Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions is now available for iPod and iPod touch, and to celebrate, we were able to get some time with the game's producer, Takehiro Ando.
RPGSite: What sort of challenges did the development staff face when porting the original PSP version to the iOS platform?
Ando: Changing the interface to support full touch control was one. We fully applied all the knowhow we have built up with our previous iOS titles to completely remake the system.
For the PSP version we based it on we could use the L and R buttons and even set it up to use the select and start buttons for control but for the iOS we needed quite a bit of time to experiment and try things out in order to map all the functions that had previously been assigned to buttons to a touch panel and make it smooth and comfortable to use.
In the end I think we have created a version of FFT that is pleasant and intuitive to play and which could not be done on any platform other than smart phones!
RPGSite: Square-Enix has supported a wide variety of content on iOS for some time now. Are there any plans to expand to either the Android Marketplace and/or Windows Phone 7?
Ando: As long as there is a possibility that our customers could enjoy these various platforms we will always be looking into and discussing whether it would be meaningful to provide our products on them.
I personally feel that both Android and Windows Phone 7 are very appealing platforms and we have actually already released Crystal Defenders on Android.
We are also examining the possibilities for Windows Phone 7 from all angles.
RPGSite: What are the advantages of bringing over a game like Final Fantasy Tactics to iOS rather than other handheld or mobile gaming platforms?
Ando: Firstly there is the ability for people who have an iOS device but do not have another mobile game or mobile phone game platform to enjoy this title.
FF3 that we released at the start of this year is a good example of this and was itself originally a DS title that we remade for iOS, allowing even more customers to enjoy the game.
Also, this clearly depends on individual customer's preferences but I think that being able to play a strategy RPG with full touch controls will bring a new and different kind of experience and enjoyment.
I think there is a very fresh appeal in being able to intuitively spin, expand and contract the map using touch controls and directly select where to go and which enemy to attack.
RPGSite: Will the game feature Game Center achievements?
Ando: The title does not support these features at the moment. FFT is not a game focused on competitive play or high scores and even without an achievements system still has more than enough hidden extras, challenges and replay value built in.
We have however recently started supporting the Game Centre achievements on titles such as Crystal Defenders and Chaos Rings Omega and are just beginning to see the potential and appeal in the system. There is a possibility that we will introduce achievements support after release depending on customer opinions.
RPGSite: The PSP version had a lot of content including cameos by Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud and Final Fantasy XII’s Balthier. Will those characters be present in the iOS version, and will there be any major changes when it comes to the game’s content in general?
Ando: Even though everyone knows this from the PSP version anyway, I think that secret characters should be kept secret so I am not telling!
Taking a look at at the game's overall content, we did consider including everything from the PSP version but after carefully and deeply considering the unique characteristics of the platform and how people will be playing the game we decided to refrain from including the shared and versus battle functions that were available on it in this version.
All other content has been included though.
RPGSite: Are there any future plans to bring any other classic Square-Enix games to the iOS or other digital platforms?
Ando: The FFT War of the Lions iOS porting project was originally brought about because we had so many requests from our customers writing in to places like the App store etc.
We value the opinions and voices of our customers more than anything and as long as there is demand for further ports we will continue to try and plan for them.
RPGSite: How does Final Fantasy Tactics on iOS handle the unpredictability of iOS itself in regards to backgrounds apps being terminated for memory issues at any time, incoming phone calls, etc?
Ando: Almost all Square-Enix titles for iOS have an auto save function that allows the user to return to the game easily and without stress after taking a sudden phone call or receiving e-mail etc. FFT is no exception in this regard.
There are some technical difficulties in implementing this for some titles but I personally think that whatever the reason may be, unless you can overcome that hurdle then the game really shouldn’t be released on this platform in the first place.
RPGSite: Are there any plans to translate the game into other languages such as French, Spanish for the iOS release such as what was done for Final Fantasy I and II?
Ando: I am very sorry but there are currently no plans for that at the moment.
If there is enough passion for it and we hear enough requests then we would very much like to look into the possibility of localising FFT though. I would be very happy if there was a lot of support from the French and Spanish speaking communities for such a project.
RPGSite: Thank you for your time.