In a recent interview with Game Informer, longtime producer and director of the Final Fantasy series Yoshinori Kitase talks about working on the franchise throughout the years and what went into the thinking behind the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Speaking about the remake and what went into deciding how to tackle such an iconic game, Yoshinori Kitase explains that the team wanted to present people with something new and fresh. “I want people to be able to see it as something new. I want people to be able to experience it through fresh eyes. So, I think that feeling of wanting people to experience it anew is part of the reason I decided to go toward a remake. I really love films; Star Wars Episode IV was real-time for me. It’s been, what, almost 50 years since Star Wars Episode IV came out? Even looking back at it now, I still find a lot of the special effects to be quite impressive – they feel quite fresh in a way. But, for people my son’s age, he looks at this and says, ‘It looks like they just got a bunch of toys that they’re playing with.’ I realized that even if, to me, it still looks like something cool and new – that’s how it looks to someone who is used to the newest and best CG. I really think that anybody can go back and play the original Final Fantasy VII and it would still be fun, but it’s going to look like that to them – and I want to be able to bring people something that looks new and fresh.”
Yoshinori Kitase also discussed how he and the development team went into reimagining Final Fantasy VII for a new audience. “When we made the first game, we had total freedom. We could do whatever we wanted. The second time around, there were lots of fans of the first game. We had to cater to them to a certain extent, which a good thing, but also very difficult. Over the past 20 years of people who played the series have this image of – for example, Cloud – that’s been building and building. And this image of what Final Fantasy VII is and who these characters are is pretty concrete. So, in making Final Fantasy VII Remake, we had to think ourselves, ‘Well, is it going to be okay to make a new Cloud?’ Are people going to say, ‘Actually, no, that’s not Cloud. He wouldn’t do that.’ Or are people going to be receptive to it? It’s been really interesting to try to figure that out.”
Another thing that was brought up in the interview is what it’s like being part of the committee that overlooks Final Fantasy as a brand and how that process works. Essentially, the committee for the franchise evaluates and makes sure that “the assets that make up the series’s history and image are preserved.”
Speaking about how the committee handles the production of the games, Kitase said: “We want to make a very open and welcoming base for the producers and directors of any new Final Fantasy games to create whatever they want. There’s not going to be anything like, ‘This is the kind of animal that Chocobos are, and they’ve always been like that, so you can’t do this with them – they would never do that.’ It’s never been like that for the people creating the new games. Of course, everybody in the committee has different opinions. That’s just my opinion. There will be people who say, ‘No, no, the Chocobo has never done that. Why should it start now?’ But my personal attitude is, ‘Just because a Chocobo has never done that doesn’t mean it can’t. Why not show people a new side of Chocobos?'”