The release of a new Final Fantasy always feels like a special, significant event. When Final Fantasy VIII came out in 1999, we saw for the first time how familiar to the universe foundations break. Together with vivid environment design and effects, more mundane landscapes. Instead of experienced warriors - a group of young students. For players looking for a classic formula, these changes were new. But everyone agrees on one thing Final Fantasy VIII is different. The recent Final Fantasy VIII Remastered gives gamers the opportunity to experience a familiar universe, while those unfamiliar with the series experience the adventure. Game Informer spoke with remaster and original producer Yoshinori Kitase to learn about the stories behind the creation of Final Fantasy VIII
What was the main concept at the start of Final Fantasy VIII development?
Yoshinori Kitase: I'm not sure what can be called a "concept". Final Fantasy VII was visually dark enough, and its story was equally serious. From the very beginning, we wanted to make Final Fantasy VIII something more down-to-earth and light in visual and narrative tone. When we sat down to think about what could have made history easier and happier, we remembered our student years. I can't say they were cool for everyone, but when Nomura-san and I sat down to discuss it, we came to the conclusion that, in principle, this was a good option. Was the team thrilled to continue the cult Final Fantasy VII, I honestly don't feel it was such a great game. It just felt like more people around the world had the opportunity to play it - not just in Japan. And I will not say that in general there was pressure from the fact that we are doing a sequel. Just a desire to create another game that would be liked by people around the world
Final Fantasy VIII made some pretty big changes to the series' formula, such as magic mechanics. Are you worried about how fans will react to this?
As for connections, we weren't worried during creation, but here's the story ... This was the first time we did a school drama; before that, the plot was always about a hero or a savior or something like that. So we were a little careful about this point.
At the time Final Fantasy VII came out, not everyone had access to the Internet. In fact, we had no way of knowing about the reaction to the game, other than the feedback from the fan emails we received. But until then, all RPGs were largely based on the following concept: "Defeat the monster, get some money, earn experience points and level up." The cycle was repeated over and over. There were many people in these letters saying, “Isn't it time for you to do something new? We need innovation. " So instead of feeling insecure or wary, we just wanted to try something new.
The philosophy that you brought to the title moved to the new part? Or did you decide to betray tradition?
I often think about it. We had meetings every month, team members told each other what they were working on, how far they had come, and the like. At one of the meetings, I decided to ask everyone who was involved in the development: "What is Final Fantasy?" When I asked Tetsuo Namuru, he replied that it was like a box of toys that was scattered on the floor - which means that the toy box is full of all these things that are fun to play with individually, but when they are scattered on the floor, you get even more. opportunities. There are so many different things to interact with ...
When the game came out, I was personally delighted, but my friends did not. What do you think of how the game was received at launch?
Final Fantasy VIII sold very well, in that sense it was successful. But as for the reviews at the time, they were very mixed. For example, earlier if you defeated a monster, you would receive money. In Final Fantasy VIII, we decided to introduce salaries, so heroes receive money after a certain period of time.
I'm sure many were not happy about this, because it was not what they expected or were ready for. As I said, at that time we did not have the Internet, but now we can see how many of our ideas really caught on. So I think that we managed to present something new and attractive. Even now on the forums, if I see posts titled “Actually, Final Fantasy VIII was pretty good,” I will definitely check it out and laugh.
Was the game fair enough in the reviews?
The Japanese media have not been harsh about anything - they are, in principle, not very frank about such things. However, at the time, it was really difficult for players to get information on how to play the game or what strategies to use if you didn't have a manual on it. I think that if the game had been released when the internet communities were really developed, players could exchange more information on how to do this and that, and perhaps the general perception of the game was different. I think this was a bit lacking, because there really wasn't a way to effectively and concisely convey new game elements to the players.
The opening scene was a masterpiece of its time. How did you create it?
It was almost entirely Tetsuya Nomura-san's robot. He came up with a concept and said he wanted to do everything, drew a storyboard for us and directed the scene. In Japan, there is a tradition of "morning training". If you are doing club activities that have something to do with sports, you should practice before starting in the morning. In this scene, it all looks like a battle, but you realize that it was actually only morning practice.
Triple Triad was the first mini-game in the series, how did it come about?
At the time, Magic: The Gathering [the world's first CCG - WorldOfTopics] just came out and was very popular. We thought, “Instead of adding a card game as a mini-game, let's add a card game that is played in reality? And we thought that adding it would contribute to the development of the world. We also wanted to introduce elements like when you play real Magic with friends, exchange cards so you both have better decks.
These elements add realism. However, the rules of Magic: The Gathering are different throughout the country ...
So when it came time to develop the rules, you picked someone on the team and said, "Hey, develop a whole card game!"
Yes! It was developed by Takayoshi Nakazato-san, who is now at Luminous Productions, but was the battle planner for Final Fantasy VIII at the time. He had no plan on how to do it, but one day I called him and said: "Do you think you can do it?" And he did it.
If you could go back and change one thing in the original game, what would it be?
There is a scene where Squall and Rinoa are talking. I don't remember exactly what the conversation was about, but Rinoa says something cheeky to Squall, and he raises his hand to her. She dodged, but even at that time Nojima-san said, “He shouldn't have hit her. It's wrong when a guy beats up a girl. " In hindsight, I would like to change this.
The Topic of Article: Behind the Scenes of Final Fantasy VIII.