Interview with Final Fantasy X Developers       - 1.19.01


In a recent interview conducted to the Final Fantasy X staff by Enterbrain Co., a number of factors regarding the game has been made clear.

Interviewed Staffs:

Kitase Yoshinori Yusuke Naora Tetsuya Nomura
Kazunari Nojima Toshirou Tsuchida

1- The voice of Tidus and Yuna will be done by actors Kazunari Morita and Mayuko Aoki, both of who had worked as motion capture artists for Final Fantasy VIII. Both actors are not voice acting professionals, and were picked since they had no former face in other media.

2- The Battle system is created by the director of Front Mission; Toshirou Tsuchida, and will be more strategy based than speed.

3- Tetsuya Nomura will be concentrating on character design.

4- Not only Yuna's father, but the father of Tidus also has relation to the game.

5- The world of FFX is said to have an "Asian" feel.

6- FFX's theme is "Change" and "Travel".

7- An element called "Sphere" which can fix water into place, has been revealed.

8- Experience points and ATB (active time battle) may n longer be present.

Many other points were discussed in the interview. The following is its full translation.

- First, please introduce yourselves. Please also tell what work related to the Final Fantasy series you have done, as well as non-FF work.

Kitase:     I am the Director. I first worked on "Seiken Densetsu" for the game boy. As for FF, I started from V and worked on VI, VII, VIII - all except IX.

Naora:     I work as the Art Director. I begun from FF VI, and did art direction for VII and VIII. I also worked a bit on Chrono Trigger.

Nojima:     I work on Scenario. I came to Square and worked from the middle of Bahamut Lagoon, as director. Then I worked on FF VII, VIII, and now X.

Tsuchida:     I work on the Battle project. This is my first time doing FF, and I worked as director for Front Mission 1, 2, and 3 in the past.

Nomura:     I do character design.
I begun on FF from V, and also worked on games such as Parasite Eve and "The Bouncer".

- Did you do the summon creature designs this time?

Nomura:     No, not this time.

- We've heard that for FFX, your work concentrates strictly on character design.

Naora:     This time, we had Nojima create the basic images of the characters, then talk with Nomura. Then have Nomura design the character with its personality kept in mind. Usually, it's the other way around and the art comes first.

- By the way, how many characters have Mr. Nomura designed this

Nomura:     Hummmm---, If I tell, the number of characters in the party will become known... (laughs)

Kitase:     That was a ni--ce question. (laughs)

- FFVIII and FFIX were created in a different production line simultaneously, but was FFX created mainly with the staff from FFVII and FFVIII?

Kitase:     It's by coincidence that the staffs from FFVIII are present here right now; a lot of others are different. For Tsuchida, this is his first time on FF.

- Excuse us for saying this, but we were very surprised to hear that Mr.Tsuchida is participating in FF this time, it was unpredictable.

Naora:     Wasn't it unpredictable? Wasn't it predicable for you, too?

Tsuchida:     Yes it was. (Laughs)

Kitase:     We had Tsuchida doing the battle system this time. And so the Front Mission taste does reflect in the battle system. His personality come out.


-When did FFX begin production?

Naora:     Late October?

Kitase:     It began moving from last summer, but serious movement begun around fall.

-Was it already decided from the project's beginning that that game would be for Playstation 2 and DVD?

Kitase:     Yes.

- And Voices, also from the beginning?

Kitase:     Use of Voice was decided pretty smoothly.

- We have some interest in the voice actors as well. Tidus and Yuna. Who will be doing their voices?

Nojima:     Actors whose main jobs are not voice acting. Tidus' roll will be performed by Morita, and Yuna's roll by Aoki. Both actors also participated in the motion capture of FFVIII's movie sequences. In FFVIII, Aoki did Rinoa, and Morita did Zell. (Note: Morita = Kazunari Morita; Aoki = Mayuko Aoki. Both Morita and Aoki are actors working under the NHK promotion, a national public broadcasting group.)

Kitase:     Like the ending scene.

- The scene where he's Gobbling all the food?

Kitase:     Yes yes. (laughs)

- Were actors purposely selected instead of voice actors?

Nojima:     It has a lot to do with not bringing images from characters in other products. That, and also since they worked with us since FFVIII, they can understand things easier when we talk to them.

- What kind of image does the main character have, in detail?

Nojima:     Tidus is really lively. Although FFIX is an exception, FFVII and FFVIII's main characters were "cool"- Especially FFVIII's Squall. We wanted it different this time. We wanted to make the main character with a personality like FFVIII's Zell and Laguna.

- The screen shots released this time were from the actual game? No movies?

Naora:     They're not movie clips.

- The facial expressions are supposed to change, even though it's a game shot?

Kitase:     The "Facial motion" is used when the face is zoomed. Basic facial expressions are available, and they're combined for events. For the character's deep expressions, we have the actors perform and we tape it. Then our motion artists will look at the video, and manually take samples and create the expressions.

- It seems that characters have very detailed expressions, such as making wrinkles on their foreheads.

Nojima:     We were pulsating when we first saw it too. Like "this happens too---". (laughs)


- What will the active field be like ? It is one of the things which fans are interested in, since it'll be on the PlayStation2. How will the camera angle change as the character moves? Will the world be created in full polygon?

Kitase:     Normally, the camera would move around in the back of the character, but Naora had wanted to make it more unique.

Naora:     If the camera just follows, I get sick. I wouldn't want to have players who can't play the game because of it, so I did a lot of trials and errors..

- So it's not just camera work from the back, looking downwards?

Naora:     Not really. If you can imagine "this is how a Final Fantasy may look if the screen moved in real-time", that should be just the movements.

Kitase:     The screens were pre-rendered from FFVII to FFIX, and the character moved around it. Pre-rendered screens don't move. So it's got a different feel; it's real-time so the camera moves with a nice feel, and the angle changes depending on the location.

- Is there a world map, linking towns to towns?

Kitase:     There is no clear difference like from before. There are such things as street roads running between towns and towns, which can be treated like a world map. The road can be used to travel from one town to the next, while battling.


- The image CG has a refreshing feeling, different from previous in the Final Fantasy series.

Naora:     That's how we intended for it, and to show a tiny bit of the world view.

- Just a tiny bit. (laugh) If looked at closely, there's a something like a building in the background that looks a bit mechanic.

Naora:     There are a number of key elements in that one CG.

-Isn't a good percentage of the CG taken by the water?

Naora:     Yes, there is a lot.

Nojima:     It was created, water first.

- Does it have anything to do with being Playstation2?

Nojima:     No, just that it would be fun to battle in water.

- So, battles take place in water? (laughs)

Nojima:     No no. (laughs) There were a lot of twists and turns to get there. (laughs)

- The main character's sword is also very characteristic. Its blade part looks like water. Does it change its shape?

Nomura:     It was drawn with that in mind. At first it's soft, and as water rushes out and it hardens up. That's its image.

- Tidus' costume, is it a Blitz ball uniform?

Nomura:     It's a uniform, but he wears it in his own style. He puts on accessories and such, and looks different from others.

- The mark on his knee, is that the logo of his team?

Nomura:     Aaah--, here it comes!! (laughs)

- Doesn't his necklace also have the same shape?

Nomura:     It has to do with his team, but also with his father.

- Father?! Tidus' father also has something to do with it?

Nomura:     It will probably be understood once the father's character design has been seen.

Naora:     A dad with a head like this. (laughs)

Nomura:     No, no. (laughs)

- Blitz ball. It's announced to be a water sport, but can you emphasize a bit more on this?

Kitase:     The field is like a big pool, and the ball game is played inside the water.

- So image wise, is it like a basketball game played in water?

Kitase:     Something like basketball and soccer. The water in this world fixes into place with the use of a mysterious power, and it's called "Sphere".

- Tidus has something like a gauntlet on his left hand. Does it have anything to do with Blitz ball?

Kitase:     It has to do with the battle sequences...

Tsuchida:     Things get equipped on top of it.

- So the gauntlet is one of the equipment?

Tsuchida:     Umm.. yes. (laughs) Reflecting the graphic as the equipment gets switched is a very fun factor.

- Ah. That part may seem a bit like "Front Mission"... (laughs)

Tsuchida:     No no, that's not what was really intended (laughs)


-Yuna looks very Japanese than Tidus, wearing a costume with swingable sleeves and a strap, resembling a Kimono. This Japanese image was requested by Mr.Nojima?

Nojima:     No. This was from Nomura. I too, was surprised by this.

Naora:     We first begun by making the world view..

Nojima:     Said to give it an A--sian feel.

- An A--sian feel. (laughs)

Nojima:     I asked Nomura to design with that inclination and when the illustration came, it had swingable sleeves!

- The pattern designs on the swingable sleeves are drawn with precision too.

Nomura:     I gained the habit to draw with precision during "The Bouncer". Since it became evident in the game that details can be shown, FFX also will have a lot of details.

- Yuna has a different atmosphere from previous heroines.

Nomura:     Unlike Rinoa, she's got a more orthodox feeling. Regarding to her face.

- She's round faced.

Nomura:     I drew Rinoa's face with some uniqueness. But this time, I drew with an image of simplicity.

- We see. Yuna's setting is that she is a Summoner, but how are summoners viewed in the world of FFX?

Nojima:     As the Savior of the world. Everyone honors and respects them.

- As a sunmmoner, summons creatures?

Nojima:     Yes. It's drawn that she has good relations with summon creatures. Kind of like, working together with trust.

- It says that she inherits the blood of the great summoner "Blaska"?

Nojima:     Her father is famous. And she's the daughter of that Blaska. Although she's not something of a princess.


- Regarding "Sin", what is it like?

Nojima:     An existence that agonizes the world.
An existence that is present in daily life, and repeats destruction. In some means, a subject of fear.

Naora:     Like a disaster with a form. I like using the expression "like a Typhoon".

Kitase:     Like, bringing damage even if we're not doing anything.

- Similarly to FFVII's Shinra Company and FFVIII's Witch, can this be taken as an opponent which is to be defeated?

Nojima:     Yes.

- On the title logo's left side, that's Yuna swinging her sleeves. The lower part of it, is that water?

Naora:     That's Yuna, water and "Sin". It's a bit greedy as a logo. We had Mr. Amano draw it, with the 3 symbols shaped into one image.

- That means, the yellowish part on the right is "Sin"?

Naora:     Though it is only a symbolic, image.

- The gradation going from Blue > Red > Yellow is very distinct.

Naora:     Dyed Asian goods have very intricate coloring. We discussed a lot with people in design offices, and tried to see if this gradation can be reproduced.

- Wasn't FFVIII's logo Tequila Sunrise? (note: logo color was based on the cocktail "Tequila Sunrise")

Naora:     Yes.


-There is an image with the main character's sword sticking in the ground, but the staff that is also sticking in the ground, is that Yuna's?

Kitase:     That's Yuna's weapon.

- What about that round blue ball underneath?

Kitase:     That would be the ball used in playing Blitz ball, and also.. . .. someone's weapon.


- In the screen shot, there is the word "people of Evon", but what exactly is this "people of Evon"?

Nojima:     They have a strong connection to summoners, but it can't be explained in easily. It's not impossible to explain, but I won't since it may possibly bring misunderstandings.

- The battle screen hasn't been released yet. How exactly will the Battles be like, in FFX?

Tsuchida:     It'll be like, "that thing's gone now!?"

Kitase:     Kind of like, "I, Tsuchida, have finally done it". (Laughs)

- Heh? Some really major change?!

Tsuchida:     Well-, I was allowed to change around the system and action cuts to my desire, so I do feel that my tastes reflect strongly in it. I wonder if I'll be the target of flaming. (laughs)

- (Laughs) Well, it is Final Fantasy. So We're sure that users in fact would be looking forward to changes.

Tsuchida:     In example, the battle and dialogues may be connected more smoother. In some battles, the event field may directly become the battle field. Enemies would come out into the 3D field, and command prompts would come out.

- Command prompts will still be existent in battles?

Tsuchida:     That'll still remain, obviously.

- Any changes in the system parts?

Tsuchida:     The basic structure will still be the same, but some of the parts that are like the "rules", those parts have been changed a little.

- Perhaps no more ATB ?

All staff:
Wooohhha!!!!! (Laughs)

As a policy of Tsuchida, he doesn't like systems where the result changes depending on the user's reaction speed, since some users may not have quick reflexes than others. He likes systems where the user can enjoy analyzing data and conditions for the battles- battles with more strategy.

Tsuchida:     Yes. Thinking "This may happen if I do this", and coming out with that same result, is the kind of thing I hold valuable. Although, it's hard to put that and coincidence together in a game. I don't like battles that can be indecently won by tapping buttons. Of course there is still an element of getting stronger by gaining Experience points... Oh no, not Experience points- Experience. By gaining Experience....

- AH!! That will bring out the question, "Are experience points going to be gone in FFX?" (laughs)

Tsuchida:     But I don't think it will feel odd at all during gameplay.


- About this time's "Theme". In FFVII the theme was "Life", in FFVIII the theme was "Love". What is the theme for FFX?

Nojima:     Change. At any rate, something like "let's change", "let's change it". Game wise, it's "Travel", but story wise, it's "Change".

Kitase:     At first, it was "Independence"

Nojima:     But to become independent, change is a necessity.

- Talking about Independence, as how the father was mentioned before, Yuna's father was a famous summoner...

Nojima:     It includes such personal meanings, as well as more global meanings.

-Are the essentials to the Final Fantasy series such as Chocobo and Flying Ships still present in the game? And are there replacements for such systems as the Materia and Junction?

Kitase:     System integrated things such as the Materia and Junction, will not trail along... since we have a fresh member named Tsuchida now. A totally new system is aimed for. Things such as Chocobo and Flying ships which relate to the world view and storyline, do exist.

- The Sphere is to be treated differently from such things as Materia and Guardian force?

Kitase:     It's different. It's like a tool used in daily life. It's nothing that'll become a treasure later.

- Finally we would like to ask how much of the game has been completed in production.

Kitase:     It's very playable including the battle, and we are in the stage of final adjustments right now.

- When is the release date? It has been announced as "Spring 2001"...

Kitase:     Yes. It will be just as it says.
As for the battle, the game will be playable with more strategy than before. We should be taking more time on balance adjustments than previous in the FF series, so please look forward to it.

Extra comments:

Nojima:     Travel around the world, together with Tidus and Yuna. This time, the travels really feel like a travel.

Nomura:     Only a part of the characters have been released to present, but I think that some incredible character(s) will be seen from now.

Kitase:     The characters have become realistic and voices have been included, and I think that a world which never existed til now can be experienced realistically.

Tsuchida:     I hope to create a battle system, with a combination of fun and surprises. Please look forward to it.

Naora:    I hope not to go against expectations of people who saw the pictures. Well maybe, to go against everyone's expectations in a good meaning.

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