During a Square Enix official blog-post discussing Final Fantasy VII Remake, producer Yoshinori Kitase discussed welcoming Naoki Hamaguchi as the co-director of game design and programming for the game.
Yoshinori discussed how the time was now right for the remake, along with welcoming back members of the original development team, along with new faces who were fans of the original.
“For the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, developers who worked on the original game have come onboard once again as core members, including myself as Producer, Tetsuya Nomura as Director, Motomu Toriyama as Co-Director, and Kazushige Nojima on Story & Scenario.
Additionally, we also have people like Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi who are now part of the core development team, who was just a fan of FINAL FANTASY VII back then. And, to my delight, creators from younger generations all over the world have come forth upon hearing news of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s production. While ensuring that the spirit of the original game is kept intact, these members are adding to it the power of a new generation.
As a result, the game that is about to be born surpasses even my own expectations as the one who voiced the desire to take this endeavour on in the first place. In fact, the one who’s looking forward to playing this game the most right now might actually be me.”
Naoki meanwhile discussed his history with the original game, and how it inspired him to be a game developer. “When the original FINAL FANTASY VII was released, I was just another student who dreamed of being in the gaming industry,” Naoki said. “I of course played the game, but I also re-read the guidebook over and over again, my heart stolen by the engaging universe. I remember wishing strongly that I’d be able to create a game like it someday.”
He would later join Square Enix, first working on Final Fantasy XII handling the visual effects and real-time rendering. Naoki would continue to work on Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy XIV, and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII in various programming capacities. After being the main programmer on Lightning Returns, he would become project leader on Mobius Final Fantasy.
Now, he has become the co-director for the game he loved. “Twenty-two years later, that student who dreamed of FINAL FANTASY VII is now involved in developing the remake. I can’t help but feel like it’s fate.”
Continuing, Naoki discussed how he handed overseeing the development team by “deciding development milestones, constructing a workflow using Unreal Engine, and taking responsibility for game design.” Naoki also discussed meeting the developers of the original, along with new members just like him.
“Here, I met staff members who were involved in the original game, who entered the industry with childhood dreams of FINAL FANTASY VII just like me, and those who were drawn by the allure of FINAL FANTASY VII and joined the dev team from overseas. It was a gathering of amazing creators with passion and ambition towards the game. All I have is gratitude for having the opportunity to meet this team.”
Finally, Naoki discussed the most important aspect of the remake: What do you keep the same, and what do you change? “With all this in mind, I’ve considered the following phrase important: “respect for the original,” Naoki stated. “FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE takes on the challenge of creating something that’s created specifically thanks to the technological power and entertainment quality that matches the current generation, while treating the captivating elements of the original game with respect.”
Speaking to fans and new players alike, Naoki finished his segment of the blog post with the following message. “For those who’ve played it: “new but familiar.” For those who haven’t played it: “experience the charm of FINAL FANTASY VII, which moved the hearts of many, now created with the most exciting modern technology available.” I hope you enjoy it!”
Final Fantasy VII Remake is launching for PlayStation 4 on March 3, 2020.