TGS 06: Final Fantasy XII Q&A

We sit down with the developers of Final Fantasy XII for a look at the next title in the long-running series of RPGs.

TOKYO--Today at TGS, we had the opportunity to sit down for an interview with a few of the big brains behind Final Fantasy XII, the latest edition in the long-running role-playing game series. Sitting on the couch opposite us were Hiroshi Kanazu, producer on the game, Hideo Minaba, art director, and Akihiko Yoshida, character designer and graphical director.

We started off by getting some general information on the game, which takes place in the same world that was featured in Final Fantasy Tactics back for the original Playstation. Although the two games share the same world, Ivalice, they're quite different in the setting, thanks to the games taking place in different eras. While Final Fantasy Tactics involved very little technology, the world of Final Fantasy XII is highly technological since it takes place many years past the events of that game. That said, you can expect to see a few familiar faces as you play through Final Fantasy XII, that is, if you happened to have completed Final Fantasy Tactics.

When asked about the game's controversial Gambit system, which sees you explore the world in real time and engage in fully real-time combat with artificial intelligence teammates, the team responded that their drive to create the system was as a result of their desire to create a completely seamless world. Since a seamless transition between combat and exploration would already require seeing all the enemies on the main exploration map, it was decided to take the system to full real-time combat, as well.

In addition, they responded to the criticism that some have leveled at the game by pointing out that the Final Fantasy series has always been about change, and that many purists were upset when they transitioned to full 3D environments in Final Fantasy X. They said that they weren't as worried as they might have otherwise been about the combat system were it not for the massively multiplayer Final Fantasy XI having already incorporated combat taking place in real time. Thus, they felt that their fans had already been softened up for the inclusion of a similar system in Final Fantasy XII. In addition, they admitted that the hardcore purists were usually going to be impossible to please, but that they wanted to attempt to create a system so fun to use that even those purists would come around.

When asked about major changes to the game for the American edition, the developers were reticent to admit too much, simply stating that there is now a 16x9 wide-screen mode added to the game, and that some event scenes that were cut from the Japanese version have been added to the US edition. The substance of these additions remains to be seen, but it doesn't sound like anything dramatic has been included. They did state, however, that they feel that the English voice work for the game is even better than the Japanese tracks, and that in many ways, it fits the game even better than the original voices, since many of the games cinemas were inspired by films from the West.

We wound down the interview by asking what the team felt like, knowing that a project that they'd been working on for almost six years was about to come to an end. It turns out that Kawazu still has a good amount of work to do on the game, as he prepares it for its eventual European release. Minaba said that he was a bit frightened to be without such a long-term project, although he smiled while saying so, so we figure he'll enjoy whatever break he manages to take. Yoshida says that the graphical work on the game was finished some time ago, which has let him begin research on graphics for the next-gen consoles. He says that most of what he's come up with has made him wish he had had next-gen technology while developing Final Fantasy XII.

All in all, the team behind Final Fantasy XII seems relaxed and confident about the quality of their game. Stay tuned to GameSpot for more information on the title as it approaches its American launch date.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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152 comments
comlosone
comlosone

I have a question for anyone out there playing this game on a widescreen tv when the game goes to a cut scene does it display in some weird letter boxing?(alittle on the left and right side and the some on the bottom.) And if you wanted to know i have the component cables and i have the ps2 set to 16x9 setting. Having the same effect on your screen or having a solution to this will satisfy.

pnoy_dude25
pnoy_dude25

holy crackers vegnarok007! i cant wait either! dam! dam! dam!

sw2820
sw2820

Played the game today at a friend's house. AWESOME. Plays just like an MMO, but in a good sense.

Vegnarok007
Vegnarok007

Holy crackers they've been making this game since i was 10? oh snaps, dam this game is gonna kick butt then since they spent that much time to make it. Yeah and since this is the last Final Fantasy coming out for the PS2 im getting the CE version of FFXII. Dam i can't believe they've been making this game all this time and i didn't even know about it. dam i bet there working on Final Fantasy XX right now ha!

Vegnarok007
Vegnarok007

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FFdreamer
FFdreamer

oh my god. I've been waiting for this game since it was announced that it was under development... I'm a senior in HS now and still really hyped... hell i wasnt even a teenager yet when they started making it and its survived all my odd moods haha. The new battle system is amazing, I'm a big fan of FFXI, ive played it for about a year now, really fun and great community, but different than what most people think, FFXII lets you give commands via gambit, its not just hack hack hack magic ect, you still have the ability to give commands and such but you can move around, and thats really fun :P I feel somewhat cheated by the last FF i played to the end, which was X, (not counting FF:TA which was awesome, still working on XI :P) but on the last part my memory data messed up and i didnt get to see the cutscene... so ive been freaking patient... I ended up selling my PS2 for fable... which was a bad move because my Xbox went out 2 months later, and i had only had it for 6 months >.> so... BUYING A PS3 for this game, and hope to enjoy it during my BPA trip this year ^^ Collectors edition... here i come! :) As for all FFs, adjust yourself to the game and you'll love it, I'm really glad to hear the voice acting is great, 'cause the US voice acting on FFVII:AC was decent, but just didnt give the feel of the characters that the game and the JP version of the movie did, till later in the movie. Anyway to wind it up, This will be an insane game, and FFXIII looks freaking sweet as well, and i nearly wet myself looking at those XIII:Versus screens lol the world of crystals... Beautiful ^^ Story: Yet to be judged, but based on crystals, sounds good so far ^^

supermun2
supermun2

shut the hell up "icedefensegod" if you dont like the way they write then piss off and make you own site and see how many people read your crap, and as for the ps2 "owning" the xbox and 360, just grow up you gay little fanboy ALL systems have awesome games, just because you dont like the xbox doesnt make it worse than the ps2. but anyway final fantasy xii looks really good and they seem to be doing a great job with pushing the graphics for the ps2, cant wait for it.

Built
Built

need to get it!!!

gamespotr0cks
gamespotr0cks

@: since you seem to be so critical about GS, want to point to another site that is doing a better job at reviewing games? :o

leeveeu
leeveeu

6 years put into a game is HUGE

IceDefenseGod
IceDefenseGod

None of this is new. I hate how much Gamespot's been doing next to nothing recently with the best games. They are gaining such bad tastes, and they are becoming obsessed with insane graphics, and are also becoming adrenaline junkies. They are making me mad with their lack of enthusiasm lately. GameSpot's coming across like Halo-junkies to me. The way I use that term is someone who likes Xbox much more then they should, because Halo 2 is the only good original game for Xbox. All the others are just the same as PS2, and PS2 owns Xbox and Xbox 360.

Zonelezz
Zonelezz

lol this had better be an amazing game...

zeroroach
zeroroach

This is such bad reporting. Not even a single quote from the interview. Get yr act together, dammit.

Tuchaka
Tuchaka

sweet, finally you can see you enemies yay, and i liked real time a hell of alot beta in FFX-2 then FFX im so gettin this game, looks sweet

juvenile_azn
juvenile_azn

6 years of effort. Hope it all comes up to be a amazing game.

cruzer679
cruzer679

FF12 is an awesome game....i've clocked 20 plus hours on the Japanese Version and not only was i impressed by the Gambit Battle system, the shear size of city and enviroments will totally absorb all RPG fans out there...seamlessness is definatly a plus and added to this the Lisencing system...my only disapointment was that in that 20 hours the much fancied FF icon the CHOCOBO wasn't utlised that much...it exisited in FF12 only for transportation reasons and to cross certain terraincial spots...the CHOCOBO looks amazing....by far the best in all FF series...its created using awesome Mechanics and it would have been really cool to see something like FF9 sytle CHOCOBO mini game...but than again i have only played 20 hrs...much is still left to be seen...anywayz this will by far be the best RPG to hit PS2 this year.....period!!!.....~~~(placed online order)!!~~~

_AbBaNdOn
_AbBaNdOn

Having the environment and battle system of an mmorpg would be KILLER. However thats just the graphicaly representation. I dont think an FF game will ever be top qaulity until they start pushing for more DEPTH. The perfect FF game would have the story, art, and mechanics of FF but the awesome random dungeons and item/stat growth of Disgaea 1/2. Now that games are gonna start being 60$ for next gen consoles I want MORE than a glorified interactive story, I want something i can continue to play even after i beat it and I havent played an FF game where that has happened yet. In comparision i've been banging away on Disgaea 2 for over 110 hours now and I could care less about finishing the story because im just having to much fun. Sqaure enix doesnt need to copy NIS games but they should sure as hell draw inspiration from them and it would make there games waay more worth playing and even owning.

leeveeu
leeveeu

This game will become the wannabe of all RPG games.

vash_021
vash_021

It been a long time since i played a final fantasy game the last i played was ff X. Ican't wait for this one ^_^

jwsoul
jwsoul

majorwes great stuff..But barring the destruction of the US shipments by global terrorists...please thats just to much although im from the UK im sure it wld effect us to. Nightmare !

majorwes
majorwes

"I disagree with those who have negative feelings about the new battle system. Having watched the gameplay movies, well...too many times, the real time battle system adds fluidity to the game. Instead of the normal final fantasy sequence: brief pause, "SWOOOOOSHHH-CHOOOOOO" sound effect, and smearing color scheme that initiates battle (which, yes, has gotten old) everything is integrated in real time. Just like was mentioned in the article, the final fantasy creators would NEVER have the reputation and respect they have presently if it weren't for their innovative ideas. I guarantee they'll make believers out even the stingiest of ff traditionalists. If you miss the old battle systems, GO BACK AND PLAY THE OLD GAMES! Otherwise, allow for some fresh ideas. Not to offend fans of the follows series because I love them as well but the repetitive, un-inspired repetition of the splinter cell like, adenture game genre has led to a stale variety of games--it drives me nuts. We should be so lucky that a series like ff can keep fans coming back with the enthusiasm they express, game, after, game, after game. Final Fantasy XII, barring the destruction of the US shipments by global terrorists, is destined to follow suit...sorry, but its true." yeah right i imported and guess what i didnt like the gameplay!!! its just not traditional, the turn base is way better!!!

MasterAsh42
MasterAsh42

I want to be excited by this, I really do, but I keep thinking about the Dragonquest VIII demo and, lo, I become crestfallen. Never before had I felt so. . .disconnected while engaged in a "real-time" experience. Maybe if I'd played more (read: any) MMORPG titles and less third-person action ones, I could get behind the combat, but as it stands, I couldn't help but find it jarring.

bminns
bminns

i cant wait for this game

freek33
freek33

This game does look the plumbs but milkweed989, you just can't make such silly statements and expect anyone to take you seriously. Be objective mate!

_Sam_
_Sam_

I'm sure it will be good

devonvorloy
devonvorloy

THE GREAT GAME EVER!!!!MORE THAN FF7, THAT WAS NUMBER 1 RPG GAME OF ALL TIME!!!

adopted_pzyko
adopted_pzyko

ARRIEVE ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ive played the DEMO verion of FF12 to death and i cant wait for the realese of this in the states... damn awesome grfx and air pirates!!!!! this cant get any better...

milkweed989
milkweed989

i am so thrilled i cannot wait for this game to come out this is going to be so much beter then any xbox game out there

Murpheus007
Murpheus007

That sounds like a great change up. I haven't bought a FF games since FF VIII and that one was horrible. I'll try it, if I likes, then I'll buy. If not, not thank you come again.

bin-hiding
bin-hiding

i've been waiting for this game forever.. only a month is left of the wait time... but that still seems like forever... why dont they just change the release date to TODAY.... you know they have the game ready ... stop teasing AND LET US ENJOY THE THANG!!!!

uriens1981
uriens1981

I play the demo and i think the real time battle is very good !!! I like !!!!

edhc44
edhc44

Doolum Combat IS in real time. The game's been out in Japan for quite a while now and it was real time. The demo that came with DQVIII included this feature. Moreover, the american version is due next month, why on earth combat would be turn-based?!?! Oh yeah, it seems that famitsu gave this game a "perfect 40". It may be of some relevance to some people but I don't really care what professional reviewers have to say about it, as long as this game washes out the bad taste in my mouth left by FFX.

Dinghy_Dog
Dinghy_Dog

I'm pumped. Classic FF fighting systems are great but real time fighting is gonna rock!

OniSwordsman
OniSwordsman

This is the last FF to come out on the ps2, and lets hope it ends with a bang. but i have hope that this storyline is going to rock, i just wish the main character didn't look so feminine.

Tomi80
Tomi80

I play the demo. It's not this Final Fantasy what I play at the beginning. The real time battle is kill the gameplay.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

please please don't disappoint ... i believe it should do well to my liking ... i can't wait!!!!

fordy03
fordy03

This game is going to be amazing it may finally be the Final Fantasy that lives up to Final Fantasy 7....

Doolum
Doolum

if combat will be in real time as stated then am definitely going to go for the game.if not,then maybe we'll think about it.

Zacek
Zacek

I hope this game gets a nice review soon!

hazardious
hazardious

I hope its good and maybe it will be but final fantasy 7 set the bar so high that there arent any good rpgs anymore from Square, its just like namco they set the bar really high with the SNES version and psone version of tales of phantasia that all the tales after it fell well lame and short......oh well i really love RPG's and i hope that Square and namco give us good rpgs in the future (I HOPE) PS: I REALLY REALLY REALLYYY HOPE THAT digidevilwill is right

digidevilwil
digidevilwil

This looks like it will be the best Final Fantasy ever, ive never been so hyped for a rpg before.

FstBrk342
FstBrk342

i want to play XII mainly to try out the new system since i missed out on the XI bandwagon, also seeing as how it generally got good press in japan it adds to my interest

kuporound
kuporound

I'm the biggest FF fan in the world, and though I didn't like FFX as much as other people did, now am really excited about FFXII. Played the demo and the japanese version a little (like a 10%) and the battle system is so SO great, it's like you're controlling all characters, only not giving orders. You can change gambits in battle and also use the wait mode to give orders to every party member, though it's really tedious. Can't wait to get the us version.

beatneck2003
beatneck2003

Eh. I rather have my randoms pop-up in a separate screen. And lack of control over your party really doesn't seem like the way to go. Might as well hire someone to play the game for me.

jwmcafee
jwmcafee

I'm not as excited about XII as I have been about previous FF games. I'm not sure if I like the idea of a new battle system, and I don't think the characters are that interesting, although I admittedly don't know anything about them. I have huge doubts, but guess what. I'm gonna buy it, and I'm gonna play it. Just like every single one of you people out there complaining about all the changes. No matter the changes it is STILL Final Fantasy and I believe in the series not to let me down. So, stop complaining because you know you're going to play it anyway. If you play it and still don't like it, you can complain, but we're still not gonna care. Thanks.

Anebolos
Anebolos

FF VII, VIII and IX were AMAZING, all with brilliant stories, battle systems, sounds and graphics. X was also good, in fact, EVERY SINGLE FF since IV was great (apart from XI, which I didn't play, so I'm not the one to judge), the first three were cradles for the the perfection that the others are. Now, XII... All I can say is this - they are either gonna get an amazing number of new fans, or they're gonna lose the faithfull ones like me and, I'm sure, you. So, it's all to play for, S-E. Hope you had that in mind when you decided to revolutionise CRPGs...