One of the most pleasant surprises of E3 2019 was the announcement of a Final Fantasy VIII remaster. While not a remake on the scale of Final Fantasy VII, fans were relieved that the beloved, if polarizing, entry in the iconic series would finally become playable on the PlayStation 4, among other platforms. With it will be releasing relatively soon (later in 2019), fans began to wonder why it took so long to announce, especially since similar releases for Final Fantasy VII, IX, X/X-2, and XII were all announced much earlier. Apparently, it was because the team put even more effort into updating the visuals than originally intended.
In an interview with Famitsu, Final Fantasy VIII director Yoshinori Kitase said the delay in announcement came from a last-minute development shift. Originally, it looks like the team planned on simply porting Final Fantasy VIII to other consoles, similar to the version available on the PlayStation 3. However, as 2019 coincided with the 20th anniversary (and televisions have changed greatly since 1999), it was decided a little visual upgrade was needed.
Just as Final Fantasy VIII was getting ready to release, something happened. “So then we continued its development until just before it went gold, then out of nowhere, we decided to work on refining the characters,” Kitase noted. Since development was so far along already, “a major schedule change” was necessary.
While Kitase noted “troubles were there,” he believes this change “was the right call.” Looking at the character models of the original PS1 release (which aimed for a more realistic approach, compared to Final Fantasy VII), the effort can definitely be appreciated. While it doesn’t look like the backgrounds have been updated (a problem that also plagues the remasters of Final Fantasy VII and IX), at least the characters won’t look like pixelated messes.
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered will release in 2019 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Now let’s just hope the Square Enix music bug won’t be in this release.