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- Editor’s note and Hian’s disclaimer, Famitsu translation
- Dengeki translation
Forum member Hian has kindly and painstakingly (read: carefully) translated the interviews with Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase which have been cropping up online in various forms over the past couple of weeks. There is a great deal of hurrying by the gaming media to get this information out – and for good reason. It’s hot news and these sites want hits. But what they fail to do by bullet-pointing a rough translation of an interview to get it out as quickly as possible is allow people to read the whole thing – and really understand the context and nuances of what the developers are trying to say.
The [large well-paid gaming media companies and their employees] guilty of this will remain unnamed, but look out for a short editorial later where I’ll discuss and analyse why it’s all too easy and dangerous for buzz-words like “episode” to rile everyone up into a frenzy. Apologies for the short opinion-piece here, but our favourite gaming websites are causing needless Strife (see what I did there) in the fandom for the sole purpose of hits and we find it slightly unprofessional.
So without further preamble, we hope you enjoy these translations and that the absence of gaming media rhetoric will allow what Kitase and Nomura have to say to speak for itself.
Disclaimer by Hian:
I have translated this to focus on substance over style, meaning that I’ve prioritized keeping the original meaning of the text over its natural English or stylistic flair for ease of reading. While there are some sentences where style had to take precedence because flat and direct translation would detract from the meaning more than otherwise, generally, I think I’ve managed to keep it it as intact albeit a slightly tone-less and perhaps a bit boring to read.
Because Japanese is a high-context language where a lot of words and phrases which we would otherwise use in English to make sentences understandable are omitted, I will be providing filler words and expression using this format [ ] to fill out things for clarity’s sake.Where I have chosen style over direct translation although it might not have been necessary, I’ve provided the direct translation, or alternative words using this format ( ) . This format will also be used for personal notes, and might also appear in the text if they were used in the original text of the interview, though I will make it clear which is which in writing.
As for other formatting, questions will be bold and preceded with the letter “Q”, and the responses will be in standard format preceded by names.
As always, be sure to get involved in the discussion on our forums.
Famitsu, 7th December 2015
NOTE: Skipping over the introduction which only details the when and where’s etc. of the presentation of the game-play trailer, directly to the beginning of the interview which can be found under the large bold font that reads:
A straight forward title, and the meaning of “bun-saku”
(I translated “bunsaku as “splitting the product/segmented product” rather than “episodic product” because this isn’t all that common of an expression, and does not appear in any of the dictionaries I have. In googling it, the first articles that pop up are about the FF7 remake. It’s a compositional term that rests on the readers ability to understand the two separate Kanji that make up the term, but as such, it’s also quite ambiguous. People have run with the term “episodic”, but there really is a difference between a game being split into parts, and being episodic)
How was the response at the Keynote? Spirits got pretty high at the venue didn’t they?
”There was some anxiety, but when the PV(promotion video) was being aired and we were on stand-by behind the stage, we heard the cheers as Barret appeared on screen, and with [Cloud] ducking past obstacles and battles and other such game-scenes, we felt rise in the mood of the people in the venue. Getting that kind of a reaction I felt relieved.”
Nomura, you were also on stage. Were there any nerves considering that you’re a “top batter” among the third-party developers (for the platform)? (Note: This interview has two baseball expressions, neither of which I provided appropriate translations from because I thought they were pretty clear)
”In fact, I was informed about the order of appearance (on PSX) on that very day, after arriving at the venue (laughs). It also among other things became necessary to change the speech (“comment”) right before [going on stage], so although I came on stage feeling unusually stressed, heart racing, I felt good considering the great response we received.”
To think that something like that was going on behind the scenes….! In an interview with Nomura at the time of the project’s [first] announcement, on top of our talk with Hashimoto Shinji, we heard that Kitase decided to undertake the remake, but why did Nomura resolve to get involved with this project at that particular timing?
”For a long time, and up until now we have had expectations from many people asking us “is the remake coming yet?”, and we felt [sympathetic to] those sentiments. In timing with that, at FF’s 25th anniversary event, we looked back at the series and at the same time we had a chance to think about where we should go on from there. From that moment we started to think that if we’re ever going to remake FFVII it’s going to have to be now. The remake of FFVII is something that I wanted done while I’m still alive, and that goes for Hashimoto as well..”
”Whether Hashimoto was serious or joking, he kept on repeatedly indicating that he wanted to take on the project while saying “I’m about to retire soon after all” and so there might be a part of him that just ran out of patience (smiles).”
So there were many elements aligned timing-wise. FFVII: Remake is the title that has been decided on. In what was quite a fast-ball, it was surprising that you didn’t go for a sub-title.
”Apart from “Remake” we did also consider putting on a sub-title relating to the story but…”
”When you tag on a sub-title it does give the impression that it’s a compilation (Jap: Gaiden) or sequel [product], and that’s something we wanted to avoid among other things.”
”At the time of today’s Keynote announcement, at the outset of the video, we used footage of the reactions of people who viewed the teaser trailer. They were skeptical at first, but the moment [the words] “REMAKE” appeared, and they felt sure that “this is not a compilation product”, but “FFVII coming home”, they were getting really excited. If there had been a sub-title, that probably wouldn’t have happened. For this reason, even as official title, and for clarity’s sake, we chose to go with the word “Remake”.”
I see. Also… This time around, it won’t end with one product – it will be a “segmented product” and such?
”Yes. To begin with, the reason we haven’t done the remake up until now is because it’s really hard work to recreate everything from the ground up with current technology and so there was more than a little feeling that we couldn’t just [carelessly] plunge into it. If you’re going to remake FFVII in HD while retaining the feeling of density of the original, it will end up on a size that cannot possibly fit in a single installment.”
”If you put it in a single installment, you’d have to make lots of cuts [to the content], and you would have to make it a “digest” version of FFVII. [If it has to be] like that, it doesn’t make sense to do [the remake] – for example, this time we want to make it possible to explore various places in Midgar that you didn’t get to do in the original, and because we’re doing this I want to put in as much [content] as I possibly can. Of course, there will be parts of the original that will get cut for various reasons, but even with that done, if in this version we’re going ahead with additional scenes, and with the level of detail of this product, we expect that the overall size/volume of the game will increase [compared to the original]. I’m sure everyone is worried about the schedule [of the game] among other things, and we want you to be able to play this game soon. So it’s also for those reasons that we’re drawing this line [in the development process].”
So, being that devoted [to the vision of the game] is the reason for the segmented product. So far, Kitase, Nomura, Nojima, and Hashimoto’s names have come out, but apart from that, who else is participating, and what kind of structure is the production is heading forward with?
”In relation to the models for example, our company’s visual director oversees the process and directly works with the data (“puts his hands on the data). ”
”In design, apart from Ferrari who works primarily on sub-characters, such as the trio of Biggs and Co. that were made public this time around, programmers, and the core members of the planning process, are working closely together with outside cooperative companies.”
”As the core members are supervising the build-up of the game, we are also receiving assistance from several production companies, as this has become a commonplace production technique in recent times. CyberConnect2 whom made “FFVII G bike” for us (hereinafter, CC2) will be one of those companies.”
”Not only does CC2 have a wealth of experience and know-how concerning action games, we also felt that they had something of a shine in regards to their sense of video production. That being said, in the first teaser trailer there were some subtle differences from the production(s) of our company and so we had extensive exchanges on the matter. For this time’s PV, Tetsu (Nomura) was persistent/bossy/annoying (smiles) and we had them make it closer to our own style.”
WHAT YOU’LL SEE FROM THE CONTENTS OF THE LATEST PV
In the PV, the backgrounds etc. were of course very realistic, but seeing the characters too, having become more realistic, felt fresh.
”If in making the characters look real, you make them look too much like actual human beings they won’t be recognizable anymore, and so we’re aiming for something that’s tip-toeing near the edge of realism.”
The models from FFVII Advent Children aren’t being used, right?
”Not only are those models from over 10 years ago and so from a technical perspective they’re too old, but if you look at them now they’re also too deformed. The visuals this time, from the eyes to the nose, and up to things such as the hair, are being adjusted for balance between realism and deformity over and over again, until we arrive at the final look.”
To clarify – in this time’s PV presentation, apart from the scenes from the original teaser, the new footage is not pre-rendered, but all actual game-play footage?
”That’s right. From the PV, where Cloud jumps off the train, the camera will revolve around his back and from that moment you’re thrust into the game-play.”
”However, quality-wise we’re still going to be brushing up [the looks of everything], so this is a far cry from [the final result].”
The clear (transparent-like) look of Cloud’s skin, the way the pupil’s irises are drawn and so forth, creates a vivid, yet at the same time frightening look for him (feeling). I’m also of the impression that he’s lost a bit of weight/ grown a bit skinnier?
”That’s probably because of the lighting. I think his skin being white is probably a factor in why he looks skinnier. Nojima said that “the sickly look (of Cloud) is really good”.”
Ah, I see, so it’s because of that. Talking about Cloud, in the opening he wasn’t exactly “normal” after all. So, will we see him….. dress as girl/woman in this quality? (laughs)
”The cross-dressing has been included in the scenario. (laughs) We/I haven’t decided on the design yet though.”
That will raise expectations! Moving on from Cloud, in regards to the suddenly changed impression/image of Barret’s redesign, what sort of circumstances lead to that?
”In the beginning we had planned to go with the visual style of FFVII Advent Children, as I was thinking we could do this pretty quickly as we also managed to appropriate/extract the CG data [from the film], but I remember going “Eh!”(I.E Huh? What?) when Tetsu (Nomura) came and said “Let’s redesign Barret”. (laughs)”
”I did say from the initial stages that I wanted to renew the design for all the individual party members. If Barret was real, this is how he’d look. (laughs) If you look at the illustrations [of Barret] from back in the day, I think you can see that the image of the (various) parts have become realistic while (“without falling apart”) retaining the original feeling.”
It looks as if moving around on the field and transitioning into battles happens seamlessly, but if you’re controlling (“doing”) battles from a command display, then is this a Kingdom Hearts (from this point on KH) style of action [system]? Or is it developing more along the lines of Crisis Core -FFVII-?
”If I have to call it anything (“say something”), it’s [an] action [system]. It is completely different from Crisis Core though. It’s not as action oriented as Dissidia FF or KH, but it leans more towards those [than CC].”
So it’s not [an] ATB [system]?
”That’s, well we do have [an] ATB [system]. It’s just that it’s not in the form of the ATB gauge filling up and then [your party] attacking in turns, and it’s done so that the system is tied together with the more action-oriented style of the FFVII Remake.”
”We’re making (“including/comprehending”) something that is different from all other ATB [systems that have been done] up to until now. And, even if we’re calling it ATB at this point, the official [name] might change.”
”We/I can’t go into details, but that the ATB gauge turns red at times….is a point worth paying attention to.”
How are things going to turn out with controlling other characters than Cloud?
”You can freely switch between 3 party members and fight. Though, you can also choose not switch and play as a single character all the time as well without any problems.”
In adopting (“becoming”) an action system, and with the [ATB etc.] system(s) being reformed, it looks like the battles will become pretty busy/hectic, right?
”For the general flow of the battles (“the feeling of the tempo”, I want to make it similar to the arcade version of Dissidia FF. What you saw [at this events trailer], is at best just the base [of the game], but within the possibility of changing characters there is also a sense of strategy, and we’re thinking on creative ways of which to make sure it won’t be a system where you just carelessly beat down enemies. In order for such a battle [system] to be made (“to form”), we’re in the process of bringing in people [to the team] who have experience [working with] with both Dissidia and KH.”
I quickly want to get my hands on and try the battle system Nomura enivisoned!
”Tetsu’s (Nomura’s)”Zenbon Knock” (note – Japanese baseball derivative expression probably refering to a person’s teneciousness) is incredible. In order to come as close to the vision [of the product] that he’s drawn in his mind, without making any compromises, he’s repeatedly going back and forth with the [people at the] production studios over and over again. It’s been a long time since things like this [used to happen], and so I’m starting to enjoy myself as well. (laughs) In terms of the production, taking the quality of this time’s PV as a starting point, I think we finally managed to get down (“confirm”) the direction of the remake. From now on we’re going to polish [this work/this vision etc.], so PLEASE BE EXCITED (authors joke – it should say “Please look forward to it”)”
”As for this time’s video, personally, I’ve watched it too many times repeatedly to the point that there were times when I got paralyzed thinking “Is this really good enough?”, not really knowing one way or the other, but with the cheers that we received today I’ve managed to become convinced that our direction [of the game] isn’t wrong, and so for the time being it seems I can go back to continuing on the project with peace of mind. In order for us to deliver you a elaborate/refined product to get into and play, please allow us to [keep on] improving the quality [of the game].”
END OF INTERVIEW
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