Brief Final Fantasy X Team Interview
Interviewer: You obviously finished the game quite a while ago
now, with the game releasing last year in Japan and the US - what's your
reaction to the way FFX has been received?
Hashimoto: We've had a great reception from the media and already
received some awards and so forth, so overall the reaction has been excellent.
Interviewer: How did the leap from PSone to PS2 change the way
you approached the development of the game?
Kitase: There was great advancement from PSone to PS2. If you remember
before we had lots of limitations in terms of hardware so had to sacrifice
quite a lot but now with PS2 in terms of graphics and sound we have been
able to include incredible advancements, and also with the introduction
of the DVD the capacity has been increased allowing us to use voice-acting.
Interviewer: While the graphics and sound, certainly reflect the
advance in generation, do you think you've delivered a next-gen gaming
Kitase: Yes, for the very fact that computer processing is now
so fast, the DVD is there and there are certain things that the PSone
was incapable of doing that is now possible on PS2. Because the computer
operates so quickly, this allows for a very fast response time, and there
are no longer the long waits that were present on PSone. In terms of playing
the game itself, PS2 has many advantages over PSone.
One example is a battle scene with three characters involved - they can
change quite rapidly because of the power of PS2. This would probably
have been possible on PSone, but very, very slow and take away from the
fun of the game.
Interviewer: For European gamers who haven't had chance to play
Final Fantasy X yet, why should they be excited?
Hashimoto: I think I'd like to ask you that question - what do
you think they're expecting?
Interviewer: They're waiting for a great, immersive adventure
in the Final Fantasy tradition, that represents a significant leap over
what was seen on PSone - the next step.
Hashimoto: I think what you've just said is exactly what we expect.
That it looks great, and also with PS2 we are able to put everything possible
into the game in the best possible way, and I hope that by playing this
game that users will experience a leap forward.
Kitase: It's a great thing to look forward to for players thinking:
"Where else can they go?"
Interviewer: When you're writing music for a game of this size,
how do you approach writing the score?
Uematsu: It's very much a progression as I've been involved from
Final Fantasy I onwards, and before that Game Boy games that lasted eight
hours. So it wasn't like I was suddenly asked to write music for a game
lasting 50 hours - it's been a progression.
And in terms of length it becomes more enjoyable, as the longer the game
the more variety of music I can compose.
Interviewer: In the same way that the soundtrack is such a huge
project, how does a writer approach constructing a tightly written narrative
for a 50 hours-plus game?
Nojima: Including myself, there are another three scenario writers
on the team. We get together scenarios and ideas and ask the team what
they think of them. It's a lengthy process.
Interviewer: How long would it typically take to write a script
of this size?
Nojima: For Final Fantasy VII and VIII the basic period for script-writing
was three to four months, but during the whole process of developing we
are constantly revising. With FFX, because we add the voice-overs, though
the fundamental writing period was three to four months, we also had the
voices to do which took another three to four months.
Interviewer: With reference to Final Fantasy XI, why did you choose
to make an online RPG?
Hashimoto: If you look at the game market it has been developing
quite incredibly and also the development and spread of PCs made it quite
clear that online games would grow quite rapidly so we decided to go online
some two years ago.
Interviewer: Many of the existing PC MMORPGs are nothing more
than glorified chat-rooms - what have you done to avoid this?
Hashimoto: The PS2 broadband unit is for consumer users not for
PC users at all and we're trying to offer something that an amateur can
enjoy playing online, and also with the chat-rooms and so forth, there
aren't many MMORPGs with strong storylines so we are trying with FFXI
to offer consumer users some story elements with their game.
Interviewer: We've heard that Europe might have to wait as long
as 2004 to play Final Fantasy XI - what's your view on this?
Hashimoto: I'm not sure where you've heard this. As far as our
company goes that is undecided at this point because we have to gather
more knowledge regarding the platforms, networks and so forth - all the
hurdles must first be cleared before we can decide, so it's not decided
Interviewer: It was actually Chris Deering, President of Sony
Computer Entertainment Europe who mentioned it.
Hashimoto: [laughs] Tokyo certainly hasn't heard anything like
Interviewer: What are your thoughts on the re-establishment of
Square's relations with Nintendo?
Hashimoto: What we have so far announced was that one of our director's
will invest 51% and Nintendo 49% and we're going to make a joint new company
called Game Design Studio, and the work is progressing at the moment.
Interviewer: But as far as the actual Final Fantasy team is concerned,
will they be developing exclusively for PS2 for the near future?
Hashimoto: At the moment, as far as FFX, XI and XII are concerned,
they are to be played on PS2. As for the next one, FFXIII, that's a long,
long way ahead so that's hard to say.
Interviewer: You just mentioned Final Fantasy XII - what plans
do you have in terms of where the offline series goes?
Hashimoto: As far as FFXII is concerned, there is a director called
Mr. Matsuno and he is involved with the GBA FF [Final Fantasy Tactics]
game as well as FFXII, so the work on both of these will run in parallel.
Interviewer: Development of FFX was finished some time ago - has
work actually begun of Final Fantasy XII?
Hashimoto: The team hasn't started any work at all.
Interviewer: Do you have a good idea of what form the game will
Hashimoto: I'm not in a position to answer your question, since
we're not involved with FFXII directly. The director is Mr. Matsuno, who
is also involved in FF Tactics.
Interviewer: Are you bored of talking about Final Fantasy X yet,
or are you genuinely excited about the European launch?
Nojima: [laughs] We are looking forward to the kind of responses
and criticism we are going to get from the European market. It's something
we produced in Japan so it's very interesting for us to see the responses
of European gamers.
Interviewer: What do you think of Europe?
Uematsu: [laughs]Why is it only in England that you are sticking
to pounds Sterling?
Nojima: As far as I'm concerned I've been a very big fan of British
music and bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin - they're my favourite bands.
It's the other way around this time: we've produced something and the
European audience is waiting for something made in Japan to be launched,
just like we've had to wait for The Who and Led Zeppelin CDs to release
in Japan. It's very exciting!
Interviewer: What are your plans for the rest of your stay in
Kitase: [laughs] There are lots of things we want to do, such
as go on a tour of the ghost houses.
Uematsu: For myself, I'm also a great fan of British Rock 'n Roll
as a musician. To me this has always been the land of Rock 'n' Roll and
I've had a yearning to come and visit this place, so it's very exciting
to be here and walk down a street thinking: "Ooh! Elton John might
have walked down here, or Kate Bush even!" It's terribly exciting
to be here.