At TGS, we had an opportunity to sit down with Hiromichi Tanaka, Senior Vice President of Software Development and Tomoya Asano, Producer and talk about a title they both worked on: Final Fantasy III. Unlike last year's enhanced port of Final Fantasy IV to the GBA, FFIII is a full-on remake, and there's a lot to talk about, particularly as it has never been released in the US before.
Back when we last spoke about this game it hadn't been finished yet but now it has come out in Japan to great success. So we were wondering how you feel about the reaction to the game in Japan and how you look forward to the reaction in the US.
Tanaka: I wasn't sure how FFIII - since it's been 16 years since the game's original release - would be received in Japan. Especially now, but since it's release it's sold a whole lot, and we've recorded a 99% sell-through. Well, we're very excited about that. As to its American release, we're not really sure how it's going to be received but we have high expectations so far.
This is the first time the US will be getting this game. Originally, the game was in 2D but now it's in 3D. What were some of the things you kept in mind as you made the transition - like character designs, or the look and the feel of it. To keep it true to the original but still update it.
Tanaka: Since the original game was released 16 years ago, of course we had to consider remaking the entire look and feel of the game. Since the target console was the DS making it 3D was an obvious choice. There was a lot of debate amongst the fans before the game was released in Japan. A lot of people didn't want to see their game being made in 3D and stuff. But since its release, most of the feedback from the fans has been positive. We're really happy about that.
Asano: What I noticed today at TGS is that there were a lot of young female gamers looking at the game. The original thought was that most of the players would be people who played the original game back in the day of the NES. It was interesting to see that the DS core people - people who own DS and especially young female gamers - are actually also interested in Final Fantasy III.
We had talked to some people who played the original Japanese version, who said that it's a very difficult gameplay-intensive RPG that's true to the original version. How did you balance the original NES-style gameplay with modern gameplay?
Tanaka: Actually the DS version of the game has received extensive balance tweaks, of course, but we really didn't want to make it too easy as a DS title because we didn't want to disappoint the core gamers who played the original game. It's a still a challenging game, but not extremely so, and we're very happy with the way it turned out.