’re taking our time to develop it so we can make sure that the new HD look and its beautiful form won’t ruin those memories. We’ve modified the characters and polygons, one by one, and we’ve also revised the textures.”
“Not everything has changed, but the main character expressions in cut-scenes have been altered,” Kitase says in regards to expressive comparisons to the original version. “However, simply adding polygons can subtly change impressions, so we’re constantly checking while revising to make sure we don’t ruin the image of Tidus and Yuna for the fans.”
We previously reported that Final Fantasy X-2 HD may not include the Last Mission. Kitase touched on the subject by mentioning that they are currently exploring possibilities and will be revealing more in the near future.
Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster is going to be Square Enix’s first major Vita title. Kitase feels that the Vita and its fine screen is a great match for an HD remake and has been impressed by the device. In regards to any touch panel and other features, he couldn’t say much for now, but feels that it would be a waste not to utilize these features.
The topic of the interview then shifted to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and its director, Motomu Toriyama, who started out by saying how they’ve barely finished adjustments for the whole game and are currently testing out the new game system’s balances.
The game system for the series’ third installment appears to be quite different from the past titles. Gamer asks about the concept behind Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Toriyama explains, “Final Fantasy XIII was ‘story-driven,’ as it was developed to be a game that focused more on the story. Then, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was developed with a form of freedom to go with the story. The idea of having a lot of freedom hasn’t changed for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, as the concept behind it is ‘world-driven’.
“This means the world and environment that surrounds Lightning, and the NPCs, will always be changing regardless of your actions. And, the experience of the player will change according to how Lightning will have access to this changing world, thus freely being able to enjoy the story,” Toriyama concludes.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will be the last title of the XIII series. We’ve seen plenty of new trailers the past few weeks, but many still have questions regarding characters from the first two titles that have yet to be shown. According to Toriyama, all the mysteries and character stories will come to a conclusion in this last game. There are still many characters who haven’t shown up in trailers but are expected to appear in the finale in a similar manner to Snow and Noel.
Then, it was Toriyama’s turn to talk about any notable struggles he may have faced during the latest developments of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
“The Crystal Tools which we’ve been using as the base engine, honestly, it wasn’t made for an open-world game,” Toriyama admitted. “Hence, we used this occasion for a version update and have been able to improve it to make something in a currently trending open-world style.”
Toriyama reiterated, “In order to have an expressive method to increase the feeling of freedom, I believe that it was required for it to be an open-world game. Again, we’ve introduced the concept of time in this title, so players will get to further enjoy the world.”
To conclude the interview, Kitase and Toriyama finished with a message for the fans, starting with a message from Kitase on fans waiting for Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster.
“I hope that those of you who’ve played the PlayStation 2 version will get to play and feel a sense of nostalgia. Again, I believe that there are new players who met Tidus and Yuna for the first time in Dissidia: Final Fantasy. For those people, I believe that this is a great opportunity to fully understand the story of Final Fantasy X, as it is a game with a rich story and game elements even for today, that I hope you get to experience.”
Toriyama then finished with a message for the fans waiting for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
“This time, it will be Lightning’s last story. On top of making the already cool Lightning even cooler, the drawn ‘coldness’ is the most polished it’s been thus far. It’s a title that will have you liking Lightning in various ways. Thank you for your support.”
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is slated for release in February 2014 in the U.S. and Europe for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. And Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster is currently in development for PlayStation 3 and Vita.