Yoshinori Kitase (left) and Hideki Imaizumi.
“I don’t even bother translating one question anymore,” laughs Square's interpreter, shortly after my interview with Yoshinori Kitase and Hideki Imaizumi, respectively the Executive Producer and Producer of Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
(and, incidentally, a few hours before I blanked actor Danny Dyer, who attempted to give me the eye – had to throw that in there) “they know the word ‘remake’ by now.”
Such is the voracious global appetite for the Final Fantasy VII
universe: with this long-awaited prequel to the original not yet internationally released, the press are already clamouring for news of yet more from the collection. I’m no exception. I am not ashamed to admit that I am one of the fans whose life was sucked up entirely by FFVII
that summer a decade ago, shunning friends, family and the outside world in favour of the game’s protagonists and the fate of Midgar.
So, now I get to figure the inner workings of the brains behind my obsession. Read on for the inside gen:
Hi, can you tell SPOnG's readers something about yourselves?
I am the Executive Producer of Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
but also acted as an event planner, working on the ground level for certain vents in the game. I was also the director of the original Final Fantasy VII
I served as the producer of Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core
What were the biggest challenges in this latest incarnation of the series?
Creating a story around an ending that is inevitable is a big challenge. It’s an enormous pressure to build a story around a famous event but it’s a fun, challenging thing to do. If you consider for example famous historical figures that we all know of – and how they died – there are going to be a lot of movies, a lot of books, a lot of TV shows which approach their stories from a different perspective.
You know how certain people will die - you know how Caesar dies - but how it is presented will be kind of different each time. The challenge here was to present a perspective that honours the previous title and ties in seamlessly into Final Fantasy VII
What inspired the making of this prequel?
Well, obviously, the original was the greatest source of inspiration! There have been other compilation titles that feature several different characters from the universe, but in terms of this project, we felt that to bring Zack to life – to bring this minor character in the original series that held such importance to, say, Cloud, the protagonist of VII
. He had a profound effect on his life yet nobody knows anything about him, so we felt there was a lot of potential there for storytelling – to flesh out his story. In doing that enriching the original story, so that was probably the primary motivation behind this title.
In terms of the hardware that was chosen, at the time the PS3 was not really an option – we didn’t even know exactly it would be available to develop on at the time the concept was brought up. When the concept did come up it coincided with the Japanese launch of the PSP. It was going to be the new hardware to develop on. So, whereas there was that familiarity with the PS2 and it would probably have been easily developed on the PS2 as well, there was this interest on the developers’ side… this motivation to explore new avenues. Newer hardware obviously is going to be a more exciting experience than kind of doing the same thing that we’ve done for years and years.