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Western-Dev’d Final Fantasy May Still Happen

July 24th, 2013 by Tony Garsow

It’s been a few years since we’ve heard about the doomed Fortress project — a Western-developed Final Fantasy game with close ties to Final Fantasy XII that never saw the light of day. While GRIN, the developer of said project, is no longer in business, it seems that a Western-developed Final Fantasy may potentially still happen if Square Enix is asked to collaborate. This comes from a new interview with Final Fantasy series executive producer Shinji Hashimoto with Alex Donaldson of RPGSite.

Square Enix Japan and the Visual Works team responsible for the company’s stunning cinematic sequences have already collaborated on some of Square Enix’s western properties such as Tomb Raider and Deus Ex. With games like Murdered: Soul Suspect, developers from Square Enix Japan such as creative director Yosuke Shiokawa (Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts) and Airtight Games have collaborated on a new supernatural-themed puzzle-based thriller.

When it comes to the Final Fantasy franchise though, Hashimoto had this to say:

“I wouldn’t say no straight away! It depends on the proposal and everything, though, of course. Obviously Final Fantasy is traditionally a Japanese game, so it would really just depend on how discussion goes. But, yes – if any Western studio actually approached us, we’d of course think about it.”

Hashimoto went on to say that the unique properties of Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts and the nature of an East/West collaboration may make a project like this unapproachable by Western developers, but it’s something the company would definitely consider.

You can read the full interview with Shinji Hashimoto on RPGSite here.

What would you think about a Western-developed Final Fantasy game? Do you believe that there are success stories in East/West collaborations in videogames’ past? What works and doesn’t work? Are there any popular properties of Western games that you believe would work well in a Final Fantasy game? Leave us a comment with your thoughts below!

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  • AnimaMagna

    It might work, with the right developer. It would actually be a good idea to enter a collaboration with a western studio on a large game in a subseries, like Ivalice, Compilation of FFVII or Fabula Nova Crystallis. Those games can take a lot of effort away from developing the main series.

  • While I understand the basic premise of a collaboration between studios, I do not, in any sort of essential manner, know what “Western Final Fantasy” is supposed to mean. On what ground would this play? Because it’s “Western” all male characters would have facial hair? Would all anti-gravity hairdos and their respective gaudy colours be thrown out the window? Is this about mechanics? I don’t see what’s the subject here. There’s either an idea to present that could be developed into something, or there isn’t.

  • Necromunkey

    @Lilay

    I think in this context “Western Final Fantasy” simply implies a Final Fantasy made by a western developer, and not necessarily pure differences in style.

    I mean, if one were to add Cid, Chocobos, and a Moogle here and there to Mass Effect, it could almost be considered a Final Fantasy in space, right? (its already got magic, an airship, three+ female leads, an evil threatening the universe, and a linear story progression)

  • Tony Garsow

    @Lilay
    The subject is about development styles and trends that are popular in Western studios and how those trends could potentially inform the development of a Final Fantasy game in a Western game developer’s hands.

    It’s not about design stereotypes, but the method by which these games eventually come together.

    However, since there is a general difference of design style between developers from these regions (with plenty of exceptions), I only ask if there are elements present in Western trends our readers think would be interesting in a Final Fantasy game.

    This isn’t an topic about one being intrinsically better than the other, either.

  • @Necromunkey
    I got some “insight” into the “point” of this after Tony’s comment and I see what could be discussed, what the subject is.

    @Tony
    I see. It’s a technical subject, not a “final product” approach to the concepts (and/or stereotypes) of a game. It is a lot more of a view from the creators’ perspective than from the gamers, I missed that entirely as I read the post.
    For an example, of game appearance, it would be like imagining what cel-shade based engines could bring to a Final Fantasy game, or more bluntly, an FF game running like Okami or El Shaddai.

    Indeed, that’s an interesting thing. However, I can’t think of anything in particular in a West-East duality regarding videogames. This would have to come from those who play enough of “both sides”, so to speak.

  • no

    no, just no … Games made by western developers always turn out to be a horrendous testosterone laden mess. anyone eer hear of “God of War”? Nothing but an angry muscle bound idiot killing things … cus hes angry. that’s the whole premise. Do we really need a game like that from final fantasy?

    I do not want idiotic western developers touching the final fantasy series, please SE dont let them do it.

  • Necromunkey

    @no

    Stereotyping will get you nowhere =)

    I’m not sure why this stereotype of Western games as ONLY overly masculine is so prevalent. Its tantamount to someone claiming ALL Eastern games are effeminate with androgynous characters (which also happens to be prevalent). Its simply not true and a distortion of reality, not to mention a logical fallacy.

    Examples can be shown against both situations which include but are not limited to:

    “Lower testosterone” Western games (relative to the stereotype of Gears of War): Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed, and Viva Pinata (or most Rare games).

    “higher testosterone” Eastern games (Relative to the stereo type of… well, Final Fantasy): Demon’s/Dark Souls, Metal Gear Solid, and Madworld (or several Platinum games)

    Also God of War is functionally similar to Devil May Cry, Bayonnetta and a slew of other Japanese games (and if I’m not mistaken, the hack n’ slash genre is from Japan to begin with). You destroy your own argument by citing a Japanese genre successfully pulled off by a Western Developer (which then turned around and heavily influenced Japanese hack n’ slash games)!

  • Necromunkey

    Also, after thinking on it for a bit, there are a few properties that I think could be beneficial to Final Fantasy, if not brought in by a Western developer outright:

    A More open world (though this seems to already be happening with XV as well as already has happened with XI and XIV).

    Characters with more depth to their personalities (aside from Persona, I’m not aware of too many JRPG’s that have deep characters).

    More mature story exposition. While the stories in JRPG’s are, in my opinion, pretty good, I think they could benefit from a more Western style of exposition. Kojima caliber exposition would also qualify. =P