Were the new ideas used in FFX-2 old ideas that didn't make it into earlier FF titles or were they specifically thought up to bring a different feel to this sequel?
FFX-2 is the first game in the series which uses the same game world as a previous title and so we wanted to offer the players something new in other areas of the game. Therefore, we really concentrated on taking a very different approach to the game system used in FFX in order to introduce the freshness needed in a new FF title. The thing which allowed us to do so, and the greatest benefit of creating a sequel, was undoubtedly the fact that the time usually spent on creating an entirely new world with entirely new characters and locations could instead be spent on really reworking the system and creating a great new story to go with it.
Yuna is a much more dynamic/action-oriented character in FFX-2. Did you see this as a natural development from her experience in FFX or was she redesigned to fit in with your plans for the sequel?
In FFX, Yuna was burdened with the huge responsibility of being the High Summoner and, in the two years since that story ended, has been searching for a new role for herself. Thanks to Rikku's influence, she is able to begin to find her new self. Since the expression of her new self begins with changes in fashion and the way she speaks, in a way, she could be seen as a completely different person but, deep in her heart, she is the same old Yuna. It is her realisation of a stronger and more confident woman inside herself that drives the story of FFX-2.
Seeing as you were going to have three female playable characters, why wasn't Lulu included in the trio?
The reason Lulu was relegated to a supporting role in FFX-2 was that if she had been in the party, Yuna would have relied on her like an older sister and this would have got in the way of her quest to find a new self, which, as mentioned previously, is what drives the story of the sequel. Also, as far as Lulu is concerned, two years have passed since the events of FFX and she is currently enjoying married life back in Besaid with Wakka, so has no reason to go off adventuring like in the olden days. For fans of Lulu and Wakka, they can be visited in Besaid at any point in the game, so please enjoy their company as often as you like!
Do you view FFX-2 as a game apart from the FF series, a kind of one-off experience like the FFVII: Advent Children DVD, or as something you may wish to repeat in the future?
There were a number of very lucky factors which allowed us to make FFX-2, the first sequel ever in the Final Fantasy series. For example, FFX came out relatively soon after the PS2 was released and the game world and characters were of a standard high enough that both players and the game's creators wanted to see a sequel. Whether or not there will be other sequels in the future of the FF series, no-one knows. But our main priority is to continue producing titles one-by-one, with enough care and attention that they will be loved by gamers as much as previous titles are lucky enough to have been.