Tetsuya Nomura: The Final Fantasy Interview

Ol' Tetsuya Nomura is one busy boy. He may have stepped away from Final Fantasy XV, but he's now heading up the much-anticipated Disney-infused sequel Kingdom Hearts 3 and the E3-revealed Final Fantasy 7 Remake (a game that's apparently going to bring "dramatic change" to the series). In a previous issue of Official PlayStation Magazine, the veteran Japanese developer sits down to discuss that latter project and all the expectation and hard-work that comes with remaking the most beloved JRPG of all time (when he's not busy designing awesome Catwoman statues, that is).

Playing the waiting game with its development:
“Actually, the discussion of doing the Remake has been a long one. Even internally it came up and it went away, and it was kind of an up-and-down ongoing discussion that was going on. So now that we’ve finally announced it, I’m just looking forward to getting through with it. The gravity of this game... it’s just such a large title. Not only the expectations, but the production of it too. [I’m looking forward to] finishing it as quickly as I can, getting the final product out and delivering it to the fans.”

Picking the right moment to announce the Remake:
“There are more and more titles being announced by Square Enix on PlayStation 4, so we figured [announcing] it now would be a good boost to our portfolio. And in terms of why it was time to start production: you may have seen three names come up in the trailer: Mr Kitase, Mr Nojima and myself. The availability of these three key members finally aligned, and we were able to see a window in which we can start production with these creators, so it made it possible for us to move forward with the project.”

The enduring popularity of the original FF7:
“The original game was the first time in Final Fantasy that all of the creation of characters and environments was rendered in 3D. It was a time of big changes when we went from sprites to something more lifelike and in 3D, and it was just such an iconic moment. And we just packed so much playable content for players to experience, I feel that maybe that’s one of the great reasons that that game had such an impact on fans. We were able to create a new game-playing experience. And on top of that, the characters. Not only the transition of 2D to 3D polygons, just that their personalities were more drawn out, they were more human and you can attach emotionally to those characters.”

How 2005’s FF7 Advent Children movie has influenced the Remake:
“We’re creating new reference designs that are applicable to the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but of course the world depicted in Advent Children is definitely a good reference to take a look at. But we don’t intend on utilising the 3D models of Advent Children as is because, well, it’s a different technology, and it’s actually been almost ten years since Advent Children was first released. We would probably use it as maybe a visual reference, but not exactly as you saw there.”

Making changes to the combat system:
“We are bringing dramatic changes to the Final Fantasy 7 Remake so we’re hoping that you’ll look forward to additional information that we’ll be able to release when the time comes. And of course, that being said we want to clarify: we’re not going to be changing it into a shooter or something like that. We are going to be bringing dramatic changes, but we want to make sure it’s still recognisable.”

Winging it on FF7:
“For me and the whole development team that worked on Final Fantasy 7, we were experiencing creating a game in 3D for the first time, so we didn’t know what we were doing. We were sort of learning as we went. We were building that experience with so much passion and [putting] so much thought and effort into it that if you ask anybody else on the staff, they have a special place in their heart [for it]. It’s such a tremendous creative process and was a very special moment for me.”

The latest issue of Official PlayStation Magazine, with Assassin's Creed Syndicate on the cover, is out now. Download it here or subscribe to future issues.

Dom has been a freelance journalist for many years, covering everything from video games to gaming peripherals. Dom has been playing games longer than he'd like to admit, but that hasn't stopped him amassing a small ego's worth of knowledge on all things Tekken, Yakuza and Assassin's Creed.