I was musing recently about the concept of backward compatibility. Specifically, it struck me that the PlayStation 2 may still be the finest example of the concept in terms of execution and scope, a feature that Sony promptly dropped when it released the PlayStation 3.
Here’s my dirty secret, though: my PlayStation 2 is still hooked up and is used almost exclusively as a “Final Fantasy XII” machine. (And “Dragon Quest 8,” but mostly “XII.”) It’s one of my favorite games, which is why it’s exciting to hear that Square Enix are considering — if only vaguely and reticently — an HD remake of “Final Fantasy XII” in the vein of the PlayStation 3 and Vita remasters of “Final Fantasy X” and “X-2.”
In an interview with “Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Remaster” producer and Square Enix mainstay Yoshinori Kitase, RPGSite broached the subject by asking if other games in the series might be facelifted for HD consoles.
“If [the other remasters] do well, I think this will pave the way for more of the previous games to be remade in an HD sort of quality,” Kitase answered. “I mean, if we had to single out one of the vast number of ’Final Fantasy’ titles which we could make in HD, it would have to be ’Final Fantasy XII.'”
The rub — because there’s always a rub when it comes to multinational entertainment corporations like Square Enix — is that “Final Fantasy XII” was spearheaded by Yasumi Matsuno and Hiroyuki Ito, as Kitase points out. Matsuno is known for his work on “Final Fantasy Tactics” and “Vagrant Story,” which both take place in the same game-world as “Final Fantasy XII,” but he left the company in 2005. For his part, Ito directed “Final Fantasy VI” and “Final Fantasy IX,” two other personal favorites.
“What I can say though is that I hope the remastering of ’X’ and ’X-2’ will trigger similar projects for more of the past games,” he concluded.
The point is that Kitase didn’t work on “Final Fantasy XII” and that his musings aren’t grounds for celebration yet. Caveats notwithstanding, though, I’m thrilled. “Final Fantasy XII”’s muted palette and open-world sensibilities felt modern, sophisticated, and majestic compared to previous games’ relative camp. It was simultaneously sweeping and intimated and as grounded as “Final Fantasy” games are likely to get.
It’s great to hear that a new crop of players might get to experience a great game, in HD no less. In the meantime, though, my PlayStation 2 is still plugged in