Lifting the Curtain on Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

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The music of Final Fantasy has always captured the scope and vision of the series. With a library of compositions sourced from over 15 games, the upcoming Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call has no shortage of material to draw upon.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call is the sequel to the 2012 rhythm game, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy. Both games feature music made famous by the Final Fantasy series. At E3 2014, I sat down with Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call producer Ichiro Hazama to talk about the game's development and the future of the series.

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The Theatrhythm games feature a large cast of characters from the Final Fantasy games drawn in an alternate chibi-style. You play through songs by clearing circles, arrows, and lines with a series of timed taps and swipes. Successfully timing these actions wears down the health of an enemy monster, and missing cues depletes the health of the party. The required dexterity initially felt strange, but after a few songs I soon found myself enjoying the challenge of hitting the beats in time to some of my favourite Final Fantasy songs.

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy contained under 80 tracks. By comparison, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call offers over 220 tunes for fans to play. The addition of more songs and characters was in response to fan feedback, although Hazama admitted, "if we did exactly what the fans told us, what we'd end up with would be Theatrhythm Final Fantasy 7."

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If the existing catalogue was not enough, Hazama was open to the idea of releasing downloadable content. "One of the things I think that we should do is use downloadable content to increase the amount of tracks, songs, and music stages available," he said.

In addition to a more robust library, Curtain Call also introduces critical hits in battle, a multiplayer versus mode, and a quest medley mode. According to Hazama, the implementation of a multiplayer versus mode proved to be a challenge for the development team.

"There were a lot of technical changes and tweaks that needed to be done to get versus mode going," he said.

"But from the design point of view, the biggest challenge and the hardest thing was to get all the different attacks into versus mode. It was getting all the different attacks in, and making sure it was easy to understand what was going on and who was doing what."

The idea for a versus mode came from creative producer Tetsuya Nomura, who suggested its inclusion during early stages of development. The objective was to bring players together to play with others from all around the world.

Speaking on the future of the series, Hazama was hesitant, saying there was "nothing concrete on the table yet."

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"This is just my own broad thinking, but we're probably going to draw the line on Final Fantasy. This will be the last Theatrhythm featuring Final Fantasy. I'm thinking about other titles with music that we produce, we can do something with that." he added.

He did not name any particular titles, but Square Enix possesses a catalogue of games with a large variety of soundtracks. I'd like to think the Kingdom Hearts and Parasite Eve series would sport music suitable for implementation into a rhythm game. In the meantime, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call offers a rewarding rhythmic experience set to an extensive library of Final Fantasy melodies.

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