Square Enix Director Yoshinori Kitase Reflects on Developing Final Fantasy VIII

To commemorate the launch of Final Fantasy VIII Remastered on the PlayStation Now service, Square Enix director Yoshinori Kitase reflected on the team developing the original title for the first PlayStation.

During the title’s conceptualization, Kitase and the team grew tired of the traditional RPG format of slaying monsters to earn levels and currency to buy equipment. This mainline entry would be courageous in its attempts to break the mold and stand out from its predecessors. Mechanics like Draw, Junctions, and earning Gil through a stipend rather than battle victories strengthened Final Fantasy VIII’s identity.

Much focus was spent on making the CG and general art direction look more appealing than Final Fantasy VII, which Kitase admits was rough in certain places. Instances such as the polygonal character models contrasting with their cutscene variants stood out as an aspect that needed improvement, and Final Fantasy VIII did so remarkably.

Nomura’s art direction was also briefly discussed with how he designs character appearances and their personalities. Their equipment and traits are considered during the design process, and Kitase notes how Nomura must have felt considerable pressure designing Squall following how iconic Cloud became.

Lastly, this humorous comment from Kitase was kind of out of place and deserves emphasized mention:

“This is unrelated to development, but I also liked how Final Fantasy VIII appeared briefly in the movie “Charlie’s Angels” (2000), starring Cameron Diaz. We often receive such Easter egg requests from Hollywood for Final Fantasy VIII – it seems to be a favourite amongst young filmmakers for some reason!”

You can read the entirety of Kitase’s reflection on the PlayStation Blog.

If you missed it, check out our review of Final Fantasy VIII Remastered.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.