Square Enix Members Exclusive Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster Interview

Today, Square Enix Presents featured a livestream with Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama in which their host asked the pair community questions, the Q&A is below:

Why put out a HD Re-Master of X/X-2 instead of another franchise title?
Titles up to Final Fantasy IX can actually be played on modern consoles, through the Playstation Network Archive, or SmartPhones. However, when looking at Final Fantasy X-X/2 these are PS2 only, these titles cannot be played on current gen systems unless you own a first generation Playstation 3 with backwards compatibility. Because of this, we decided it was a perfect candidate for HD Remaster treatment.

What have been your best experiences in the remaster process in returning to the story?
When Toriyama was working on the original Final Fantasy X, his first child was born. Ten years later, looking back at it, since Final Fantasy X is a story about parent, child and family, he has been looking at it in a different perspective from the original making of the game. Before he was looking at it through Tidus’s eyes, where as now he is looking at it through Jecht’s eyes.

What things benefit most from the HD remaster?
In this HD remaster, it is based upon the International Version, it was only released in Japan. On Final Fantasy X and X-2, there is a feature called Creature Create, this is the first time that European and North American audiences can experience this, you can modify monsters and have them join your party as members.

With the remastering process, playing Final Fantasy X outside of a console was unheard of ten years ago, now a days with smart-phones and hand-held devices it is becoming a norm to have these games on the go, something which we were not able to do ten years ago, it is a positive point of the remaster experience.

Revisiting the games, are there any influential moments you have learned that will affect development of future titles?

Definitely the need to keep good backups of our data, encase there is a situation where we remaster in the future. The most educational thing was, back in the day, development was very open, the planner could develop whatever he wanted. In modern game development, lots of the process is tool based and polish focused, these days, the planner would not be able to put his own flavour into the game. We hope that we can merge together the old good ways with using the new tools, while retaining a polished product.
Are there any modern game mechanics that you think would have been interested to use in the Final Fantasy X series?
The concept of Final Fantasy X was ‘Journey’. The 24hr mechanic in Lightning Returns would have been nice in Final Fantasy X as a real time experience alongside the journey of Tidus and Yuna.

Talking of Lightning Returns, not only the time element, but a much more open world and having the ability to explore the areas in any order the player likes, if that was in Final Fantasy X, that would be very interesting.

Have you ever considered making Final Fantasy X into a Movie?
When they were remaking the original title, the script writer Kazushige Nojima wrote a story with such great quality that Toriyama assumed there would not be a better story in a game. He said to Nojima, in order to value you any higher, you would have to win an academy award.

The scripts that Nojima writes have a quality that is very close to a movie, the other elements in the game such as graphics and the characters are the elements that restrict it from becoming a movie. Now-a-days we have the upgraded graphics and camera work, the 3D engine and all the elements are coming together to bring out the best in the scripts potential, we were really able to express this in the HD remaster version.

Have you ever wanted to consider a prequel to Final Fantasy X much like Crisis Core, an example being the pilgrimage of Braska?
When we were creating X-2 and about to create the prologue, “The Eternal Calm”, we were talking about doing a X-0 involving Braska, Jecht and Auron, after thinking about it, a party of just men did not have the flare, so they went for the opposite of X-2, an all female party.

Were there any considerations to develop Blitzball into something independent such as a stand alone Mobile title?
It is a great idea, and we will put it into consideration, having a touch-screen based UI would be a good fit for the mini-game.

How far along is the HD remaster process?
We are still making tweaks to the game such as, facial emotions and all the attention to detail, we want to continue to polish it so we will not ruin the memories that fans have of the original.

Did you have an opportunity to work with any of the voice actors again?
There is a portion of the game where we had to get in the original voice cast to record, we are keeping it a secret about the location in the game, but it is in there.

Can international versions play with the Japanese Voice Option?
We do receive requests like this all the time, but we are sorry we are not able to accommodate this request, we have the Playstation 3 and Vita version, and we want to have them both at the same quality. We would have to consider the capacity of the systems, and any issues of having this on the two platforms, so we are sorry we cannot offer this.

Is there anything different in this version of the game such as boss fights or celestial weapons?
For the most part we are staying true to the original, we are keeping the difficulty level the same, any difficult fights will be the same, and original players cleared them, so we expect new players will too.

Is there any announcement regarding the release date?
We will be able to talk about release dates very soon, and we are trying our best to bring out the game, while still retaining the original quality that you remember. We cannot reveal the release date right now, but we want to utilise gaming events, bring out the game and have our fans get their hands on it before the release.

About the Author

Michael Fisher