Square-Enix seems to be on a rampage of bringing back their older Final Fantasy titles. They’ve brought us updates of I-IV, excluding III on the GBA. Soon V and VI will be arriving to the GBA as well. But what about III, what happened to it? Well, it wasn’t dropped by the wayside, it’s getting its own special treatment. For the first time ever, Final Fantasy III is being completely redone and re-released on Nintendo’s dominating DS handheld. Square isn’t holding back either, as they are giving the game a complete overhaul. This is complete with brand new 3D graphics along with different gameplay elements.
According to an interview a while ago, producer Hiromichi Tanaka stated the ports of IV-VI to the GBA are easy compared to what they’re doing with III. IV-VI are virtually just SNES games with minimal improvements and changes. The biggest challenge redoing III is obviously the transition from a 2D to 3D presentation. Tanaka happens to think III was a marvel back in its time. However, any attempt of porting it to a handheld proved too difficult then. Now the three color visuals of the original NES title are considered too dated. Everything is being redone in 3D because of it.
However, we all must realize one thing. FF III is not going to be in ‘full’ 3D. Rather, Tanaka actually refers to it as ‘pseudo-3D’. Reason being, the camera isn’t completely free to control. When you’re in a town or field, you can’t rotate the camera at all. These areas are what carry Tanaka’s terminology. Although, while you can’t rotate the camera, you may zoom in and out. It appears different when you’re inside actual buildings though. It looks as if you can rotate the camera then. We’ll just have to wait to see the specifics.
In terms of actually playing the game, FF III seems to take advantage of the DS’ features. It will actually be possible to play from start to finish using only the stylus and touch screen. The game is supposedly taking advantage of the dual screen setup for all the in-game features. Although we don’t know exactly what those are just yet because Tanaka hasn’t said much. It is also in plan for the game to have wireless capabilities. But don’t begin thinking of possible Wi-Fi play, FF III is a strict single player experience. Wireless options are only being considered for bonus content.
Changes to how the game actually plays are being kept a secret as well. Tanaka’s biggest hope is to balance the job system as much as possible. He wants it to be such a way that players may enjoy taking on the role of a Viking more than they may have in the NES version. He’s also looking to give everyone a more distinct personality, so that they’ll have a bigger effect on the actual story. That would be a marginal improvement.
Obviously we don’t know much about Final Fantasy III. But hey, that’s what E3 is for right? In less than a week, we should see Square willing to unveil plenty of information on this title. It doesn’t have to be everything we want or need to know, but something should surface. This along with their Mario basketball game and FF V and VI. Although, III is getting the biggest treatment of their handheld games as it seems. All we can do is wait.