Friday, March 30, 2018

A Conversation With the Creator of Final Fantasy IV - (theatre influence)

(from by Jeremy Parish - April 15th, 2011)

...I guess up until then RPGs tended to have a map, a dungeon, a castle, and boss battles, and you kind of went back and forth between the gameplay and the boss battles. But our idea was if we approached it from a movie editing perspective, perhaps we could create a more dramatic, story-driven game.

And it was also a big development in terms of music, because up until then we had one piece music per map, essentially. For IV, we focused on how to make the game more emotional -- to have the music play at the right timing. And so it was kind of a new way to approach the music in a game.

1UP: The characters are really a big part of the game, and FFIV was really the first game I can think of to have musical leitmotifs surrounding the characters. Did you and [composer Nobuo] Uematsu look to movies for inspiration and say, "This is something we need in our game?"

Tokita: I, myself, have a theatre background, and the main appeal of an RPG is that you can play as the protagonist. We really wanted to have the music play out when it would affect you the most, in a sense. So, we really focused on finding the right points and best timings to play the music so it would evoke the emotions necessary to make you feel better.

1UP: You say you have a theatre background. Did you have a lot of interest in videogames and, specifically, RPGs before coming to work with Square and Final Fantasy?

Tokita: I'm a little bit the opposite, actually. Apparently there was an animation boom when I was young. I had the intention of becoming a voice actor. On the side, I was drawing manga and cartoons, and while I was in a theatre troupe, I made some cash. I had the game design work as something part-time on the side, and that's how I got into the industry.

As a part-time job, I wanted to be involved in something creative as well. So a career in game design seemed very appealing as well. I'm not sure if you know Tokyo very well, but there's a little area Roppongi... Prior to Square, I was with ASCII in Roppongi.

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