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Interview Theatrhythm : Hazama & Suzui (ENG)


The rhythm game dedicated to FINAL FANTASY (and other Square Enix licenses) is making a superb comeback on February 16, 2023 on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. We had the opportunity to interview producer Ichiro Hazama and director Masanobu Suzui from indieszero.

The interview was conducted in English with a translation into Japanese on February 3, 2023

Ichiro Hazama: We are very happy to see you guys, lovely to see you!

Finaland: For All-Star Carnival Arcade, you added the Supreme difficulty. How much have the tracks on this difficulty been modified for the console version? It is also said that you had planned something even more difficult than that.

Hazama: There’s a lot of rumors going by that…where you heard that, it’s nothing interesting (laughs)

Masanobu Suzui: We are very surprised that you know about All-Star Carnival because it was only available in Japan. Obviously, people here can’t get a chance to play it. For your first question, in terms of difficulty it is not quite exactly the same as the arcade game but there are 16 different levels. The level 16, the top one is actually really difficult and we don’t like showing that to regular players, it kind of puts people off. We haven’t shown that in the promotion of the game because if you show it straight away, you get people on Twitter see that and saying “oh that’s ridiculous I can’t play that game, that’s impossible” and they just don’t buy it! So we don’t like showing that too much outside of real experts players but yes, level 16 is a really satisfying challenge if you’re a good player.

Regarding the difficulty level for the arcade game and for the home console, they have to be tweaked slightly differently because the arcade game has two buttons and joysticks, that’s a very different way to play a game using a controller with your fingers. Maybe the difficulty from the arcade has been made slightly easier on console because of the difficulty using a controller. They are slightly different but if you take the top level, it is still a very difficult challenge, it hasn’t changed that much.

One of the special tracks made for the new game is the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Special Arrangement Medley. That’s a very difficult stage, try out it’s a big challenge!

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): More difficult than Clash on the Big Bridge All-Star Carnival Arrangement ?

Suzui: Yes, maybe (laughs). It is a different style of gameplay, rather than being a bashing style, you have to change your tactics, your adaptation… It is a different kind of challenge. Listening to your question, we understand that you guys are really hardcore fans of Final Fantasy and Theatrhythm.

Hazama: We talked to a lot of different media outlets, the fact that the first question is that… It tells us how dedicated you guys are (laughs). Coming to France and hearing about the japanese arcade version… That shows who you guys are about, that’s cool. You’re also wearing a Chocobo sweatshirt (laughs)... Oh you too have the UNIQLO FINAL FANTASY V t-shirt, and you too ! Wow it’s amazing.

Final Fantasy Ring: The previous episode on a handheld console was Curtain Call, in 2014. What convinced you 2023 would be the best moment to release a new episode?

Hazama: We have different reasons. From my perspective, probably the most important thing was in that time, so many new Final Fantasy games came out after the release of Curtain Call. I think when it came out, FINAL FANTASY XV was about to be released, we had a few things in there but it wasn’t really fully covere. Then, there are FINAL FANTASY XIV expansions, we got FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE etc. So the number of new games with new music in them… We wanted to feature it, I think that was the main reason why we have started to talk about a new Theatrhythm.

Suzui: The 35th anniversary of the FINAL FANTASY saga was quite big to me. I think when Curtain Call released, it was pretty much around the 25th anniversary? We didn’t quite made it to the 30th anniversary. I thought as a present to the fans, you wanted to see that, fans want to see a celebration game of all FINAL FANTASY for the 35th anniversary. I really wanted to make something like that. I think it was the biggest motivation for me. By the way, have you all played the demo? 

Everyone: Yes !

Suzui: Thank you!

Hazama: I guess you are all already level 30 considering how dedicated you are.

Everyone: Yes!

Suzui: Ehhhh (laughs) that’s amazing.

Hazama: We should have probably made the demo with a higher level cap.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): I think 50.

Suzui & Hazama: (laughs)

Finaland (Arsenou-kun): I am not really good at the game.

Hazama : The game is designed so that if you’re not a good player, you can raise your level by playing, there are different levels of skills. On Twitter in Japan, there’s a player who already has SSS for every single track.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): I think his twitter is trials_of_mana

Suzui: He called himself Test.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): Yes, it’s him!

Suzui: He was a really big player of All-Star Carnival… So you follow the Japanese Twitter from France as well! Are you using the translation button?

Finaland: We learn japanese.

Suzui: Ehhhhh? Then watch me too! (laughs) (Twitter)

Hazama: Our language ability isn’t good because we didn’t have the opportunity to go on these trips recently. We couldn’t download the demo outside of Japan. 

Final Fantasy World: By the way, thank you for translating the game in French this time.

Suzui: We wanted to do that, it was quite a difficult work to translate into all those different languages with the in-game text, the famous lines of all the characters localized and checking, that was a lot of work.

Final Fantasy World: Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory evolved the Theatrhythm formula. I wanted to know, were some elements of Theatrhythm Final Bar Line inspired or influenced by this game?

Hazama: Yes, there are different things from Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory in there. The idea for FINAL BAR LINE is really the culmination, to bring together the whole Theatrhythm series, so we included the elements from all of the games previously. For example Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest, Theatrhythm All-Star Carnival you’ve mentioned. And we added some things we wanted to do with those games but couldn’t have the ability to do it back at the time. So it is really to bring the whole series and to put it all the ideas that we had from all over Theatrhythm. There are things from Melody of Memory that are in Final Bar Line. It is definitely here.

Suzui: There is an evolution across the game. In All-Star Carnival, we have introduced the mechanic where you press two buttons together, it was first time we had that and we evolved that further in Melody of Memory where you have the idea of Sora, Donald and Goofy, those three characters together at the same time so we thought about that for Final Bar Line on how can we evolve in a new direction. This is a slightly new approach to it, but that’s one of the mechanic we did carry over from Melody of Memory.

Final Fantasy Dream: Did some tracks were difficult to transcribe in the game due to the complexity or the length?

Suzui: It really comes down of “how long would a player want to play the stage for”. That’s quite an important fact. Our basic policy is that most tracks should be around 2 minutes. It depends on the track because if we think “Ok it can be a great track” and then 2 minutes isn’t enough and there’s one phase of the music people really need to hear, we have to make it 3 minutes to cover that or reach the 4 minutes mark, or it won’t have the best part of the music. We check which part of the music people like as well. In the arcade game, there was one track that was 7 minutes long and we heard a lot of players saying that their hands froze before they could finish it. I think it was One-Winged Angel.

Hazama : It’s hard to remember all those tracks and the details. There are more than 500 of them. Sometimes, we look at the name and we’re saying “which one is this again ?”, I can’t remember them all (laughs)

Finaland: The tracklist is very long and choices had to be made. Will there be other music packs beyond the season pass, unlike KINGDOM HEARTS Melody of Memory which had no DLC? We think for example of FINAL FANTASY XVI in the future, the Brave Exvius saga, Tactics Advance, the FINAL FANTASY XIV expansions etc...

Hazama: Currently, there aren’t any plans for anything beyond what we’ve announced. There are three Season Passes, all those are what we’re working on, what we got planned. The thing is, when we’re working toward new games to Theatrhythm, we have to play the game first, we need to see what kind of game it is, which kind of scene the fans would react, which songs will resonate with them and then yes, we know what the game is about, now we can put it into the game. It's really difficult, we can’t do it until you play them so obviously, if we add anything beyond the three Season passes, we have to play those games first, it will take a little bit more time.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo) : Please take my money.

Suzui & Hazama : (laughs) Thank you.

Final Fantasy Ring: Do you envisage making Final Bar Line a game as a service, with new tracks, fields and characters included for the next few years?

Suzui: Like a subscription service model?

FF Ring: Yes, just a game where, as a player, we can play for many years because we have new content every month.

Hazama: Ahhhhh, I’m wondering about this…

Suzui: I’m thinking about how we want to sell the game and the most honest way, the fans that will appreciate the most, is to have it as a one purchase. You spend your money, you get this much content, you’re going to be able to enjoy it. You don’t have to wait for anything extra. We think that the most honest way to sell the game.

If you do go for a service model, you have to keep the customer to pay money and they don’t know what they get, so we think it’s the most honest way that fans will appreciate. This is the price you pay, we tried to get it down as low as possible. Hazama-san did really well for the deluxe version where you get all the content as cheap as possible. You paid, you get to play everything rather than making people wait and they don’t know what they will get. That is our feeling regarding this matter.

FF Ring: That’s fair!

Suzui & Hazama: Thank you, that’s a relief! We appreciate that.

FF World: I was wondering, ever since the very first Theatrhythm, what is the way of selecting the tracks, when you pick this one and not that one. And maybe for the latest game, why do you pick that one part of this track instead of another?

Suzui: For the first part of your question, there’s a huge list from all of the games. We narrow that down, like ok we take this one and this one… We narrowed it down to a number that can fit into the game. What we’re based on… It is essentially the popularity of tracks, the ones fans know the best, what they like the most, there are various sources. Square Enix does a lot of surveys, we ask fans what their favorite track is and we use those answers. There’s also the one we use for the trailer, obviously the track we use for the promotion of the game and on top of that, we have the setlist from all the Final Fantasy concerts around the world. We ask the concert team which tracks are the most popular, the best ones, we want to include those as well. The idea is really based on what the fans know and love the best. We use a lot of different information sources to work that out.

There are also different considerations. Theatrhythm has different types of music stages. You have Field Stage, Battle Stage and Event Stage, the Boss Stage… We need to have tracks that work with each context. For example, what is the standard battle theme from the game we need to use here, what is the most memorable boss battle theme, what is the standard exploration theme… We need to find the type of music that fits with the different stages as well and have enough of those.

For the second part of your question, every single track is a battle, there’s an internal argument of what we do for every single one of them (laugh). It is really difficult because when we think about it, we need this phase, it is the most important one, we need that part but the beat at the beginning, you really need that one as well, it’s always hard picking exactly where to make the cut. FINAL FANTASY XIII, FINAL FANTASY XIV… the second half of both of those games use some really long tracks, and the trouble with this is they get better and better, especially those from FINAL FANTASY XIV when it gets really good at the end but we want to have the beginning as well… It’s really hard but it is a case by case. The team has to sit down, try to check exactly which part fans want. There’s no easy answer for that.

FF World: I was also wondering about… In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE for example, there are dynamic tracks. For example The Airbuster, it has different sections that change during the battle. So how did they cut and adapt that into the game?

Suzui: For that one, we had a quite close discussion with the Square Enix sound team that made those tracks in the first place. We are generally based on the version that is on the official soundtrack CD, so if they think it's the most based version of that track they want to use, then we will use it for Theatrhythm. Is there any track that you think “No I prefer if you have this part instead ?” Is there any track you would love to see differently? I’ll take that feedback back to Japan to let them know. (laughs)

FF World: Actually not that but with the first Theatrhythm that strucks me, some parts you really like one part, not the melody but the beat and they have you play the melody and you’re like “Why don't you let me play the beat?”

Suzui: That’s something we have looked at a lot since the beginning of Theatrhythm and I think we have changed our approach as the series went on. In the first one, we generally went just for the melody but there has been more discussion “Ok this track might be better to play the other side of it, or the beat instead”. For a few tracks, the melody doesn’t work best so we kind of broaden out in that sense and do different things for different tracks.

Another thing we do. For some of the longest tracks, there is a single phase that is repeated a lot. I think Clash on the Big Bridge is a good example of that, you have the same well known phase that comes out again and again… We felt that if you’re doing the same controls and entering the same beat every single time, it might be a bit dull. So in those cases we’ve kind of changed this like the first time you’ll do the melody, the second time you’ll do the beat instead and it changes a little bit each time so we’ve added that kind of variation in this as well. However, SE-PHI-ROTH in One-Winged Angel has to be in there, we don’t want to change it. That’s something we are particularly picky about. (laughs)

FF Dream: How long do you think it takes to collect all the CollectaCards in the game?

Hazama: Ahhhh I don’t know…

Suzui: There’s so many of them this time, I can’t remember the exact number. I think it’s over a thousand now. We actually thought that might be too many. Internally, nobody was able to collect all of them. In order to alleviate that, we have added a number of few gameplay features that make it easier to collect the cards. For example, there’s items you can equip and different characters have different abilities to make it easier to drop rarer cards or easier to drop more cards. The other thing is in the multi-battle mode. You have a team of 4 players, you create a lobby to play in. If you keep playing with the same team in the same lobby, the lobby level goes up and it becomes more powerful. The rarity of the cards you get becomes higher so playing in those ways will make it easier to collect all of them, but there’s a huge number to collect in the game. Do your best!

We did test that internally how long it would take and we think it’s just about possible. If you do your best, you’ll probably get all of them after a certain time but it will take a while.

FF Ring: Nicolas from Finaland will do it in one week.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): What? No way! (laughs)

Hazama & Suzui: (laughs) If you do, please let us know on Twitter!

Finaland: Could we imagine a dedicated controller for the game like on arcade, to be more efficient compared to the normal controllers?

Suzui: Everyone is saying that! We want one, we want one, we want one! Hazama-san, pleaaaaaaaseeeeee! (looking at Hazama-san and poke his shoulders) I brought this up twice during the development of the game (laughs).

Hazama: (laughs) Wait wait wait. You did you did, I remember that (laughs). I think it would be nice and easier to play the game on a dedicated controller if possible. Maybe we could look into that, ask Bandai Namco if they could get the drum controller they have, have four of them in a row or HORI and see if they have previous things they’ve done that we could use… Yes there might be a way. I can’t promise anything, there’s no specific plans to do that but I could always talk to HORI to see if they can do anything with the game maybe? We can look into it.

Suzui: This is a world exclusive here in France (laughs). When we go back to Japan and the development team will hear the translation of what was said here, they will say “Argh we got to do that now?

Hazama: It might be difficult though. You have to program the User Interface on the screen as it shows the live info with information on the controller so we may have a patch to do that. 

FF Ring: Then we shouldn’t write this answer in the interview (laughs)

Hazama: (laughs) We can’t promise anything, we’ll think about it. 

Suzui: Write that and we’ll think about it, we can’t promise anything. (laughs)

Hazama: And if we do go ahead, we have a lot of work to do, both of us. (laughs)

Finaland (Arsenou-kun): Please do it.

Suzui & Hazama: (laughs)

Suzui: We look to a lot of fans to try out different game controllers and other ones on the market and see which is the easiest to use. We do pay attention to what people say for that.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): So we have to ask people to spam the Twitter account of the game? (laughs)

Hazama: (laughs) There is information we get from platforms like which controllers people are using. On the development side, I think if you use a third-party controller that isn’t registered properly, it will come out as a standard joycon. So it might be inaccurate information that will be shown. We have to look into that. We definitely want people to keep playing Final Bar Line for a long time, keep releasing DLC, we want to have a long lifespan title so it might be a good idea to talk to some controller manufacturers to see if they could do something. That’s a scary question that came out! (laughs)

Suzui: It’s a community event! We talk to the community so that’s what comes up with these things (laughs)

FF Ring: The game is a nice collaboration between Square Enix and indieszero. So can you tell us how it began and why you think indieszero is the best team to craft these games?

Hazama: (laughs) It’s quite a long story but how the Theatrhythm series came about… It started quite a while ago when I was in Square. Before I was starting to work on game development, I was actually at the Merchandising team and I think we wanted to make some Final Fantasy trading cards. And I thought of Suzui’s team, they might be a good team to make cards because you need a lot of knowledge on how to make them properly, a good aesthetic sense like when you have foil cards in your collection book to see the image when all the cards are laid out as they have to look nice. You have all the flavor text that are quite small but needed to sum up the game, the world, the story concisely on the back. It takes a lot of skills to do that and his team did a really good job making a Final Fantasy card collection. They’ve learned a lot about Final Fantasy while they were doing it so we thought “Yes, those guys know about the series”.

It took a while until I moved from Merchandising development to game development and I wanted to make a rhythm game using Final Fantasy, I had that idea “With whom could we partner to do that? Hang on, they are good game developers, they know the structure, the mechanics, they also know Final Fantasy. Yes, Suzui-san is probably the best person to do that.” That’s when I approached him to make Theatrhythm. How nostalgic!

Suzui: The Trading card game was named Final Fantasy Art Museum I think. Did you know?

FF World : Yes I know about this.

Suzui: Heeeeeeee? (laughs)

Hazama: That’s awesome! His team made that one.

Suzui: We’ve sold a million packs, it was crazy! 

Hazama: We actually used to work together before at Bandai. I joined the company 2 years after him and he wasn’t making games there at the time. I really wanted to move into the game development side of things and he left Bandai to create indieszero. We knew each other as we worked together at Bandai.

Suzui:  It was 25 years ago! (laughs).

Hazama: Back in those days when we joined the company, we were both young, we had no money so we couldn’t go out to eat. We went to my house and I cooked Yakiniku and Nabe for him, that’s how we started to know each other for quite a long time.

Suzui: Hazama-san treated me really well! 

Hazama: Mr Uchiyama, the current CEO of Bandai Namco was our friend at that time.

Suzui: So we came around Hazama-san house and drink, played games together. I still remember watching the ending of Xenogears for the first time at his house.

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): What is your favorite rhythm game? 

Hazama: Could it be Rhythm Paradise? Bust a Groove

Suzui: It was on PlayStation 2 if I remember.

Hazama: At my house we were always playing against each other, Bust a Groove. We played that a lot. We both got “perfects” and we had to see who made the first mistake at that point.

Suzui: I remember Parappa the Rapper. I wasn’t really good, it was really hard to learn the sequence for that one. I didn’t want to play that rhythm game. (laughs)

Hazama: Do you have any suggestions for rhythm games?

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): Sound Voltex, Dance Dance Revolution!

Suzui: Ah yes, from Konami!

Hazama: Yes I know that one! For Dance Dance Revolution, you need speed and stamina and I don’t have that anymore (laughs)

Suzui:  You seem to be a really dedicated rhythm game player, you must love them.

FF Dream: Taiko too!

Hazama: Yeah that’s cool as well! I think we probably made Theatrhythm a little bit closer to Taiko no Tatsujin, we got the batons playing while tapping.. It does feel maybe more like Taiko.

Suzui: The reason why Theatrhythm plays like this is because of the way I play rhythm action games, my relationship with them. I’m not a great rhythm action game player but in our team we got some very good, expert players. I can’t play that well but I still want to play and complete them. That’s why in Theatrhythm you can keep playing, leveling up, gather Rhythmia, increase your level of your characters and then, if you’re not the best rhythm game player, you can still get through and complete it. I wanted to create a game like that. That’s kind of the influence why Theatrhythm is how it is.

FF World: That’s a relief, I’m not very good with rhythm games. (laughs)

Suzui: It won’t get out of here (laughs). I felt that at the beginning of the project because it is a game aimed toward Final Fantasy fans and obviously, not all fans are rhythm games expert player but we also didn’t want to forget rhythm game expert player, we wanted to give them something too but it is really aimed to Final Fantasy fans, we didn’t think we should make a real skill-based pure rhythm game.

FF Ring: Is there one specific track you really like personally? Only one.

Suzui: I get this question so much and it’s really hard to answer because there are so many tracks I love. For example, Clash on the Big Bridge from FINAL FANTASY V, Those Who Fight from FINAL FANTASY VII, Blinded by Light and The Sunleth Waterscape from FINAL FANTASY XIII… There is one though, that one is my absolute favorite. Let me check first the correct name for this (browse the complete list)... Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call Special Arrange Medley

Finaland (Fat Chocobo): It was a love letter to the fans!

Suzui: I remember the first time we heard that one, we cried, it was amazing. It was the busiest time in the development, we were rushing to get the game finished and then, that came up for the first time. It was like hearing the music of your graduation “finally it’s over”. That was very memorable. I still probably tear up when I hear it now (laughs).

Hazama: Congratulations for your graduation! (laughs). That was a great story, it is really difficult for me to answer now. As for me, I also like Blinded by Light. There’s a lot of them I like but it feels really good with Blinded by Light to tap with the rhythm. I think it is a balanced track, a battle song in a stage where the game plays, it has really nice patterns. I think it’s my favorite as a rhythm game stage.

FFWorld: I do remember in one interview with Hamauzu-san, he composed Blinded by Light. He said that this track was recalculated when he composed it. He made it in a way that it will be immediately catchy for people. I think this is why people like to play it because it’s so catchy.

Suzui: From the very first phase, it is really distinctive, you get it straight away. Bam bam bam bam bam bam bam duuu duuuu (imitation of the rhythm of the track and the violin) (laughs)

Hazama: There has to be the beat you do (looking at Suzui-san)

FF Ring: This is the first track I’ve played in the demo.

Suzui: That’s a good choice.

Hazama: That’s brilliant, it is really a great piece.

Finaland: Despite the huge amount of music in the game, it is impossible to incorporate the entire Square Enix music library. Which titles or tracks that could not be in the game would you have liked to add?

Suzui: There was one that wasn’t going to be in there but actually did it making it and it is the Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY THE 4 HEROES OF LIGHT. It was there from the beginning and people were a bit sick of it, not many people would want that in there, but there are some real dedicated fans of it and in the end, it did go in. Also, Rudra no Hihou… It was never released worldwide, I think that’s why we couldn’t put it in. It was a Super Nintendo Squaresoft era game, a very old one. 

FF World: It was made by Square Osaka.

Hazama: Really? You know better than me about that (laughs).

Suzui: If you think about it from Square Osaka, there are more games that we could have included such as Einhänder, Front Mission for example. We really wanted to keep fantasy stuff, not science-fiction kind of games, it wouldn’t really fit.

Finaland: Our next question is a little bit technical, only for Hazama-san. Are you still working on Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia?

Hazama: I used to work on that one. It is currently handled by the same persons who did Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Fujiwara Jin and Inoue Daisuke. They’re the producers for it. I was there advising them for the first year giving my opinions on it. I realize if I carry on doing that, I’d say too much and I’d ask them to do much more you know. This is their game now, I should leave up to them. After doing it one year, I thought “No, I’m moving away from this project, I’ll leave it to these guys how they want it to be”.

Finaland: Because the question is about the game so if you can’t answer it maybe we’ll ask something else.

Hazama: We haven’t played it recently so not sure we’d have an answer. You can ask me the question and if I can’t answer it now, I’ll ask Fujiwara-san and request him to answer for you.

Finaland: Our question concerns the casting of the game and notably the absence of main characters. It is now the 6th anniversary in Japan and we’re still missing characters such as Rikku, Red XIII, many characters from FINAL FANTASY TACTICS and FINAL FANTASY XIV. Is there a reason for this, can we hope to see them one day?

Hazama: I think I can sort of explain the situation. Regarding FINAL FANTASY TACTICS characters and why most of them are not in the game yet, it is essentially similar to what we do with Theatrhythm. This is a title coming with the whole series, involving characters and stories for every single one of them. What we really don’t want to do with these kinds of games like Opera Omnia and Theatrhythm is just to do Final Fantasy how we think it is, how we think it should be. We have to check with the staff who are responsible for each of the individual titles.

For example if it is related to FINAL FANTASY VII, we have to go to talk with Nomura-san to check, for FINAL FANTASY TACTICS, it is the team who owns Tactics, we have to talk to them. There are different people among the company who own those games, who made them. We have to talk about the characters, what kind of abilities they should have, how they should behave in the game, how they should be portrayed, this kind of performance. We need to check all that, we just don’t want to do it ourselves. 

The Tactics team is incredibly busy at the moment, they have other things to do. They are heavily involved in another project at the moment so we just don’t have time to talk to them. I think that’s probably why more TACTICS characters haven't been included in the game, we just need time to find out the details. I think that's what is going on, at the very least with Tactics characters. I’m sure they will put them into the game, Fujiwara-san wants TACTICS, I know that.

Suzui: Opera Omnia isn’t localized in French isn’t it?

Finaland: Yes it is only in English but we can play it.

Hazama: That’s awesome. There’s a lot of text in that game like some explanations. For example, the ability and effects, there’s a huge window (laughs). About Red XIII from FINAL FANTASY VII it is an interesting one, I have to check with that but maybe with him it is something to do because he’s a quadruped, so that might be difficult to make a different style of character model. You can’t just re-use the same model so there might be an issue for that.

Finaland: And for Rikku from FINAL FANTASY X?

Hazama: (speaking in a funny way) Unique things are happening with that character. How to say this… There are reasons, we don’t think we can mention it. Using her in other old FINAL FANTASY titles, it was a bit difficult, there were a few conditions issues. It is not terrible reasons, there’s nothing wrong there, we can probably get over it but there’s things we need to sort out with that. Fujiwara-san was telling me about this recently, I think we can probably get her in the game. 

Suzui: There’s always a reason why some characters are not present. It is not because we have forgotten. Theatrhythm is the same but we always know there’s a way.

Finaland: After Dissidia Arcade, NT and Opera Omnia, what are the next steps for the Dissidia series? Could we imagine a Dissidia Warriors Musou, since you are already working with Koei Tecmo, maybe for the 40th anniversary of the saga?

Hazama: (laughs out loud) Wait, really? Eh ah hm (trying to find his words), I’m not actually that keen on the Musou style game. This is my personal take on it, I’m not saying they are bad games, it would be quite difficult to make. I like the original, the very early Dynasty Warriors, I played them and they were quite enjoyable. For a while they seem very similar, you get the same characters, doing roughly the same things, it starts to get a bit dull. What we need to do with FINAL FANTASY, we probably have to make it much more focused on the characters, making all of them distinctive and unique, really play on that side of it. That might not be that easy. But thinking about the team that made Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, that’s a different team that makes the Dynasty Warriors, Omega Force. There’s definitely a possibility of doing something like that if there is a proposal internally, if people want to do something like that it might happen.

Everyone: Thank you!

Interview done by : Jérémie (FFWorld), Bastien (FFRing), AlxZ (FFDream), Fat Chocobo, Arsenou_kun
Transcription : Fat Chocobo
Translation: Jérémie et Bastien
Special thanks: FF World, FFRing, FFDream / Square Enix France / Square Enix Europe / Square Enix Japan / indieszero


Fans invited to the event had the opportunity to ask their own questions. Here is a full summary.

  • There are no plans for a sequel to FINAL FANTASY RECORD KEEPER at the moment but Hazama-san wants to do something with pixel art. He wants to work on such a project in the future.
  • There is no spectator mode in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE but both guests think it's a very good idea. They will talk to the teams to see if it is possible.
  • They already had the idea to create a 1 vs 1 rhythm game like Dissidia but if they approved the idea, tracks selection would be very limited. This idea was scrapped.
  • Hazama-san's job as a producer hasn't changed that much since he joined Square. His role in short is to receive the creative ideas in order to launch them as a project when possible. Also for Final Bar Line, Hazama-san did everything to be able to put Eyes On Me in the game.
  • The game has been optimized for console controllers, so the game has been made a little easier than the arcade version. It is not planned to have charts of the arcade game on console.
  • For people with disabilities, there is a game mode to play with one button and one hand. The developers advise you to do this so that you can enjoy the game if you have a disability.
  • There are no plans for a collaboration with Distant Worlds but they would like to, for example, at a concert on the big screen, launch the game so that everyone can play it simultaneously. They often talk to concert teams and composers like Yoko Shimomura to get their input on ideas that emerge. 
  • The Endless World is an RPG game mode with a lot of content. which is unlocked after finishing the Series Quests mode where it will be possible to upgrade your characters. This gives an extra interest to the game, so don't hesitate to spend some time on it!

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Concernant Theatrhythm Final Bar Line, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memories, Theatrhythm Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy Record Keeper, Dissidia -Final Fantasy-, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT , Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia, Final Fantasy Record Keeper ou Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Free Edition

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