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News Creator of ‘Final Fantasy’ reflects on his last game, his career and the puppetry of his works

kingfey

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Disclaimer: I recently posted an article, which doesnt meet the stands of this forum. I would like to apologize in advance. I would try to refrain, posting low articles, and more about what interesting things is happening in the gaming Industry.


Hironobu Sakaguchi has released what is likely to be his final video game, capping off a career so long and busy, even he needs to check Wikipedia to remember what he’s done.
“In terms of reflecting on my career, I don’t really do it that much,” the creator of the Final Fantasy series said in an interview from his Honolulu home. “Very occasionally, I might go onto Wikipedia when I need to recall some information and wonder, ‘Hey when was “Final Fantasy VI” released?’ When I look up myself, it would just list everything that I’ve worked on in some capacity. That to me is kind of a wow moment. I really have developed a lot of things! But that’s the extent of the reflection that I do.”

Today, the Apple Arcade exclusive “Fantasian” receives its second and final update, essentially the second half of Sakaguchi’s return to form to the Japanese role-playing game genre. It’s developed by Mistwalker, the studio he created after departing Square, now known as Square Enix, where he created the Final Fantasy series.


Despite creating many games during the 1980s for Square, none were a success. “Final Fantasy” was pitched as Sakaguchi’s final game, as he considered leaving game development altogether. That’s why it’s called Final Fantasy.Despite creating many games during the 1980s for Square, none were a success. “Final Fantasy” was pitched as Sakaguchi’s final game, as he considered leaving game development altogether. That’s why it’s called Final Fantasy.

Sakaguchi would go on to direct and produce nine Final Fantasy games before starting Mistwalker. And he says he sees “Fantasian” as the final game and the final collaboration between him and legendary musician and composer Nobuo Uematsu, who scored the Final Fantasy series’ most memorable tracks.Sakaguchi would go on to direct and produce nine Final Fantasy games before starting Mistwalker. And he says he sees “Fantasian” as the final game and the final collaboration between him and legendary musician and composer Nobuo Uematsu, who scored the Final Fantasy series’ most memorable tracks.

“I feel both Uematsu and I went into this almost thinking to ourselves, ‘Hey, if this were to become our last project, we want to make sure we didn’t leave anything on the table,’” Sakaguchi said. “I’m certain Uematsu will compose music in a smaller capacity, but something on this scale, 60 tracks for a game is quite a huge task.”
Uematsu’s compositions in “Fantasian” are a mix of the classic, baroque-style melodies of his earliest work fused with synthesizer sounds to match the game’s flirtations with science fiction fantasy. Sakaguchi said that, throughout his career, he hasn’t given detailed directions to Uematsu. There’s usually just an early exchange about overarching concepts and story themes; Uematsu is then left to his own devices.
Uematsu’s compositions in “Fantasian” are a mix of the classic, baroque-style melodies of his earliest work fused with synthesizer sounds to match the game’s flirtations with science fiction fantasy. Sakaguchi said that, throughout his career, he hasn’t given detailed directions to Uematsu. There’s usually just an early exchange about overarching concepts and story themes; Uematsu is then left to his own devices.

Today, the Apple Arcade exclusive “Fantasian” receives its second and final update. (Mistwalker)
“We’ve had a very unique relationship. While we’re working, we’ll have these very long email exchanges,” Sakaguchi said, specifying that casual pleasantries and updates about their lives often ended up becoming long-winded philosophical debates about the nature of life and human interaction. Some of those thoughts would feed back into the game.We’ve had a very unique relationship. While we’re working, we’ll have these very long email exchanges,” Sakaguchi said, specifying that casual pleasantries and updates about their lives often ended up becoming long-winded philosophical debates about the nature of life and human interaction. Some of those thoughts would feed back into the game.


The seed for the “Fantasian” project was planted several years ago, when Sakaguchi was replaying “Final Fantasy VI.” In the past decade or so, since Sakaguchi’s departure, the Final Fantasy series has become an incubator for new ideas about evolving or changing the role-playing genre. But Sakaguchi is still fond of the classic, turn-based format of the older games.

“It reminded me how much I really like this style of gameplay, and I wanted to go back to my roots,” Sakaguchi said. “Let’s be honest, I’m nearing the end of my video game development career. So I thought, ‘I’m going to try to develop something in a style I know really, really well and personally like to play.’ ”

“Fantasian” is the marquee title for Apple Arcade’s recent resurgence. It’s been well-received by players, and at about 100 hours of story and gameplay, it’s a significant value add for Apple’s gaming subscription service.The seed for the “Fantasian” project was planted several years ago, when Sakaguchi was replaying “Final Fantasy VI.” In the past decade or so, since Sakaguchi’s departure, the Final Fantasy series has become an incubator for new ideas about evolving or changing the role-playing genre. But Sakaguchi is still fond of the classic, turn-based format of the older games.


Aside from being a compelling game with an interesting battle system, all the backgrounds and settings in “Fantasian” are real-world, 3-D dioramas photographed to give the game a sense of place, which is evocative of the Renaissance-style painterly backgrounds of “Final Fantasy VI.” The 3-D video game characters, monsters and other items are then digitally superimposed over the dioramas.

The real-world, 3-D diorama that was photographed and used in “Fantasian.” (Mistwalker)


That same diorama used in an in-game environment. (Mistwalker)


I told Sakaguchi that since I was young, I always looked at Final Fantasy games as digital puppet shows. The limited expressions of the 2-D sprites would exaggerate emotion, much as they would in an old-time puppet show, or even Japanese Kabuki theater. This aesthetic comparison was only heightened during the memorable opera house scene of “Final Fantasy VI.”

The diorama backdrop paired with 3-D models is not directly tied to ‘Final Fantasy V’ or ‘[Final Fantasy] VI’, but the puppet show element — there’s a strong connection you can draw there,” Sakaguchi said. “That was something I shared with the rest of the development team very early on as we were prototyping concepts. Yes, there are certain cut scenes and camera cuts where we get a little fancy, but the overall feeling or sensation is a puppet show. I’m really glad that you specifically chose the word ‘puppet show,’ because that is kind of what we were going for.”

Sakaguchi said Mistwalker was lucky that they completed much of the diorama work before the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, as the game’s development required staff to be together in a physical space. The second half of “Fantasian” was finished much sooner than anyone anticipated after the first part’s release in April since much of the programming and development of systems was completed as work-from-home projects.

“I think there was a lot more energy coming from the team members because they were able to work in their own environments,” he said.


Even if Sakaguchi may be at the end of a long, storied career, it wasn’t until “Fantasian” that he was able to achieve a long-held goal: to make a tribute to the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster film “Independence Day.” He was captivated by the scene in which the alien spaceship blows up the White House, which was achieved using practical effects and explosives.Even if Sakaguchi may be at the end of a long, storied career, it wasn’t until “Fantasian” that he was able to achieve a long-held goal: to make a tribute to the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster film “Independence Day.” He was captivated by the scene in which the alien spaceship blows up the White House, which was achieved using practical effects and explosives.


The backgrounds and settings in “Fantasian” are real-world, 3-D dioramas, photographed to give the game a sense of place. (Mistwalker)

Sakaguchi’s staff created small indentations in one of the game’s final areas to present the image of a magical explosion happening from within the structure.
He said his team was initially reluctant to blow up the beautiful dioramas and asked him if he really wanted to do this.

Sakaguchi grinned from ear to ear as he recalled, “I said yes! This is something that’s been a long time in the making for me, knowing it’s one of the last opportunities I can do this.”
If “Fantasian” truly is his last game, Sakaguchi’s final fantasy ends not with a whimper, but with a bang.
“It’s been a dream of mine,” he said.


Edit: Fixed the horrible pacing, and repeated words. I should been careful with how the exact words are placed in the article.

Next time, I would Highlight the important details.

Edit: I edited the article with different color. Hope the dark mode works.
 
Last edited:

Kuranghi

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I feel like you might be an anthropomorphic creature of some sort, like a sort of ferret-man maybe. You move very quickly and unpredictably.
 
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kingfey

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I feel like you might be an anthropomorphic creature of some sort, like a sort of ferret-man maybe. You move very quickly and unpredictably.
I added the pictures now, and fixed the quality of the post. Some paragraphs had the wrong alignment.

Usually pictures gets added. and sometimes, I have to snip the picture, and add them after the post.
 
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Captain Toad

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If Final Fantasy on the NES never got sequels, would being the "creator of Final Fantasy" be such a big deal? It's a good NES RPG, but it's really only such a huge deal because of the mostly completely unrelated games that came later.
 

kingfey

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What kind of OP is that? Cant see anything without highlighting and text is repeated.
The ads and the pictures messed up the post. Copying one at a time, mixed the post together.

Copying an article also makes dark mode useless. I am gonna have to change my tactics from now on.
 

01011001

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I have the issue of making the post readable in dark mode. I am kinda learning the process.

if you wanna use grey text, use #888888 as the color, that looks like this: TEXT and is perfectly readable in light and dark mode
 

clem84

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If only he had stayed with Square. He could have went on creating more high budget aaa rpgs.