After finishing Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Hajime Tabata went on to reimagine Aya Brea, the lead character in the Parasite Eve series. Since ten years have lapsed since the last game in the series Tabata and the team decided to focus on Aya’s return.
The Parasite Eve series has many fans. How do you feel about the fan expectations?
Hajime Tabata, Director: We also had many fans in Japan who were very excited about the return of Aya. I hope we can continue to develop Aya with our dedicated fan base.
As a character, how did you envision Aya Brea in The 3rd Birthday?
Regardless of the game being on the PSP, we challenged ourselves to portray Aya in a realistic manner in every aspect of the game. As a result, I think we were able to develop Aya’s distinctive characteristics in a realistic fashion.
What inspired The 3rd Birthday’s story?
There was a 10 year gap after the release of PE2, and we couldn’t simply create a sequel, so we decided to create a title for Aya’s return. For that reason, we believed that in order for Aya to stand apart on her own, we needed to reimagine Aya and not create a simple reboot of the PE series. The story evolved around this concept of "Aya’s comeback."
How did you come up with the designs for the costumes?
Some of the costumes were designed to get through the more difficult game modes, but because they were designed as bonus features (Easter eggs), there were no specific inspirations for the designs. The artists (which we had several of) were able to design the costumes with creative freedom. However, the fundamental requirement was for the costumes to be interesting, stand out on the PSP system, and maintain a sense of realism when damaged/torn.
The 3rd Birthday and Mindjack use a similar body switching mechanic. Were you aware Mindjack was in development?
I found out about Mindjack during the development of this title, but that did not affect our production. The Overdive System is the integral feature in this title, while also being a vital tactical action necessary to progression. It is also a way in which to obtain DNA that strengthens Aya. Therefore, the Overdive System and Mindjack’s system are fundamentally different in terms of the approach in design.
How did you design levels to utilize body switching?
We created each stage while focusing on minute details and elements, while asking questions like "What types of surprises are in store?", "How often will a player need to use the Overdive System to get through a stage?", "How much pressure should be applied to the player?", "Which enemies should appear?", "What about the timing and placing of enemy encounters?" when deciding upon the layout and direction for each 3D map.
What was the most difficult part about developing a third person shooter?
Realizing the hardware and control limitations of the PSP, the game was designed to have firearms as the fundamental attack action within a lock-on action system. That’s why the development differs from the development of a traditional TPS game. We also faced many difficulties outside of development.
If you had more development time what would you have added to the game?
If we had been given more time on this project from the beginning, we would have switched platforms from the PSP to a home console. I would have then liked to have created a shooting-based survival RPG game, where the player is placed in an even more desperate situation, facing insurmountable odds and having to continually fight to survive.
What would you like to do with the next game?
As I mentioned earlier, if given the opportunity to create another game within this franchise, I would like to create what I call a "cinematic shooter RPG" on a home console of the highest quality possible. We’ve successfully revamped the series with this title [The 3rd Birthday], so I’m certain that we can have Aya Brea flourish in a subsequent game as the fans are garnering for.
For your fans, please tell us something new about Final Fantasy Type-0.
Nothing has been decided upon yet for the North American release. However, Final Fantasy Type-0 is a challenging game of high quality. Therefore, everyone on the staff hopes gamers around the world give it a try and really enjoy the experience, so we hope to have your continued support!