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Final Fantasy VIII director looks back on the dev team's goals, critical response, and more

Reminiscing with Kitase

Game Informer recently featured an interview with Final Fantasy VIII director Yoshinori Kitase in order to look back on the game alongside the Remastered version's release. Check out a summary of the interview below.

- inspiration for VIII came from VII in an effort to contrast VII's dark tones, but also from the team's "days as students"
- the team thought a story about kids in school would be a nice, cheerful story to go with
- the team didn't really worry about the junction (new magic) system
- the team was more worried about the reaction to the whole "school-drama story"
- Kitase says that they really wanted to try something beyond "defeat the monster, you get some money, you get XP"
- "Final Fantasy VIII sold very well, and in that sense, it was successful. But as far as reviews at the time went, they were kind of all over the place."
- Kitase says the salary mechanic (in which students get paid periodically) as a chief reason why some people didn't like it
- he also believes the slow burn of the junction system annoyed people
- Kitase was inspired by Magic: The Gathering to create the Triple Triad minigame

Check out 'Inside FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered', a newly released developer featurette giving a closer look at the game's development

Watch an exclusive and in-depth look at FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

Inside FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered takes a look at some of the secrets and anecdotes from the development of the game, featuring interviews with Yoshinori Kitase (FINAL FANTASY VIII Director), Shinji Hashimoto (FINAL FANTASY VIII Producer) and Yusuke Naora (FINAL FANTASY VIII Art Director)

The sixth in an ongoing series of developer featurettes, “Inside FINAL FANTASY” takes viewers on a deep dive into the legacy of the series bringing together interviews with a variety of original creators, artists and developers.

FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered is available now for the Nintendo Switch™ system

Final Fantasy VIII dev looks back on the freedom the team had to make changes, discusses the chance of a remake

It was a simpler time

Final Fantasy VIII is celebrating its 20th anniversary, which is why Famitsu reached out to Square-Enix's Yoshinori Kitase to talk about the game. In a snippet from the interview, Kitase opens up about how development of Final Fantasy games has changed in those 20 years.

I remember how we had more freedom when it comes to in-development changes back then. The FF series has a large development team now. This means after we’re done with the planning, it’s nearly impossible to make changes midway through.
Until after FFVIII, we were in an era where we had more leeway.

Also, the FF series is about fantasy, so we always try to challenge ourseles to avoid monotony. We pushed this concept pretty far with FFVIII, like with the salary system instead of killing monsters for money, or the Draw System.

After years and years of requests, Final Fantasy VII is getting a major remake. Could the same thing happen to Final Fantasy VIII? Kitase shared a scenario where he could see that happening.

Well, Final Fantasy VII Remake isn’t even out yet (bitter smile). Personally speaking, if the young staff members at Square Enix say they want to do a Final Fantasy VIII Remake then I’d like it to happen. FFVII Remake was born because everyone currently at Square Enix wanted to remake FFVII with our current technology. So rather than me, I hope the young staff will do a remake.

Final Fantasy VIII dev explains the huge impact Final Fantasy VII's success had on the game

A seismic shift

Final Fantasy VII was a major moment in the Final Fantasy franchise. Probably the biggest moment the series has had to date. It was a huge breakthrough for the franchise, and forever turned it into a worldwide phenomenon. In a Famitsu interview with developer Kazushige Nojima, we learn just how much the success of Final Fantasy VII impacted the creation of Final Fantasy VIII.

Final Fantasy VII was a huge success outside Japan. So right from the start of Final Fantasy VIII’s development, one of our main objectives was making something that would be popular overseas. We didn’t have this in mind at all when making FFVII. So I changed my way of writing. For example, in Japanese, you can make a character speak without revealing their gender. You can use that, and make a reveal later about how that character was actually a woman. This isn’t possible in English as the translation will always use either “He” or “She”. Another example would be jokes. Until then, I only thought about Japanese players, so puns were not a problem. But I heard the translators had a lot of trouble with that when translating FFVII. So we tried our best to write FFVIII‘s scenario in a way that would be easier to translate.

With the bonus I got with FFVII, I bought a PC and started browsing the net. I was curious about what players thought of Square’s games so I started reading FFVII bulletin boards. The negative remarks which came back the most where “there’s too many flashbacks” and “the story is too sad”. Taking this into account, I decided to write for FFVIII a story where none of the main characters would die. And I really like using flashbacks, giving puzzle pieces to the players. And then make the players realize what really happened later on. Trying to have less falshbacks is how I thought about the story trick with Laguna’s parts. These scenes makes you believe they’re happening at the same time, but you only realize later on they’re actually flashbacks.

Final Fantasy VIII dev comments on content cut from the game

Laguna lost a lot

Any game sees some of its content and plans cut before it sees release. Not everything can make it into the final game, and that goes for Final Fantasy VIII. In an interview with Famitsu, FFVIII dev Kazushige Nojima commented on content that was originally planned for the title, but ended up yanked for launch.

At first, Laguna’s parts were much bigger. They were making around half of Final Fantasy VIII. But as development went on, they got shorter and shorter. The staff worked really hard to make a map for Laguna’s parts too, but in the end it’s barely used in the final game. I always felt bad about that and couldn’t apologize enough to the staff.

Given the chance, Nojima would love the chance to revisit that cut content in a potential Final Fantasy VIII full-on remake or sequel.

It would focus on Laguna’s life. I want to show more of his story. But maybe the segments are so popular because they’re so short… But yes, this game would be about showing Laguna’s bad points. And then at the very end, it would show his cool side. But for it to work well, he’d really need to be depicted as a clown for most of the game.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert plays a Final Fantasy tribute

Jon Batiste is at it again!

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is no stranger to video game music, thanks to Jon Batiste, the band leader on the show. He has quite a fondness for video games and their soundtracks, which is why he sneaks in musical references all the time. Tonight he put together a Final Fantasy tribute you can check out above!

Square Enix "Final Fantasy IX: Freya Eiko and Quina" Bring Arts Action Figure Set Revealed

It figures

Square-Enix continues their Final Fantasy IX Bring Arts series with Eiko Carol and Quina Quen figurines. The two-figure set includes a host of accessories alongside the figurines themselves, including alternate faces, a Moogle, and a frog. The set will launch in Japan in Jan. 2020.

Square Enix "Final Fantasy IX: Freya Crescent & Beatrix" Bring Arts Action Figure Set Seeing Stateside Release

A pricey release for die-hard fans

From Square Enix. From final Fantasy IX, Freya the burmecian Dragon Knight and general Beatrix of the alexandrian army join the bring arts action figure line together in this amazing set! Freya, a burmecian, features beast-like qualities detailed in her hands, feet and tail, and beatrix's strong presence is faithfully recreated from her in-game look. This set comes with abundant accessories, including signature weapons for each character, like the Javelin and save the Queen, as well as their respective interchangeable hand and head parts.

If you're looking to get your hands on this combo figurine, you can do so via preorder right now. The figurine costs $180, and will see release on June 24th, 2019.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition devs talk about arranged tracks, new songs and characters, and more

One of the best games you've never played

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Remastered Edition’s producer Ryoma Araki, character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, and composer Hidenori Iwasaki sat down for an interview at TGS 2019. Check out a summary of the interview below.

- Producer Ryoma Araki originally played Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles as a regular consumer
- he remembers being flabbergasted at how the game really used the specs behind the GameCube/GBA
- Designer Toshiyuki Itahana mentions that the reason why the characters look a bit generic is because of the multiplayer
- this is also because of the character creation aspects of the game
- it wasn’t a game about detailing the individual heroes, as would be in a mainline game
- Itahana considered redoing designs for the remaster, but staff said they’d like to recreate the designs they originally used
- one new male and one new female design have been added to each race respectively
- composer Hidenori Iwasaki mentions that the remaster wasn’t originally going to have rearranged tracks
- the team went for it when Iwasaki called Araki out one day and said, “Hey, I have this on hand.”
- the original game is known for its music, but as there were hardware limitations, there were some tracks that couldn’t be added
- these tracks will be added in for the Remastered Edition
- dungeons originally in Crystal Chronicles will keep the old music, while new dungeons have newly composed tracks for them
- Iwasaki jokes that during the planning phases for the original game, a planner suggested to go with a techno music direction
- one of the big additions to Remastered Edition is the inclusion of cross-platform online play
- Itahana mentions that they still get photos from overseas fans showing that they managed to assemble the 4-player setup
- the console and smartphone versions will have different UI
- for multiplayer, you don’t need to wait in a lobby, as players will show up when they join naturally as you advance
- the team also reiterated that cross-platform saves are a feature for the Remastered Edition
- extra difficult “alternate” dungeons have been added as well, which change up the atmosphere and appearing enemies
- the new dungeons will drop new weapon recipes for newly designed weapons by Itahana
- over 10 new tracks have been composed for the new dungeons
- Araki mentions that remaking the game was an option, but he felt it had to be a remaster for Crystal Chronicles
- this was in order to show to the fans (including himself) that Crystal Chronicles was truly back
- because he played it as a regular player back then, Araki has made sure to change the game in areas that needed updating

Final Fantasy Pixel Rubber Strap Collection: Vol. 1 releasing in Japan

Strap in!

Cellphone straps/charms in Japan have been a popular item for years now, but never really caught on here in the states. Perhaps all we need is the right set of straps! Square-Enix his giving things a go with their Final Fantasy Pixel Rubber Strap Collection: Vol. 1, which will include 10 different rubber straps, and launches in Japan sometime in Dec. 2019. How many of the characters can you name?

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