At long last, the highly anticipated 12th edition in the Final Fantasy series is just around the corner, and it's looking absolutely stunning.
Executive producer, Akitoshi Kawazu, is so proud of the game that he flew all the way from Japan to show it off to CVG. After drooling all over the PS2, we had a natter with Kawazu-san about all things RPG, Final Fantasy past, present and future.
Be warned though - he's a man of few words...
How does FFXII most significantly progress the series?
Kawazu: First of all, it really pushes the extreme limits of what the PS2 hardware is capable of. The visuals are, of course, better than anything you've seen in Final Fantasy to date and the sound has also undergone a lot of advancement. The sound effect throughout the game are in 5.1 surround sound so there'll be loads of great ambient effects that will really place you in the game world.
Does scoring a perfect 40/40 score in Weekly Famitsu mean more to you than being awarded a perfect score in any other publications?
Kawazu: It's great that we were able to get that score in Famitsu and that really means a lot to us but the response from the fans and the feedback we get from them is most important to us.
You joined Square to work on the original Final Fantasy 20 years ago. Did you expect that the series would be so successful?
Kawazu: As you might guess from the word 'Final' in the title, we weren't even sure at the time that a second game would ever be made. So the fact that it's been so successful around the world was not expected at all.
What do you think of the way the FF series has evolved as a whole?
Kawazu: In the very beginning, it was always about expanding the graphical capabilities and, working within the RPG genre, creating new game systems, which was originally for hardcore gamers.
But as the series has advanced we've added new systems, like the user-controlled AI system in FFXII. Along the way, graphics and the more superficial side of things has advanced, but we've always been about adding new challenges.
Have you been approached yet by Nintendo or Microsoft to take the series away from PlayStation and onto their own home consoles?
Kawazu: We would sometimes get requests for FF to be made on other consoles, but that decision is made on a title-by-title basis at the time when said title is being developed. It's difficult to say what platform future titles will be on.
So how likely are we to see the main series jump to another primary format?
Kawazu: Looking at the company as a whole, we're very much hard at work developing for multiple platforms. As for the FF series, whether or not we will take it in a multi-platform direction is something we're not sure of right now.
You were involved with FFII, and soon after you created the Saga series which you have been mainly involved in since then. Was there something in particular about FFXII that made you want to come back to working on FF?
Kawazu: When the original producer of FFXII stepped aside, I stepped in to help see the game through to completion. That was the reason I began working in this role.
I was very much aware of what the team had created at the time, but when the opportunity for me to join the team came along, my acceptance wasn't based on my particular interest for the game.
Do you think the development of RPGs is taking up too much time and money with not enough financial return in today's market?