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

  • I’m pumped for this game. FF IV was my favorite SNES Square game, and the nostalgia never ends with it.

    I know this will go unanswered, but what they heck; I want to ask about my favorite SNES Enix game, Soul Blazer. I hope it hasn’t been completely forgetten by Square-Enix. It’s 20th anniversary is coming up, and I hope for AT LEAST a Virtual Console release, if not a collection (Soul Blazer, Illusion of Gaia, Terrigama) release on another system. PLEASE?!

  • “It drew on the best aspects of those games and became a model for Final Fantasy games to follow.”

    Glad that it was true for the next few FFs… However, I’m sad that games like FFXIII totally missed what was fun in a RPG.
    This game is proof that graphics don’t make a quality RPG.

  • Haliluya! Get well Japan…. We love you!

  • While I own 2 copies of this game already for the GBA & the DS respectively, I will likely buy this for The After Years sequel.

    Final Fantasy IV is a timeless RPG classic that pulled so many heart-strings, invoked so much anger, produced enough frustration (Wall boss lol), and above all else, gave me so much exciting longevity where there were never any boring moments!!!

    My Twitter: @Stinger_Inc

  • I was brought into RPG by Phantasy Star II. This game brought me into Final Fantasy. I need the fancy graphics. The battle system and story are best of the best. FF13 focused on graphics to much and the game is boring.

  • Square seems to only care about Final Fantasy sometimes.

  • Why not on the PS3 too? All PSP remakes should hit the PS3 (on the PSN) too, it’s easy money for the devs, and nice PS3 games for us to buy!! =D

  • When or will we ever see Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II PSone Classics in the N.American PS Store? Ive noticed its out in Japan and Ive been waiting patiently to see it here one day.

  • @57 Senjutsu_Dav
    It’s not so easy as you might think and you kind of have Microsoft to blame for it. Any game released for the PS3 MUST include trophies now. It’s mandatory. It’s not worth squares time to go back and insert trophies into the game just to get a PS3 release.

    While I’m sure higher resolution graphics were made from the outset, these titles would have to be tested and reworked for a higher resolution display. Not a to big of a deal, but that is an extra months worth of work that may not be something PS3 fans are interested in (and there really is a lot of new stuff distracting even from each other as is).

    The Games Engine would have to be recoded for the PS3 as well, while not to terribly hard to accomplish as the game doesn’t even require the PPE’s on the Cell to run. It’s still work they’ll have to do for things like rendering and sound. Probably 2 or 3 weeks worth of work there, maybe less than that.

    I feel you honestly, a PS3 release would be nice especially if you could share your save between the two copies. In the end it only costs 130 dollars for a PSP and 150-200 for a PSP Go depending on special offers, both of which can be connected to an HDTV.

  • psn confirmed!!?
    what about us Plus Subscribers? im one of them, DISCOUNT

  • Also any word on when Crisis Core is coming out on the psn? been waiting since the launch for the psp go to get the digital version of the game. just a great game that has yet to be released yet….

  • Got tired of reading comments to see if anyone asked but the most important question I have for this is:
    Do we get Cecil’s DLC costume in U.S. for Duodecim?

  • if square enix is learning that digital download is godd will we c KH: birth by sleep on psn anytime soon???

  • Lots of blogs talking about how Square Enix should NOT insist on releasing new FFIV remakes, but I thank Square Enix and Sony from the deep of my heart!

    FF IV, along with Phantasy Star I (SMS) were the first RPGs I ever played.

    Definitelly my fave Final Fantasy of all times and I once considered buying an Wii just for the After Years.

  • I am excite, though I wonder if the Cave of Trials and/or Lunar Ruins will be making appearances (though I doubt it, since from what I can gander, some of those elements, namely Kain’s Lunar Trial, were incorporated into FFIV:TAY’s story…or something).

    I have it on pre-order from Amazon at the moment, but like with the Anniversary editions of the first two games, I may rather have it for download.

    Ah, how I wish a download voucher could be included with retail releases, though there is that caveat of simply returning the UMD copy…

  • Are there men in this game?

  • Once again, not love for FFVI. As much as I used to enjoy FFIV, it has been remade/rereleased so many times now I lost count. It is time the other FF games to get the same treatments with updates and new additions. I do not count the PS1 releases because of how bogged down they were when trying to play. Also, since my PSP loves destroying batteries ((killed 3 of them in 6 months)), I dont touch it anymore, so making PSN releases that can be played on the PS3 would be greatly appreciated.

  • @66

    Men, real men, manly men… and a few women, and a set of twins, and an old guy. some death, and destruction, and the moon, can’t forget the moon.

  • is it true that there will be a Dissidia 012 DLC outfit that comes with this game?

  • I’ll be honest. I’m excited for this, what i really want to experience more than anything is the actually Final Fantasy III on a Sony Console. I was a little late to the game, jumpinng on board with FFVII around 1998, but since then I’ve played every FF main title (except III) on the comfort of one of my playstation Consoles. Even if it was a bare bones PSN download, that’d be more than enough for me.

  • NEED PS3 release

  • Can’t wait, FFIV is in my opinion the start of Final Fantasy’s greatness.

    And the PSP versions of FFI and FFII are the best, the visuals are amazing.

  • they should remake FF7 for psp, i mean just upraded grapics an more info on what you need to do, im always gettin lost an have to look at video guides to figure out were to go, im at the temple of the ancients right now an im playing on my PSP GO (sometimes on ps3) but i like the story alot an i would like to try some more FF (started on FF10 an played FF11, FF12, FF13 an FF7, im gonna get FF8 but im gonna get this one first (FF4), also FF7 may have the best story so far that i played but FF13 has the best grapics even thro i would put 7 3rd since i love FF10 to alot, maybe FF10 could be upraded for PS3, that would be wicked since i keep on getting the game stolen back then an i never have bet it

  • @73 If they remake 7 ever (which I doubt) it will be for PS3.

    Squeenix knows they will writhing mobs of fan boys tearing down their walls if it’s for any other system.

  • 1. Stop re-releasing FF4, FF4 has been re-released to death, and its nowhere near as good as FF5 or FF6

    2. Release it on PS3 so we can have trophies with it

    3. To everyone complaining about FF13 and praising FF4, you do realise that FF4 and FF13 share very similar mechanics when you compare and contrast the series as a whole right?

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