It's hard to believe that it has been 20 years since we initially accompanied the dark knight Cecil and the dragoon Kain on their mission to the Village of Mist. The story in Final Fantasy IV explored themes such as love, betrayal, friendship, and devotion, which ultimately set the tone and style of the many Final Fantasy games to come, according to the original game's designer, Takashi Tokita. During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, we met with Tokita to go over the new features of the collection.
It's not as though Final Fantasy IV hasn't received its share of remakes. The reason behind the bundle was not only to celebrate the anniversary of the game, but also to create something that fans had wanted. The game comes included with Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, the WiiWare game that was released in downloadable installments in 2009. Originally a mobile game in Japan, The After Years continued the story in FFIV, this time with Cecil and Rosa's son, Ceodore, as the main character. From the main menu, you can access the original game, which is remade from the Super Famicom version in Japan, so the difficulty is harder than the eventual US release. Other than a graphical update, additional challenge dungeons have been added to The After Years.
Tokita wanted to continue the story of Final Fantasy IV so that players who finished the DS remake would have more to look forward to. The After Years jumps 17 years after the events of the original, so in the PSP collection, a section of the game called "The Interlude" will bridge the gap between the two games. This is entirely new content that can last anywhere from 10 to 12 hours or more. The Interlude begins in Damcyan, where Edward has rebuilt his castle, and the entire crew is back together to celebrate. We didn't learn much more about what else is going on, other than that during this time of celebration, there seems to be something lingering on people's minds.
The graphics for all three parts of the game are consistent, so there are noticeable graphical upgrades from the original game as well as the WiiWare games. Enemy models have been redesigned, as well as the characters themselves. They aren't drastically different, but they are a step up from the original sprites. The colors also look fantastic on the PSP; everything looks much richer and more vibrant than in previous iterations. For those wondering how the music will sound, the game comes with the original SNES soundtrack, and you also have the option to switch to the enhanced DS version, so you can experience both versions.
It hasn't been that long since we've played the version of Final Fantasy IV, but for fans of this classic, it doesn't matter. Reunite with the diverse cast of characters once again in Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection when it is released on April 19.