We put a lot of ‘new’ in Final Fantasy X. It was the first game in the Final Fantasy series to be built in full 3D, we introduced new types of presentation, a new battle system… it even came out on new hardware. It also spawned the first direct sequel in the series’ history – Final Fantasy X-2.
This game was similarly fresh, and had a very different style, tone, and structure to the rest of the series.
I worked as producer on Final Fantasy X and its sequel. With both available on PlayStation Now in Final Fantasy X | X-2 HD Remaster, I thought I’d share some memories of working on these very special games.
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to be developed for the PS2. There are always challenges and decisions to be made when working with new hardware, and that was certainly the case for Final Fantasy X.
The PlayStation 2 effect
One key decision we faced was around the visuals. Even though the PS2 offered a big increase in power from the original PlayStation, there was still a limit to the hardware specs, so to depict the new graphical style, we had to choose whether to prioritize resolution or the number of colors.
Initially, we thought it would be beneficial to use more colors – we thought that would help us really depict the world of Spira in a vibrant way. However, when we looked at the trends in other companies’ games released while we were working on development, it became increasingly clear that fans were hoping for higher resolution next-gen games.
As a result, we switched from focusing on the number of colors to making the game as high resolution as possible – and we did this about six months before the master deadline!
This meant we had to make major modifications to the game we’d made so far, which was a big risk in terms of the schedule. Fortunately, our excellent programmers and designers did a wonderful job.
In the end, a ‘high-res’ Final Fantasy X was born, and we were able to achieve the sort of high-end visuals you’d expect from a next- gen console.
An in-Spira-ing world
The new visual style added other challenges too. For example, Final Fantasy X was the first game in the series to not include a world map – this is because the game was built in full 3D, and that’s expensive!
As game creators, we sometimes have to make decisions that balance game design with ballooning production costs. In this case, dropping the overworld map was the most realistic solution we had available.
Our prior games, Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII had been set in steampunk and science fiction-inspired worlds respectively, so we wanted to do something different.
This might be also the reason why Art Director Yusuke Naora came up with the concept of having a world with an Asian feel to it, and that became the inspiration for Spira.
New battle plans
That wasn’t the only break from tradition introduced in Final Fantasy X either – we also reinvented the combat system.
The previous few games had used the Active Time Battle (ATB) system