Not quite two years ago, Square Enix pleased its European fans with DISSIDIA, a completely new approach to the FINAL FANTASY series. Originally meant as part of the campaign of the FINAL FANTASY series 20th anniversary, the substantial fighter quickly turned out to be one of the most popular PSP games of all times.
With the release of DISSIDIA 012 [duodecim] FINAL FANTASY, the legendary battle between Chaos and Cosmos returns to our beloved PSP systems. We talked with Game Director Mitsunori Takahashi about his thoughts on the game.
It is quite an interesting time in the development of FINAL FANTASY. Many fans are curious about where the series will head. How does your work on DISSIDIA 012 differ from other games in the universe?
DISSIDIA, in the first place, was produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the FINAL FANTASY series. We have put in our best effort to work out what new gameplay we might be able to provide our users, with combat action elements mixed into RPG. Therefore, although the DISSIDIA series would not exist if it were not for FINAL FANTASY, the direction is different to many of our other games. This means that DISSIDIA has its own challenges for us to face.
Other than familiar characters, how do you retain the feel of the FINAL FANTASY world while also introducing a completely different fighting mechanic?
Actually, the development team did have a debate during the initial stage of the original DISSIDIA project in an attempt to understand what makes a FINAL FANTASY a FINAL FANTASY. However, we eventually reached the conclusion that we should not be too preoccupied by such “Final Fantasy-esque” elements. FINAL FANTASY is a series in which fresh challenges have always been taken for each game and we were afraid that, if too much attention were to be paid to the common elements, we would only allow ourselves a reduced level of freedom and be bound to too many restrictions.
We therefore decided to ensure that the game would not contain anything not suited to the universe, rather than consciously pursue those that naturally are. No sooner than establishing this policy, we began to hit upon many good ideas and, as a result, we ended up with two very “Final Fantasy-esque” games: DISSIDIA and DISSIDIA 012.
The first DISSIDIA was so rich in content; some people said it was the richest PSP-game ever. However, you have added even more to the sequel. How did you manage to put all that on this tiny little UMD?
Cramming everything onto a UMD was really gruelling but we eventually managed everything we wanted after trying various measures, such as designing the game with a view to optimal use of resources and getting the entire team involved in our efforts to reduce the volume, and so forth. From the start of the project, we always committed ourselves to enhancing in-game RPG elements as much as improving the battle system. After all, this tile is predominantly for fans of the Final Fantasy universe and this means that many of its users love RPGs, and that some of them may have given the previous DISSIDIA a miss solely because it was an action game. Therefore we thought it would be essential to add new elements to cater for those gamers’ needs and made the decision to introduce an in-game world map.
Can you give us some details on DISSIDIA 012 Prologus? What is the idea behind this prequel of a prequel?
With DISSIDIA 012, our focus is also on DLC such as extra costumes and distribution of additional BGM. Prologus is a part of this direction we are taking.
We wanted to make Prologus available as a separate product rather than a playable demo. That is why we tried our best at its development stages to produce good enough content to justify the price; content like an original short story not included in the main game and the use of Aeris in the main game as a special assisting character.
If you have already purchased the main game, you might want to get in Prolugus for Aeris, whereas those who have yet to buy the main game may wish to taste the feel of the game with Prologus to see whether they like it enough to get hold of the main game. It would be great for us if many gamers would follow such a process.