How would you explain Theatrhythm if you had to sum it up in a few words?
Hmm, that’s a difficult one... I suppose I’d say it’s basically a Final Fantasy music game...
It’s hard to say what made you want to make the game in the first place in just a few words, I suppose.
Yes, it really is! It’s frustrating! (laughs) The posters in shops and other places have the tagline “Play Your Memories”.
So, I suppose to put it simply, you could say it’s a game that will bring back fond memories for anyone who has ever played a Final Fantasy?
Yes, I think that about says it! (laughs) And now there’s a new demo version, so there’s no excuse not to try it out.
The thing that really comes across for me is how the mixture of sound and visuals really does bring back memories.
Yes, it does. At first, I just had this vague idea that I wanted to recreate the emotion of playing an FF game through music and video, but we ended up incorporating the memories and feelings of our staff, and even of the players themselves, which is what really gives the game its own unique flavour.
Nomura-san was part of the team that made the game. As creative producer, did he have any advice or requests that stuck with you particularly?
Well, in terms of content, he obviously had plenty to say, but he also had a lot of ideas about how to sell the game to people. In fact, he was the one who came up with the tagline I mentioned before. He also proofed the packaging, and came up with the idea of combining the words “theatre” and “rhythm” to make the “Theatrhythm” of the title.
It really is catchy and easy to grasp.
It was also Nomura who first suggested that we put out a demo version. He said, “If we can just get people to try it, they’ll soon understand how good it is!” He would often phone me out of the blue whenever he hit upon some ideas. (laughs)
It sounds like your idea had a real impact on him. You put together something that he would have liked to have made himself, and as soon as he saw it, he started to offer ideas and get involved.
I am incredibly grateful for his involvement. I’m sure there are people who would have preferred to be allowed to make the game however they wanted, but my main aim was to end up with a product that felt like it had been made by everybody. Every piece of his input was welcome, and every bit of it proved useful.
I see. I understand that there is also downloadable music content available to purchase for the game. Can you explain a little about how that came about?
As I mentioned before, we decided which songs to include by conducting a survey, but there were some that just didn’t fit as part of the overall collection. After a lot of soul-searching, we reluctantly removed these. Then there was the fact that we were also limited in the number of songs we could include anyway due to storage restrictions, which led to a lot of difficult choices. However, towards the end of development, we learnt that we would be able to offer downloadable content for purchase, which gave us the perfect opportunity to allow all the fans’ choices to be included. And on top of that, we also wanted to enter into this new challenge with Nintendo.
Yes, this is the very first packaged Nintendo 3DS software title for which add-on content can be purchased. I’m really looking forward to seeing how players respond to it. How many songs does the game come with, by the way?
The actual number is a secret, but there are more than 70, which is enough to provide a huge amount of playing time right from the word go.
There are that many songs just on the ROM, plus other songs that people will want to play with? It just goes to show how much incredible music there has been over the history of the series, doesn’t it?
It really does. And it allows different players to play in different ways. If they want to have all the songs, they can, and if they just want to concentrate on their favourites, they can do that too.
That’s always the worry with music games, isn’t it? Different players have different tastes, so there’s no perfect balance.
Exactly. Obviously, our main concern is to provide a complete experience in the game as purchased. Once they have enjoyed them all, if the players decide to choose some extra tracks and they want to play more, I will be happy. Also, in this title, players can use the StreetPass16 feature to exchange ProfiCards (Profile Cards), and these give them the chance to let others know which songs they are currently enjoying the most. 16 StreetPass is a feature that allows you to exchange data with other players while walking around with your system.
That sounds really interesting. Everybody’s favourite song will be different, so I can see it leading to all kinds of interesting discussions. I look forward to that!
That’s exactly what happens! Everybody at the office is always asking me things like, “Hey, why don’t you have that song yet?” and it always sparks a lively debate! (laughs)
So, can you tell us what your favourite song is?
Ooh, that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? But I think if I had to choose one, it would be Terra’s Theme from FFVI, which I talked about at the beginning of this conversation.
That makes sense. The ones you have the strongest history with will be the ones that make the deepest impression, won’t they? It’s amazing to think that compositions like these can spark such a lot of reminiscence and discussion, isn’t it?
It really is. When we presented our plans to make the game to Nintendo, the first thing the representative asked was if it would include the Rebel Army Theme17! (laughs) 17 The Rebel Army Theme is song from Final Fantasy II.
They made that request before anything else? (laughs)
Yes. And when I heard that, I thought, “This game is going to work out just fine.” The Rebel Army Theme made it into the final version, of course! (laughs)
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