As somebody who labored on the unique Remaining Fantasy VIII as Director, it’s been fairly the nostalgia journey to consider the sport once more – significantly for the reason that PlayStation staff requested me to share some recollections of the sport’s growth.
By the point we began work on Remaining Fantasy VIII, the gameplay of RPGs was very well-established. Gamers have been used to strengthening characters by defeating monsters, incomes cash and EXP, levelling up and shopping for tools – we felt that each builders and customers have been rising just a little bored with the standard format.
With Remaining Fantasy VIII, we needed to strive new issues within the RPG style – discover new mechanics in addition to enhance on facets of our earlier work.
Right here’s the story of the way it all got here collectively.
Blurring the road between CG and gameplay
One space through which we innovated was the implementation of CG cutscenes.
We used 3D CG scenes for the primary time in Remaining Fantasy VII – I wrote about this at PlayStation Weblog earlier this 12 months. Whereas I’m pleased with what we have been capable of obtain, that recreation represented one thing of a transition interval for us in how we used the know-how. We needed to fuse recreation scenes and cutscenes collectively, however the implementation wasn’t precisely how we needed it.
There have been elements of Remaining Fantasy VII the place the cutscenes and real-time polygon characters appeared misplaced – for instance, there have been inconsistencies within the character proportions and polygon high quality between scenes.
We labored very laborious on enhancing this for Remaining Fantasy VIII. The sport options a number of moments the place you’ll be able to transfer across the scene whereas the CG cutscene performed, and we have been capable of get to a spot the place these in-game fashions appeared extra naturally inside these moments.
A part of the explanation for this was expertise. We created a CG manufacturing staff for Remaining Fantasy VII and tried to merge it with the traditional recreation staff. Remaining Fantasy VIII was the second recreation we made with that staff construction, and our proficiency had positively improved.
The staff additionally understood that our ambition of mixing gameplay and cutscenes meant that the brand new recreation’s scenes wanted to be greater high quality than earlier than. The staff pulled collectively to make that occur and that unity was mirrored within the remaining product.
Draw & Junction
Whereas we labored on the cutscenes, we have been additionally busy overhauling most of the conventional mechanics of the Remaining Fantasy collection. As I discussed, we needed to strive new issues with the sport – you’ll discover that it’s filled with unconventional mechanics.
For instance, as a substitute of receiving Gil by killing enemies, you as a substitute obtain it as a wage at common intervals.
We additionally developed the Draw & Junction system. This allow you to pull out magic spells from the setting, gadgets, and enemies, and primarily ‘equip’ them to spice up varied stats. For instance, junctioning an offensive spell to your power attribute will make characters hit a lot tougher, whereas junctioning a healing spell to your well being attribute will enhance HP.
The system varieties the core battle mechanics and gives an incredible quantity of freedom for gamers and elevated the sport’s strategic aspect enormously.
This novel mechanic was created by the gifted Hiroyuki Ito, who additionally directed Remaining Fantasy XII. As a facet word, his newest recreation, Dungeon Encounters, simply launched on PS4. It’s filled with very well-thought-out mechanics that may present a problem for even essentially the most skilled players – I urge you to strive it out!
A characterful love story
One other new aspect was the connection between Squall and Rinoa. Within the Remaining Fantasy collection, it wasn’t frequent to have a love story between the starring couple be the primary focus. Particularly a love story that even reaches out to house!
I recall that Squall and Rinoa’s memorable dialogue was a scorching matter amongst followers when the sport first launched. In actual fact, gamers responded nicely to the characters – I credit score (Character Designer) Tetsuya Nomura’s distinctive designs and (Situation Author) Kazushige Nojima’s light-hearted dialogue for that!
It was additionally Nomura-san’s thought so as to add motion parts into the sport, equivalent to timed button presses.
When Nomura-san designs a personality, he doesn’t simply outline their look, but additionally their personalities, the way in which they communicate, their weapons, specs and extra. Squall’s gunblade – and the power to spice up its harm by urgent a button on the proper time – was his invention.
Cloud’s Buster Sword from Remaining Fantasy VII had left a really sturdy impression, so poor Nomura-san should have felt numerous stress to create a design that surpasses it. Thankfully, he pulled it off brilliantly!
I believe it’s honest to say that Remaining Fantasy VIII had an influence on the way forward for the Remaining Fantasy collection. Not essentially mechanically – the gameplay of the Remaining Fantasy video games adjustments with every entry – however actually the life like proportions and designs of characters set a visible course for the collection.
That is unrelated to growth, however I additionally appreciated how Remaining Fantasy VIII appeared briefly within the film “Charlie’s Angels” (2000), starring Cameron Diaz. We regularly obtain such Easter egg requests from Hollywood for Remaining Fantasy VIII – it appears to be a favorite amongst younger filmmakers for some purpose!
Total, I’m pleased with the sport, though there was one factor I used to be unable to realize. Throughout growth, I needed the characters to have voices. The visible and audio parts like sound results and music have been reaching film-like ranges of high quality, so the shortage of character voices stood out as unnatural to me.
This grew to become a giant motivation for my subsequent title – Remaining Fantasy X!
Remaining Fantasy VIII Remastered is obtainable now on PlayStation Now. It enhances the unique recreation with up to date HD character fashions and handy options, equivalent to the power to hurry up the sport or flip off random encounters.
I’m excited to see a brand new technology of gamers expertise this epic love story for the primary time!