Dengeki Maoh October 2007

Translated by Hitoshura in 2007. The issue was released in September, shortly before the Japanese release of Crisis Core, but the issue is called October due to a common naming convention of Japanese magazines.

Nomura Interview


Was Zack’s change of hair style during the game something you’d planned from the start?

Nomura: “During production some of the staff seem to have been under the impression that his hair would stay the same as it was when he was a 2nd Class when he made it to 1st, so they might have been surprised at the change.”

Zack’s SOLDIER outfit seems different too.

Nomura: “In the original FFVII SOLDIER 2nd Class had red uniforms. But I couldn’t really imagine Zack in red, so asked to be allowed to make that different from the original.”

I can’t really imagine Zack in a red uniform either…

Nomura: “So I changed the colours of Zack’s 1st and 2nd uniforms. The 2nd uniform is more blue, while the 1st uniform is black. Cloud wore a bluish uniform in FFVII, but originally it was going to be black. At the time due to circumstance it was changed to a deep blue, so now we’ve made the 1st uniform black like they were originally intended to be, and used the original game’s design for 2nd Class.”

How did you decide on Kenichi Suzumura to provide the voice of Zack?

Nomura: “Since the story shows Zack for a long period of time, there’s a wide scope for growth. When thinking about which aspect of Zack out of that scope to pick up on, I wanted to bring out the ‘yang’. We decided to go with Mr. Suzumura to project Zack’s cheerfulness. ”

And what were your thoughts when he got down to playing the part?

Nomura: “He played the role in AC as well, so based on the knowledge of what kind of character he’ll be when he’s in 1st Class, we had him play the boyish 2nd Class Zack. I feel that Mr. Suzumura’s voice fits Zack’s innocent, childlike image.”

Zack does seem like a leading man.

Nomura: “With FFVII Cloud was created out of the concept on a character who wasn’t like a ‘leading man’, but on the other end of the scale with Zack we were going for a character who is.”


Sephiroth seem to have been redesigned for CC compared with his original FFVII design. Are there any points that you took special care over?

Nomura: “It’s basically the same design, but compared to the original his hair is longer and there’s more belts, that’s pretty much it. I tried not to stray too far from the impression from the original game, while making minor adjustments like that. So I don’t think the changes will feel out of place.”

Sephiroth certainly doesn’t seem too different from how he looked in FFVII.

Nomura: “The CC version of Sephiroth is based on AC’s design. We decided to use the AC one since it’s more expressive than the original’s, but basically there’s no major differences between the original and AC’s designs.

So CC uses AC as a basis.

Nomura: “The biggest difference as far as his appearance goes is the number of buckles on the belts for his coat. In the original game there was one, but in AC there was a lot.”

In 1st Class they can wear whatever they like, then?

Nomura: “When you’re promoted to 1st, you’re free to choose your outfit. Sephiroth and Genesis wear unique outfits, and Angeal is a serious man so he wears the standard issue uniform. Their outfits reflect their individual personalities.”

How did Tomoyuki Morikawa get the role of Sephiroth?

Nomura: “We held auditions for the role of Sephiroth, but what we were looking for in Sephiroth’s voice was strength. We wanted the voice as well to convey that this is a man who has abilities and charisma far beyond that of an average person. And not only strength, but it also has terror and sensuality in his voice. But we weren’t looking for someone who could bring out that sensuality through acting, but rather someone who’s voice itself has that lustre to it. It’s a rather excessive demand, but Mr. Morikawa fits it to a T. So after hearing Mr. Morikawa’s voice, we decided on him straight away. Even in CC, he’s perfect in the role of Sephiroth when he was still a hero.”


Cloud appears in CC wearing a regular grunt’s uniform, but did you redesign this as well?

Nomura: “Cloud hasn’t been redesigned for CC. I did the deigns for Shinra’s regular army uniforms back for the original FFVII, so rather I used that original design as it was. So that original design for the regular soldiers has been reproduced without change in CC.”

Some of the designs used in FFVII were slightly stylised, so did you have to touch up the design?

Nomura: “Shinra troops appeared as enemies, so they were designs as monsters [enemy characters]. So the designs I did back then used proper proportions. I had drawn them down to the little details, so I was able to use it as is.”

What about the design of Cloud himself?

Nomura: “In the flashback scenes at the beginning of AC the old Cloud appears for just a moment, so we used that as a base. In AC the spike in Cloud’s hair faces backwards, but in FFVII it was facing forward. Since CC takes place in the past, his spike should be facing firmly forward.”

So is it like, the direction of the spike reflect Cloud’s state of mind?

Nomura: “I didn’t think that deeply into it (laughs). It was simply that when was I making AC Cloud, having the spike facing backward looked cool. But when we were adding the flashback scene, it really had to be the old Cloud, so the spike had to be forward.”

Since this is Cloud during his boyhood days, did you try to make the impression of the voice match that?

Nomura: “Of course we got Takahiro Sakurai, who played the role in AC, to provide the voice, but he really is talented. While playing it different to AC Cloud, he’s still definitely Cloud. Mr. Sakurai played the original FFVII and understands the subject matter, so he had no trouble with the role. At the end of CC there’s a bit of a surprise, so any Cloud fans might want to look forward to that.”


Aerith’s CC outfit is similar to her BC one, isn’t it.

Nomura: “Aerith has appeared before in BC and Kingdom Hearts, but each time I stress over her outfit. Each time I consider the possibility of having trousers or a mini-skirt, but I just can’t see it (laughs).”

It certainly is hard to imagine.

Nomura: “But I wasn’t big on following the same pattern every time, so this time I designed it using white as a foundation.”

Colour-wise, the pink from FFVII left a big impression, didn’t it?

Nomura: “With Aerith, ‘flowers’ has been her image throughout the series. BC was the same. But this time I wanted to take a little risk at something different, and used white and blue to bring to mind the sky and clouds. Although she still has flowers on the designs of her shoes.”

How about Maaya Sakamoto, who provides her voice?

Nomura: “As far Aerith’s voice goes, I’ve got nothing to say. Being speechless says it all, she really is that good. When we were recording AC, every time Ms. Sakamoto said a line the scenario writer Kazushige Nojima would make a noise about it and carry on about ‘how great’ she was (laughs). CC was no exception, Ms. Sakamoto truly is amazing.”

Aerith’s elocution is rather unique, and looks tricky to play.

Nomura: “Ms. Sakamoto play that for us well. Sometimes we give her some difficult demands, but she just replies with an “alright, I’ll give it a shot” and pulls it off. She adds the subtle changes of emotion with such skill, and she puts in the pauses perfectly as well.”

Will you be portraying the relationship between Zack and Aerith in detail in CC?

Nomura: “They do have a lot of conversations together. Whenever something comes up Zack heads straight to the church, as if maybe he’s looking to be healed (laughs). It’s a brutal story, but Zack and Aerith’s conversations are somewhat heart-warming, and offer a bit of respite. I hope people will look forward to watching their scenes together.”


There are also a lot of characters showing up for the first time in CC but first off what kind of image did you have in mind when designing Angeal, who is like an older brother to Zack?

Nomura: “The original request for Angeal called for a more sensitive, delicate type. A man with attractive features, who resembled Cloud. But the Angeal I envisioned was slightly different from that, and ultimately he ended up the rugged man he is today. That’s nearer to the image I had when I read the plot. Zack is like an older brother to Cloud, and for the ‘older brother’ to Zack, to use the Records of Three Kingdoms as an example, I pictured a stoic warrior type like Guan Yu. FFVII didn’t have any SOLDIER characters like that, so I thought it might make for a good character.

What’s the story behind Genesis, who appeared in DC, also appearing in CC?

Nomura: “Tabata, who was also the director of BC, apparently wanted CC to bring the Compilation together, so was considering putting a character from a later point chronologically. So we decided to have Genesis from DC also appear in CC. The mysteries about Genesis left by DC will be cleared up in CC.”

What about the voices for Angeal and Genesis?

Nomura: “This is Angeal’s first appearance so I was fretting about who to get to play him, but among the list of applicants was Kazuhiko Inoue’s name. He had played Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid in KH. For that role he used a ‘handsome youth’ type voice, but I wanted him to play a cool, refined character some day. Even though Angeal looks old he’s only 25, and I thought that Mr. Inoue’s voice, masculine but sensitive, would be perfect.

Genesis is played by Gackt. He tried a lot of different ideas for how he thought he should do things, and was meticulous with how he handled the role. What left the biggest mark about Gackt was how he related everything to music. I was really impressed at how his frame of mind is based in music even when doing his voice work, like how he’d say things such as, “should I raise the pitch a little bit more?”

On the point of connecting the Compilation titles, Cissnei from BC appears in addition to Genesis. Have you given her a new design?

Nomura: “Cissnei hasn’t had a new design. I used her design straight from BC. But this is the first time she’s being voiced, so that has been newly recorded.”

Who provides Cissnei’s voice?

Nomura: “Cissnei is played by Asumi Nakata. Ms. Nakata has been coming to auditions since the production of KH, and I was struck by her distinctive voice. Until now we haven’t had a character her voice would suit, so we haven’t had the opportunity to use her. Cissnei doesn’t appear that often in this game, but I thought that with Ms. Nakata’s voice she could leave her mark even in such a short time and hired her for the role.”

The Turks such as Tseng also appear, but what kind of role will they have?

Nomura: “The members of Turks are of course going to show up in CC. In FFVII the Turks were portrayed kind of like minor villains, but they acted based on their own will and philosophy. However, as long as they’re with the Shinra Company, they’ll carry out the orders given to them. That aspect of them was covered in BC as well, but it’s not that they do evil things because that’s what they want to do.”

So in a sense, they’re just like ordinary employees in a company?

Nomura: “It’s true that in FFVII they did some evil things, but as far as their humanity goes you can’t just say that they’re evil people. That was shown in BC, and it’s emphasised even more in CC. I think you’ll be able to grasp the relationship and differences between the Turks who carry out the covert assignments, and Shinra who controls them. The Turks as an organization aren’t as tightly controlled as the military, so they still have some humanity left. We’re aiming to go into the conflict that arises from that. I think once you understand how they view Zack, it’ll change how people look at the Turks.”

I heard that you not only handled the character designs but were also involved with many facets of CC?

Nomura: “Yeah. I was approached by Kitase and Tabata with the idea of making a FFVII title on the PSP, so I thought about it for a day and suggested doing a story about SOLDIER, with Zack as the lead. That was where the project started from.”

I also heard that the original idea for the DMW was yours too?

Nomura: “With the DMW, it’s not the tactical situation that changes but the player’s situation that continuously changes, so there’s a feeling of tension. And when the character portraits are about to line up sometimes a cutscene will play. I thought that the players might enjoy this sense of anticipation that the DMW could be about to line up something, and being able to see scenes you can’t see during the main story. But the biggest reason for the DMW being there lies in the final battle. When I thought of this idea, I didn’t think there was more compelling use of it than this. Even from the in-house impressions of the game, I was happy to hear people say that they understood the meaning of the DMW.”

Will the parts that FFVII didn’t really go into deeply be shown in CC in more detail?

Nomura: “I think there might be parts where people’s interpretations differ, but in regards to these parts I think CC will be the creator’s answers to them.”

What scenes in the game would you recommend that people should watch out for?

Nomura: “The scene where an angry Zack says ‘I’m a SOLDIER, I should fight.’ Also I like Zack’s little reactions.”

With Zack as the lead, won’t the story have a sad ending?

Nomura: “I think there’s hope in the ending. Maybe people will understand what we were trying to do when they watch the final scenes.”

Kitase Interview

What’s the story on CC’s development?

Kitase: “It started when a project to make something for the PSP was brought up. I thought it would be nice to let more users have the chance to play BC, which at the time was only available for mobile phones on the DoCoMo network, so I had a chat with Tabata who had made BC. So I personally was thinking of making a game that would be an extension of BC. But before I knew it, it had turned into a completely different game (laughs).”

Did you have to figure anything out by trial and error during development?

Kitase: “The scenario, and world and character building didn’t change from the day one, but the team seemed to have a rough time with the development. The DMW in particular, which I was also apprehensive about actually. I wasn’t sure if the DMW would make the game fun while only having one playable character during battle. But after playing an early build my mind was put at ease. I got really into it and enjoyed it. With the DMW Zack’s status continuously changes, and the player’s actions will also change in accordance with that. This makes it an entertaining system with a good sense of variety.”