Square Enix on Why Final Fantasy Remasters Are So Popular: ‘Classics Never Go Out of Style’
One of the most peculiar trends seen in this console generation is that of remasters and/or remakes. We've seen so many classic games brought to life once again through remastered visuals, audio and the likes, and Japanese publisher Square Enix has been at the forefront of this trend through their remasters of past Final Fantasy titles (FFXII: The Zodiac Age, for instance, appeared on PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch).
Speaking recently with The Hollywood Reporter, Shinji Hashimoto (Series Executive Producer at Square Enix) tried to explain why remasters of Final Fantasy games have been so popular.
I want to say that the Final Fantasy series sort of acted like a trailblazer in this respect, but perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement! Final Fantasy XII, for example, has been incredible – it’s sold more than a million copies. New games nowadays are of course created with amazing technology, but back then – and I think other companies also understand this – there was a certain intensity in the creators’ pursuit of what they wanted to create, and I think the very way in which games were created at the time differs from how it is today. That meticulous attention to detail has been ingrained into players as part of the gaming culture during that time, and consequently, even ten, twenty years later, you can see that the “classics never go out of style,” so to speak. People’s memories of each of the mainline Final Fantasy titles attest to how deeply this avenue of entertainment has impacted the lives of each of the players from back then. Though I’d love to introduce a brand new title once again for them to play in this generation, I still think that for people in their thirties or forties today, the mainline Final Fantasy titles they experienced as teens or in their twenties will always be unforgettable. With this significance in mind, we consider these past titles as treasures.
Hashimoto also dived in what goes behind the process of remastering a classic game and how that differs from remaking a game.
I always want to treat the original versions with a lot of respect, due in part to the great amount of thought and passion that the original team members dedicated to them. And I don’t mean in respect to the hardware, but more things like all the thought that went into the original pixel art. Things that were created back then specifically for the old tube television screens, the controls, issues that couldn’t be fixed at the time – these are the things that we want to revise and provide in our remasters, making adjustments to fit with current times and definitely so that the younger generation can play too. Regarding differences between a remaster and a remake – in a remake, you rethink the original version all the way from the ground up. It’s actually quite an arduous task, and isn’t something that can be done for multiple games at the same time. I want to approach our future plans, which of course include the Final Fantasy VII Remake, in hopes that the players who love the originals will love the remakes as well.
With E3 2019 now less than two months away, Final Fantasy fans are once again hoping to see something meaty about Final Fantasy VII Remake. It's been a long time, after all, since we got a significant update on the development progress beyond vague reassurances.