Hopes for the remake (story/content)

I would add that FF7 very clearly had cell phones. But you're right about the other stuff, yes. THough VII's tech level was especially anachronistic. With autonomous robots and, you know, giant laser cannons, but a barely-functioning rocket ship.
 

Unit-01

Waiting on Evangelion 3.0+1.0
AKA
Sicarius VI, Pink Guy, Sic, Anthony
With technology I would like to point out that the tech in OG was a product of the time it was made in. Take the office in Junon during the Sapphire's WEAPON attack on the place, there are the old box computer monitors, while in CC Lazard is seen using a flat screen monitor or laptop if I recall correctly.

I'm not an expert on the evolution of computers from the 1990s to now, but I'm sure boxes where much more common than the flat monitors we have now.

At the same time however, it does remove the fact that FF7 is suppose to take place in a modern steampunk setting IIRC.

@Force Stealer- Now that I think about it, it was all over the place.
 
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Flare

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Flare
With technology I would like to point out that the tech in OG was a product of the time it was made in. Take the office in Junon during the Sapphire's WEAPON attack on the place, there are the old box computer monitors, while in CC Lazard is seen using a flat screen monitor or laptop if I recall correctly.

I'm not an expert on the evolution of computers from the 1990s to now, but I'm sure boxes where much more common than the flat monitors we have now.
Box monitors were indeed the norm at the time the game was made; I used one myself for years, until about late 2000's :awesome:
Anyway, look at this 1997 magazine cover:
And here's the og's computers:
It was right along with our technology and how out computers looked, making, at the time I'm sure, VII's tech seem right about the same level as ours.

CC's computers:

2007 computers:

So CC gets the more flatscreen look that suited our own technology, once again, at the time it was made.

Basically I think this is the creator's ways of keeping VII on par with our own technology, to give the impression that this world is very similar, and right around, our own in terms of technological advancement (They have some more advanced things, such as the training room, but less advanced things, like no space travel or satellites).
Playing through the compilation now feels jarring in terms of seeing CC's tech compared to the OG's tech, but I think in the Remake, the tech will be along the lines of CC, which I believe is the kind of tech they now want to portray as 'canon'. Before it was making it match our world and seem 'hi-tech' back then, now I think CC set the stage for the real technological 'stage' of VII's world. Not just in how much tech they have, but how it looks too.

Anyway my thoughts on it :monster:
 

Tetsujin

Ready for the mosh pit, shaka brah
AKA
Tets
Really disliked that they updated the technology. I want my weird anachronistic future with bulky CRT monitors and clunky-ass PHS phone thingies.

Watch them use fucking iPhones in the Remake or something.
 
AKA
The Engineer
^^The FFVII world has it's own weird dating system that "restarts" after the year 2000. The OG "took place" in the year 0007 of the "era" [ ν ] – εуλ, so [ ν ] – εуλ 0007 . The previous "era" was dated as [ μ ] – εуλ.
 
Really disliked that they updated the technology. I want my weird anachronistic future with bulky CRT monitors and clunky-ass PHS phone thingies.

Watch them use fucking iPhones in the Remake or something.
Did we ever see one? Everyone always just made a motion to pull it off their belt or shirt pocket, we don't know how bulky they were or weren't. Though even Advent Children's look bulky now.
 
Really disliked that they updated the technology. I want my weird anachronistic future with bulky CRT monitors and clunky-ass PHS phone thingies.

Watch them use fucking iPhones in the Remake or something.
While the computer aesthetics are likely going to be updated to contemporary technology/visuals in the Remake, I actually think we'll probably still have a flip-phone design/aesthetic for the mobile phones in the Remake, as IIRC unlike with the USA (and the rest of the West I think) flip-phones never really went out of style in Japan (and like their flip-phones are way more high end than ones you might find in the USA).
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
hian said:
Personally, as I've said in other threads - I don't blame Nomura, Kitase, or Nojima as much as I blame the absence of Sakaguchi, which I've always suspected based on history, interviews, and conversations, to be the father of the various aspects I personally enjoyed as the staples of the pre-SE Final Fantasies.
If Sakaguchi hadn't been there, I suspect FF games would always have been more like the SE FF games.
It's not that these guys suddenly devolved or changed styles - rather that they now work without Sakaguchi influencing the end-product, and labor under the directives of the SE shareholders.
I'm curious how much influence Sakaguchi really had over FFVII. My research (go to this page if you have time and search for his name) doesn't yield much reason to believe he did more than name the materia system and come up with the theme of life.
Really disliked that they updated the technology. I want my weird anachronistic future with bulky CRT monitors and clunky-ass PHS phone thingies.
Hear fucking hear. :monster:
Really disliked that they updated the technology. I want my weird anachronistic future with bulky CRT monitors and clunky-ass PHS phone thingies.

Watch them use fucking iPhones in the Remake or something.
Did we ever see one? Everyone always just made a motion to pull it off their belt or shirt pocket, we don't know how bulky they were or weren't. Though even Advent Children's look bulky now.
This is what they looked like:

 
Really disliked that they updated the technology. I want my weird anachronistic future with bulky CRT monitors and clunky-ass PHS phone thingies.
I'd love that too. Actually, I'd be pretty happy if the mini-games (G-bike, snowboarding, Mog's house) would feature the same graphics as in the OG :D

If they do update the technology in the remake so that it feels "contemporary", at least I would prefer if they show a less advanced tech during the Nibelheim flashback (transition between CRT monitors and flatscreens, for instance). And I don't think I want the inclusion of social media. Can you imagine?

You've received a friend request said:
WEDGE wants to be your friend.

> Yeah.
> Not interested.
 
I'm curious how much influence Sakaguchi really had over FFVII. My research (go to this page if you have time and search for his name) doesn't yield much reason to believe he did more than name the materia system and come up with the theme of life.
I find that question pretty strange in a way, although I've heard it from several people.
He was the producer. Knowing the role of producers in video-game development, especially during that time period and in Japan, it really beggars belief that anyone thing final creative control would be with anyone other than Sakaguchi.
But, as I've clarified before, I am not saying that this (creative control) means that everything in the game (or even a significant portion of it) comes from Sakaguchi I.E him inventing it - I'm saying that as the person calling the shots, and as the person who oversees the work-load, he's the one who molds the process, and selects which ideas get to be in the final product.

We don't know ideas were put up during brain-storming, and how many of those were scrapped, or reworked, before they closed on what would finally be included due to suggestions or objection from Sakaguchi.

What we do know is what FFVII ended up being, and it's to my mind, patently obvious that if we're to group FF games on style and content, FFVII (although a game with arguably the biggest width of all the FF games) lands closer to FF1-6, and FF9, than say FF8, FF10-13 (although, as I said, due to the width of the game, it does have similarities to all of them), and the only real common factor here is to my mind, is the presence of Sakaguchi.
After all, Kitase, Nojima and Nomura carried on working on FF media in a close capacity after Sakaguchi left, and they've as far as I'm concerned, not made a single FF game with the feel that the earlier ones have, and constantly strive to mix up the formula, whilst the majority of Sakaguchi's repertoire has remained fairly consistent.

The only SE games that strike me as if they could have been made by Sakaguchi, are the Bravely games.

It's also worth saying that in the actual credits of the original he is credited as the story writer for the game as well as producer, together with Nomura.
He's also the one who initiated the entire process for the game to begin with.

As for your article -
I'm not sure how it pertains to this issue, and I also think it has some severe issues based on unfounded assumptions, that should have been sorted out in editing.
Firstly, this isn't a discussion of who decides canon, so the article is only partly relevant to this topic.
However in terms of canon, the way I see it, the rights to determine canon always lay with the property rights holders, and so it's not an issue I personally put much thought into.

That being said here are some parts of that article I find "problematic" :

"In the second place, according to Nomura, most of Sakaguchi’s original ideas for FFVII didn’t even make it into the final game. While Sakaguchi did provide the game’s pivotal concept of planet life, Nomura has described Sakaguchi’s original plot as “completely different” from the final product."
Yet, they several of them also did, and many of them laid the foundations for what ended up being the final ideas implemented.

What people need to remember is that it's not like Sakaguchi just threw out these ideas, and then the rest of the team molded them as they saw fit without him.
Nothing said implies this at all, and his position as producer combined with the style of the game seems to suggest the exact opposite.
Just like ideas Sakaguchi first fronted ended up being changed, it is quite likely that ideas fronted by Kitase, Nojima and Nomura where informed, changed, adapted etc. in talks between them - talks where Sakaguchi would also be present and involved.

There is nothing in the interviews to suggest this weren't the case, and the magnitude of his position and the fact that he laid out the basic premise to begin with, would suggest otherwise.


Sakaguchi’s limited involvement with the game is also reflected by how little he has ever been interviewed with regard to it. With few exceptions, such as this interview from 1997 made for the Squaresoft Collector’s Video released the same year, Sakaguchi has been all but ignored when it comes to discussion of the game’s developmen.
This too is a pretty shoddy argument to make for several reasons :

1.) Looking back at the time, not only where the kinds of dev team interviews we see nowadays a bigger rarity, having the producer of a game appearing in such interviews regularly was an even bigger rarity - especially in Japan.

2.) Since the FFVII dev team was the biggest one to date, and also the largest project to date, with several new faces in new roles etc. it's common sense and courtesy to split up interviews between the various creators in this way. Not only as a means of not swamping people's already tightly packed work-loads, but also as a means of providing credit and platform for up-and-coming talents in the company.
Nomura for instance was really building his career at the time. He had himself requested to be lead character designer for the game, and so it's natural that he would be grabbing for any attention he could to further build his platform.

Simply put, Sakaguchi's involvement, or lack thereof, in interviews is not a metric of much (if any) value in determining his role in the shaping of FFVII.

While Sakaguchi can certainly be credited with memorable ideas like the concept of planet life, materia and a city fueled by mako, when it comes to the cast, he can’t even so much as be credited with the idea of Cloud himself, much less have authority over Cloud’s love life.
There is a difference between being credited with an idea, which only says something about who came up with it, and someone having influence on creative direction.

It's often said that Nomura came up with the limit break system (a really weird thing to say though, since the limit break system is essentially just a slightly evolved version of the desperation attacks that already existed in FF6, which Nomura did not come up with), but what truly matters though in terms of talking about who had the largest impact on FFVII's style to my mind, is the person who made the executive decision to include it after it was proposed by Nomura.

And that's what I mean when I say Sakaguchi's influence is likely to have been significant, and that most people, including the team themselves, are probably talking about something else entirely.

When Sakaguchi says he left event scripting to Kitase for instance, that's what he and others mean when they say he took a more hands-off approach - literally, that he was not the one making all the ideas, or sitting in the office tapping away at a key-board to implement them - not that he was not the one calling the shots on which ideas would be included or not.

The irony is that this paragraph that I quoted above follows the very part of an interview where Nomura talks about his idea for Edea from FFVIII originally being conceived for FFVII -

Nomura: Edea. At first, I thought FFVII was going to be the story of a battle against a sorceress. However, development soon shifted when Sakaguchi-san brought out a mako city plot, and the sorceress story was dropped.
This is a clear example of Sakaguchi's creative out-put and executive direction overriding Nomura's - which is the exact opposite of the point the interview was provided to demonstrate.

Your article goes on to say :

The nails in the coffin on this matter are comments from Sakaguchi himself acknowledging his lack of involvement in both FFVII and FFVIII’s development. In the June 5, 2008 issue of Weekly Famitsu, Sakaguchi revealed the following:
With the main point, I gather, being this sentence :

...enormous work to be done in the producing aspect, so I went in that direction, and I left Kitase in charge of the main aspect.
The problem here is that the preceding paragraphs literally deal with technical advances needing extra oversight that he and other veterans on the team were not qualified to do (cinematography in 3D etc. being the primary concern) which has nothing at all to do with creative direction on an executive level, which is one part of what production is all about - which he says he was responsible for.

Leaving Kitase in charge of the "main aspect" is a mirror statement to one he's made other places referring specifically to event scripting and the directing of story scenes, and as I've said earlier, that is not pertinent to the point in this regards.
Yes, dialogue was written by Nojima, yes characters and characters arcs where largely developed by Nomura, and yes, everything you see playing out on screen in events was directed by Kitase - but it was all overseen by Sakaguchi, and planned in board-meetings where he would have been present.

Again, to reiterate :
We don't know how many ideas were scrapped, or how many times he said : "How about we go with that idea instead of that one?", but looking at everything Nojima, Kitase and Nomura has done the moment Sakaguchi was no longer producer, when they would have had larger creative freedom, and based on the fact that what ended up making then is so drastically different from FFVII and earlier FF games, it is not at all unrealistic to imagine that what Sakaguchi did not provide in terms of original ideas, he did provide in terms of creative directives to ensure that specific style.

Simply put, Sakaguchi has no ownership over Cloud, Aerith, Tifa or FFVII. It wouldn’t even be surprising if Yoshitaka Amano knew more about Aerith, Tifa and Cloud during development, and — as we’ve seen — he doesn’t even play the Final Fantasy games.
Actually, that would be really surprising, and that sentence does not belong in a serious article on the topic of FFVII's development cycle.
 

Unit-01

Waiting on Evangelion 3.0+1.0
AKA
Sicarius VI, Pink Guy, Sic, Anthony
Thanks Flare for proving what I had said, and also I'd be fine if they kept the Technology level where it was in CC, and Advent Children because I think flip-phones suit the FF7 world. If they do start using Iphones, I'd be pretty mad actually but I guess we wouldn't find out until the second part if we assume Remake:Part 1 ends at leaving Midgar.

@Hian, man I really wish I could join in on what your are talking about. I never really have done that much in-dept research of the game's development or know too much about the other producers works to argue anything like you are. IMO while some concepts where scrapped like Aerith and Sephiroth being siblings and Midgar looking like the way Yharam does in BloodBorne, well FF7 came out to be a great game.
 
@Hian, man I really wish I could join in on what your are talking about. I never really have done that much in-dept research of the game's development or know too much about the other producers works to argue anything like you are. IMO while some concepts where scrapped like Aerith and Sephiroth being siblings and Midgar looking like the way Yharam does in BloodBorne, well FF7 came out to be a great game.
It's a difficult subject to breach because game development is not a science. Often you'll find overlaps in roles - you have titles like director, producer, executive producer, assistant director, assistant producer/co-producer, lead-designer, and game-designer, many of which are ambiguous and entail responsibilities with overlaps.

Furthermore, every company and project is different, and the issue is further confounded by the changes in the time, and the scale of projects.

Going back to the 90's, you'd find really intimate producers, with a tight creative reign on their teams, whilst you'd also find exceptions (of which has now become almost norm) where producer is now more akin to what was before in certain cases referred to as an executive producer, which is a person who deals largely with the company aspects of a game (dealing with share-holders, publicity, organizing etc.), and not the creative process.

In many games you'll find the director and producer being the same person.

It's a topic that's further muddled by individual practices, national differences and the fact that there is no formal, universal, codified academic discipline of "game development" as it stands either.

I can talk of what I know about Japan though, and their game development practices over the years - and back in the 90's (and quite often even today) a producer was not (and most of the time still isn't) just some corporate man who runs back and forth between share-holders, marketing departments and the dev location just to co-ordinate someone else's creative vision, as you sometimes get nowadays, or in the west.

Talking for instance about the remake :
If people think Nomura is going to be able to pull whatever stunts he wants as a director without the go-ahead or approval of Kitase as producer, they're just not in touch with how development works in Japan.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
I'm curious how much influence Sakaguchi really had over FFVII. My research (go to this page if you have time and search for his name) doesn't yield much reason to believe he did more than name the materia system and come up with the theme of life.
I find that question pretty strange in a way, although I've heard it from several people.
He was the producer. Knowing the role of producers in video-game development, especially during that time period and in Japan, it really beggars belief that anyone thing final creative control would be with anyone other than Sakaguchi.
As you acknowledge in
hian said:
But, as I've clarified before, I am not saying that this (creative control) means that everything in the game (or even a significant portion of it) comes from Sakaguchi I.E him inventing it - I'm saying that as the person calling the shots, and as the person who oversees the work-load, he's the one who molds the process, and selects which ideas get to be in the final product.

We don't know ideas were put up during brain-storming, and how many of those were scrapped, or reworked, before they closed on what would finally be included due to suggestions or objection from Sakaguchi.
, final creative control and actual creative influence are two very different things. We've all had a supervisor who was so focused on other things -- say, for instance, flying around the world meeting with film studio executives, setting up a studio in Honolulu, and writing/directing one of the most expensive animated film failures of all time =P -- that they left other things officially under their purview to technically get done by other people.

hian said:
What we do know is what FFVII ended up being, and it's to my mind, patently obvious that if we're to group FF games on style and content, FFVII (although a game with arguably the biggest width of all the FF games) lands closer to FF1-6, and FF9, than say FF8, FF10-13 (although, as I said, due to the width of the game, it does have similarities to all of them), and the only real common factor here is to my mind, is the presence of Sakaguchi.
A lot of FF fans would disagree with you about that assessment, though. I've seen many comments that FFVII was when the series "stopped being my FF" before briefly returning to form with FFIX and then never going back again. FFVII is widely regarded as the line of demarcation in Final Fantasy's departure from classic style and content.

If that classic style was Sakaguchi's influence (and of course it was), then you're sort of making my point for me, depending on who you ask. FFVII would be an example of diminished creative involvement on his part given how often it's cited as the shift in style for the series.

hian said:
After all, Kitase, Nojima and Nomura carried on working on FF media in a close capacity after Sakaguchi left, and they've as far as I'm concerned, not made a single FF game with the feel that the earlier ones have, and constantly strive to mix up the formula, whilst the majority of Sakaguchi's repertoire has remained fairly consistent.
To be fair, it was also Sakaguchi who once said "The spirit of the Final Fantasy games has always been to outdo ourselves, to do something that has never been done before" (August 2001 issue of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine).

And fairly recently, he also said that Final Fantasy is "'what is born after those who live intensely, run across a multitude of unbeaten paths to reach the same goal in the end.' After all, we've always strived to do new things, and I'd like it if we kept doing that." Elaborating further, he added, "With Final Fantasy V, Kitase and I tried to change Final Fantasy and didn't hold back on our ideas. Even if we emptied ourselves, we'd pour out as many ideas as we could the next time around and change everything. Basically, 'so long as the blue window is there, you can do anything you want.'"

According to the man himself, change is a cornerstone of what makes Final Fantasy.

hian said:
It's also worth saying that in the actual credits of the original he is credited as the story writer for the game as well as producer, together with Nomura.
He gets a "Based on a story by" credit along with Nomura, not credit for writing the story (Nojima is consistently referred to as the writer by Kitase). I don't think we'd venture to call Nomura the co-writer based on this same credit, so why would we extend "story writer" to Sakaguchi over it?

And again, we've had Nomura tell us that Sakaguchi's original concept has next to nothing to do with the final product -- not to mention that we know his attention was divided with working on bankrupting Square via The Spirits Within at the time.

hian said:
As for your article -
I'm not sure how it pertains to this issue ...
It doesn't. It's just where I had my research on this topic (some of which I've forgotten to add) assembled because of how it related to that topic, so I linked to it. Nowhere did I indicate that the topic of that article was directly related to what we're discussing here.

hian said:
Just like ideas Sakaguchi first fronted ended up being changed, it is quite likely that ideas fronted by Kitase, Nojima and Nomura where informed, changed, adapted etc. in talks between them - talks where Sakaguchi would also be present and involved.
Perhaps he was; perhaps he wasn't. Had he not been off on his personal quest half the time, we could say with more certainty. But he was, so that's that.

Not that I'm saying he never looked at the story before the game was released. Obviously he approved it. However, when Kitase talked about the keepers of FFVII's lore in this interview from 2008, Sakaguchi's name didn't come into the equation at all. Nojima's did. Nomura's did. Naora's did. Kitase's own did.

Where's Hironobu? He's not there. He's not there for a reason. And it can't even be said that the reason is that Sakaguchi is no longer with Square Enix, as, in the same interview, Kitase said, "Anything relating to the stories, Mr Nojima, who is no longer with Square Enix is really still the top authority."

Sakaguchi basically never comes up when talking about FFVII's story. He never gets interviewed about it. He's barely credited with anything outside what hardware the game was made with. The dude simply didn't have the same degree of involvement in the creative process as he did with the first six FFs. He just didn't.

I started this discussion because you're intellectual, you live in Japan, and I was hoping you had access to resources that I don't. But you've not been able to cite a single interview that would indicate a different conclusion from what I'd previously arrived at through my research -- even as I cite interview after interview.
hian said:
There is nothing in the interviews to suggest this weren't the case, and the magnitude of his position and the fact that he laid out the basic premise to begin with, would suggest otherwise.
Only -- yet again -- Sakaguchi himself has indicated he wasn't around much while FFVII and VIII were being made because, starting in 1996, he was making his movie. "I am mainly working on the movie" he said in one response I showed you. "I left Kitase in charge of the main aspect [of FFVII]" he said in another.

From yet another interview: "I’ve been working with Kitase for a long time, since FF5. He did most of the event scenes in FF6: the opera house, Celes’ suicide scene, the scene where Setzer climbs the stairs and reminisces, and more. I’m not exactly turning things over to the next generation just yet, but for FF7 almost all the story was done by Kitase. His original ambition was to be a film director, so he’s well-disposed towards this work–I’ve left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

"Almost all the story was done by Kitase." "I've left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

Full stop.

He could have been more involved with FFVII's story had he wanted to be. He didn't.

hian said:
Sakaguchi’s limited involvement with the game is also reflected by how little he has ever been interviewed with regard to it. With few exceptions, such as this interview from 1997 made for the Squaresoft Collector’s Video released the same year, Sakaguchi has been all but ignored when it comes to discussion of the game’s developmen.
This too is a pretty shoddy argument to make for several reasons :

1.) Looking back at the time, not only where the kinds of dev team interviews we see nowadays a bigger rarity, having the producer of a game appearing in such interviews regularly was an even bigger rarity - especially in Japan.
Your argument here is the shoddy one. The only one of us talking about "at the time" is yourself. I spoke of "how little he has ever been interviewed" about FFVII -- and that's the truth.

Sakaguchi doesn't get interviewed about that game, especially its story. Even if game producers being interviewed about their games was a rarity in 1997 (ironically, though, all the interviews in which he has talked about FFVII were from 1996 or 1997), it's not today. Kitase talks at length about every FF he serves as producer for, even games from years before, and his impact on the creative process of their stories is clear.

Also, again, Nojima hasn't been an SE employee for almost ten years, yet he continues being interviewed about FFVII all the time. It's not like Sakaguchi is unavailable or no longer making games -- yet the dude just doesn't get asked questions about the most famous game from the series he's most known for being the father of?

Why would that be? Really, think about it: Why doesn't Hironobu Sakaguchi of all people get interviewed about the most famous game his name and legacy are associated with?

There's really only one good reason: He didn't have much to do with it beyond the technical stuff.

hian said:
2.) Since the FFVII dev team was the biggest one to date, and also the largest project to date, with several new faces in new roles etc. it's common sense and courtesy to split up interviews between the various creators in this way. Not only as a means of not swamping people's already tightly packed work-loads, but also as a means of providing credit and platform for up-and-coming talents in the company.
Nomura for instance was really building his career at the time. He had himself requested to be lead character designer for the game, and so it's natural that he would be grabbing for any attention he could to further build his platform.

Simply put, Sakaguchi's involvement, or lack thereof, in interviews is not a metric of much (if any) value in determining his role in the shaping of FFVII.
We're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Frankly, it's nothing short of ludicrous to suggest the man wouldn't have more to say about the best-selling Final Fantasy -- the game that ripped open mainstream success for RPGs in the west, and is now getting a remake that fans and gaming journalists alike have literally been begging for going on almost 20 years -- if he had more to do with the storytelling vision at the heart of it.

hian said:
There is a difference between being credited with an idea, which only says something about who came up with it, and someone having influence on creative direction.

It's often said that Nomura came up with the limit break system (a really weird thing to say though, since the limit break system is essentially just a slightly evolved version of the desperation attacks that already existed in FF6, which Nomura did not come up with), but what truly matters though in terms of talking about who had the largest impact on FFVII's style to my mind, is the person who made the executive decision to include it after it was proposed by Nomura.
We'll have to agree to disagree on that as well. Approving an idea that someone else came up with doesn't make you the source of that vision.

I'll have to take your word for Nomura not coming up with the Desperation Attacks. I know he said he wanted to evolve those into the Limit Break system for FFVII, but that's the extent of what I know there.

hian said:
And that's what I mean when I say Sakaguchi's influence is likely to have been significant, and that most people, including the team themselves, are probably talking about something else entirely.
So what "something else entirely" is Sakaguchi talking about when he says he wasn't involved in the story? =P

hian said:
When Sakaguchi says he left event scripting to Kitase for instance, that's what he and others mean when they say he took a more hands-off approach - literally, that he was not the one making all the ideas, or sitting in the office tapping away at a key-board to implement them - not that he was not the one calling the shots on which ideas would be included or not.
"Almost all the story was done by Kitase." "I've left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

So, no.

hian said:
The irony is that this paragraph that I quoted above follows the very part of an interview where Nomura talks about his idea for Edea from FFVIII originally being conceived for FFVII -
Nomura: Edea. At first, I thought FFVII was going to be the story of a battle against a sorceress. However, development soon shifted when Sakaguchi-san brought out a mako city plot, and the sorceress story was dropped.
This is a clear example of Sakaguchi's creative out-put and executive direction overriding Nomura's - which is the exact opposite of the point the interview was provided to demonstrate.
Yes, Sakaguchi introducing an idea that merged with that other idea (the one Nomura was expecting) to become "Parasite Eve" instead is a clear example of his overriding direction of FFVII's story. =P

hian said:
Your article goes on to say :
The nails in the coffin on this matter are comments from Sakaguchi himself acknowledging his lack of involvement in both FFVII and FFVIII’s development. In the June 5, 2008 issue of Weekly Famitsu, Sakaguchi revealed the following:
With the main point, I gather, being this sentence :
...enormous work to be done in the producing aspect, so I went in that direction, and I left Kitase in charge of the main aspect.
The whole of the quoted material was the main point, which is why I quoted the portions I did while omitting other bits.

Sakaguchi outright said he was responsible for the stories of the games up through VI -- meaning things changed after VI. I even quoted another interview where he outright said his priority with FFVII was game design as opposed to story.

There's really little to no question here of his creative influence on the story. It's not non-existent, but it's minimal -- by his own admission.
hian said:
Leaving Kitase in charge of the "main aspect" is a mirror statement to one he's made other places referring specifically to event scripting and the directing of story scenes, and as I've said earlier, that is not pertinent to the point in this regards.
hian ... buddy ... it's entirely pertinent to what we're talking about. That is literally what we're talking about: the story.

hian said:
Yes, dialogue was written by Nojima, yes characters and characters arcs where largely developed by Nomura, and yes, everything you see playing out on screen in events was directed by Kitase - but it was all overseen by Sakaguchi, and planned in board-meetings where he would have been present.

Again, to reiterate :
We don't know how many ideas were scrapped, or how many times he said : "How about we go with that idea instead of that one?", but looking at everything Nojima, Kitase and Nomura has done the moment Sakaguchi was no longer producer, when they would have had larger creative freedom, and based on the fact that what ended up making then is so drastically different from FFVII and earlier FF games, it is not at all unrealistic to imagine that what Sakaguchi did not provide in terms of original ideas, he did provide in terms of creative directives to ensure that specific style.
"Almost all the story was done by Kitase." "I've left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

hian said:
Simply put, Sakaguchi has no ownership over Cloud, Aerith, Tifa or FFVII. It wouldn’t even be surprising if Yoshitaka Amano knew more about Aerith, Tifa and Cloud during development, and — as we’ve seen — he doesn’t even play the Final Fantasy games.
Actually, that would be really surprising, and that sentence does not belong in a serious article on the topic of FFVII's development cycle.
On the one hand we have someone who at least made illustrations of those characters (as well as made the original design that became Vincent), and so at least had the vaguest ideas of who the characters were. Then we've got a guy who has never uttered a peep about any of them, nor been credited in any meaningful way with anything about their creation or the directions they were taken in the story of their game.

Yes, the comment was hyperbolic -- and the paragraph I just wrote needs to be hung on a lampshade as well -- but that was also the point: To emphasize just how little Sakaguchi can be credited for the most important things about FFVII. If the man has ever even said Cloud's name, it would be news to me.

Talking for instance about the remake :
If people think Nomura is going to be able to pull whatever stunts he wants as a director without the go-ahead or approval of Kitase as producer, they're just not in touch with how development works in Japan.
Sadly, Kitase has demonstrated a propensity for being every bit the idiot Nomura can be, just in his own special ways. He also seems to more or less greet Nomura's suggestions with a rubber stamp and a look of awe.



Before closing, I want to say, by the way, that I hope it doesn't seem like I'm talking shit about Sakaguchi. The dude is obviously brilliant and I have mad respect for him. Even The Spirits Within is an amazing work of art -- it wasn't terribly insightful as to what would be a successful movie, nor what FF fans would be expecting, but it's still fucking amazing.

I'm just utterly, utterly baffled that you would ignore his own admissions about FFVII's development and overlook that his name is also on FFVIII and FFX -- which you cite as examples of what happens without him at the helm post-FFVII -- as executive producer when his role with those games was much the same as it had been with FFVII.
 
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AKA
Mr. Ite
Nomura is a really easy target because he's covered in belts and zippers. Arguments about who gets the credit/blame for the stuff we like/hate about a collaborative work are inherently subjective and ultimately unfounded. They all made the thing together. We like parts of the thing. Not so much other parts.
 
As you acknowledge in , final creative control and actual creative influence are two very different things. We've all had a supervisor who was so focused on other things -- say, for instance, flying around the world meeting with film studio executives, setting up a studio in Honolulu, and writing/directing one of the most expensive animated film failures of all time =P -- that they left other things officially under their purview to technically get done by other people.
Except that the 4 year production cycle of Spirits of Within started the year FFVII was released, not before, meaning that there is no real overlap between those two development cycles.


A lot of FF fans would disagree with you about that assessment, though. I've seen many comments that FFVII was when the series "stopped being my FF" before briefly returning to form with FFIX and then never going back again. FFVII is widely regarded as the line of demarcation in Final Fantasy's departure from classic style and content.
And that's not an argument. FFVII from a game-play perspective, and arguably from a story-perspective as well, literally builds on almost every convention established by FFVI, which is why so many of the people who prefer the SNES games consider it superior to VII.

Those fans are knee-jerking over the fact that FFVII suddenly got accessible and mainstreamed over night, and did a turn-away from the classical high-fantasy settings of earlier games.

Yet, from the aesthetics to the game-play, the story and writing, FFVII retains deformed characters, a battle system that essentially just introduces the mechanics from FFVI, with a character development system that is essentially just an open ended skill-placement system, instead of an open-ended class system (which had already been done several times), and still has the same slap-stick humor and save-the-world plot as always.

From a mechanical perspective for instance, FFIX actually has less in common with the old games - Skills are tied to equipment, and classes are completely restricted (something that had only been done once in FF4, whilst open ended class systems had been done several times at that point).

It's clear here that we're talking past each-other here, because I see Sakaguchi's style as an amalgamation of various aspects, whilst the fans you're speaking of here, and if you're in their camp, are talking about one aspect - namely the classical fantasy VS modern-punk/cyber-punk fantasy which we see later.


If that classic style was Sakaguchi's influence (and of course it was), then you're sort of making my point for me, depending on who you ask. FFVII would be an example of diminished creative involvement on his part given how often it's cited as the shift in style for the series.

Except that wouldn't be a point now would it?
A point worth making is not a point dependent on who you ask, and I'm not asking to begin with.
As far as I'm concerned, a person who thinks Sakaguchi's style can be summed up by aesthetics of the older games are not thinking straight - since they're forgetting that FFVI already started to deviate from that style, and that several of the games Sakaguchi has produced with Mistwalker in the aftermath, has deviated from that style.

To be fair, it was also Sakaguchi who once said "The spirit of the Final Fantasy games has always been to outdo ourselves, to do something that has never been done before" (August 2001 issue of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine).....

.....According to the man himself, change is a cornerstone of what makes Final Fantasy.
And never have I implied that Sakaguchi was not for change, or that the games he has creative control over does not change.

However, there is the degree of change between each of the titles leading up to the merger and him being there, and then there is the degree of change following the merger and him leaving.

There's a distinction. If you can't see it, there is no point in carrying on this discussion, but I really think you do.

And for all the talk of change he does, his products speak for themselves - and they're all fairly conservative. Blue Dragon is not a leap forward in RPG design. Neither is most of his other new games, with the except of The Last Story's battle system.

He gets a "Based on a story by" credit along with Nomura, not credit for writing the story (Nojima is consistently referred to as the writer by Kitase). I don't think we'd venture to call Nomura the co-writer based on this same credit, so why would we extend "story writer" to Sakaguchi over it?
Know this, been there, done that.

Nojima is the writer, Kitase is the director. It does not change the fact that writers for video-games are not like novelists or script-writers for movies.
They write on demand, working from concepts provided to them, and have their materials routinely checked by executives who then decide what gets to be and what has to stay.

The reason Sakaguchi and Nomura gets credited is because they provided the framework for Nojima's writing to begin with, and despite the fact that the person fleshing all that out, and making it into an actual coherent story is Nojima, he's still subject to oversight and creative direction.

And again, we've had Nomura tell us that Sakaguchi's original concept has next to nothing to do with the final product -- not to mention that we know his attention was divided with working on bankrupting Square via The Spirits Within at the time.
And we also know that some of Nomura's original concepts were scrapped/changed. Concepts are scrapped all the time.
Non of these interviews should be taken to be extensive lists of work-loads and ideas scrapped or taken into the game. They're curious details off the top of the head of the people being interviewed at the time.

The fact that Mako Energy, Materia and the foundations for Midgar came from Sakaguchi is not emblematic of that being all that he did - just like Nomura's work is not limited only to the stuff he's said to have done in the interviews.

And as for The Spirits Within - again, as far as I know, seeing as how the movie had a 4 year development cycle and was released in 2001, there is no overlap between the development cycle of that movie and FFVII as far as I know, so if you say otherwise, sources please.


Perhaps he was; perhaps he wasn't. Had he not been off on his personal quest half the time, we could say with more certainty. But he was, so that's that.
Except that he wasn't.

Not that I'm saying he never looked at the story before the game was released. Obviously he approved it. However, when Kitase talked about the keepers of FFVII's lore in this interview from 2008, Sakaguchi's name didn't come into the equation at all. Nojima's did. Nomura's did. Naora's did. Kitase's own did..
And that's strange how?
FFVII had by that point taken a completely different turn with the compilation titles etc.
Why would Sakaguchi be considered a keeper of FFVII's lore in the context of the franchise at that point in time?
Regardless of whatever he had to do with the original, he has nothing to do with anything else that is now considered the canon of the game.

Where's Hironobu? He's not there. He's not there for a reason. And it can't even be said that the reason is that Sakaguchi is no longer with Square Enix, as, in the same interview, Kitase said, "Anything relating to the stories, Mr Nojima, who is no longer with Square Enix is really still the top authority.".
Because Nojima wrote everything, of course he'd be the primary expert on FFVII lore. That doesn't mean that the overarching style of the game can be attributed to him alone (not saying you imply this - just making a point).
These things are not relevant to one another.
Point in case - Let's say I come to you and say, "Hey, I have an idea for a story - I want to make this modern version of Hercules set in a distant, dystopian cyber-punk future! Can you write something for me?"

After you've written that story, of course you'll be the authority on that story. You wrote it after all - However, you wouldn't have written anything at all, if I hadn't come to you first, and moreover, what you wrote was driven creatively by the concept I gave you.
That makes me a significant factor in creative process whether you like it or not, because what you would have written without me approaching you with that specific setting would, very probably, be completely different.

Sakaguchi is not relevant when talking about the details of FFVII (and certainly not now, in light of the compilation, which he had no part in what so ever), he is however relevant when talking about the overarching elements that make FFVII into what it is.

Think of it as an egg - Where Sakaguchi (and of course the rest of the higher-ups) are the shell, and the actual content creators are the contents of the egg.
I'm not trying to downplay the role of the rest of the team here - I'm saying that when FFVII is a traditional Japanese role-playing game, with an open ended character development system, has a world-map, a focus on large scale adventure, character-driven plot, deformed character designs, has some elements of romance, some of Lovecraftian horror, and so forth and so forth, these are elements that tend to be drawn up in the early stages of concept design, and they are elements that tend to be closely overseen by the producer and discussed with him or her.

They are also, by the interviews you see dearly cite, things Sakaguchi was involved in.
They are also, in my perspective, what made FF games FF games.
Not the fantasy aesthetic, not whether they are in 2D or 3D, not whether or not Cloud picks Tifa or Aerith, etc.


Sakaguchi basically never comes up when talking about FFVII's story. He never gets interviewed about it. He's barely credited with anything outside what hardware the game was made with. The dude simply didn't have the same degree of involvement in the creative process as he did with the first six FFs. He just didn't.

Don't run in circles. As I've said, the interviews are not relevant here.
He was involved in the first interviews when the original game was first relevant, and he is credited in the actual game. That's all that needs to be said about that.

The reason he never comes up when talking about FFVII's story is because A.) He neither wrote nor directed it and B.) FFVII is now a compilation of titles, everything with the exception of the original, with which Sakaguchi bears no relevance.

Why would anyone interview him about FFVII's story in light of that?
Furthermore, what has that got to do with anything pertaining to creative direction of the game?
How often do you find producers being interviews in-depth about stories of their games, that they did not write?

Again, I am not saying Sakaguchi made up FFVII, or came up with all the ideas. I'm saying he provided context and creative censure for those ideas, which is what a producer does.
And again, when you consider the rather obvious difference in direction of FF, and indeed the compilation itself, with the only real tangible difference being a change in executive power, and a merger, it's just naive to the extreme to say "Nah, Sakaguchi has nothing to do with that".
He's literally the only factor meaningful that's different.

I started this discussion because you're intellectual, you live in Japan, and I was hoping you had access to resources that I don't. But you've not been able to cite a single interview that would indicate a different conclusion from what I'd previously arrived at through my research -- even as I cite interview after interview..
This is silly.
First, the reason I don't cite resources, is because A.) my argument is not dependent on resources in that sense, and B.) what resources they are dependent on, which would be a decade of interactions with Japanese developers (some of which worked on the original FFVII I might add) cannot be provided in either case without becoming an empty appeal to authority which I really don't wish to make.

I don't consider the interviews to be of any value in this context. They simply aren't relevant. Especially if they're not read in context of the times, and Japanese culture/customs and the Japanese gaming scene.

Interviews are framed by politics of companies and individual perspectives. I've already provided examples of errors in speech concerning the newest interviews on the remake, and I've pointed out how Nomura taking credit for the limit break system in and of itself is
completely silly, even though it's stated in black and white in an interview.

People need to stop treating this stuff like Biblical literalists.
It has to be read in context. I'm reading this interviews in context of my knowledge about the company at the time, and about the industry in Japan. That's my insight, and it's based on personal experience.

You can dismiss that if you want, but to dismiss it based on those interviews is to fail to grasp the very essence of the argument here. I am not arguing from a different set of sources, I'm arguing from a different perspective as a source in my own right.

Whether you accept that or not, is entirely up to you, but to expect me to supply you with sources for speculation based on personal experience, versus your speculation based on interviews is a moot exercise. It is to assume that these interviews give a clear distinction of what you think has been said (which I have argued they don't) on top of which you have to assume that your speculation has more value in light of that than mine (which again, I have argued isn't the case).


Only -- yet again -- Sakaguchi himself has indicated he wasn't around much while FFVII and VIII were being made because, starting in 1996, he was making his movie. "I am mainly working on the movie" he said in one response I showed you. "I left Kitase in charge of the main aspect [of FFVII]" he said in another.

Where is the interview saying he was mainly working on the movie?
I can't find it.

You're also repeating yourself and bordering close to straw-manning my position now. My post deals with the latter quote, and the one in your next paragraph - and as I've said over and over again, Sakaguchi's role in regards creative censure, and setting the framwork for FFVII's development, does not have any relevance to the majority of the work-load relating to FFVII's production, which is what is "the main aspect" of making a game, which Kitase would have been in charge of.

From yet another interview: "I’ve been working with Kitase for a long time, since FF5. He did most of the event scenes in FF6: the opera house, Celes’ suicide scene, the scene where Setzer climbs the stairs and reminisces, and more. I’m not exactly turning things over to the next generation just yet, but for FF7 almost all the story was done by Kitase. His original ambition was to be a film director, so he’s well-disposed towards this work–I’ve left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

"Almost all the story was done by Kitase." "I've left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

Full stop.

He could have been more involved with FFVII's story had he wanted to be. He didn't.
I really struggle to see how you fail to see the distinction I am making here.

Again, If I tell you to write a story for you and provide you 4 plot themes I want you to incorporate, provide you a setting and style I wish you to adhere to, and then leave you to it - I am not involved in writing that story. I'm not the authority, or the person to go to and talk about the details of that story once it's finished.

I am however, still the person who set out the path for that story turning into what it was.

In the context of a video-game like FFVII, there's bucket-loads more than just writing though. It's visual style, it's music, it's game-play, and a little bit of everything would have been selected for by the executive seats of the development.

By the argument you seem to be making here, we'd also have to conclude that the FFVII team had no meaningful impact on Nobuo Uemtasu's music, despite the fact that Uematsu, like all competent composers doing soundtrack, work off of cues given to them by producers/directors/artists/writers to make their tracks.


Your argument here is the shoddy one. The only one of us talking about "at the time" is yourself. I spoke of "how little he has ever been interviewed" about FFVII -- and that's the truth.
It doesn't matter either way. I brought up time because you'd have to be fairly confused about the period if you think it would be reasonable to expect the producer to be appearing regularly for in-depth interviews on a game like FFVII, like how for instance Tabata is doing now with FFXV.

It's even more confusing however, if you bring it up in a contemporary context where A.) FFVII is now a compilation that stretches far beyond its original title
B.) Sakaguchi no longer works for SE, and has had no part in the franchise after the original at all
C.) When he is hardly ever relevant in context of conversations one might have on the FFVII franchise that cannot be adequately or better covered by people in SE who have been working with the FFVII far longer than Sakaguchi.

It is not at all odd that people aren't lining up to interview him about FFVII. It's completely ordinary and mundane.
It's ordinary and mundane in light of the period, and it's ordinary and mundane in light of today.

And no, neither of it has any relevance to Sakaguchi's executive role and power as producer during the development of the game.


Also, again, Nojima hasn't been an SE employee for almost ten years, yet he continues being interviewed about FFVII all the time. It's not like Sakaguchi is unavailable or no longer making games -- yet the dude just doesn't get asked questions about the most famous game from the series he's most known for being the father of?
Seriously?
Nomija has been writing and expanding the FFVII universe regularly since its original release.
Nojima has been writing for SE steadily ever since the release of the game (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazushige_Nojima)
To say that he hasn't been an SE employee for almost ten years is such a meaningless statement in the light of the writing he has done for them in that same time period, that it borders on looking like being willfully deceptive to win an argument.

Please don't do that.

Also, on top of which Sakaguchi interviews aren't all that common to begin with. Compare Sakaguchi to a guy like Tabata, or Nomura and see the glaringly obvious difference in media presence.

You're seriously asking why Sakaguchi isn't regularly being interviews about a almost two decades old game, which has been expanded into a franchise he has nothing to do with, that he made for a company that no longer exists, while he's working on new products, when there are already plenty of people working on that franchise for another company, with more media flair that give regular interviews?

No, seriously?

Also, I am not denying that Sakaguchi's role in FFVII was more hands of than say, FFVI, or FFIV, or whatever. But that's irrelevant as well.
The fact that the man is "less involved in A than B" does not mean that "he was not all meaningfully involved in B", or that "B was not meaningfully impacted" by him.
That's fallacious argumentation right there.


There's really only one good reason: He didn't have much to do with it beyond the technical stuff.

No, there are plenty of good reasons, and I've provided them to you. You just don't seem to want to look at them.


We're going to have to agree to disagree on this. Frankly, it's nothing short of ludicrous to suggest the man wouldn't have more to say about the best-selling Final Fantasy -- the game that ripped open mainstream success for RPGs in the west, and is now getting a remake that fans and gaming journalists alike have literally been begging for going on almost 20 years -- if he had more to do with the storytelling vision at the heart of it.

Depends on what you mean by "storytelling vision at the heart of it",
I agree, and if I was making that argument, I'd think so too.
However, that's not the argument I'm making here, and you're incredulity here is based entirely on the inability to see the distinction between content creation, and content direction, or executive powers in terms of game development.

As I've said - It makes no sense to interview Sakaguchi about the nitty gritty details of FFVII - He did not write or direct it. It does however, when talking about the overall style of the game, recognize that overseeing, coordinating and approving that is the role of the producer, and as such, that the final product came with a Sakaguchi bow tied neatly around it.
I think that matters, when, as I've said 10 times over (and you've yet to make any reasonable response to in any meaningful way) Kitase, Nomura, and Nojima all have drastically different styles on every other thing they've worked on since, whilst Sakaguchi is fairly consistent.

It does not matter what people say in interviews about this - the evidence is there to see in the actual products.
FFVIII, the game Sakaguchi had least to do with up to date, saw a completely revamp of visual style, going entirely for realism - which was then revoked in FFIX with the return of Sakaguchi.
FF10, again, came back with the realistic character designs, which has since become a staple of the series (With Sakaguchi, still more often than not, favoring deformed characters in his games), and then going further and further away from RPG mechanics, favoring action systems (with Sakaguchi, still more often than not, favoring RPG menu driven systems).


We'll have to agree to disagree on that as well. Approving an idea that someone else came up with doesn't make you the source of that vision.

Not agreeing suggest a strange way of thinking of causality and a strange use of the English language then.

I guess if I tell you to bake me a cake, and give you money to do it, then I did not have meaningful impact on what happens next, because you might end up baking a chocolate cake, or a strawberry short-cake or whatever takes your fancy, and since I didn't specify that aspect of it, that makes the entire difference?
And when later, you make your own money and instead of making cakes, end up making Ramen instead, it makes no sense to say that me telling you to make a cake had no impact on your creative output, despite the fact that I just severely limited the amount of options on your table...?

Okay.


I'll have to take your word for Nomura not coming up with the Desperation Attacks..

You don't have to. Check the credits for FFVI's battle system.


So what "something else entirely" is Sakaguchi talking about when he says he wasn't involved in the story? =P

Not directing, nor writing it obviously =P
Which would be, what being involved in the story would usually refer to.


"Almost all the story was done by Kitase." "I've left all the in-game event scripting in his hands."

So, no.

Well, Yes.
Event scripting refers specifically to coding of in-game events, and is what you do when you already have the story and direction compiled and on the desk in front of you.
Saying that you leave all the event scripting to one person, says nothing about how those directives got compiled or conceived to begin with.

Try again. This time with an argument.


Yes, Sakaguchi introducing an idea that merged with that other idea (the one Nomura was expecting) to become "Parasite Eve" instead is a clear example of his overriding direction of FFVII's story. =P

I don't even know what you're trying to say here.
Nomura thought FFVII was going to be a game about battling a sorceress, and designed Edea, which was then "ditched" when the idea of a Mako city was conceived by Sakaguchi.

The New York pitch was later used in Parasite Eve.

It is literally Sakaguchi having an impact on the story of FFVII, providing one of the core elements that run throughout the entire story of the game, and one of Nomura's ideas being relocated to another title.

Your reply here is a mess. It it not a rebuttal, nor an argument.

The point here is patently obvious - Sakaguchi sits down with his team, and discusses ideas.
They have an impact on that, and he has an impact on that. It's a concerted effort - but at the end of the day, the ideas pass by Sakaguchi's desk and where discussed with him, and there is good reason to believe that the overall style of FFVII has been impacted by that process to some degree, which I would call "meaningful" since FFVII is largely consistent with other Sakaguchi works, whilst post-merger FF games are largely not except in the most superficial of ways.


Sakaguchi outright said he was responsible for the stories of the games up through VI -- meaning things changed after VI. I even quoted another interview where he outright said his priority with FFVII was game design as opposed to story.

And that's because in the earlier games he actually did get directly involved to a larger degree. He did not for FFVII. How hard is that to understand? And how hard is to understand that this is not related to the point I'm making?


There's really little to no question here of his creative influence on the story. It's not non-existent, but it's minimal -- by his own admission.

No. There's no question that he did not write or direct it. Creative influence is something else entirely, and nothing you quoted or said here speaks anything to that.


hian ... buddy ... it's entirely pertinent to what we're talking about. That is literally what we're talking about: the story.

No, because that's not what "we" are talking about. It's what you're superimposing on the conversation in order to justify a completely different claim - namely that Sakaguchi had little to no creative influence on FFVII as a whole.

Notice that I've never limited my discussion of FFVII here to only its story.
I consistently use words like style, themes, feel etc.

Story obviously being one aspect of it, and I do also believe that whatever the story ended up being would be framed by the executive control of Sakaguchi, this is not an argument about what degree Sakaguchi came up with the various aspects of the story, what direct impact he had on dialogue and cinematography etc.
It's a question of how many ideas and what kind of ideas were passed around the office at the time, and how the team came to decide what to go with and what not to go with.
And here I believe Sakaguchi made an impact, because, as I've said a 1000 times, there is a clear distinction between the games he is involved with in some capacity, and those where people like Kitase are in full creative control over.

In fact, although I was dumb enough to close the god damn tab, I was just reading an interview with Sakaguchi where he comments on the distinction between his style and vision for games, and Kitase's.

On the one hand we have someone who at least made illustrations of those characters (as well as made the original design that became Vincent), and so at least had the vaguest ideas of who the characters were. Then we've got a guy who has never uttered a peep about any of them, nor been credited in any meaningful way with anything about their creation or the directions they were taken in the story of their game.

Yes, the comment was hyperbolic -- and the paragraph I just wrote needs to be hung on a lampshade as well -- but that was also the point: To emphasize just how little Sakaguchi can be credited for the most important things about FFVII. If the man has ever even said Cloud's name, it would be news to me..

Oh, I agree completely that Sakaguchi had no direct hand in the creation of the characters (although it's unclear to what degree characters like Cloud and Barret differ or are similar to their prototypes), however, we don't know anything about this, which is why the statement was silly.
We also don't know how often, if ever, he was consulted during the process of writing and designing them, and we don't know how often, if ever, people like Nomura presented other ideas to him and the team that was subsequently scrapped or redone.

For all we know, Sakaguchi played through the game before release, and loved the story and the characters. It's an assumption either way.

That's all I was saying. It doesn't belong in an otherwise informative article.


Sadly, Kitase has demonstrated a propensity for being every bit the idiot Nomura can be, just in his own special ways. He also seems to more or less greet Nomura's suggestions with a rubber stamp and a look of awe.

That I agree with. If anything, I'm getting the distinct feeling that in the case of the remake, it definitely is Nomura's brain-child more so than Kitase's and that Kitase's probably willing to defer to Nomura on most issues.


Before closing, I want to say, by the way, that I hope it doesn't seem like I'm talking shit about Sakaguchi. The dude is obviously brilliant and I have mad respect for him. Even The Spirits Within is an amazing work of art -- it wasn't terribly insightful as to what would be a successful movie, nor what FF fans would be expecting, but it's still fucking amazing.

I'm just utterly, utterly baffled that you would ignore his own admissions about FFVII's development and overlook that his name is also on FFVIII and FFX -- which you cite as examples of what happens without him at the helm post-FFVII -- as executive producer when his role with those games was much the same as it had been with FFVII.

I'm not overlook or ignoring anything.

I love FFVIII and FFX, and they still retain in large part what I consider to be the original FF feel and style.
I simply made one comment, and that is that I believe them to be the beginning of the change, more so than what many fan's erroneously assert is the fault of VII.

We also know that his role with those two games was not much the same as with FFVII.
During FFVIII, The Spirits Within had entered its development cycle, and was in its most busy stage.
Sakaguchi bumping up to executive producer is a very large corporate change from producer in either case.

The difference in style from FFVIII and FFX, and Sakaguchi's role as executive producer as opposed to producer, overlap.
Furthermore, in FFX Kitase is both producer and director, clearly showing the overlap that often exist between those two roles in the Japanese corporations at the time.

The creation of a post of executive producer is literally done because the size of a production is now so bloated that the producer cannot be asked to do his or her job anymore, which traditionally involves both the corporate ladder and structural work, as well as game-design, story-development and over-sight.

So, again - No, I'm not overlooking or ignoring anything.
In fact, I'd make the argument that it's the other way around - you're overlooking the patently obvious and factual differences between the style of Sakaguchi-era/Post Sakaguchi-era FF games, and the overlap between the games that marked that transition and his change in roles which have been clearly outlined and credited in each title.

That, in the context of this debate, is as factual as it gets.
No wishy-washy interviews clouded by various factors we cannot account for. Just the data in the games themselves, and the facts of the industry.
 

Zef

Rookie Adventurer
I just want the somewhat dorky overconfident side of Cloud to be shown when appropriate. I'd be really sad if they tried to make him seem as somber as he was in Advent Children except for when it is appropriate.
 
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The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
As you acknowledge in , final creative control and actual creative influence are two very different things. We've all had a supervisor who was so focused on other things -- say, for instance, flying around the world meeting with film studio executives, setting up a studio in Honolulu, and writing/directing one of the most expensive animated film failures of all time =P -- that they left other things officially under their purview to technically get done by other people.
Except that the 4 year production cycle of Spirits of Within started the year FFVII was released, not before, meaning that there is no real overlap between those two development cycles.

...

And as for The Spirits Within - again, as far as I know, seeing as how the movie had a 4 year development cycle and was released in 2001, there is no overlap between the development cycle of that movie and FFVII as far as I know, so if you say otherwise, sources please.
The August 2001 issue of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (issue 47) that I cited earlier. There's a large feature on The Spirits Within and FF in general, and an interview with Sakaguchi. It speaks of how, in 1996, the success of "Toy Story" (released in November 1995) was fresh on everyone's mind, including Sakaguchi's, and that -- as Square was getting into more cinematic CG storytelling -- he recognized the potential for Square to do something like it, and so began that process before FFVII was released.

So, yeah, as you mention further down in your post, he was fully engrossed with that process during FFVIII's development, but he was already getting things ready during FFVII's. Square Pictures opened in Honolulu early in 1997 (May). That was quite the undertaking for both him and Square. Not something put together in a flash in less than 100 days between FFVII's release and the studio doors opening.

Perhaps I'm being somewhat unfair here. We don't know the extent to which his attention was divided -- obviously it was less than the extent he would have been diverted with FFVIII. What's clear, though, is that he increasingly had less involvement with the more artistic aspects of Final Fantasy game development around this time because of the size of these productions while he was simultaneously becoming more involved with The Spirits Within's production.

There's a net loss of ginormous degree at that crossroads. You can speak to an emergence of differences in style and whatnot that we see in FFVIII, and how plain that is to see -- but to my eyes (and that of many other fans), it's plain to see that FFVIII's atmosphere was just a continuation of what began at FFVII.

Are Sakaguchi's sensibilities still present with FFVII? Sure, some of them. Some are even still there in FFVIII. Hell, some are still there in FFX!

He was their mentor. For that, if no other reason, his influence would linger even after he didn't. But there are some way obvious signs of his decreased presence beginning with FFVII at as obvious a place as the character design and storytelling sensibilities.

If you can't see those differences, I can't make you see them -- but they have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

hian said:
A lot of FF fans would disagree with you about that assessment, though. I've seen many comments that FFVII was when the series "stopped being my FF" before briefly returning to form with FFIX and then never going back again. FFVII is widely regarded as the line of demarcation in Final Fantasy's departure from classic style and content.
And that's not an argument. FFVII from a game-play perspective, and arguably from a story-perspective as well, literally builds on almost every convention established by FFVI, which is why so many of the people who prefer the SNES games consider it superior to VII.

Those fans are knee-jerking over the fact that FFVII suddenly got accessible and mainstreamed over night, and did a turn-away from the classical high-fantasy settings of earlier games.

Yet, from the aesthetics to the game-play, the story and writing, FFVII retains deformed characters, a battle system that essentially just introduces the mechanics from FFVI, with a character development system that is essentially just an open ended skill-placement system, instead of an open-ended class system (which had already been done several times), and still has the same slap-stick humor and save-the-world plot as always.
The flipside to this coin is that FFVII and VIII's writing have been compared as similar to one another -- and different from the past games of the series -- by how they both began the trend of dwelling on the main characters' private dramas as the central narrative of the overarching plot, and especially by how they delve into the angst of the main character.

And VIII doesn't still have some of that slapstick humor? Biggs and Wedge anyone?

Save-the-world plots aren't exactly a Sakaguchi-exclusive either, by the way, so that's not fair. =P

Also, it's ironic you mention the deformed characters, as Nomura and Naora have both said FFVII was a departure from the use of the chibi style. Those character models may look like lego people to us now (or even in 1999), but at the time, these guys were very deliberately trying to move past the aesthetic conventions that had dominated FF design up 'til then. Which is one example of why I think FFVIII was just a continuation of the sensibilities that began taking hold with VII's development.

I'm not trying to discount everything you're saying, I assure you, but I really don't think FFVII reflects quite all you think it does.

hian said:
It's clear here that we're talking past each-other here, because I see Sakaguchi's style as an amalgamation of various aspects, whilst the fans you're speaking of here, and if you're in their camp, are talking about one aspect - namely the classical fantasy VS modern-punk/cyber-punk fantasy which we see later.
If not clear previously, I should hope it is by now that I'm more discerning than that.

Hell, I've been pointing out for ten years that The Spirits Within was thoroughly a Final Fantasy from a thematic perspective despite its failures to appeal to either mainstream audiences or the majority of Final Fantasy fans. Sakaguchi really should have planned for both of those things, as what he created was ultimately an investment in self-indulgence for him from a shareholder's point of view and neither a celebration of the series nor its fans from a fan's point of view.

But I'm getting far off the topic now.

hian said:
Except that wouldn't be a point now would it?
A point worth making is not a point dependent on who you ask ...
And that depends on the topic.

hian said:
... and I'm not asking to begin with.
Figure of speech.

hian said:
It does not matter what people say in interviews about this - the evidence is there to see in the actual products.
Which we -- and many others -- see different things in, and which even you see different things in than some of this game's core developers. Yet we all see these things as self-evident in the products.

hian said:
How often do you find producers being interviews in-depth about stories of their games, that they did not write?
All the time with Kitase.

hian said:
And that's strange how?
FFVII had by that point taken a completely different turn with the compilation titles etc.
Why would Sakaguchi be considered a keeper of FFVII's lore in the context of the franchise at that point in time?
Regardless of whatever he had to do with the original, he has nothing to do with anything else that is now considered the canon of the game.

...

The reason he never comes up when talking about FFVII's story is because A.) He neither wrote nor directed it and B.) FFVII is now a compilation of titles, everything with the exception of the original, with which Sakaguchi bears no relevance.

Why would anyone interview him about FFVII's story in light of that?

...

You're seriously asking why Sakaguchi isn't regularly being interviews about a almost two decades old game, which has been expanded into a franchise he has nothing to do with, that he made for a company that no longer exists, while he's working on new products, when there are already plenty of people working on that franchise for another company, with more media flair that give regular interviews?

No, seriously?
Why do Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza continue being interviewed about creating Deadpool over 20 years ago? He's been around the neighborhood more than any bicycle.

And that actually makes for a pretty appropriate point to segue into discussing -- as much as we can anyway -- the gist of the overall remainder of what you posit:

hian said:
Because Nojima wrote everything, of course he'd be the primary expert on FFVII lore. That doesn't mean that the overarching style of the game can be attributed to him alone (not saying you imply this - just making a point).
These things are not relevant to one another.
Point in case - Let's say I come to you and say, "Hey, I have an idea for a story - I want to make this modern version of Hercules set in a distant, dystopian cyber-punk future! Can you write something for me?"

After you've written that story, of course you'll be the authority on that story. You wrote it after all - However, you wouldn't have written anything at all, if I hadn't come to you first, and moreover, what you wrote was driven creatively by the concept I gave you.
That makes me a significant factor in creative process whether you like it or not, because what you would have written without me approaching you with that specific setting would, very probably, be completely different.

Sakaguchi is not relevant when talking about the details of FFVII (and certainly not now, in light of the compilation, which he had no part in what so ever), he is however relevant when talking about the overarching elements that make FFVII into what it is.

Think of it as an egg - Where Sakaguchi (and of course the rest of the higher-ups) are the shell, and the actual content creators are the contents of the egg.
I'm not trying to downplay the role of the rest of the team here - I'm saying that when FFVII is a traditional Japanese role-playing game, with an open ended character development system, has a world-map, a focus on large scale adventure, character-driven plot, deformed character designs, has some elements of romance, some of Lovecraftian horror, and so forth and so forth, these are elements that tend to be drawn up in the early stages of concept design, and they are elements that tend to be closely overseen by the producer and discussed with him or her.

They are also, by the interviews you see dearly cite, things Sakaguchi was involved in.

...

Again, I am not saying Sakaguchi made up FFVII, or came up with all the ideas. I'm saying he provided context and creative censure for those ideas, which is what a producer does

...

Again, If I tell you to write a story for you and provide you 4 plot themes I want you to incorporate, provide you a setting and style I wish you to adhere to, and then leave you to it - I am not involved in writing that story. I'm not the authority, or the person to go to and talk about the details of that story once it's finished.

I am however, still the person who set out the path for that story turning into what it was.

I guess if I tell you to bake me a cake, and give you money to do it, then I did not have meaningful impact on what happens next, because you might end up baking a chocolate cake, or a strawberry short-cake or whatever takes your fancy, and since I didn't specify that aspect of it, that makes the entire difference?
At this point, we're getting into a philosophical, and even legal, debate that has gone on with the western comics industry for decades -- e.g. what constitutes work-for-hire and what rewards should come with that?

Or: Should an editor or editor-in-chief who came up with the barest bones of a large crossover be credited as much as the writer who turned it into something special?

And so on and so forth.

These aren't questions to be answered easily, but I tend to come down more on the side of recognition of the individual contributors. Especially when looking at the enormous success companies like Marvel and DC made off of many of their older properties -- the creators of whom often lived nearly impoverished lifestyles.

Looking at less dramatic examples, I've read crossovers that were shit overall, with the only good to be said about them being what an individual writer did with the book they were working on, making the best of a mandate set before them to write an obligatory tie-in.

That success was theirs, not the editor's. Not even that of the writer of the main (shitty) event.

Again, though, this is a debate that has raged -- and will continue to rage -- for decades. As you've pointed out, games like this are collaborative works. While there are some for which the word applies to, I'd prefer we both recognize that there is no auteur behind FFVII.

hian said:
This is silly.
First, the reason I don't cite resources, is because A.) my argument is not dependent on resources in that sense, and B.) what resources they are dependent on, which would be a decade of interactions with Japanese developers (some of which worked on the original FFVII I might add) cannot be provided in either case without becoming an empty appeal to authority which I really don't wish to make.

I don't consider the interviews to be of any value in this context. They simply aren't relevant. Especially if they're not read in context of the times, and Japanese culture/customs and the Japanese gaming scene.

Interviews are framed by politics of companies and individual perspectives. I've already provided examples of errors in speech concerning the newest interviews on the remake, and I've pointed out how Nomura taking credit for the limit break system in and of itself is
completely silly, even though it's stated in black and white in an interview.

People need to stop treating this stuff like Biblical literalists.
It has to be read in context. I'm reading this interviews in context of my knowledge about the company at the time, and about the industry in Japan. That's my insight, and it's based on personal experience.

You can dismiss that if you want, but to dismiss it based on those interviews is to fail to grasp the very essence of the argument here. I am not arguing from a different set of sources, I'm arguing from a different perspective as a source in my own right.

Whether you accept that or not, is entirely up to you, but to expect me to supply you with sources for speculation based on personal experience, versus your speculation based on interviews is a moot exercise. It is to assume that these interviews give a clear distinction of what you think has been said (which I have argued they don't) on top of which you have to assume that your speculation has more value in light of that than mine (which again, I have argued isn't the case).
I value your insight as another piece of the puzzle, but when, for example, you're citing FFVII as an example of the ongoing use of an aesthetic that both the art designer and character designer have plainly said they weren't using -- there's clearly value in my observations and approach as well.

hian said:
Seriously?
Nomija has been writing and expanding the FFVII universe regularly since its original release.
Nojima has been writing for SE steadily ever since the release of the game (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazushige_Nojima)
To say that he hasn't been an SE employee for almost ten years is such a meaningless statement in the light of the writing he has done for them in that same time period, that it borders on looking like being willfully deceptive to win an argument.

Please don't do that.
I brought it up to head you off at the pass on citing Sakaguchi's absence from the company as a reason he isn't interviewed about the game's story -- but you still went there anyway.

hian said:
The point here is patently obvious - Sakaguchi sits down with his team, and discusses ideas. 
They have an impact on that, and he has an impact on that. It's a concerted effort - but at the end of the day, the ideas pass by Sakaguchi's desk and where discussed with him, and there is good reason to believe that the overall style of FFVII has been impacted by that process to some degree, which I would call "meaningful" since FFVII is largely consistent with other Sakaguchi works, whilst post-merger FF games are largely not except in the most superficial of ways.
There are clearly differences in what we each consider "meaningful" here, as well as what we're each even discussing. I've been trying to talk about nothing but the story from go, and you keep dragging this in other directions before coming back around to the story.

I can agree that he had a profound impact on the overall production and even specific aspects of said production while concluding his involvement on another aspect was not all that meaningful. That's what I've done here.

You are, of course, free to disagree.

hian said:
No, because that's not what "we" are talking about. It's what you're superimposing on the conversation in order to justify a completely different claim - namely that Sakaguchi had little to no creative influence on FFVII as a whole.
Which has never been what I said, even once. Ever. As should be painfully obvious.

If only because I obviously don't give two tugs of a dead dog's cock about anything here but the story.

hian said:
Notice that I've never limited my discussion of FFVII here to only its story. 
I consistently use words like style, themes, feel etc.
Yes, I have noticed you constantly changing the subject I wanted to talk about -- a topic you began all this with, by the way. It's been annoying the shit out of me. :monster:

And anyway, this thread is about hopes for the story/in-universe content of the remake, so it should really have always been clear that those things are what I'm discussing.

hian said:
It's a question of how many ideas and what kind of ideas were passed around the office at the time, and how the team came to decide what to go with and what not to go with.
And here I believe Sakaguchi made an impact, because, as I've said a 1000 times, there is a clear distinction between the games he is involved with in some capacity, and those where people like Kitase are in full creative control over.

In fact, although I was dumb enough to close the god damn tab, I was just reading an interview with Sakaguchi where he comments on the distinction between his style and vision for games, and Kitase's.
Was it the one where he said something about Kitase being better at spectacle, so he tries to be better at emotion?

hian said:
Sadly, Kitase has demonstrated a propensity for being every bit the idiot Nomura can be, just in his own special ways. He also seems to more or less greet Nomura's suggestions with a rubber stamp and a look of awe.
That I agree with. If anything, I'm getting the distinct feeling that in the case of the remake, it definitely is Nomura's brain-child more so than Kitase's and that Kitase's probably willing to defer to Nomura on most issues.
At least we can agree that we should be afraid. :monster:
 
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The August 2001 issue of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (issue 47) that I cited earlier. There's a large feature on The Spirits Within and FF in general, and an interview with Sakaguchi. It speaks of how, in 1996, the success of "Toy Story" (released in November 1995) was fresh on everyone's mind, including Sakaguchi's, and that -- as Square was getting into more cinematic CG storytelling -- he recognized the potential for Square to do something like it, and so began that process before FFVII was released.

So, yeah, as you mention further down in your post, he was fully engrossed with that process during FFVIII's development, but he was already getting things ready during FFVII's.
The planning process, and the development process is quite different though.
Another point I didn't go into, is the fact that FFIX's development time also overlaps with TSW, and obviously Sakaguchi had plenty of time for that.

There's a net loss of ginormous degree at that crossroads. You can speak to an emergence of differences in style and whatnot that we see in FFVIII, and how plain that is to see -- but to my eyes (and that of many other fans), it's plain to see that FFVIII's atmosphere was just a continuation of what began at FFVII.
You're overstating my argument. Notice how I focus on post-merger FF and the titles made by Nomura, Nojima and Kitase after Sakaguchi left as when styles truly diverged.

FFVIII and FFX to my mind was were this first began, but as I also said, I still consider them to be well within the original spirit of the FF games (unlike say FFXII which is clearly more close to FF:Tactics and Vagrant Story than a FF).

My point is that the divergence in style becomes clearer and clearer the less Sakaguchi has to do with the production, and to my mind, FFVII is still much closer to home than FFVIII, or FFX.

Are Sakaguchi's sensibilities still present with FFVII? Sure, some of them. Some are even still there in FFVIII. Hell, some are still there in FFX!
Sure, and I have not denied this at any point in this conversation.

He was their mentor. For that, if no other reason, his influence would linger even after he didn't. But there are some way obvious signs of his decreased presence beginning with FFVII at as obvious a place as the character design and storytelling sensibilities.
Which one would those be? You later speak of personalized character driven story lines, but they began as early as FF4, and where clearly present in FF5 and FF6 as well.

If you can't see those differences, I can't make you see them -- but they have all the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
Yet you provide no examples of them, whilst I have provided several of long-standing game-play mechanics and story conventions being continued with clarity all up until the point of the merger, and then being phased out more and more with him leaving.
Story and game-play elements I might add, that Sakaguchi still employ in his Mistwalker projects, that SE now leave to contractors on minor games like SNES remakes, and The Bravely Series.

The flipside to this coin is that FFVII and VIII's writing have been compared as similar to one another -- and different from the past games of the series -- by how they both began the trend of dwelling on the main characters' private dramas as the central narrative of the overarching plot, and especially by how they delve into the angst of the main character.
And I would contend that this is a similarity people now draw largely based on feelings people have gotten from the compilation clouding their memories of the original, not the actual original.
I remember clearly the fan-reactions to VIII's plot and Squall back when the game was first released, and people where not saying how great it was because it was similar to their favorite FFVII =P

And VIII doesn't still have some of that slapstick humor? Biggs and Wedge anyone?
I'm not saying it didn't. Again, you're focusing on a relatively minor point here, as I've clarified several times that I don't see VIII and X as major diviations from earlier conventions, I see them as the starting ground.

I know a lot of people say the same for FFVII, and it is true that it deviates in many ways too, although I would say, like most people that are fans of FFVI, that this is largely exaggerated since most of the things that people consider different or original with FFVII was already present in one form or another in FFVI.

Save-the-world plots aren't exactly a Sakaguchi-exclusive either, by the way, so that's not fair. =P
Divorcing the points from one another and looking at them in isolation, no it would not be fair.
However that is the exact opposite of how you should appraise that point when I've stated clearly countless times now that I am talking about Sakaguchi's style as being an amalgamation of different aspects, of which world-saving plots is one aspect.
I did not claim that it's unique to Sakaguchi - I was simply musing on what is reasonable to say is a trend in games he is involved with.

Also, it's ironic you mention the deformed characters, as Nomura and Naora have both said FFVII was a departure from the use of the chibi style. Those character models may look like lego people to us now (or even in 1999), but at the time, these guys were very deliberately trying to move past the aesthetic conventions that had dominated FF design up 'til then. Which is one example of why I think FFVIII was just a continuation of the sensibilities that began taking hold with VII's development.
I have contentions with that characterization -
Firstly, there is nothing in that interview that speaks of moving past aesthetic conventions - it's talking about practical concerns due to cinematography (nitoshin characters not being able to ride bikes without looking weird, or wielding swords).

Secondly, the fact that the characters are not two-headed (nitoshin), which is the most extreme level of chibi design you find, does not change the fact that they are still deformed/chibi to a great extent.

The very same Nomura has come back to this in later interviews, particularly on the topic of the remake, calling the FF characters deformed and super-deformed.

Granted they were less deformed than their earlier counter-parts, the very choice, as we've discussed before, to keep them deformed in the field screens was a conscious choice that happened as early as the planning stage of FFVII, and was apparent as early as their 3D tech-demo for the N64 featuring FFVI characters, which where also chibi styled, yet clearly not nitoshin.

In light of this, I think the more accurate description of the final product is a style that is more complex, yet at the same time a throw-back to the earlier games at the same time. An attempt to keep the aesthetic conventions as much as possible while solving the practical difficulties presented when having a more realistic setting demanding more from the models.

Which we -- and many others -- see different things in, and which even you see different things in than some of this game's core developers. Yet we all see these things as self-evident in the products.
Yet, I'll make a coherent and congrete argument based on game-play, visuals, design trends, and Japanese company structure, whilst most others (although you are not one of them) are content simply asserting these things to be evident.

Self-evident is a word I regret making. It really isn't. It's only self-evident if you actually know where to look and what to look for.


I guess I should have said - write or direct.
You don't see that all the time with Kitase.


Why do Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza continue being interviewed about creating Deadpool over 20 years ago? He's been around the neighborhood more than any bicycle.
I have no idea. I don't know the circumstances around the Deadpool comic. If I did, maybe I'd have an answer.
But if you're not going to give me the context, I have no way of evaluation how analogous this is or isn't to FFVII, and as such, it isn't an argument.

Again, though, this is a debate that has raged -- and will continue to rage -- for decades. As you've pointed out, games like this are collaborative works. While there are some for which the word applies to, I'd prefer we both recognize that there is no auteur behind FFVII.
I do recognize this, and indeed have gone out of my way restating the fact that the primary work-load did not involve an active Sakaguchi.


I value your insight as another piece of the puzzle, but when, for example, you're citing FFVII as an example of the ongoing use of an aesthetic that both the art designer and character designer have plainly said they weren't using -- there's clearly value in my observations and approach as well.
Except that they did not "clearly" say any such thing. Your preconceived idea of where this should be going is clouding the objectivity with which you're reading these statements.

I'm not trying to super-impose Sakaguchi as some sort of creator for most of FFVII's material, but you do at this point seem unnatural keen on making the point that not had he no meaningful impact, little to no contact with the developments team creative process, and that FFVII is somehow so different from earlier FF games that it doesn't make sense to put the distinction of change in the franchise at him leaving the company.

I find this strange for so many reasons - the biggest one being that you're now focusing almost exclusively on VII's similarities to VIII and X, despite the fact that all three of these games fall within the reign of Sakaguchi within the company, and despite the fact that these games all to quite a large degree follow conventions established by the NES/SNES FF games.

I simply pointed out that I think that we see a fluctuation in changes already before he quit in FFVIII and FFX, although, as you've said some people can argue that they are present in VII as well.
My point is simply that I think the changes in FFVII are overstated, as anyone who's fairly familiar with FFVI can and would argue, and that we see more clearly the precursors to the change we now see in the FF franchise in games like FFVIII and FFX - FFVIII completely ditching stylized unrealistic graphics in favor of realism, and FFX being the true beginning of the stream-lined, less exploration focused game-play.

I would argue that these are 2 of the 3 great changes that have market the complete change of FF as a franchise, the third being the move away of command based battle-systems.

Simply put, where as "old-school" FF games where primarily stylized, menu driven, exploration based RPGs, FF is now generally realistic, action driven, stream-lined RPGs (although they're still experimenting and move back and forth between different philosophies still, trying to figure out what works best).

I don't see that trend as starting with FFVII. I see that trend as taking its first baby-steps with VIII, then X, and finally beginning to fester with XII.

I brought it up to head you off at the pass on citing Sakaguchi's absence from the company as a reason he isn't interviewed about the game's story -- but you still went there anyway.
Except that I qualified it, and it was in context like this :

It's even more confusing however, if you bring it up in a contemporary context where A.) FFVII is now a compilation that stretches far beyond its original title
B.) Sakaguchi no longer works for SE, and has had no part in the franchise after the original at all
C.) When he is hardly ever relevant in context of conversations one might have on the FFVII franchise that cannot be adequately or better covered by people in SE who have been working with the FFVII far longer than Sakaguchi.

This is why Sakaguchi no longer being at SE is relevant.
Not because not being there in and of itself is the reason, but because the company has now moved FFVII into a franchise of which Sakaguchi has nothing to say at all, whilst SE has several people more intimately tied all willing and able to speak about it.

You're doing it again.
Please stop.

There are clearly differences in what we each consider "meaningful" here, as well as what we're each even discussing. I've been trying to talk about nothing but the story from go, and you keep dragging this in other directions before coming back around to the story..
Which is ridiculous, since the flow of this exchange goes like this with you posing this question to me :
"I'm curious how much influence Sakaguchi really had over FFVII."

I then detailing what I believe the nature of his influence to be - as a producer - which you then engage with on every level, then you revert to focus on story when it suits the argument, and now you claim it's unreasonable of me for not having the conversation primarily about story because that's what you really want to talk about?


I can agree that he had a profound impact on the overall production and even specific aspects of said production while concluding his involvement on another aspect was not all that meaningful. That's what I've done here.
Then we are in full agreement.

Which has never been what I said, even once. Ever. As should be painfully obvious..
"The dude simply didn't have the same degree of involvement in the creative process as he did with the first six FFs. He just didn't.

"There's really only one good reason: He didn't have much to do with it beyond the technical stuff."

Your statements, not mine.

If only because I obviously don't give two tugs of a dead dog's cock about anything here but the story.
Then be more consistent with your argument, because if that was the only thing you were interested in to begin with, your first reply to me should have been "I'm not talking about Sakaguchi's involvement in anything other than the writing of the story" and left it at that.

As I said though - I do think his presence and legacy would have had meaningful impact on the story, for instance in regards to the mind-set and conventions the writers and directors would approach a game, as again, story-telling and directing by Kitase, Nojima and Nomura is really different now from what it were back then - whilst playing games like Blue Dragon, Last Story and Lost Odyssey it's literally like being repeatedly kicked in the face by the spirit pre-PS3 FF games.

Yes, I have noticed you constantly changing the subject I wanted to talk about -- a topic you began all this with, by the way. It's been annoying the shit out of me. :monster:
I made a throwaway comment about story to begin with, true. You however asked the general question about what my thoughts on Sakaguchi's involvement on FFVII was.
I'm not a mind-reader, and if story was all you wanted to talk about, you should have specified that then.
As it is, you got the argument you deserved, not the one you wanted =P

Was it the one where he said something about Kitase being better at spectacle, so he tries to be better at emotion?
Yes.

At least we can agree that we should be afraid. :monster:
I'm not banking on anything quite yet.
As I said in another thread, I think my real bet will be in the moment I get a screenshot, or video of Cloud outside of Midgar.
That's really when we'll get a sense of what kind of game this will be.

If I get the faintest feeling that we'll be running through woodland corridors to be segued into cut-scenes at regular intervals, that's when I'll throw in the towel on the expectations-train.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
The planning process, and the development process is quite different though.
True enough. I still imagine convincing Square to spend tens of millions of dollars and convincing a Hollywood studio to work with them had to be demanding.
hian said:
Another point I didn't go into, is the fact that FFIX's development time also overlaps with TSW, and obviously Sakaguchi had plenty of time for that.
Also true. He's also been interviewed about that one, though, so that's not really the best example you could have gone with.

hian said:
You're overstating my argument.
Sorry.
hian said:
Notice how I focus on post-merger FF and the titles made by Nomura, Nojima and Kitase after Sakaguchi left as when styles truly diverged.

FFVIII and FFX to my mind was were this first began, but as I also said, I still consider them to be well within the original spirit of the FF games (unlike say FFXII which is clearly more close to FF:Tactics and Vagrant Story than a FF).

My point is that the divergence in style becomes clearer and clearer the less Sakaguchi has to do with the production, and to my mind, FFVII is still much closer to home than FFVIII, or FFX.
Fair enough.

hian said:
Which one would those be? You later speak of personalized character driven story lines, but they began as early as FF4, and where clearly present in FF5 and FF6 as well.
Yeah, but it was only with VII or VIII that you could say the central conflict of the story became the main character's personal crap. You can't even say that about FFVI -- you literally don't even have to recruit Terra back into the party or resolve Celes's quest to find Locke.

Like you pointed out the other day, the primary storyline is stopping Seph and solving Cloud's identity issues -- and they're arguably two sides of the same thing. Cloud goes out of his way to call on the team to step away from saving the world for a day to think about why they want to go fight because saving the world for its own sake isn't their primary motivation. Cloud admits that he wants to settle his past, and saving the planet is part of that.

hian said:
Yet you provide no examples of them ...
I did. You even quoted them. =P

hian said:
I remember clearly the fan-reactions to VIII's plot and Squall back when the game was first released, and people where not saying how great it was because it was similar to their favorite FFVII =P
They weren't, but that's also not what I said. =P

Anyone not raging at FFVIII back then for not being FFVII could recognize that they were constructed and presented in similar fashion.

hian said:
I'm not saying it didn't. Again, you're focusing on a relatively minor point here, as I've clarified several times that I don't see VIII and X as major diviations from earlier conventions, I see them as the starting ground.
This may literally be a first for me, bro. I'm used to seeing FFX described almost like it's from another series altogether, even by fans who love it.

hian said:
I know a lot of people say the same for FFVII, and it is true that it deviates in many ways too, although I would say, like most people that are fans of FFVI, that this is largely exaggerated since most of the things that people consider different or original with FFVII was already present in one form or another in FFVI.
And this is why I used that "depending on who you ask" phrasing before, which you decried as irrelevant then.

hian said:
Divorcing the points from one another and looking at them in isolation, no it would not be fair.
However that is the exact opposite of how you should appraise that point when I've stated clearly countless times now that I am talking about Sakaguchi's style as being an amalgamation of different aspects, of which world-saving plots is one aspect.
I did not claim that it's unique to Sakaguchi - I was simply musing on what is reasonable to say is a trend in games he is involved with.
It's reasonable to say it's a trend of RPGs in general, though. That was just a really weird thing to bring up, man. Seriously not even trying to be a dick about it.

hian said:
I have contentions with that characterization -
Firstly, there is nothing in that interview that speaks of moving past aesthetic conventions - it's talking about practical concerns due to cinematography (nitoshin characters not being able to ride bikes without looking weird, or wielding swords).
Let me put it another way then: Achieving their vision for the aesthetics required moving past FF's prevailing aesthetic conventions. Don't get one of the results confused with the goal.

And in Kitase's case, he most certainly was trying to move things forward: "Visually, I wanted Final Fantasy VII to be a completely unified work, with a single style running from beginning to end. The cut-scene movies, overworld map, and battle scenes would not be disconnected, but would instead smoothly and seamlessly transition into one another."

Now, do you think models like those on the field maps or those in the FMVs were what he really wanted to be ubiquitous? And do you really think Sakaguchi (who chose Kitase for this role) is what stopped him or do you think it was technical limitations/the team needing more time to work with the hardware?

Now, FFIX is an example of deliberately going for a chibi style.
hian said:
Secondly, the fact that the characters are not two-headed (nitoshin), which is the most extreme level of chibi design you find, does not change the fact that they are still deformed/chibi to a great extent.
Good point. It is a distinction worth making.

hian said:
I have no idea. I don't know the circumstances around the Deadpool comic. If I did, maybe I'd have an answer.
But if you're not going to give me the context, I have no way of evaluation how analogous this is or isn't to FFVII, and as such, it isn't an argument.
You referenced looking to the comic book industry a few days ago on a related topic, so I thought you were more familiar with it.

As for Deadpool, I gave enough context in the passage you quoted to explain how that matter is analogous: "He's been around the neighborhood more than any bicycle." He's passed through the hands of many writers and artists since his creation, and he's one of Marvel's most popular properties.

hian said:
I'm not trying to super-impose Sakaguchi as some sort of creator for most of FFVII's material, but you do at this point seem unnatural keen on making the point that not had he no meaningful impact, little to no contact with the developments team creative process, and that FFVII is somehow so different from earlier FF games that it doesn't make sense to put the distinction of change in the franchise at him leaving the company.
They even made FFX-2 while he was still around (the game was made before the merger, even if the publication happened after). You've got to admit that Square was over Sakaguchi by then.

hian said:
I find this strange for so many reasons - the biggest one being that you're now focusing almost exclusively on VII's similarities to VIII and X, despite the fact that all three of these games fall within the reign of Sakaguchi within the company, and despite the fact that these games all to quite a large degree follow conventions established by the NES/SNES FF games.

I simply pointed out that I think that we see a fluctuation in changes already before he quit in FFVIII and FFX, although, as you've said some people can argue that they are present in VII as well.
My point is simply that I think the changes in FFVII are overstated, as anyone who's fairly familiar with FFVI can and would argue, and that we see more clearly the precursors to the change we now see in the FF franchise in games like FFVIII and FFX - FFVIII completely ditching stylized unrealistic graphics in favor of realism, and FFX being the true beginning of the stream-lined, less exploration focused game-play.
Many have rightly pointed out, though, that FFVII really only has the illusion of free exploration. You still have to follow a very specific path for half the game, with forced boundaries keeping you along that path.

As for ditching the stylized unrealistic graphics of FFVII in favor of realism, again, I just want to reiterate my question of whether you think it was familiarity/skill with the hardware or Sakaguchi who kept FFVII's style where it was? I know which I'd put my money on.

More to the point, though, obviously each successive game should be a step closer to the present. Identifying VIII or X as closer to the present than VII is pretty self-evident (I know you regret using that word, but I'm bringing it back).

hian said:
I don't see that trend as starting with FFVII. I see that trend as taking its first baby-steps with VIII, then X, and finally beginning to fester with XII.
I respect your point of view (genuinely; I enjoy the hell out of reading your posts), but I disagree with it here.

hian said:
Except that I qualified it, and it was in context like this :

It's even more confusing however, if you bring it up in a contemporary context where A.) FFVII is now a compilation that stretches far beyond its original title
B.) Sakaguchi no longer works for SE, and has had no part in the franchise after the original at all
C.) When he is hardly ever relevant in context of conversations one might have on the FFVII franchise that cannot be adequately or better covered by people in SE who have been working with the FFVII far longer than Sakaguchi.

This is why Sakaguchi no longer being at SE is relevant.
Not because not being there in and of itself is the reason, but because the company has now moved FFVII into a franchise of which Sakaguchi has nothing to say at all, whilst SE has several people more intimately tied all willing and able to speak about it.
Fair enough.

hian said:
Which is ridiculous, since the flow of this exchange goes like this with you posing this question to me :
"I'm curious how much influence Sakaguchi really had over FFVII."

I then detailing what I believe the nature of his influence to be - as a producer - which you then engage with on every level, then you revert to focus on story when it suits the argument, and now you claim it's unreasonable of me for not having the conversation primarily about story because that's what you really want to talk about?

...

Then be more consistent with your argument, because if that was the only thing you were interested in to begin with, your first reply to me should have been "I'm not talking about Sakaguchi's involvement in anything other than the writing of the story" and left it at that.
I responded to the rest because you brought it up. Simple as that.

Again, though, you brought Sakaguchi up while talking about the stories of the games. This thread is for discussing the story content of the remake. I linked you to some research relating to his involvement with the story content of the original.

Maybe I should have been more explicit, but I can't yet feel I did my part on this end.

hian said:
"The dude simply didn't have the same degree of involvement in the creative process as he did with the first six FFs. He just didn't.

"There's really only one good reason: He didn't have much to do with it beyond the technical stuff."

Your statements, not mine.
The second of which makes explicitly clear that I'm talking about the story (the "technical stuff" obviously being very important to the existence of the product, so I wouldn't be sticking my tongue out at that as though it were irrelevant), while the context of this discussion should at least have hinted that's what I meant by "creative process" in the first.

hian said:
As it is, you got the argument you deserved, not the one you wanted =P
hian said:
The Twilight Mexican said:
I can agree that he had a profound impact on the overall production and even specific aspects of said production while concluding his involvement on another aspect was not all that meaningful. That's what I've done here.
Then we are in full agreement.
So, what are we doing then? :monster:

hian said:
I'm not banking on anything quite yet.
As I said in another thread, I think my real bet will be in the moment I get a screenshot, or video of Cloud outside of Midgar.
That's really when we'll get a sense of what kind of game this will be.

If I get the faintest feeling that we'll be running through woodland corridors to be segued into cut-scenes at regular intervals, that's when I'll throw in the towel on the expectations-train.
I'll be waiting to catch it. :awesome:
 
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Tashasaurous

Tash for Short
AKA
Sailor Moon, Mini Moon, Hotaru, Cardcaptor Sakura, Meilin, Xion, Kairi, Aqua, Tifa, Aerith, Yuffie, Elena, Misty, May, Dawn, Casey, Fiona, Ellie
Chiming in on the topic of phones from awhile back...

This is what they looked like:

Cell Phones were already a lot more advanced than that back when FF7 came out. The PHS is a deliberate throwback. Possibly intentionally as a "Burner Phone"
That's pretty much exactly what cell phones looked like when FFVII was being made. Here's a couple Nokias from 1996:

And in Crisis Core, the cell phones were even more advanced than these. Zack, Angeal, Sephiroth, Tseng and Cissnei were all shown with flip mobile phones, but I wouldn't worry about these, because the Remake will most likely have our today's current mobiles for Cloud and everyone else to have, since they're more advanced(and I have yet to get one myself, but I'm happy for my current flip-phone for now).

Oh yeah, and Cloud had a flip-phone in AC/C and Vincent also had one in Dirge, as I remember, so, this creates more problems.
 
@Twilight :

I'd love to carry on our conversation, and I see there are still points in your reply I'd like to address, but it I think we largely agree on the most central issues, and the places we disagree we're probably never going to see completely eye to eye.

I will say this though because I it's ground we've covered before, and it's an argument I feel should be largely settled -
FFVII's style with its deformed characters is clearly not a matter of hardware limitations.
I've said this before and I'll say it again - Non-deformed 3D models on pre-rendered backgrounds on PS1 predates FFVII - the most obvious example being Resident Evil 1 that was released an entire year before FFVII.
That technology and know-how was already being circulated in the industry at the time, and considering Squaresoft's close co-operation with Sony during development, it is simply not conceivable that they would not know of this being done with the hardware, and seeing the "complexity" of the battle models of the game, they clearly did.

Secondly, there is no reason what so ever why the model structure used in the battle scenes from FFVII could not be used on pre-rendered backgrounds. Implying otherwise begs the question that if these more complex 3D models could run in the much more hardware demanding 3D environments of the battle scenes, why it would supposedly be impossible or difficult to use the same type of models on a static 2D background.

Thirdly, even the models used in cut-scenes (sometimes FMVs even feature the super-deformed characters pre-rendered in the engine used to animate the backgrounds and FMVs) and in battles are deformed, with short torsos and very long legs - as they were drawn by Nomura, in an manga/anime style that was typical for the Japanese entertainment industry at the time (you find similar drawing styles in almost all the anime from the time, and even in several other video-game franchises, most memorable for its similarities in 3D design being Battle Arena Toshinden)

There is literally no reason to have the super-deformed 3D field models in FFVII except for style. Non.
The fact, which I've also demonstrated before that you have sketches by Nomura from the concept phase of the super-deformed chibi characters, and the fact that this look was also used in the FFVI tech-demo for the N64, and the fact that deformed 3D models were also used in other Japanese games at the time (such as Wild Arms) speak to it being a style - not a choice based on limitations.

As for the the Kitase quote :
"Visually, I wanted Final Fantasy VII to be a completely unified work, with a single style running from beginning to end. The cut-scene movies, overworld map, and battle scenes would not be disconnected, but would instead smoothly and seamlessly transition into one another."

As far as I know has little to nothing to do with this question.
I'm not even sure it makes sense.
Firstly, nothing in FFVII except the occasional cut-scene, seamlessly transitioned by any stretch of that term. They're all separated by loading screens, and stylistic differences.

That being said - the first sentence is obviously tied together with the second one, and is therefore a commentary primarily on technology and stylistic consistency - how the various aspects of the game (battles, fields, and FMVs) would transition. It also, for whatever reason, does not state nor imply that he felt they failed at doing this, implying it would seem that to Kitase's mind, the super-deformed characters where themselves an acceptable part of achieving his vision.

If this statement had been followed by "But due to technical limitations, we had to go with the super-deformed field-models and as such we could not realize this vision" I think you'd have an argument here, but he does not say this, which leads me to think that in the minds of the creators at the time the transition between field and battle models, and that of the FMVs was acceptable and true to their vision at the time.

It literally simply means that they wanted the anime look of the characters, and the various traits and characteristics of the characters, as well as the various locations and the style of the locations to carry through in all the various aspects of the game, and feel as if they logically followed from one another.
[Which they sometimes do, other times don't.]

Anyway - I can't really extend this discussion much further. It's eating away too much time, which is a pretty precious commodity for me at the moment (unless someone here wants to step in and cover for me on one or more of the 5 concurrent projects I have juggled with my day-job and my industry free-lance work).


And no, you cannot get that custom U.I for your standard OS =P
 
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