This was the first project where you took the central role in the game’s creation. Now that you’ve finished, what is the strongest impression you’re left with? Is it that it was tough? Or was it so fun that you want to do it again?
That’s a good question... Apologies to everyone I worked with, but the thing I’m thinking most at the moment is that I’d really like to do it all again! (laughs)
I’m guessing that’s because you got some good feedback from the people around you, and that’s given you the drive to move on to your next project.
Yes. There’s that. And there’s also the fact that the more the project developed, the more exciting it became.
That means you were born to be a game creator. All creators have the same kind of self-perpetuating energy.
You really think so? I’m flattered! (laughs)
You don’t have to be asked, you don’t need to be encouraged - your brain and your body just naturally kick into gear, and that makes it easier to get into a productive cycle. Of course, there’s also an element of luck - there are some to whom it comes quickly, and some to whom it comes slowly. Everyone is different.
That’s definitely true.
And in a certain sense, on this project, you were lucky enough to have an existing stockpile of creative energy from the previous instalments of the series to draw on, and to make your own.
Yes, I was very lucky indeed.
Sometimes you have to generate that energy yourself. You could have had exactly the same team, but had to put all the ideas out there, and been forced to constantly make decisions and judgement calls. But in making what is essentially a homage to the FF series, some of that creative input was already there.
That’s right. And that’s what I respect most about the great game creators - people who create titles of their own - they come up with it all themselves, and if the worst happens, they’re stuck with a problem title for a year, maybe more. And they have to tread that difficult road alone.
Is that how you, as somebody who isn’t involved in the development project, see the creators?
Yes. And even if you don’t have faith in what you’re doing, you still have to turn around to your team and say, “Stick with me, this is all going to work out fine!” That’s a really difficult thing to have to do.
But then, it’s often the case that nobody can really tell which is the right direction. All you can do is just forge ahead with the assumption, “The goal will perhaps be in this direction,” or by believing in your feelings or judgement.
And it’s people doing just that who gave us Final Fantasy in the first place. That’s something that completely amazes me.
Now that you have had these experiences yourself, I bet you respect those pioneering game creators even more! (laughs)
Absolutely. I think it will be a long time yet before I can take on as much as they did, and express myself ‘nakedly’ in the games the way they did. But I’m starting to feel like one day it could happen.
That’s good to hear. Now, last of all, I’d like you, as producer of this game, to give everybody out there a message.
My incredible team has created a game far more fun than even I could ever have imagined. But now our role is at an end. Now it’s up to you, the players, to make it your own. Your experiences and your memories are what will take it on the next step of the journey. I hope all fans of the Final Fantasy series will be able to enjoy it for a long time to come, and I highly recommend that you download the demo version18! By the way, this demo version is different from the version before - it now enables you to try two new songs at three different difficulty levels. 18 This refers to the demo version of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy that is available to download from Nintendo eShop.
Today, I’ve been lucky enough to hear all about what led Hazama-san - who didn’t enter the industry as a game creator - to create his first game, and I feel as if fate, along with a lot of hard work, has led you on the path to this interview today. I have found your stories to be very interesting indeed. I also hope that THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY, the game you’ve created, will bring back lots of happy memories for anyone who has ever enjoyed an FF game. I am looking forward to knowing people’s reactions when they have this experience in their own hands, on Nintendo 3DS.
I am excited too.
We’ll also be doing everything we can to make sure this great game reaches as many people as possible. Hazama-san, thank you very much for your time.
© 2018 Nintendo.