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."
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."