Friday, April 16, 2021

Final Fantasy Creator talks about his latest Fantasian RPG and the diorama worlds he lives in

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Hironobi Sakaguchi is no stranger to experimentation. In what would later become one of the most ironically named games, Final Fantasy was initially Sakaguichi’s defining moment in the gaming industry. If Final Fantasy had failed, Sakaguchi would have returned to college and the RPG world. would be poorer. Fantastic, the next game from Sakaguchi’s development studio Mistwalker, doesn’t have the game-changer or the game-changer as Final Fantasy, but it does embrace the same level of personal investment and creativity. early last month, Sakaguchi said Fantasian was “a game that shouldn’t exist”. Speaking with us, he clarified his statement, saying a game “with a diorama [development] pipeline probably shouldn’t exist. “

More than just a collection of static backgrounds, such as levels and pre-rendered environments from games like Final Fantasy 7, Fantasian’s dioramas are fully 3D, each digitized using the same type of photography. 3D used to map real world cities. with drone photography.Scanning with drones compared to traditional 3D scanning techniques “has been found to be more effective in getting and extracting the 3D information from the dioramas and then rendering in 3D space,” Sakaguchi said, calling the work “unique challenge”.

Another challenge that Sakaguchi and the company encountered when building the dioramas arose from the inherent lack of flexibility: once the diorama is built, it cannot simply be changed in a graphics program.

“Once you lock this design, you create this, there’s no ‘hey let’s move this path over here’ or ‘hey let’s add some trees over here’,” he said.

“We need to put more time into the design phase. You really care a lot about that environment, and it changes the type of workflow, in a way.”

Sakaguchi said that one of the perks of being locked into the world of dioramas is how it can sometimes change their ideas for the design of the game.

It fires the imagination in a way we didn’t think it would and it expands the way you might want to design the game.


“You will see the actual object and that could kind of inform the design of the game,” he said. “Like, that roof looks really cool, I didn’t expect it to be that way, I think we can allow the characters to step on it. It fuels the imagination in a way. that we didn’t think. would and it expands the way you might want to design the game or that particular map. “

Fantasian introduces more than just a new level design, bringing a new “Dimengeon Battle” system to its traditional random enemy encounters. In a nutshell, you can “bank” encounters as you explore the world, sending monsters to another dimension. Later, you can visit this alternate-dimensional dungeon to fight enemies in a massive group, rather than individually. The system gives you the chance to reap higher rewards and allows you to have more of your say in when and how you approach battles.

Fantasy art and dioramas

An aiming system is also in place, with some attacks having the ability to bend over and hit multiple enemies, with bonuses given for cleverly targeted shots.

Regarding the Fantasian story, Sakaguchi said he took inspiration from his roots with Final Fantasy, but the dioramas themselves affected the narrative design as well.

Fantasian follows the story of Leo, a young man in search of his father, who travels “across the world and between dimensions, using whatever he can,” according to Mistwalker. In a classic JRPG plot device, Leo’s memory is erased, caused by “a massive explosion in a hybrid magical tech factory” for which Leo was responsible. His only memory, “a vision of a young woman”, takes him to a remote village where Fantasia’s larger quest really begins.

Dioramas have a unique charm and warmth that I think cannot be replicated by other mediums


“The dioramas have a unique charm and warmth that I think cannot be replicated by other mediums,” Sakaguchi said of how the settings helped inform the direction of the story. “There was a bit of synergy, I would say, between the story and the themes of the game with the diorama sets.”

Ultimately, the dioramas and gameplay were designed with the Apple Arcade touchscreen interface coloring much of the process. Sakaguchi said there is a unique relationship “between these handcrafted dioramas and the glass sheet” of the iPad or iPhone screen.

“The players using their hands to then interact with this craft world” and how “human hands play a big part in connecting these two” also inspired the direction of Fantasian.

Fantasian is coming to Apple Arcade later this year, and now it can be found on the Apple Arcade “Coming Soon” page.

Seth Macy is the editor-in-chief of IGN, IGN Commerce, and just wants to be your friend.

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