In an interview this past week, Square Enix’s Shinji Hashimoto discussed two of his most anticipated projects, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Kingdom Hearts II. Hashimoto is a producer for both of the upcoming games.
The film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a sequel to the best-selling Playstation game, Final Fantasy VII, released in 1997. During the interview, the possibility of re-releasing the game on a modern console came up; however, Hashimoto said that there are currently no plans to do so. He also noted that the key figures behind the Final Fantasy VII game have been working on the film: Yoshinori Kitase as co-producer, Tetsuya Nomura as director, Kazugshige Nojima as script writer, and Yusuke Naora as art director.
He revealed that the film will be seventy minutes long, contrary to the previously stated ninety minutes. The release format of the film is still speculative, but he mentioned that Square Enix is currently working with other companies to provide the film.
Hashimoto said the team is using Maya, the 3D animation software, to make the film. This is the same software that was used in making Square’s first venture into film, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. He said that some internally developed systems have helped the process along and noted that, while Maya had not changed much, the experience the team gained from making The Spirits Within has noticeably increased the quality of the film.
When asked how the idea for the movie came about, Hashimoto said it was not originally meant to be a film. "We don't really think of it as a feature film. It's more like a collection of clips; it's become quite long, but we don't take that too seriously in terms of having a massive concept behind it or anything like that. It's just naturally come about." No details about the story were divulged, but he confirmed that the film will explain enough to familiarize people with the plot and characters, even if they have not played the game.
As for Kingdom Hearts II, Hashimoto said he felt a greater trust from Disney since the first Kingdom Hearts game was successful. "Based on that trust, we can make new developments -- the kind of drastic changes, new discoveries and surprises that we couldn't before." One of these new changes is the seemingly darker atmosphere of the game. Hashimoto said that the balance for older and younger audiences to enjoy the game was still there, but it differed from the approach Disney normally takes with its films. "We add more mysteries and so on, which appeal more to an older audience."
Hashimoto stated that the overall concept for the game has remained the same, but changes to the system have been made. For example, he said that the levels have more events in them, such as mini-games, etc. As previously reported, one of the most noticeable changes to the game has been the modified camera.
Although the release dates of both games are still unknown, he mentioned that an announcement was coming shortly. With E3 approaching, RPGamers can expect more news about these two high profile titles in the coming months.