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.
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.