Final Fantasy X & X-2 HD is a neat release if you're a fan of the original games, but it hasn't been an entirely smooth project for Square-Enix, while Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13's 'world driven' play has proven to be a coding challenge on the company's Crystal Tools engine. The heads of both projects have discussed their struggles in a new interview.
Speaking with Gamer.ne.jp, Final Fantasy series producer, Yoshinori Kitase shed light on the challenges that came with bringing Final Fantasy X and its sequel into the HD age.
Kitase began, “Just getting an SD quality game and turning it into HD isn’t something we’d settle for. The production is based on the memories of those who’ve played the game 10 years ago, but we’re taking our time to develop it so we can make sure that the new HD look and its beautiful form won’t ruin those memories. We’ve modified the characters and polygons, one by one, and we’ve also revised the textures.”
“Not everything has changed, but the main character expressions in cut-scenes have been altered,” Kitase says in regards to expressive comparisons to the original version. “However, simply adding polygons can subtly change impressions, so we’re constantly checking while revising to make sure we don’t ruin the image of Tidus and Yuna for the fans.”
The focus of the chat hen shifted to Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 director Motomu Toriyama, who explained that while Final Fantasy 13 was quite linear, Final Fantasy 13-2 came with a much broader scale. This scope will continue in the third and final game, but it was a challenge to create this - as he called it - 'world drive' style of play using the studio's Crystal Tools engine.
“Final Fantasy XIII was ‘story-driven,’" he stated, "as it was developed to be a game that focused more on the story. Then, Final Fantasy XIII-2 was developed with a form of freedom to go with the story. The idea of having a lot of freedom hasn’t changed for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, as the concept behind it is ‘world-driven’.
“This means the world and environment that surrounds Lightning, and the NPCs, will always be changing regardless of your actions. And, the experience of the player will change according to how Lightning will have access to this changing world, thus freely being able to enjoy the story.
“The Crystal Tools which we’ve been using as the base engine, honestly, it wasn’t made for an open-world game,” Toriyama admitted. “Hence, we used this occasion for a version update and have been able to improve it to make something in a currently trending open-world style.
“In order to have an expressive method to increase the feeling of freedom, I believe that it was required for it to be an open-world game. Again, we’ve introduced the concept of time in this title, so players will get to further enjoy the world.”
What do you think of all three projects so far? If you missed the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 trailer from E3, you can check it out here.