Final Fantasy producer drops DS hints
Akitoshi Kawazu takes the stage at Tokyo event; talks FFIII, Crystal Chronicles, and…Square Enix cell phone games to DS?
TOKYO--In an event characterized by big surprises, perhaps the biggest of them all was the unveiling of Final Fantasy III. The audience of press and retailers who packed Nintendo's press event this morning in Tokyo applauded for the short teaser film, showing a rotating Final Fantasy crystal and the opening text from the classic Famicom game. After the video ended, Square Enix producer Akitoshi Kawazu took the stage alongside Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto to discuss the game and Square Enix's plans for the DS in general.
Originally released in 1990 for the Nintendo Famicom (the Japanese version of the NES), Final Fantasy III was one of the lengthiest, most elaborate games ever produced for the classic system. It introduced the Job Change system, where players could switch at will between different classes like Fighter and Black Mage. FFIII was notorious for being the only early Final Fantasy title to never be remade or ported in any form, and also for being the only FF to never be released outside of Japan.
"It's a 15-year-old game. We've tried a number of times to port it to a new system, but it's never realized yet, Kawazu said. (A port of FFIII was announced and shown for the Bandai WonderSwan Color handheld in Japan, but it was never released.) The interface will really be different from the original, using the touch panel and the double screen. So please look forward to the game's rebirth."
Aside from Final Fantasy III, Kawazu also talked a bit about the upcoming DS version of Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. "Crystal Chronicles was a game that was played with both the GameCube and the Game Boy Advance," Kawazu began. "But this time, it won't have that kind of a mechanism--you will play the game with the DS alone."
Hearing this, Miyamoto threw in his own two cents on connectivity. "In creating GBA connectivity games for the GameCube, we had to deal with four handheld systems at once. Trying to get it all equipped was just troublesome," Miyamoto laughed. "But the DS comes with its own two screens, and it doesn't need wires. We're working on Legend of Zelda: Four Swords for the DS, so it'll be a competition."
Surprising the audience again, Miyamoto brought up the subject of Internet gaming with Kawazu. "Square Enix is famous for Internet gaming," persuaded Miyamoto. "Well, we're planning to connect the DS to the Internet, so I'm wondering if Square Enix is thinking of anything in this vein."
"I'm not sure if we can just bring our Internet games directly to the DS, since that would be rather difficult," replied Kawazu. "And a lot of people are still saying that the barrier to playing network [games] is too high. But I'm hoping that the DS will help lower that threshold, by bringing mobile games to the DS."
Could Kawazu really mean that Square Enix's mobile games, like Final Fantasy VII Before Crisis, are headed to Nintendo's new handheld? It would certainly seem that way from his comments, although nothing has been confirmed yet. One thing's for sure--he would not have said anything in front of a massive crowd of journalists had there not been relevant projects in the works.
GameSpot will continue to update on the ongoing Nintendo DS news as it breaks.
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