We recently took a field trip to Gallery Nucleus in Southern California for the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster art gallery and on display were several pieces of game-related art which included concept art, screenshots, and a live painting of Yuna and Tidus. During the event, Director Yoshinori Kitase and Art Director Yusuke Naora were in attendance to answer several questions from the press.
What exactly was involved in the directing process for the remake of X and X-2?
Yoshinori Kitase: Since the PS2 version already existed, the brunt of the work was deciding what to change and leave alone for the remaster. After the actual production began, all that was left was to check and approve the rest of the creative process.
Yusuke Naora: We wanted to improve the art quality of the game with fixes such as color correctness, backgrounds, and of course, resolution all done with the enjoyment of the fans in mind.
What led you to remake X and X-2 as opposed to others?
YK: Well, FFIV and other games before that are available on mobile devices and the PS archives [in Japan], but X and X-2 are only available on the PS2. Because of this, we thought that they were really in need of a port to modern consoles.
Hardware has really changed in the ten years since X’s release. What was the greatest technical challenge the team had to face bringing this to modern consoles?
YN: It was definitely most challenging when it came to the graphics of the game as modern resolutions are stretched much more to the side, so in the original, there were sections on the [sides of] the screen that weren’t supposed to be shown. On top of this, with the newer technology we had to work with, we found new challenges with the sharper image qualities.
Aside from the enhanced graphics, one of the new elements that were updated was the soundtrack. When did you decide to update the soundtrack?
YK: At first I didn’t actually plan to have the music updated but when the sound team heard about the project, they approached me and asked if they could remaster the soundtrack as well.
What were some of the inspirations behind the game’s lush environments and which environment do you think benefitted the most from the HD remake?
YN: Well, in terms of FFX, not only was our art staff but also a number of our staff spent time in South East Asia such as Bali and Thailand and brought back some influences from these places to incorporate [into Spira]. With the HD remaster, we felt that we were able to bring more of what we originally envisioned into the game due to the richer colors we had to work with, especially in the scene where Tidus is looking off into the sunset.
What was involved in the process of creating the world of Spira and its people?
YK: While brainstorming elements of the world in the original game, we were trying to come up with ideas on how to portray a richer story. For example, I wanted the color palate for Besaid Village to be quite colorful, and in that way we were just coming up with one idea after another as we thought of them without taking very many breaks.
What’s next for the two of you?
YN: Well, I am currently working on FFXV. That’s about all I can say about that. [laughs]
YK: I’m actually trying to get a project started up myself, and that’s about all I can disclose about that. Neither of us actually ever knows what the other is working on at any given time. [laughs]
What was your overall favorite scene from the two games and why?
YK: My favorite scene would probably have to be the ending scene in FFX when Yuna attempts to run into Tidus’s arms.
YN: The ending scene was my favorite too. [laughs]
When we expressed interest in the inclusion of Japanese voices in the American release, Yoshinori Kitase expressed how he didn’t really receive much feedback regarding this. Yusuke Naora then asked me whether or not there was a significant interest for this in America, with which I responded to with a resounding “yes”. You guys can thank me later. After the interview, the two expressed how their feelings have changed over the last ten years. After having raised sons, they feel that they sympathized more with Jecht this time around as opposed to Tidus in the original release. Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster releases for PS3 and Vita on 3/16/14.