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Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Posted by Reeve at 12:57 AM EST

Yoshinori Kitase Discusses Remakes Again

The Official Xbox Magazine recently interviewed Square Enix producer Yoshinori Kitase, who is currently working on Final Fantasy XIII-2. During the interview, the prospect of remaking some of the earlier Final Fantasies is brought up. About that, Kitase had this to say:

(I)f we were to take one of the past Final Fantasy titles and make a sequel to it, I think that would be a lot more challenging because when they were on PlayStation and PlayStation 2 their actual game volume was a lot bigger, kind of. Graphically they weren't as advanced as they are now, but there were lots of towns and worlds and cities and whatever. So if we were to recreate the same kind of game - sequel or not - with the same volume, but give it a much higher level of graphical quality, it would us take three times, four times, even ten times longer to make such a game.
Of course, Final Fantasy VII is brought up by the interviewer in the next section. Kitase says:
(...) (W)e know that the hundreds of fans would like to see a hi-def version of Final Fantasy VII. But if we were to achieve the modern graphical quality at the same time putting in exactly the same world and everything, I think it would take ten times longer as compared to the time we took to produce XIII, for example.

So if we were to pursue the same graphical quality, somehow we would have to make adjustments about game volume in the world, we'd have to cut down certain areas, but if we did that our fans would probably be not very happy, so we have to achieve both goals so that if we ever decide to either remake VII or make a sequel for hi-def consoles, we're going to have to be very, very careful.
Kitase also addresses living up to fan expectations in terms of adding new elements to a remake:
If I may speak as a game creator, if we were to produce a remake of VII, for example, I would be really tempted to delete things and add new elements, new systems or whatever because if we were to make exactly the same thing now, it'd be like a repeat. It'd be an issue of repetition and not as much fun to make such a game. So I'd be really interested in rearranging games or reshaping games into something slightly different even though it's supposed to be the same game. But if we did that, the fans might be disappointed or "this is not what I was expecting" so in that sense maybe some might say that it's better to let memory be memory.

When we play the games we made years ago, sometimes we think "oh, that is not really cool" or "that probably should have been a bit better than that" and that sort of thing. But on the other hand, those slightly negative features and bits, some of the fans - really enthusiastic fans of these titles - that gives them an extra flavour or personality or whatever, so maybe they would rather we didn't do anything about it and we just leave it in as it is, so it's very difficult to decide what we should we keep in and what we should take out.
Those who've known me for awhile know that I have been against an FFVII remake for years. That said, I'm thankful that Kitase has the same concerns about an FFVII remake that I do: that if something is added or changed, it may sour the experience for the most devoted fans.

As for his first point about development times, Kitase made this same argument back in February 2010, so it seems to be something he still feels strongly about.

The entire interview is well worth reading for FF fans. Check it out here.