Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Interview -- Devs Talk PS4, Development, Characters, and Much More

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Director Takeo Kujiraoka and Producer Ichiro Hazama talk about the long road from the arcade release to the PS4 version.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is finally coming to PS4 next year, after a rather long wait since its initial release on console.

In order to hear more about the game, its development, its performance on PS4, and what took so long from the release of the arcade version, I talked with Director Takeo Kujiraoka and Producer Ichiro Hazama at Gamescom in Cologne.

Incidentally, this happened after Hazama-san absolutely destroyed me at the game, which should not surprise you, considering how bad I am at fighting games.

While I was picking up the pieces of my shattered ego, Hazama-san explained that the team isn’t thinking about any other platforms at the moment besides PS4. They want to make sure that the relationship with Sony (derived from the fact that the original arcade game was based on PS4 technology) is honored and that the game is perfected into the best it can be before anything else is considered.

PS4 Pro will be supported, but no further specifics could be provided on what kind of improvements will be made for Sony’s newer console. That being said, Kujiraoka-san promised that the game is going to look more beautiful on PS4 Pro. We also hear that it will run at 60 frames-per-second both on standard PlayStation 4 and on the Pro.

The standard PS4 version actually doesn’t have fundamental changes in graphics technology compared to the arcade game, but it’ll possibly look better in the eyes of many due to the difference in size and brilliance between good TV panels and the smaller screens used for in the arcade cabinets.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t extract any information on which additional characters will be launched as DLC after release, because they will be announced when they’re ready. If you know me, you can probably guess that I didn’t miss the chance to suggest the inclusion of Aranea Highwind from Final Fantasy XV, and incidentally, Kujiraoka-san mentioned that she is one of the characters that he would personally like to implement. Apparently, Aranea is popular in Japan as much as she is in the west, due to her appeal as a cool female dragoon.

“On PS4 Pro it’s going to run at 60 FPS like on PS4, but it’s going to be more beautiful.”

Asked about more characters that they would personally like to introduce, Hazama-san mentioned Umaro from Final Fantasy VI, as he would be quite fun in Dissidia. On top of Aranea, Kujiraoka-san has been thinking that having a character fighting with a partner would be interesting, and Rinoa from Final Fantasy VIII and her dog Angelo would fit nicely. That’s why he would love to be able to implement them. Of course, we’re talking about personal taste, and this shouldn’t be taken as an indication that those characters will actually come.

When I mentioned the initial promise of releasing the PS4 version one year after the launch of the arcade game, that sparked hilarity among the developers, with Hazama-san explaining that things just took time; the team realized that a console game is certainly different than an arcade game, causing a difference in the timing as well. There are also many things that they wanted to make sure to include on PS4: they wanted to properly implement the story, and a lot of work has been done on the battle system and characters.

That being said, according to feedback from Japanese players, the game isn’t too different in how it controls, and the feeling on PS4 is very similar to that of the arcade version.

Speaking about eSports, for the moment the development team isn’t thinking of a specific plan to encourage that, but they would like to see the players themselves becoming active in the community, making connections among themselves, and creating events. Yet, while nothing is planned for the moment, they are very interested in the topic and they’re going to keep an eye on what happens. The same goes for livestreaming.

“The specs didn’t really meet our needs, and that’s when Producer Hazama-san came up with the fantastic idea ‘Can we use a PS4′”

We also hear how the idea of bringing back Dissidia Final Fantasy came to be: when Kujiraoka-san was working on Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the team started talking about what to do next. That’s when he pitched the idea of a new Dissidia game and received the go ahead from the company’s executives.

Speaking of Lightning, she was the new character in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy for PSP, and she’s quite popular among Japanese fans, which is why (alongside Cloud) she’s often placed front and center in the game’s promotion. Yet, the team has been trying to give a balanced representation to all the Final Fantasy protagonists, all the way back to the Warrior of Light from the original game.

Interestingly, Hazama-san mentioned that the popularity of the arcade version in Japan has been very stable, and when new characters are introduced, the team sees many returning players and more than start out anew. They’re confident that they can continue with this trend going forward.

It was fundamentally quite easy to port the game from arcade to PS4, as it’s essentially the same technology. Yet, there were differences in the online services, which represented the most challenging part of the porting process.

Arcade cabinets are mostly based on PC technology — Kujiraoka-san explained — but the specs offered by those boards did not really work for the team in terms of the beauty of the graphics they wanted to achieve for a Final Fantasy game, or the possibility of having three versus three characters on the same stage. That’s when Hazama-san came up with the idea of using PS4 tech.

After that, they had talks with Sony Interactive Entertainment, and committed to making the first arcade game based on PS4 technology.

If you want to hear more about the upcoming game, you can read our hands-on preview, and check out the variety of special editions that Square Enix will launch. We recently saw that Final Fantasy VIII villainess Ultimecia is the latest character to be added to the arcade version, but we don’t yet know whether she will be included in the PS4 launch.

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT will release in North America and Europe on January 30th, 2018 exclusively for PS4.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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