Square-Enix explains why now's the time for Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, and looks back on the Gunblade prop they used for motion capture

I need to see this prop

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered was one of the surprise titles announced at E3 2019, and fans were extremely happy to see the game getting a second chance on today's platforms. In an interview with Famitsu (translated by NintendoEverything), Square Enix’s Yoshinori Kitase explained why now was the right time to return to the title.

Even if the current hardware keeps moving forward, we still want fans of the series to be able to play the original games. The plan to port FFVII, FFVIII and FFIX started from that wish. But while FFVII and FFIX were able to move along pretty smoothly to being available for purchase, with those improved capabilities of recent hardware, we decided to give FFVIII a large graphical improvement. We had to keep retesting to maintain the quality of the character models and character motions, and I think we will be providing with the highest quality product we can.

Kitase himself was involved with the creation of the original Final Fantasy VIII. When asked about memories from the game's development, he looked back on a particular interesting tidbit from the game's motion capture session.

This was the first time we used motion capture for the characters, and also the first experience any of the staff had with motion capture. Even though it would have made more sense to use something wooden and light to capture the movements of Squall’s Gunblade, we ended up making something really heavy out of metal. And it really did look like a deadly weapon! I still get cold sweats thinking about what might have happened if someone ended up being hit by it…

A fan is translating an Iwata Asks feature that never saw release outside of Japan

Iwata lives on

Many, many Nintendo fans dearly miss Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's former president. We recently hit the 4th anniversary of Iwata's untimely passing, which lead to fans reminiscing about all the wonderful things Iwata did. Now those fans have a new way to celebrate Iwata's work and life.

Iwata was well-known for all sorts of projects and features, but his Iwata Asks interviews were really something special. These interviews with game developers not only gave us more insight into a game's creation, but also Nintendo's philosophy and Iwata's way of thinking. While many of these Iwata Asks features were translated, one never saw release outside of Japan...until now.

A fan has taken to translating the original Iwata Asks feature for Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers, which had Iwata sit down with executive producer Akitoshi Kawazu to discuss the Wii title. If you'd like to take a virtual leap back in time to read up on this game's creation, and also get a bit more Iwata in your life, you can read the first translated installment of this Iwata Asks here.

Fans give Final Fantasy IX's cut-scenes the 4K treatment

Polishing the rose-tinted glasses

Back when Final Fantasy IX originally launched, most of us were happily playing games on our standard def TVs. Game consoles didn't focus on HD visuals, and it was a simpler time. Nowadays, all the talk with gaming is about 4K, 60FPS, and all that jazz. That's why some Final Fantasy fans have taken a dive back into history to bring Final Fantasy IX up to speed with today's trends.

In the video above, you can see all of the cut-scenes from Final Fantasy IX's first disc in 4K glory. There's no doubt the scenes look more visually impressive, but I'd say they lost a bit of their charm. Perhaps that's nostalgia talking, but I am an old man after all!

Final Fantasy X producer talks about the game's infamous laughing scene

The good kind of cheese

Sometimes you create a game with moments that define the experience, and stick with players for years to come. Sometimes those moments become memes, and that's exactly what happened with the 'laughing' scene in Final Fantasy X. Now that a new generation is getting to expereicne that laughing moment in a new way with Final Fantasy X HD Remaster, Game Informer decided to ask Producer Yoshinori Kitase about his feelings on the way the scene is regarded nowadays.

Even in the real world, actions taken by two people in a budding romance are generally embarrassing memories when you look back on them. I believe that this scene depicts that mental state very well. This scene of course is still made fun of by fans, but I imagine that it is because it greatly touched “something” in everyone’s heart for it to be such a memorable scene even after 18 years.

Kazuko Shibuya shares tons of details on her history of working with the Final Fantasy franchise

A must-read for fans

Kazuko Shibuya is one of the artists who was hugely influential to Final Fantasy's overall look. She handled sprite and menu work on the series' early days, which has lead to design choices that are still held true to this day. Shibuya was recently part of a panel at Japan Expo 2019, where she shared a ton of details on her time with the Final Fantasy series. Check out a recap of the info below.

- Shibuya wished to become a mangaka and became an animator, and most notably worked on the first Transformers anime
- she joined Square in 1986, back when Square occupied a super small office on one floor
- Shibuya would only see the programmers in the morning and at night when they had to check-in and check-out
- Square’s founder Masafumi Miyamoto was still a student at the time, and she became an employee before the founder did
- Hironobu Sakaguchi and the other devs would often sleep at the office, lying down on chairs they lined up
- Square had little money back then, so their sole secretary would also take some time to tidy up the office a bit in the mornings
- each time she’d find Sakaguchi and the others sleeping, she would wake them up by using the vacuum cleaner on their faces
- when Hironobu Sakaguchi told everyone he wanted to make an RPG on NES, no one was really interested at first
- Shibuya decided to help him and became the project’s pixel artist
- most at Square simply didn’t want to work on an RPG like Final Fantasy I, thinking it wouldn’t be popular
- the game’s team, only a handful of people Shibuya included, didn’t really think it’d be a hit either
- this lead to them being a kind of unpopular group at Square
- Shibuya handled nearly all of Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II’s graphics
- this included the characters’ pixel art, the menus, the battle backgrounds, and the towns
- the world map was drawn by the sole other artist on the games
- you could only use 3 colors on NES, so Shibuya would make certain pixels transparent as a trick to use a 4th color
- this is most notably used for the characters’ helmets and armor outlines
- Final Fantasy characters always had a similar/now iconic pose because this meant there was less animation to do
- characters already having their arms partially lifted up meant they didn’t need to make a “arms lift up” animation
- when she worked on Final Fantasy V, Shibuya could use 16 different colors for her pixel art
- she had no idea what to do with all these colors, but gradually got used to it
- with Final Fantasy V, Shibuya focused solely on the pixel art for the characters
- the game’s Job System required over 25 different pixel arts for each of the five main characters using each job
- Shibuya focuses on efficiency and tries to be as concise as possible, despite the characters being limited to 16×24 pixel
- she focuses on the characters’ head, which is almost half of their length, and their hair
- Shibuya handled non-pixel art illustrations for old pre-Final Fantasy Square games on PCs
- she also worked on the illustration which served as the base for the cover art of Final Fantasy IV
- Shibuya didn't work on Final Fantasy IV, as she was working on Final Fantasy Adventure instead
- only seven people at Square made the whole game, and she drew every single thing in the game
- this included work on every single visual element, including characters, the monsters, the backgrounds, the maps, and the UI
- everyone at Square back then had no idea Final Fantasy would become this big and continue to this day
- the team didn't really know that Final Fantasy I, IV and VI were hits outside of Japan either
- as game localization took much longer back then, by the time the games released outside Japan, the team was already busy with something else
- once when coming back from vacation, she was told that a Final Fantasy game just released in America, and she had no idea it was even being localized
- Shibuya supervises the pixel art of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius, and personally handled the pixel art for Katy Perry’s character
- she drew the monsters in battle more realistically than the characters simply because she could do so size-wise
- Yoshitaka Amano never changed his illustrations so it could be more easily adapted into pixel art
- the Black Mage might look a bit less human compared to all other Final Fantasy characters, but that wasn’t particularly intentional, and it’s simply how Yoshitaka Amano and Shibuya drew it
- Shibuya thinks about all the players who will enjoy the game she’s drawing for when working, and this is what drives her.

Square-Enix releasing Chocobo Party Up board game

Party down!

Square-Enix has announced an official board game called Chocobo Party Up, which will see release in Japan on Sept. 25th, 2019. The game is meant for 2 to 4 players, and relies on “bravery, skill, and luck” to win. This version of the games with English, German, Italian, and Spanish instructions.

Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack Revival Discs get new promo videos

Two all-time greats

Square-Enix has two big CD/Blu-ray releases coming up in the Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack Revival Discs. The above videos give a quick rundown of what consumers can expect from the packages, which are jam-packed with music, videos, and all sorts of nostalgia.

Source code on the Final Fantasy VIII Remastered website mentions a voiceover

Speak up!

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered is taking the original game and tweaking all sorts of things, including visuals, gameplay mechanics, and more. Turns out there might be another change, if the source code on the official site is to be believed. The final sentence in a description tucked away in the site's source code reads as follows.

FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered is an RPG, available in English and Japanese voiceover, and is also text localized into French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Is Square-Enix really going all-out and getting a cast to provide voiceover for the entire game? That would be a pretty big change! Either this is outdated info from the source code, or there's a big announcement Square-Enix is yet to make!

Square-Enix talks about work on Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, which was originally planned as a straightforward port

From port to remaster

Famitsu recently conducted an interview with Square-Enix's Yoshinori Kitase about the upcoming Final Fantasy VIII Remastered. Check out some tidbits from the interview below.

- the devs heard the strong demand for Final Fantasy VIII to return
- Harada, who is responsible for the battle program, and character modeler Ogino, are both involved
- Tetsuya Nomura is also involved as well
- it seems the plan at first was to do a simple port, but then the team started updating the character models
- Chocobo World items will be gained through Angelo Search
- The goal with VIII was to break away from conventional RPG's in terms of game system

Square-Enix working on Final Fantasy IX patch to fix background music issue

Sounds good!

Square-Enix has heard your complaints about the background music issue in Final Fantasy IX, and a fix is in the works. This patch will remove the issue with background music restarting after every battle or Tetra Master match. No word on this patch's release date has been shared.


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