Today the Japanese website dedicated to computer graphics CGWorld has published a Interview with Final Fantasy VII Remake Art Director and VFX Director Shintaro Takai. In it he has left us some interesting details about the development of the game.

Curiously, Takai used to work on the original game as the Magical Special Effects Director..

Beyond improving graphics

Takai has given an interesting answer when asked what he wants to change in this remake compared to the original in terms of his field, that of visual effects. He has mentioned that when I worked on the original Final Fantasy VII, I didn’t think about effects as much as I do now. For example, there might have been an enemy that gave off red flames when attacking even though it didn’t make much sense, just because it looked good. Now, if an enemy emits red flames, it’s due to his nature, the weapons he uses, his power source, etc. In this case, Takai also puts more thought into elements like the appearance of smoke and explosions. Even if it wasn’t official canon, he makes up his own theories and stories about these things, so the effects then and the remake might not be directly connected.

According to Takai, It’s not just a matter of improving the graphics. She wants to work while she thinks more deeply about it. For example, if you get your energy back with “Heal” there shouldn’t be just glowing particles. He wants to create the effect while thinking “it is invisible energy around the character when it is gathered and visualized, it is absorbed by the body and emits light.”

He has also explained that Final Fantasy VII has had a generational significance. People who have grown up playing a game have gradually become a more and more relevant role as they have become developers of Final Fantasy VII Remake. Takai wants to create them a new form of Final Fantasy VII. His role is to determine the direction of the art, and he wants to create an environment where young developers can play an active role. That said, even though he said “young”, the average age is in his late twenties.

passion before experience

when they asked how important knowledge about the original game is to work in the team, you mentioned that developers don’t need to know much, so prospective applicants shouldn’t be worried about that. This is something Producer Yoshinori Kitase and Director Tetsuya Nomura provide guidance on. Those who have a good command of graphics with the quality level of international AAA games will be welcome in the team..

There are designers on the VFX team who have never played the original game, but do know general things like character names and the story. The most important thing is your skills and sense, along with motivation. Although the core development of Final Fantasy VII Remake is already solidified, with the VFX team responsible for improving quality during the final phase of production, there is still room for success from new applicants.

At the moment, the VFX team includes five developers (which is interestingly similar to the number of the original game’s VFX team). Recent AAA titles tend to have more, even above ten developers just for the VFX team. That said, Takai isn’t looking to expand the team much further, as he prefers to work efficiently.

When asked what kind of people he would like to hire, he explained that has a goal of actively recruiting great developers who are likely to be proactive and adapt positively. It is also good to be sociable and have common sense. Between someone who tells you “I’ve been a VFX director for ten years” and someone who just dropped out of high school but has a good sense of work and is full of motivation, you’d like to choose the latter. This doesn’t mean veterans aren’t welcome, but he’d rather not have people caught up in their own ways and would like to welcome developers who can work comfortably with others.

Even game development experience is not completely necessary. In fact, most of the VFX team members come from CG animation. With the progress of technology, as the barriers between pre-rendered and real-time graphics get lower and lower, effects previously only possible with pre-rendered approaches are now feasible in real-time. Final Fantasy VII Remake effects will demonstrate the skills and senses of those who used to work on pre-rendered graphics.

A few days ago, Square published a new job offer and with it we discovered many goals and plans for this remake. Among them, that they intend to surpass the original and that they want to make it similar to the original but something new at the same time.

Final Fantasy VII Remake has been officially announced for PlayStation 4, for now, exclusively. Although it does not yet have a release date, you can already pre-order it.

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