Final Fantasy IV interview/information

#1
So, reading over the preview of Final Fantasy IV in the new issue of Nintendo Power, there seemed to be a lot of interesting info. Some of this stuff would be old to those who followed the information on the Japanese release, but I also noticed a lot of new insights in here thanks to the thorough interview they did with the people behind the game.

The interview was with:
Tomoya Asano: producer of FF3 and FF4 for the DS
Takashi Tokita: director/writer of the original FF4, co-director of Chrono Trigger, director of FF4 DS

• there are some new story scenes fleshing out Golbez, but most of the story still follows the original narrative closely

• Tokita: despite adding 3D graphics and voices, they didn't want to tinker with the story too much because it could upset fans of the original. So instead they focused on trying to better bring their original vision to life.

• Asano: addressed every criticism of FF3 -- shortened loading times, more detailed characters, wider set of abilities, elaborate summoning sequences, larger ally/monster battle parties, better use of second screen.

• in battle, the lower screen displays enemy info, status conditions/buffs, turn order, and weapon stats to keep the top battle screen free of clutter

• out of battle, lower screen has a dungeon automap feature. If you map a dungeon 100%, you'll get a reward.

• Asano: big issue is the FF4 Advance port a few years ago. But the remake was "made with the players of that version in mind." Thinks fans of the original will be more likely to appreciate the upgraded visuals and, more importantly, the huge gameplay overhauls and difficulty boost.

• Asano: we boosted the difficulty to account for augments. Also, bosses were all rebalanced to play tricks on people who memorized how to win the fights in the original game, so don't go in expecting to do things the same way.

• augments were created because FF4's class-specific roles for party members didn't allow players to customize their party at all. In FF4 Advance, they just let you switch your party around at the end, but Asano didn't like that much because it messed with the story and you could only do it at the very end of the game.

• augments allow characters to permanently learn new abilities. Originally it was for allowing leaving characters to transfer their skills, but expanded out to allow you to learn new abilities by furthering story subplots. Examples given include going back to the place where Edward met with Anna in Kaipo after the fight.

• crappy abilities from the original (such as Cry, Pray, and everything affiliated with the godawful Edward) have been changed significantly to make them more useful.

• this is by far the most difficult version of FF4.

• Tokita: "I don't think that simply loweing the difficulty makes a game appeal to casual audiences. Being challenged makes the experience rewarding."

• new autobattle system: assign a single action for each character, and in autobattle mode, they'll repeatedly carry out that move.

• no Lunar Ruins from FF4 Advance, but there is a New Game+ with additional augments and new optional bosses

• Tokita: RPGs these days are too drawn out and lose their storytelling focuses. FF4 is disciplined and engaging.

• in the English version, summons are called eidolons. Nice treat for FF9 fans.

• Tokita: my influences in creating such a story-driven RPG with FF4 were Final Fantasy II and Dragon Quest II. Wanted to combine the best elements of the three prior games in the series.

• Tokita: it's true, only used about 25% of the original scenario due to cart space limitations. But it was a good thing because we refined that 25% and put a lot of thought into it and let the players imagine a lot.

• Tokita: no, I don't want to do anything new with Chrono. I want to work on original stuff, not just sequels and remakes (and yes, he acknowledges the irony).

• NP notes the ability to make impressive DS games on a limited budget and asks if there's any chance of Square making new games in the same style.
Asano: "the concept of making these good old-school RPGs with present-day technology seems to be going over quite well, and I don't think there's any reason for us to limit ourselves to remakes. We've put together an incredibly talented team with a lot of know-how through the process of developing FF3 and FF4, so I think that is a definitely possibility for us in the future."

• NP notes that FF4 was made by only 14 people and asks if there's still room for projects like that today:
Tokita: I don't think the size or scope of a game is an issue. [...] There are a lot of small dev teams like that in North America doing quite well right now. I'm currently working on an unannounced title that's being developed on a scale no different than that of the original FF4, and I hope North American gamers will give it a try.
 
#2
ethelred said:
I'm currently working on an unannounced title that's being developed on a scale no different than that of the original FF4, and I hope North American gamers will give it a try.
Well, it can't be a next gen game... right? So another DS game?
 
#3
• Tokita: no, I don't want to do anything new with Chrono. I want to work on original stuff, not just sequels and remakes (and yes, he acknowledges the irony).
Oh give me a break.

Game sounds promising though. I wish they had left the Lunar Ruins in but whatever. Thanks for the info.
 
#4
Thanks for posting this. FFIV just went into the very small list of games i'd buy day one. I'm specially glad to hear they're thinking of making an old school RPG on the DS.
 
#7
Polari said:
A Chrono Break, perhaps?
Good sir, that is an impossibility. Square-Enix is too busy working on a stable of new IPs to waste time cashing on an old series.

Boy, I can't wait for Kingdom Hearts 1+2+Chain of Memories: Feelings of Love and Friendship and Tears: Dual Shock Version.
 
#9
Night_Trekker said:
Good sir, that is an impossibility. Square-Enix is too busy working on a stable of new IPs to waste time cashing on an old series.
Like Last Remnant, The World Ends With You, and Sigma Harmonics? Plus whatever the new project is that Tokita says he's already currently working on?

I don't see what the deal is. Tokita says he doesn't want to do anything in that series anymore, and he's been there long enough that I don't see why he should have to. People need to fucking let it go.
 
#10
• Tokita: it's true, only used about 25% of the original scenario due to cart space limitations. But it was a good thing because we refined that 25% and put a lot of thought into it and let the players imagine a lot.
what does this mean?
 

HK-47

Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
#11
• Tokita: no, I don't want to do anything new with Chrono. I want to work on original stuff, not just sequels and remakes (and yes, he acknowledges the irony).

You have no idea how much rage I felt as I read that...
 
#12
zaccheus said:
• Tokita: it's true, only used about 25% of the original scenario due to cart space limitations. But it was a good thing because we refined that 25% and put a lot of thought into it and let the players imagine a lot.
what does this mean?
I don't know. Use your imagination.
 
#13
ethelred said:
I don't see what the deal is. Tokita says he doesn't want to do anything in that series anymore, and he's been there long enough that I don't see why he should have to. People need to fucking let it go.
It's a great, classic series that I love and it still has plenty of potential. That's all. Obviously he doesn't have to.
 
#15
Very interesting information, thank you.

P.S: The full quote regarding a Chrono-remake is this:

"Chrono Trigger was a no-holds-barred, swashbuckling adventure that was a lot of fun to work on... If the demand is great enough, it's certainly possible. But as a creator, I feel the need to create new titles and not just series installments and remakes. I realize it's a little strange for me to be saying that in an interview about Final Fantasy IV (laughs). But I need to remind myself of that, too."

He doesn't rule it out, just says he's against it.
 
#17
ethelred said:
• crappy abilities from the original (such as Cry, Pray, and everything affiliated with the godawful Edward) have been changed significantly to make them more useful.
This is an understatement. Pray is darn near overpowered after a while. :O
 
#22
ethelred said:
• Asano: we boosted the difficulty to account for augments. Also, bosses were all rebalanced to play tricks on people who memorized how to win the fights in the original game, so don't go in expecting to do things the same way.
It never really comes to mind, but FF IV likely has some of my favorite and most memorable boss fights. Though simple, I liked how many of them had a sort of trick or core tactic designed for them.

Curious how the game will handle some of the rare items in the game. I can barely even remember them... but the super rare Imp or Mage summons you could get if you fought them an insane enough amount of time (or just got incredibly lucky?)... I think a friend of mine had got Bomb, too. Also, and especially, the damned Pink Tail. Geez (at) how much time I spent in that damn room -- back and forth, back and forth. Damn you, Pink Puffs.

I remember another time trying to get Kain to 20 before that early event. Not sure why I spent so much time on that game. I think the only SNES game I grinded more was Secret of Mana trying to get all those secret weapon orbs and items in the last [fortress] dungeon.
 
#23
Aeana said:
This is an understatement. Pray is darn near overpowered after a while. :O
Yeah. Really, the game does not seem any harder if you use decants, and some of the standard abilities help make up the difference otherwise.

Some bosses had different strategies, a couple didn't and were actually easier than in the original one. But a good chunk have some different patterns and are cool to fiddle with until you see what the trick is with them for the most part.

KyanMehwulfe said:
Curious how the game will handle some of the rare items in the game. I can barely even remember them... but the super rare Imp or Mage summons you could get if you fought them an insane enough amount of time (or just got incredibly lucky?)... I think a friend of mine had got Bomb, too. Also, and especially, the damned Pink Tail. Geez (at) how much time I spent in that damn room -- back and forth, back and forth. Damn you, Pink Puffs.
Don't go for a 100% complete bestiary then, you have to get a number of Pink Tail-rarity items to do so.
 
#24
It's been so long since I played this game. Probably three months or so after the original SNES release. I can barely remember most of the game.

I really wonder if it will all feel new again, or if it will come tumbling back as soon as I start playing.

Either way, I'm really looking forward to it.
 
#29
VindicatorZ said:
Chrono Trigger remake on DS. Fuck yeah
some games are so good the first time, they don't ever need to be remade. Chrono Trigger would be better served as a stop-motion claymation film than a new game these days.
 
#30
ethelred said:
• Asano: addressed every criticism of FF3 -- shortened loading times,
Well, they only really shortened the menu loading time (which is great anyway), the others are more or less the same as in FFIII.
 
#32
ethelred said:
• this is by far the most difficult version of FF4.

• no Lunar Ruins from FF4 Advance, but there is a New Game+ with additional augments and new optional bosses

• in the English version, summons are called eidolons. Nice treat for FF9 fans.

• NP notes that FF4 was made by only 14 people and asks if there's still room for projects like that today:
Tokita: I don't think the size or scope of a game is an issue. [...] There are a lot of small dev teams like that in North America doing quite well right now. I'm currently working on an unannounced title that's being developed on a scale no different than that of the original FF4, and I hope North American gamers will give it a try.
These points interest me. :D
 
#34
Teasel said:
so save point before the final boss?
Er, well, the save point before the final boss in FF4 DS is in exactly the same place as it was in the SFC version. All of the save points are where they were in the SFC game, in fact.
 
#35
ethelred said:
• Asano: we boosted the difficulty to account for augments. Also, bosses were all rebalanced to play tricks on people who memorized how to win the fights in the original game, so don't go in expecting to do things the same way.

• this is by far the most difficult version of FF4.
From playing the import version, I can speak to the truth of this. Not to say that it's HARD, but it is harder than the other versions. On my first trip to the Cave of Mist, I had both characters turned to stone. Was kind of caught off guard by that, but it wasn't the end of the world.
 
#36
ethelred said:
• Tokita: RPGs these days are too drawn out and lose their storytelling focuses. FF4 is disciplined and engaging.
What does he mean by this? Does he mean that RPGs these days have too explicit graphics and storyline, and that games like FFIV have more subtextual potential?
 
#37
Aeana said:
Er, well, the save point before the final boss in FF4 DS is in exactly the same place as it was in the SFC version. All of the save points are where they were in the SFC game, in fact.
yeah it was a joke referring to the fact there is no save point before cloud of darkness in FF3 DS remake
i think i'm never going to finish ff3 because of that :/
 
#38
Apenheul said:
What does he mean by this? Does he mean that RPGs these days have too explicit graphics and storyline, and that games like FFIV have more subtextual potential?
Where the heck are you seeing anything about graphics in that sentence? I think what he's referring to is that storylines that could barely float a 25 hour game are being stretched into 80 hours these days. These usually involve a lot of random and very pointless (from the main plot perspective) sidequests.

Imagine if, in the middle of Goldfinger, James Bond stopped pursuing Goldfinger for 150 pages to go and rescue someone's sick puppy, while Goldfinger patiently waits for Bond to finish before continuing with his plan.
 
#39
Apenheul said:
What does he mean by this? Does he mean that RPGs these days have too explicit graphics and storyline, and that games like FFIV have more subtextual potential?
he means that RPGs don't have enough focus on storylines anymore. And he's right. There's too many RPGs that get lost in the diversions that have absolutely no effect on the story. I prefer games where the action is driven by the plot rather than the compulsion to 100% a game.
 
#40
Segata Sanshiro said:
Where the heck are you seeing anything about graphics in that sentence?.
I know he didn't mention graphics anywhere. The thing is that his sentence confused me because I'm actually doing research about subtextual potention for narrative in video games by non-conventual means (no cutscenes, no intro, let the level design and player activity do the storytelling). I thought he was touching on this subject.
 
#41
Apenheul said:
I know he didn't mention graphics anywhere. The thing is that his sentence confused me because I'm actually doing research about subtextual potention for narrative in video games by non-conventual means (no cutscenes, no intro, let the level design and player activity do the storytelling). I thought he was touching on this subject.
Ah. I kind of doubt it, but who knows. Write him a letter I guess? Could be an interesting addition to your research.
 

Enduin

No bald cap? Lies!
#42
Segata Sanshiro said:
Where the heck are you seeing anything about graphics in that sentence? I think what he's referring to is that storylines that could barely float a 25 hour game are being stretched into 80 hours these days. These usually involve a lot of random and very pointless (from the main plot perspective) sidequests.

Imagine if, in the middle of Goldfinger, James Bond stopped pursuing Goldfinger for 150 pages to go and rescue someone's sick puppy, while Goldfinger patiently waits for Bond to finish before continuing with his plan.
Thats something thats always bothered me about games in general, with RPGs probably being the biggest offenders. Ive always wanted someone to make a game where time, at least to some extent, affected the story progression in that after achieving story event X there is a certain in game time limit before things in story event Y start to progress.

Not any kind of "game over you let the world die" kind of thing, but certain differences and slight variations reflecting the time wasted that the enemy was able to capitalize on. We've had a lot going on with plot progression being affected by the player's choice, I think this could be another layer to that.

Say if you need to go some place to save some character from execution or sacrifice but you mess around and take 4 hours to get there, so when you do get there instead of getting there right before it happens, as is originally intended, to save the day you get there right when it happens to watch your failure.

Conversely, say theres a similar event where the arch enemy is going to destroy some place, for those players who are really good or just speed demons if they get to the event under a certain time limit they will stop the standard plot outcome and prevent the destruction.

This could affect small things too like rewards and relationships with NPCs, taking too long to get that item or save their family will hurt your standing with a person and theyll give you less $$ or a worse item upon completion while doing it really quickly will do the opposite and youll receive better rewards.
 
#44
Pureauthor said:
Who, exactly, complained about FFIII's summoning sequences being insufficiently elaborate?
Tabris.

Scrawled in his own blood, his review of FFIII, sent right to SE.

"SUMMONS NEED TO BE LONGER

NEEDZ MOAR ROBBOT BOOBZZZZZZZ"
 

djtiesto

is beloved, despite what anyone might say
#45
Enduin said:
Thats something thats always bothered me about games in general, with RPGs probably being the biggest offenders. Ive always wanted someone to make a game where time, at least to some extent, affected the story progression in that after achieving story event X there is a certain in game time limit before things in story event Y start to progress.

Not any kind of "game over you let the world die" kind of thing, but certain differences and slight variations reflecting the time wasted that the enemy was able to capitalize on. We've had a lot going on with plot progression being affected by the player's choice, I think this could be another layer to that.

Say if you need to go some place to save some character from execution or sacrifice but you mess around and take 4 hours to get there, so when you do get there instead of getting there right before it happens, as is originally intended, to save the day you get there right when it happens to watch your failure.

Conversely, say theres a similar event where the arch enemy is going to destroy some place, for those players who are really good or just speed demons if they get to the event under a certain time limit they will stop the standard plot outcome and prevent the destruction.

This could affect small things too like rewards and relationships with NPCs, taking too long to get that item or save their family will hurt your standing with a person and theyll give you less $$ or a worse item upon completion while doing it really quickly will do the opposite and youll receive better rewards.
There are some RPGs with a sort-of "time limit" imposed... Valkyrie Profile being the first and most obvious - every time you enter a town or dungeon, you lose time until the eventual occurrence of Ragnarok... I think Romancing Saga PS2 does something where if you take too long, some story segments/subquests won't be able to be accessed, but new ones will open. People who are more verbose than I am (or perhaps, someone who has played RS PS2) would probably be able to elaborate further...
 
#46
ethelred said:
So, reading over the preview of Final Fantasy IV in the new issue of Nintendo Power, there seemed to be a lot of interesting info.
Agreed! This game sounds all kinds of awesome for a lover of FF4 like myself. Totally pumped.

I'm currently working on an unannounced title that's being developed on a scale no different than that of the original FF4, and I hope North American gamers will give it a try.
I'm very interested in this. I was saying back on the GBA that Square-Enix should be putting some producers to work on FF4-scale brand new turn-based RPGs under the FF brand, with all new artists, writers and composers to help develop some new teams -- I'm very curious what this project will turn out to be.

(This interview doesn't seem to hint at an FF5ds, though..... :/ )

Night_Trekker said:
Oh give me a break.
HK-47 said:
You have no idea how much rage I felt as I read that...
You people all need to get the fuck over Chrono Trigger already. Takahashi isn't even an important dude in the scheme of things for that game; no sequel is going to catch lightning in a bottle again and put Horii and Sakaguchi in the same room, have a young turk Mitsuda showing up his mentor Uematsu on the soundtrack, or turn Toriyama's inspired designs into such gorgeous sprites. The game is a result of freak chance coming together to make something awesome. It's never going to be remade, and another sequel will never be released. Just let it go.
 
#47
I never really played the import version, probably because I had just recently played through FFIV advance at the time of release, but I dunno whether to start it up now or just wait for an English release. Still, reading this definitely hyped me up.
 

Brandon F

Well congratulations! You got yourself caught!
#50
Interesting stuff. I am worried that the skill-learning system will pretty much make every character a mimic of sorts. Will the uniqueness be lost when suddenly Rydia becomes a kickass summoner, frontline fighter, and can cast the best Black Magic? How does the system work exactly?

Otherwise this all sounds great, but what's that about 25% of original scenario only able to fit on the cart? Was there massive script edits and cuts when FF4 first released?