Takashi Tokita Talks Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, RPGs

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Takashi Tokita Talks Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, RPGs

Takashi Tokita is a name well respected among Square Enix fans, having helmed classic RPGs from Parasite Eve (newly resurrected for PSN) to Chrono Trigger. Now he’s overseeing the restoration of one of the earliest games of his career with Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, coming to PSP on April 19th.

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for PSP

On the cusp of Final Fantasy IV’s 20-year anniversary, Tokita explained his goals for The Complete Collection. The basic expectations are well and truly met: You’ll get remastered high-res artwork that takes full advantage of the PSP’s widescreen display, eye-catching new 3D special effects, an updated English translation, and two soundtrack options. Also, for the first time in North America, FFIV will be presented in its pure, uncensored form, which will primarily translate to a few skimpier outfits and a handful of mature references omitted from previous releases. What won’t change is the story, which focuses on dark knight Cecil Harvey’s quest for redemption after years of bloody service under a totalitarian king.

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for PSP Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for PSP

The Complete Collection also includes a separate game called FFIV: The After Years that picks up over a decade later with the protagonists’ son, Ceodore. Game director Tokita created a new playable chapter, FFIV: Interlude, just for The Complete Collection. Weighing in at 15-odd hours of new gameplay and featuring a new story, Interlude is set between FFIV and The After Years and ties up loose plot threads in both games.

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for PSP Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for PSP

While discussing his work with Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, Tokita also touched on the biggest strength of the Japanese RPG genre (“It can be a story that the player is confined to, like a moving comic or animation type of experience in a game format”) and even voiced appreciation for BioShock and Dead Space (“I like games that surprise me”).

Sid Shuman, PlayStation.Blog: How are you taking advantage of the PSP for Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection?

Takashi Tokita, Director, Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection: The PSP was an appealing platform because it’s a high-quality handheld, it has excellent sound quality, and the UMD format offers a lot of storage space. The extra storage space let us incorporate Final Fantasy IV and FFIV: The After Years, plus the new playable Interlude [that connects both games]. We were also able to include a video and concept art gallery with the game.

PSB: As an experienced developer, are you interested in working with NGP? Are you brainstorming things you might like to try with the Next Generation Portable?

TT: I think it’s a platform that will enable us to do new things, obviously. The current environment isn’t quite as favorable to packaged games, it’s become a little more difficult. In terms of distributing a story-based game, I think NGP will be something that users can embrace for a long period of time.

PSB: Why do you think Final Fantasy IV remains popular and respected 20 years after its release? Not many games experience that kind of longevity.

TT: In many ways, FFIV was a culmination of the preceding Final Fantasy games. It drew on the best aspects of those games and became a model for Final Fantasy games to follow. It appeals to all generations in that sense simply because it became the foundation of future Final Fantasy games.

PSB: While developing Final Fantasy IV, were you already thinking about the possibility of a potential sequel at some point in the future?

TT: When I was creating the original game, I didn’t have any ideas about creating a direct sequel. Much later, when I started development on Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, I thought that it might be good to create a story to connect FFIV and FFIV: The After Years, and that became FFIV: Interlude.

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection for PSP Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (The After Years) for PSP

PSB: Why do you think FFIV’s story still resonates with players? Is it the murky morality or themes of redemption?

TT: I think redemption appeals to all generations. The idea of light and dark, and the confusion in that for the characters, is a theme that will never die. The sheer variety of characters is important as well because every player will find at least one character that they will develop an emotional attachment with.

PSB: Do you think that Japanese RPGs should evolve and change, or will there always be a place for classic JRPGs?

TT: I think that there are two types of JRPGs: ones that are character- and story-driven, versus the standard, classic JRPG. Final Fantasy IV combines elements of both, but leans more towards the classic style. In that sense, much like a song that can be covered by other musicians over and over again for years to come, I think the classic JRPG is a style that will continue to exist moving forward.

Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (The After Years) for PSP Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (The After Years) for PSP

PSB: Many Final Fantasy came into the series long after FFIV’s original release. If you’re a fan of recent Final Fantasy games like FFXII or FFXIII, what will you appreciate in FFIV?

TT: New generations of Final Fantasy fans are created as new game platforms are introduced. Based on what I’ve seen, many of the more recent fans came into the series with Final Fantasy X on the PS2. By playing FFIV: The Complete Collection, these newer players will get a sense of the origin of Final Fantasy as well as the path the game took as it evolved into later incarnations.

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8 Author Replies

  • Bought this for the PS1 when it first came out on there, never got to finish it. Couldn’t be happier that it’s coming out on the PSP – undoubtedly the best system for RPGs in the past five years.

  • Release a ps3 version on PSN… pleeeeaaase

  • Still no word on a PSN release, huh? My hopes have never been very high.

  • I really want this; however, I’m opt’d to wait for the NGP. Grrr.

  • Along with FF3(DS), FF4 is the only Final Fantasy game I have yet to finish (excluding spinoffs). I’m not a fan of the direction the series has taken since FF12, but I can’t wait to pick up this blast from the past. I love the PSP!

  • Good questions Cid, it’s too bad you can’t do some follow up questions (or can you?) =)

    I’ve always wanted to ask Square-Enix why they’ve made the decision to completely diverge from the series core gameplay mechanics to go towards regular action games. The ATB system was such a wonderful thing allowing players to choose the style they want which is missing from the new games. They also allowed you to be more involved in how your party members acted by issuing direct commands to them, while for example in XIII you have no control at all over their actions.

    I realize newer consoles gives them the ability to make more flashy action sequences, but can’t they still accomplish that while keeping the core gameplay the fans and supporters of this series grew to love?

  • Preordered the European special edition, preordered the North American normal edition. FFIV is my favourite game (tied with FFT). Very much looking forward to playing it for the 100th time.

  • I want this one the PSN for the PS3, pretty please.

  • Cool!! I really like ff4…i bought it on ds but could not beat the last boss….but ill figure it out.

  • I agree, that a PS3-playable download game would be terrific. And what I think the newer generations of FF fans can gain from this title (at least IV) is the sense of fun, tactical gameplay that has been skewed and lost over time; as well as an appreciation for non-cliche plots. Hopefully, Square itself will, as well!

  • I love all of the old final fantasy games. FFVI is by far my favorite game of the series but FFIV is a close second (along with a few others). I can’t wait to pick this game up. I hope the classic JRPGs never die, they have always been the best. Turn based battle all the way baby (I’m old school)!

  • I wasn’t too much in favor of getting it till the Interlude was mentioned since I already beat After Years on Wii. Though granted I have played this FF quite a few more times than any other, but more because of it’s numerous releases. Thanks for the PSN conformation, us Go owners get shafted a lot. I am sure no one knows, but I really want Squeenix to consider a FFVI for PSP, or PS3 or NGP or DS, 3DS, whatever, just make one already. It’s the second most popular FF in history, FFIV being #1.

    • Happy to help. As for Interlude, the team is being fairly tight-lipped for now on further details — wish I could have learned more!

  • Still waiting for a PS release of FFIII. To date it is the only main-line FF game not available on a Playstation system.

  • @IrishPete333

    You say FFVI is “by far” your favorite, but then you say FFIV is a close second?

  • Hey, PSN release huh? Awesome; very glad you folks seem to have worked out whatever it was that was keeping Square Enix games off the NA PSN :)

    • By and large, it seems that most PSP games are day-and-date released on PSN these days, though there’s an occasional exception. :)

  • Any chance of some Final Fantasy avatars on the PSN store?

  • Thanks Sid. Always a bit concerned about Square Enix releases specifically.

    Still waiting for Birth By Sleep after all.

  • @11 Sid Shuman RE:
    Well your news made another sale, thats help enough! Plus I will be sure to inform my friends and family of the Interlude in hopes to gain sales from them as well. Thanks for keeping on the ball :D.

  • i wish that this could/would be done to final Fantasy 3/6.

  • @18
    You don’t know how badly I want that to be true!

  • Any chance that The 3rd Birthday WILL come to PSN, I know it’s not officially announced when the US/European release date was confirmed, but if u can, can u tell us. Also I’m guessing Parasite EVE 2 will release next week?

  • Fun fact: FFIV (or..FFII as it was released) was the first JRPG I ever played and the game that got me hooked on RPGs in the first place. I haven’t played it since Final Fantasy Anthology (or was it Chronicles?) on the PSone so I’ll definitely be picking this one up.

    By the way, good job on asking him about the future/evolution of JRPGs and such. I kind of wish he would have gone more in depth with his answer on that one as I would have found that to be a rather interesting read.

    • Thanks for the kind words! It’s always tough working through a translator so I was happy to get what I got, but if I ever get another chance I’ll focus even more on that line of questioning.

  • How much will it cost?

  • only one question…. WHY NOT IN 3D!!!! U_U

  • Will you look at that, another remake. I’ve played every FF including Legends on gameboy and I am SO glad that they are releasing IV again. I’ve been telling people who’s so biased on saying FF7 or FF10 is the best FF game but the same people never played 1-6. or maybe they did play 1 and/or 2 but for years I’ve been telling people to play IV (or II on US-SNES) and people were too oblivious to listen to me. Maybe a small percentage of those people will actually play IV for PSP and I’ll wait till they say, “Why didn’t you tell me that this game was awesome” and I slap my face in disappointment shaking my head.

  • Its great that we will be getting a PSN release for this game. Any news on FF 1, 2 & Tactics for PSN?

  • @ 21 Yeah, it would have been nice to hear more about SE’s take on JRPGs and their place in the Western market.

    I think what SE has forgotten or seems to be avoiding the realization of, is that all people want are these sorts of classic game-play/ story experiences, but in HD. There’s such an obsession this gen (especially in the East) with reinventing the wheel. Why? One of the best JRPGs I’ve played in the last few years was Lost Odyssey, and that was basically FFVII meets Shadow Hearts. It didn’t need to be anything more. It was a beautiful, mature story with flashy but uncomplicated systems and a tonne of value/ hour (sidequests and secrets galore).

    Best surprise of the year would be if Sakaguchi would make a PS3 exclusive JRPG. He’s done the same favour for each of the other consoles this gen, its time for the PS3 (I think he and Ken K. had some sort of squabble, but its time to make up and make games).

    I’ll be picking this up. FFVI would be better, I’m sure we’d all agree :) But this will do.

  • hopefully square embraces digital distibution more, and bring more PSP legacy games to PSN, like Crisis Core and Valkyrie Profile.

  • I still to this day remember when my grandfather took me up to Media Play and let me pick out a game from their massive wall. I don’t know what made me choose Final Fantasy 2 (I know its 4, but I grew up on it from the SNES so to me it’ll always be 2). I would say, this memory is one of my all time favorites, along with beating the game the first time. If I had a PSP I would buy this in a second.

    You said this will be on the PSN, does that mean I could buy it and play it on my PS3?

  • You should have asked why we don’t get special editions in NA. I know, I know, it’s not the right person to ask, but it is frustrating how we are missing out. Even if we import, we’re still missing out on the DLC.

  • It would be rude not to get it, as it was my first Final Fantasy and RPG in general.

  • is there a price out yet? FF4 is one of the FF games i have yet to play and if priced right i may get it (assuming its on the psn) hopefully with this Square sees that people want the past games and we finally get FF6 (my fav) out on current portable systems.

  • It looks AMAZING. And think. I just picked up the original Playstation version of four that came with Chrono Trigger. Anyways, I guess if I pick up the new one I will get a video game I don’t have. =D Anything chances of getting this on the PS3 or is it going to be a PSP exclusive?

  • the game is awesome but i whish square enix make final fantasy 1,2,3,4,5 whit the graphics of final fantasy XIII but i dont no if they goin to make does games to the ps3 bu i whish they make this game for the ps3 if they do there sales it going to be sky rocket and everybody will buy this game for the ps3

  • Wait, so will this have the polygonal models of the recent DS release or just the sprites of the old SNES?

  • Europe is getting a limited edition print for the first run, can we expect the same here in the US/Canada?

    Who’s butt do I need to light a fire under to get FF6 (and maybe FF5) to have the same treatment?

  • I’m buying a PSP in two weeks. I probably should be getting a 3DS, but the PSP is getting a lot of love to pass up on. With Final Fantasy IV, 3rd Birthday, Dissidia, and Final Fantasy 0 coming out…it’s hard to say “no” to the PSP

  • I’m OLD SCHOOL This is FF2 (US version) FFIV (japan version) Right? if it is is the moon the last stage? I was so close to beating it 15 years or so ago. I was 14 or 15:)

  • Do PSPGo owners get the “special edition”?

  • @25, Japan PSN has the FF games for PSP and the War of the Lions remake as of recently, maybe we will get it too in the future. Though Dissidia 012 released, and we didn’t get all the 012 Avatars like JP PSN got, I really want Terra, Tifa, and Kain for my PSN avatars.

  • I am hoping on the PSN that the GO owners get the special edition that comes with both games.

  • @36 And you can transfer all of that content to your NGP! :) At least if its digital. PSPGo got a bad rap, but 99% of all the new titles were/ are released on it – older titles, about 50% (including a lot of the good ones, SE is missing some of their best on the PSN). The Go also has a nicer (brighter, non-interlaced) screen than the 3000. I traded in my 3000 for one and haven’t looked back. The blutooth is a nice feature too.

    Check out Valhalla Knights 2 (the second version, with all the updates), Jeanne D’arc, and Wild Arms XF. Persona 1 and 3 too, if you haven’t played them. Oh, and Monster Hunter and Phantasy Star Portable 2 for all your adhoc, MMOish grinding needs.

  • I think it will cost $29.99 that’s what all the latest Square games, if not, all PSP games cost now, since PSP is near the end of its life cycle, since that is what happens to games on a system that’s been out a long time, the games are reduced in price when first released. Playstation 1 I think started selling games at I think at least $49.99, then dropped down to $39.99 or less towards the end of it’s cycle, I remember because I remember my father paying $39.99 for Tomb Raider: Chronicles back in November 2000

  • only one question…. WHY NOT IN 3D!!!! U_U

    (not the 80’s 3D effect in movies and now in games, I mean 3D POLYGONS)

  • @40, It’s not likely unfortunately :( We may get the Dissidia DLC voucher, but I don’t know about the rest. The only game that I have known to get a special edition on PSN was GoW Ghost of Sparta. I think you got digital versions of all the things mentioned. I like the things that are coming with the Special Edition, but I doubt us Go owners will see any of it TT~TT

  • @34
    Neither, these are sprites made specifically for the PSP version. The SNES’s sprites are dated and look way to faded out by todays standards given the huge color pallet that modern consoles allow for.

    So this is modeled after the original game and not a release of the Nintendo DS version revised for PSP. In all honesty we are getting the better version. Not only would it be jaring to go from the Polygon version of the DS in the Sprite version of After Years, but the models on the DS weren’t that good to begin with. If they ended up remaking it with 3D visuals I’d rather them take advantage of the PSP then doing a quick and dirty port of a lackluster remake. Still feel disappointment with Square for taking those games and making them for DS in the first place, if you’re going to render in 3D do it on the machine that will do it the most justice.

    Anyway in short the PSP Collection is the PSOne version with a fresh coat of paint, a new translation, and less early 90’s idiotic censorship getting in the way (SNES version was the easy version super Famicom Version of FF4 and the PSOne version the harder Super Famicom Version).

  • I already have FF1 and FF2 for the PSP so I’ll be ordering this when I get the chance! Btw, will FF3 or FF6 be remade for the PSP? =) FF6 was probably the best of the series. It would be awesome if it was re-done while keeping the old-school sprite look.

  • @43 – Because that would be horrendous.

  • Wow I’m a Final Fantsy fans all those earlier Final Fantasies remade mulyiple times and not even a FFVII or higher remastered yet.

  • @13 TomHoang,

    Lol, I guess that doesn’t make much sense. Lets say FFIV is my second favorite with a lot of close 3rd favorites:) Screw it I love them all.

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