Hiroyuki Miura has quite a bit of development history under his belt at Square Enix, though strangely he's spent quite a bit of his time splashing about in other people's pools - remaking and improving classic legacy Square Enix titles including Final Fantasy II, III, V and now Final Fantasy IV.
Serving as the Producer on Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection, Miura has been tasked with taking what is widely regarded as one of the greatest Japanese RPGs of all time and making the definitive version of it for a modern age.
We got to have a brief chat with Miura about his work on bringing Final Fantasy IV and The After Years to the PSP as well as his own personal preferences of what other Square Enix titles he'd like to see remade.
RPG Site: You’ve worked on a number of Final Fantasy remakes over the years, and each of these remakes likely had different goals in mind. How have they all differed, and what approach did you take to FFIV: CC?
Miura: What makes this game significantly different from other remakes and ported titles is that The After Years has never been available as a boxed title.
Our most important goal was to release The After Years and decided to combine it with FFIV so that those who have not played FFIV can enjoy the whole world.
In addition, a completely brand-new episode has been incorporated so that those who have played both FFIV and The After Years before can enjoy them again – although with extra depth attached.
RPG Site: What steps have you taken to ensure the changes you’ve made to modernize the game don’t alienate hardcore FF4 fans?
Miura: A lot of effort was made to implement improvements while making sure that the feel of the game play and graphical style of the original version remain unchanged. We are certain that the player will get the same feeling as you did originally although you can also play more comfortably due to improvements made on functions such as the Auto Battle system.
RPG Site: Would you personally like to see further remakes of Final Fantasy V or VI in the future? A great number of fans are disappointed that the DS remakes stopped at FF4 – and now the PSP remakes look likely to do the same.
Miura: I would personally like to see remakes of FFV and FFVI. I am not in a position to make such a decision but feel it might possibly materialise if we receive high demand.
RPG Site: Other than the interim extra chapter, have you made any changes to the scripts of the two games to make FF4 and The After tie together better?
Miura: The scripts stay the same because we consciously tried to avoid making changes in order to allow the player to enjoy every minute of the original story.
Outside the story, we have added bonus boss battles and “challenge dungeons” which have been readjusted for the package version.
RPG Site: Were you tempted to make any major changes to the games that you did not make in the end?
Miura: We were going to include additional bonus dungeons but couldn’t include them for various reasons unfortunately.
RPG Site: When you created the new, high-res sprites, did you take inspiration from the original sprite work or the Yoshitaka Amano artwork from the original game? Cecil’s Paladin artwork by Amano (subsequently used in Dissidia etc) is very different from the original in-game sprite, for example.
Miura: They are mainly based on artworks by Mr Amano as long as such illustrations are available. We have taken inspirations from other designers’ works as well though.
RPG Site: Have you included any options to switch back to ‘classic’ versions of in-game assets – for example original blocky sprites, or original 16-bit music rather than the arranged pieces?
Miura: Regarding the sound, you can select between the rearranged version and the original audio source. You will definitely enjoy the music regardless of which option you choose.
RPG Site: What version of Final Fantasy IV is this version based off in terms of the code, music and translation or has it been built from the ground up again?
Miura: The game contents are based on the GBA version as it is the most extensive one in terms of inclusion of additional features. As for BGM, both the re-arranged DS version and the original audio source are available to choose from.
Regarding the translated script, FFIV is based on the GBA version while The After Years is based on the WiiWare version but both have been revised for better execution.
RPG Site: Final Fantasy IV has seen a lot of outings over the years – remakes, sequels, and expansions of-sorts. Would you ever like to revisit this universe again, or do you see this as the ‘final’ definitive chapter?
Miura: As far as I am concerned, it has come to the final chapter but we possibly cannot completely cross out the possibility of new episodes being added in future.
We'd like to thank Miura-san for taking the time out to chat to us and the guys at Square Enix Europe for setting it all up! Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection launches in the US today, and in the UK on the 21st April. Remember you can see all of the screenshots, artwork and videos of Final Fantasy IV Complete Collection over in the Media Vault.