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Grimoire
19th Aug 2012, 12:57
Post interviews or links to interviews related to FINAL FANTASY VII here in this thread.

Grimoire
19th Aug 2012, 12:58
Interview with Nomura
From Famitsu. Quoting TheLifestream:
"Weekly Famitsu Issue no. 1224: Tetsuya Nomura Interview"


thelifestream.net/weekly-famitsu-issue-n... (http://thelifestream.net/weekly-famitsu-issue-no-1224-tetsuya-nomura-interview/)





"CHANGES IN THE VISUAL ASPECTS



—What was the most significant thing for you in the transition from “FFVI” to “FFVII”?
Nomura: I guess it was utilising polygons. The difference in high between the characters on the battle screen and the characters on the field screen also kind of seems like the gap between “FFVI” and “FFVII”, and seeing that process of trail-and-error is memorable for me.


—At that time, I hear you could have gone in the direction of using pixel graphics, or 3D, but what were your thoughts on it? Nomura: I originally handled the pixel graphics, so I thought that if there were no pixels then my work would be gone (laughs). Later I took some training to learn CD, but I went into design and direction rather than working as a modeller.



—The “FF” series had been particularly known for Mr. Amano’s (*1) illustrations previously, so did you feel any pressure when your illustrations were to become the main focus in “FFVII”? Nomura: I thought of my drawings as the standing images for the pixel graphics of the previous games, so there wasn’t any pressure.



—Standing images for the pixel graphics?
Nomura: In the “FF” series, Mr. Amano’s image illustrations and the pixel characters’ designs didn’t necessarily match. Personally, I considered image illustrations and the pixel graphics as being different categories in a sense. I was in charge of the pixel graphic parts, so I never considered myself as standing alongside Amano or taking over from him. The company decided from a rights perspective to put my name out in front, but originally there weren’t any plans like that at all.





THE TRADEGY OF AERITH AND THE BIRTH OF TIFA


—It was apparently Mr. Sakaguchi who selected you for “FFVII”, but how did that come about?
Nomura: From before when making a “FF” title, everyone would put plans regardless of their section. While everyone handed in text documents they made on a PC, mine were hand-written and had illustrations attached. Because I had originally studied advertising, I would keep in mind how to make people want to read it. Mr. Sakaguchi thought those illustrated proposals were amusing. Then one day he said, “let Tetsu draw the characters.” The start of this was the brush images for “FFVI”.



—Because your proposals were amusing!? Nomura: Until that point, I hadn’t had many proposals taken up at all, so I don’t think that’s the reason (laughts). I suppose he liked the illustrations on the proposals.



—When it was decided that you would draw the illustrations, was the world and characters’s details already pinned down to a degree?
Nomura: There was a plot for the story, and I drew them based on that. But during the course of it Mr. Sakaguchi put Mr. Kitase (*3) in charge of production, and at that point in time the plot went back to square one. From there, I was also included in coming up with the original idea for the story, and began drawing while thinking up character and story details. At first Mr. Nojima (*4) was still on the “Bahamut Lagoon” team, so Kitase and myself refined the plot.



—Was the Aerith’s shocking death scene also confirmed at that time?
Nomura: I suggested to Kitase about having either Aerith or Tifa die, and it was decided that we’d go in that direction.



—Were there two heroines from the outset? Nomura: No, originally there was only Aerith, and Tifa was added as another heroine later. To make up for Aerith dying, we needed a heroine who would be by the hero’s side until the end. Plus with Aerith’s death, while there were characters in previous “FF” games who lost their lives, we wanted to try a different approach. By bringing out a ‘sense of loss’ with Aerith’s death, we also wanted to portray the theme of “FFVII” which is ‘life’.



—It did certain have a different impact than that of the loss of characters in past “FF” games. Were there any other points you focused on with the story?
Nomura: I wanted to have a story where you chase Sephiroth. One where there is a SOLDIER who was once a hero, and the heroes follow him. Following a moving enemy hadn’t been done before, and I thought that by chasing something it would help pull the story along.





RELATION BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL CONCEPTS AND THE DESIGNS

—Were there any aspects of the character designs that you struggled with?
Nomura: For Cloud, at first I thought that it’d be better not to use too many polygons, so I gave him sweptback hair, but I didn’t think that looked much like a main character so I changed his hairstyle.

—Were you already thinking about polygon counts at the design stages?
Nomura: While considering it, I tried to be as unreasonable as I could. I thought that was necessary in order to do things no one else had done. For instance, making Aerith’s dress with polygons was very hard at the time. But I believed that thinking about how to make that so it moves naturally would lead to improvement of skills and rendering.

—Sephiroth’s long hair must have also been tough work.
Nomura: That’s right. That was also because I wanted to make the contrast easy to see between Cloud and Sephiroth in their designs. Blond and silver, short and long.

—At the time you said in an interview with our magazine that the image of Cloud and Sephiroth was based on “Musashi [Miyamoto] and Kojiro [Sasaki].”
Nomura: Yes. In particular the weapons, and the “showdown” image, was Musashi and Kojiro.

—Were there any other parts where the story concepts or mental images came through strong in the designs?
Nomura: At first, Sephiroth and Aerith were to be brother and sister, so I gave them similarities in their fringes. That aspect was dropped during the early stages, but the fringes stayed (laughs). I believe the original idea for them to be siblings later became that Sephiroth was Aerith’s first love. Ultimately Nojima thought up Zack, and it was all tied up.


WHITE IS THE “FF” IMAGE COLOUR

—Back at the time, did you realise the extent of the influence “FFVII” had on people Nomura: The Internet wasn’t wide-spread yet, and there weren’t really any avenues to see the opinions of a vast number of people, so I didn’t really know how it was being received by the public. But as the release was drawing nearer, the commercials on TV were played a lot, which gave a sense of the scale of things.

—There were several variations of commercials, right.
Nomura: Among those was a commercial that Kyle Cooper (*5) had edited. That was really cool, and it impacted me the way that different editing can give such a different impression. It was because of that that I took an interest in video editing.

—So the current high quality trailers came about because of a commercial for “FFVII”!?
Nomura: No (laughs). There is an outside editing director who has worked with us for a long time, but the present trailers are created with him.

—I see. The novel design for the game packaging, with just the logo on a white background which would be carried over to the future titles in the series, was also talked about.
Nomura: A lot of that was down to (Tadashi) Nomura who lead publicity for “FFVII”. Actually, we were talking about removing the lettering of the logo and just having the image of Meteor Amano had drawn. To have people recognise that it was “FFVII” from that. I thought that was pretty cool, but it didn’t materialise. The background being white was because Sakaguchi said that the image of “FF” was white.

—So there were lots of ideas even for the packaging. By the way, I heard that you are also involved with overseeing merchandise and publicity?
Nomura: That’s true, at the time I wasn’t sure how much I should do, so ended up drawing everything like roughs for plush toys and such (wry smile). I think it’s precisely because I didn’t know, that I was able to try my hand at everything. It was “FFVII” that was the start of my involvement in publicity as well. Though I ended up revealing info about “FFVII” I shouldn’t have and causing trouble, after that I started getting confirmation first. After I started working together like that, I was also able to cooperate with their publicity strategies, and I think I managed to get them to understand the intent of the development. Most of all, it was fun to be able to do that together.

ENERGY FROM IGNORANCE

—What sort of impression do you have now looking back on time spent making “FFVII”?
Nomura: We were basically rushing headlong, without knowing what we could or couldn’t do. And that’s why I think we could generate that much power, and pack everyone’s ideas in there. Our being able to be reckless making games that way ended with “FFVII”. Personally, it was the first “FF” where a wide range of my ideas were picked up, so it was a lot of fun.



—But before then as well, you not only created the pixel graphics but also submitted proposals as well, right?
Nomura: I put forth ideas for “FFV” and “VI”, but they were only really a part of the whole. Unlike in “VI” where with the inclusion of a ninja and a gambler I was given charge of the stories for Shadow and Setzer, “VII” was the first “FF” where I was involved from the ground up. Before then, I had been giving my opinions to a few people like Kitase, so it was interesting to be able to openly introduce proposals.

—”FFVII” is a game that has been supported by fans for over 15 years, but what kind of feelings do you have for the “FF” series?
Nomura: I still remember well what Mr. Sakaguchi said about “FF” at that time. There’s no one to tell that to the new staff, so I’d like to ask Kitase if he’d do so (laughs). I watched up close how Sakaguchi had left Kitase in charge of the development floor, and personally I think that Kitase is the true heir of “FF”. Also, “FF” carries weight because it’s a title that passed through many people’s hands and not just a single person’s. For example, “Kingdom Hearts” has the same main characters and the story carries on, but with “FF” the fact that ‘each time it’s different’ can feel like a tall hurdle. But that’s exactly why the new “FF” must always exceed the ones of the past. Even “FFVII”, which has been supported by the players for a long time and many people hope for a remake, but right now we want to prioritise new titles, and to try our best to make those become like “FFVII” or something greater.


*1: Yo****aka Amano. Works on the image illustrations and logo designs for the “FF” series.
*2: Hironobu Sakaguchi. Producer heavily involved with the “FF” series.
*3: Yoshinori Kitase. Director of “FFVII”.
*4: Kazushige Nojima. In charge of the scenario of “FFVII”.
*5: Kyle Cooper. A video creator who produces the opening credits for films, with many credits such as “Se7en” and “Mission: Impossible”.
- On the 15th anniversary To Kitase
We see each other a lot normally, so I don’t really have anything to say (wry smile). Lately, there are getting to be fewer people who worked on “FF” with Mr. Sakaguchi. Among them, I’ve worked with you for a long time, and it feels like you’ve done a lot for me. Let’s keep on going into the future. (Nomura)
- On the 15th anniversary To Nojima
I think it’s great how you write this dialogue that gives characters clever things to say, and surprising stories. In “FFVII” Cloud’s true identity was a real shock. You later left the company and went independent, but I hope we can keep on working together still in the future. (Nomura)"

Grimoire
19th Aug 2012, 13:07
andriasang.com/con1pj/toriyama_gdc/ (http://andriasang.com/con1pj/toriyama_gdc/)


"...Toriyama's presentation ended not with Final Fantasy XIII or XIII-2, but with Final Fantasy VII. During a Q&A session, an attendee asked when a Final Fantasy VII remake will be released. Toriyama replied by mentioning the recent quote from Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada (http://andriasang.com/con1ny/wada_on_ffvii_remake/) saying that Square Enix won't make an FFVII remake until they've made a game that surpasses FFVII. He joked, "As a creator, there's a bit in there that I can't agree with."

Grimoire
19th Aug 2012, 13:12
Interview with Kitase


Quoting TheLifestream:


"FFVII 15th Anniversary Interviews: Yoshinori Kitase"


thelifestream.net/weekly-famitsu-issue-n... (http://thelifestream.net/weekly-famitsu-issue-no-1224-yoshinori-kitase-interview/)



"IT BEGAN ON THE SNES



—First off, can you tell us how the development of “FFVII” came about?
Kitase: After development on “FFVI” ended, we started the “FFVII” project on the SNES. All of the team put forth ideas for the characters and game systems, but during that time we needed to help out “Chrono Trigger” team who at the time had run into trouble, so for a time development of “FFVII” was put on hold.



—Was the “FFVII” being developed then different from the finished one?
Kitase: Yeah. It was completely different, and Nomura (*1) had proposed things like a design for a witch. In the end, when development started up again it changed to the current setting centred on mako and the like, but the design for the witch Nomura made was incorporated into “FFVII” in Edea.



—I see. So then, when the development began again, it become the world we have now which has a strong sci-fi feel.
Kitase: At the time there were a lot of Western-fantasy RPGs around, so we wanted to set it apart, and we wanted to achieve more realist ways of showing the story. Also, Mr. Sakaguchi (*2) had suggested a modern drama-esque story with a strong sci-fi feel.



—Had you decided on making it an RPG using 3D polygons at that point?
Kitase: When development had restarted, talk of a next generation console was already in full swing. Since the next generation hardware was said to have a chip that excelled at 3D graphics, we also made a 3D battle demo movie based on “FFVI” and studied using 3D. Soon the idea came up that movies would be indispensible to the evolution of “FF” and we decided to development for the PlayStation, which utilised CD-ROM that had a large storage capacity.





“ALONE IN THE DARK”



—Was the decision to make “FFVII” in 3D a unanimous one?
Kitase: There were two directions the development of “FFVII” could have taken. One was to put pixel characters on 3D maps, like “Dragon Quest VII” and “Xenogears” would later use. And the other was the method used in “FFVII” where the characters are rendered using polygons. The pixel characters used in the story scenes in previous “FF” games were extremely popular, so at first we were considering the former which is an extension of that method. But as we couldn’t made a realistic drama in that way, and with polygon characters we could use the movement of their entire bodies to express things, we went for the later to look for new possibilities.



—Was there no resistance from the team?
Kitase: There was at first. Particularly, with the loss of the pixel graphics, the designer team such as Naora (*3) seemed to have felt that was a risk. But in their own ways, everyone went to the CG training sessions and such and learnt to handle it. The people who had been there since the old days are those who had overcome that sort of times of change. In a sense, that was really the turning point for the development.



—Were there any titles that served as a reference when making a 3D RPG?
Kitase: A foreign game called “Alone In The Dark” was an inspiration. The backgrounds were single images done in CG, and when the polygon character moved along them, the camera would switch and the viewpoint would change. That method was new. “Alone In The Dark” was an adventure game, and its story was set in a mansion, but I thought that by taking this and using in it in RPG with vast field maps, it could be something different and new, so I went around showing this game to all the staff.





MOVIE SCENES YOU CAN CONTROL



—In “FFVII” one of its unique features was being able to control characters during the movies.
Kitase: What I wanted to do most of all in “FFVII” was to seamlessly join the movies and the game parts. We wanted to avoid there feeling like there was a massive gap in the graphics when moving from the movies to the playable parts, and Mr. Sakaguchi also said to not make it feel like the movies stick out. So we did some tests and made the part in the opening where the camera zooms in from a shot of all of Midgar to Cloud jumping off the train. I was in charge of the composition of that part, we used a method where as it moved from the movie to a CG image, the characters were positioned so they didn’t move out of place, and we refined it numerous times to get it to sync up nicely. When it went well without moving out of place, it felt brilliant. By the way, the kind of showy events like the scene where Tifa jumps off the Junon cannon, I was mostly responsible for those (laughs).



—Do you think scenes you can control during movies not being in other games was down to Square’s high level of technical skills at that time?
Kitase: No, rather than technical skill, I think it was more the inventiveness to want to do those kind of things. We wanted to take what “Alone In The Dark” did, having polygon characters on top of a CG background, and take it one step further. And because this was our first 3D game, we didn’t know the limits so we could have reckless ideas. We commissioned an outside CG company for the movie scenes, but when the trial version was completed, we would say “the story’s changed so we’d like to extend the movie scene by about 30 seconds” which really surprised them. Since at that time even just extending a movie by a few seconds costed 10 million yen. We made these unreasonable orders without knowing that. In the end we made do with a few revisions, but we gradually learnt that you can’t get retakes as easy as you could with games (wry smile).



—(Laughs) Did Mr. Sakaguchi give any orders for other parts?
Kitase: I think Mr. Sakaguchi wanted to follow the tradition of the pixel graphics, and to show the characters’ expressions on the field screens, so he paid attention to the size of the heads. In battles you can zoom in the camera, but since the field screens are a single background image, you can’t do that. As a result, the proportion of the characters are different in battle and on the field. But when we looked at it after “FFVII” was released, we thought “people are probably going to feel something is off with the difference in proportion” and so in “FFVIII” we the proportions on the field and battle scenes the same.





A SCENARIO WITH A HINT OF MYSTERY



—How was the story, which was distinct from the RPGs that had come before it, created?
Kitase: Before “FFVI” we had Mr. Sakaguchi’s plots, and based on that each of the staff would throw in their ideas and flesh it out, but with “FFVII” we could express things more realistically, so we couldn’t take a mishmash of all the separate episodes the staff had made up and make a single coherent game. That’s where Mr. Nojima (*4), who was one of the new staff members, came in. He had written an RPG scenario with mystery elements for “Glory of Heracles III: Silence of the Gods” on the SNES, so to make it a surprising story like that we left the scenario to Mr. Nojima and he incorporated the elements everyone wanted to do.



—Things such as Cloud’s true identity were certainly surprising.
Kitase: For Cloud’s identity, we only vaguely had an image of Cloud’s own existence being up in the air and it ending there, but the actual unfolding of events was left in Nojima’s hands. And he made not only the scenario but the actual event scenes as well, and the parts where all the mysteries get made clear like Nibelheim in the past were all in Nojima’s head so he hadn’t written it down in detail in the scenario. So we were doing the test play with no idea how it was going to end, and that’s how we first found out what happens. In particular Zack was made like that as well, he was a character Nojima brought in while he was building up the mystery, so we had no clue that he was that important a character (laughs).



—That’s surprising (laughs). Did Mr. Sakaguchi have any directions for the story, having written the plot?
Kitase: Mr. Sakaguchi had been deeply involved with the story up to “FFVI” but with “FFVII” he focused his efforts on the battles. It was Mr. Sakaguchi who suggested the materia system. At first materia had the name “spheres” which Nomura proposed, but Sakaguchi thought we should make it something that would resonate easily even with elementary school kids, so we went for ‘materia’. Back then, the staff were trying to come up with some cool name, but Sakaguchi said that in order to get it embraced across the board you can’t just think about what’s cool.





DEVELOPMENT BRIMMING WITH ENTHUSIASM



—Was the wide variety of mini-games something you planned to include from the start?
Kitase: We had thought of the bike mini-game where you escape from Midgar, but apart from that we had no plans at all (laughs). Now we don’t have staff who aren’t working on anything, but back then we could have staff who had a bit of free time between projects. There were some new staff as well so, kind of doubling as training, we had them make things that needed specialised programs, like the roller coaster shooting game or the submarines.


—So that’s the story behind it! By the way, were there any specific episodes from back then that left a mark on you?
Kitase: Actually, 6 days after “FFVII” mastered up, my eldest son was born. I luckily got there in time for the birth, but afterwards my wife said “you can’t just simply show up for the moment he’s born and everything’s fine” (wry smile). So while I caused some worry, it was a memorable time also for the birth of my son.


—So finally, can you give a message to the fans of “FFVII”?
Kitase: Looking back on the development of “FFVII” now, the difference in proportion between the field and battle sections encapsulates how the desire to “include the stuff we wanted to do” won over consistency. Those bits that are rough but you can feel the energy behind them, those are my favourite points in “FFVII”, and I think maybe what has been supported for so long. As you get used to game development you try to make something more clean and refined, but even if some things were a bit irregular, like there being so many mini-games, later on you come to realise that those can create some unpredictable sort of fun. I hope we can treasure that energy in the future as well, and not forget the enthusiasm we had at first as we make new games.



*1: Tetsuya Nomura. Character designer for “FFVII”.


*2: Hironobu Sakaguchi. Produced heavily involved with the “FF” series.


*3: Yusuke Naora. Art director for “FFVII”.


*4: Kazushige Nojima. In charge of the scenario of “FFVII”.



– On the 15th anniversary To Tetsu
You’ve mainly received attention for your character designs, but you also suggested various systems like the limit breaks in “FFVII” which would be used in later games in the series. Limit breaks are similar to the special attacks in fighting games, but what an interesting idea it was to think it would be fun to place those into an RPG format. If I said it to you directly you’d get ahead of yourself so I won’t, but I would just like to say ‘thank you’ (laughs). (Kitase)



– On the 15th anniversary To Nojima
While we were asking you to come up with a mysterious story like “Glory of Hercules III”, me and Nomura kept throwing these elements we wanted without considering foreshadowing, so I think incorporating them must have been tough. But I am grateful that you pieced them together without turning us down. Thank you. But around the time of “FFX” I was far too unreasonable and had an unpleasent air about me, didn’t I (wry smile). (Kitase)"

Grimoire
20th Aug 2012, 02:21
Unused Text
This is what a member of the staff had to say about the bits of unused text still present in the game data. Quoting GlitterBerri's Game Translations: www.glitterberri.com/final-fantasy-vii/l... (http://www.glitterberri.com/final-fantasy-vii/letter-to-a-staffer/)



“I think the travelling salesman’s Gongaga lines were created in order to inform the player of the Materia they could obtain in the ruins of the Mako Reactor close to the village.



Because the development of FFVII took place in such a short period of time, there’s definitely still data in the ROM that went unused for any number of reasons. By all rights, it should have been deleted, but because the size of the ROM would change once the data was removed, all the debug work we’d done up to that point would become useless. That meant that if a glitch occurred, our efforts would be unrecoverable. Therefore, a small quantity of flawed or stored data was left in place, just to be safe.


I believe that the text you’re asking me about was linked to this. I wonder if you’ll understand if I tell you that the reason it wasn’t used was due to the fact that we only had 5 months to implement the data in FFVII. I think that, perhaps, there wasn’t enough time to link it to the event it connected to, so it was cut.


I’m sorry to be so vague, but I don’t remember anything more than that, so I can’t give you a better answer. My apologies!”

Grimoire
7th Oct 2012, 10:01
Final Fantasy anniversary interview: Toriyama speaks


www.vg247.com/2012/10/03/final-fantasy-a... (http://www.vg247.com/2012/10/03/final-fantasy-anniversary-interview-toryiama-speaks/)