'FFBE Fan Festa 2017' is an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the "Final Fantasy" franchise and to thank users for being "Final Fantasy" mobile game with the highest number of downloads in the world. The Seoul event was the fourth event to be held in Paris, Taipei, and New York. Square Enix's Hirono Kei Producer and Fujimoto Hiroki Global Version Producer have had time to meet with over 350 pre-selected users.
After finishing 'FFBE Fan Festa 2017 Seoul', the two producers had time to receive questions about this event and games.
Q1. What kind of pleasure did you like to have as a fan event while holding 'FFBE Fan Festa 2017 Seoul'?
(Fujimoto) 'FFBE Fan Festa 2017 Seoul' is the 4th event of 'FFBE Fan Festa 2017', and since the corners of all the events are fixed to some extent, users probably knew the contents roughly. But what I wanted to emphasize in such an atmosphere was the new information part. It was prepared so that the users who came to the venue could think "I did well at participating in the event".
(Hirono) There are two things I wanted to do but could not do. First, I wanted to stream live events for each event so that users around the world can get the latest information in real time. Also, as there are many events going on in the limited venue, I would like to invite all the users from all over the world to connect and enjoy the event together. Of course, these events could not be realized because the users are from all over the world and it is difficult to decide easily where to set the standard time. But I want to try it someday, so I am worried about how.
Q2. What do you think about the Korean fans after participated in this event?
(Fujimoto) During the Q & A session of the event, I felt that the users were very insightful. I was impressed that they were thinking deeply about the contents of the game, and I was once again able to realize that they are playing the game with their hearts.
(Hirono) I was looking forward to the event since this is the first time holding the event in Korea, and I am very pleased that many of the core users have come. When hearing the voice of the core users in Korea as well as all the countries where the event is held, and I feel that what we are doing is never wrong. Also, some of users who warmly welcomed us and asked us to come again were very impressed.
Q3. Did you have the most memorable user in the event today?
(Hirono) It is memorable that the proportion of male users who participated in the event in Korea was higher than other previous events.
(Fujimoto) At the end of the ceremony, we had time to give some gifts and a female user was additionally selected through rock-paper-scissors. She spoke Japanese very fluently, so I asked her how she studied Japanese. And I was so surprised to her answer that she studied by herself.
Q4. While there are various types of mobile games using IP of Final Fantasy, what can you say about FFBE's differentiating personality to users who have not yet enjoyed this game?
(Hirono) I think it is the greatest advantage of this game that users can simply enjoy the characteristics of mobile games, but they can also play RPG games with depth. There is a little inflexible, but I think this part is also a part of 'Final Fantasy' that can be appealing as a game.
(Fujimoto) The biggest advantage is that users can enjoy the world of 'Final Fantasy' in a single game through various collaborations while enjoying a lot in the original world view. The collaboration with Final Fantasy XV can be a typical example.
Q5. Unlike the recent mobile games, 2D dot graphics are being produced around the center. Is there a reason for this?
(Hirono) 'Final Fantasy' series has gotten out of dot graphics and accepted new graphics, but among the long-time users, there is a perception, "Final Fantasy that we know is still in 2D graphics.” So, we have developed the game with the idea of "If it was a series of 2D dot graphics, would not it be like this?" Thanks to this, I think that it is another pleasure to meet the character that appeared in the 'Final Fantasy' series from the seventh to the present with the admirable image of 2D dot graphic.
(Fujimoto) Of course, we do not stick everything in 2D dot graphics, but when we recall the summons during game play, we show the 3D graphic presentation such as that the summons break out the screen in 2D graphics.
Q6. Compared to other Final Fantasy mobile games, the songs of FFBE is also high. Is there any part that you particularly worked on?
(Hirono) Just as graphics, we tried to re-create songs until Final Fantasy VI, the atmosphere of the early works, so you can see that old songs were implemented with the latest technology. When Agematsu Noriyasu of Elements Garden, a music production group that was in charge of the songs, first composed, he said, "I started with a simple syllable similar to the early works, fleshed out, and now became this form." Because the melody line itself is simple, I can tell you that the biggest advantage of ‘FFBE’ songs is easy to remember.
Q7. In this work, Yoshitaka Amano's illustrations were used again. What story did you share in the process of making the illustrations of this game?
(Hirono) Amano is an artist constantly involved in 'Final Fantasy' from the earliest days to the latest. When we asked for an illustration, we emphasized that the main characters of other Final Fantasy works will serve together in the world view of FFBE in the form of “Vision”. So, in the first publicity illustration, we asked to make the main characters of FFBE be with the main characters of the previous work in the form of “Vision”. In addition to this, since we already delivered all the stories about season 2, which is currently underway, from the first time we gave request, so it also contains implications about the season 2.
Q8. Is there any Final Fantasy work or element that was the most influential to you?
(Hirono) Rather than being greatly influenced by one work, as favorite works for Square Enix staffs who participated in various Final Fantasy works are all different, I think we are influenced by various works eqully. However, we got advice from Hironobu Sakaguchi, indispensable in 'Final Fantasy', during development and changed the color of windows and fonts of characters.
Q9. At first there was a strong feeling that it was a combination with 'Brave Frontier', but the originality is gradually expanding as the game progresses. What do you think about the direction of 'FFBE' in the future?
(Hirono) We would like to get feedback from users and evolve it to the form that users want. And although we have not realized it yet, FFBE is basically a one-player game, so I thought it would be a great idea to expand social elements in the future considering that there are few social elements even though it is a smartphone game. Of course, there are many people who are familiar with the current atmosphere, so it is under consideration in which direction we should proceed.
Q10. Since the starting point of the Japanese version and the global version are different from each other, system and contents are often interchanged. How do you plan to handle these differences in the future?
(Fujimoto) First, we don’t have any plan to match the service of the global version with the Japanese version. This is because it takes time to translate and prepare after releasing the Japanese version and the global version is following the Japanese version and develops its own content to show its individuality little by little. Because of this, there are many features that are not available in the Japanese version but only in the global version, and we will continue to develop it to meet the taste of global users in the future.
Q11. There is an event commemorating the 30th anniversary of 'Final Fantasy' in many franchise games. Is there any special preparation for 'FFBE'?
(Hirono) In fact, this year's Fan Festa is also the 30th anniversary event of 'Final Fantasy' in FFBE. Of course, in the Japanese version, various events are held until early next year, but in the global version, it is also true that we have not prepared any outstanding events other than this event.
(Fujimoto) Instead, unlike 30-day of free summoning event for the 30th anniversary at the Japanese version, we are giving a benefit for 10 days each for a total of 50 days every time when Fan Festa is held so that it can fill in a missing part a little.
Q12. Previously, the SaGa for the Game Boy series was released to the North American market under the name “Final Fantasy Legend”. Is there any plan to carry out the SaGa related collaboration event in the global version?
(Hirono) In Japan, we have provided 'SaGa 1' and 'SaGa 3' characters in collaboration with 'Imperial SaGa' game, but since this 'Imperial SaGa' game is not available in the global region, I do not think it's easy to just borrow characters from the SaGa series without an opportunity.
Q13. When did you think you did well to start the 'FFBE' project?
(Fujimoto) I think I did well at starting this project when communicating with many users around the world. I haven’t been many places in this Fan Festa but I was glad to meet the users from overseas and receive direct feedbacks. I was surprised to people who visited events from many countries including Spain, Argentina, Philippines and Singapore.
(Hirono) I have a lot of good memories I got since I started the project. I am particularly pleased to be able to get involved in the great franchise called "Final Fantasy" and to promote the game more widely. And the fact that 'FFBE' is recording the highest downloaded number among mobile games of 'Final Fantasy' franchise will be memorable in developing the game with many people.
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