I’ve been slowly trying to gather as much info about the re-introduced rumor of a Final Fantasy IV for the Famicom (see here) by picking up old Japanese gaming magazines and doing tons of Internet sleuthing.
While doing some more searching, I recently came upon an interesting interview from a few years back, when Final Fantasy III was being remade for the Nintendo DS. It’s a really long interview and it’s all in Japanese, but if you’re interested, check it out here! The part that really interests me is where Hiromichi Tanaka discusses some of FFIV’s early development:
From FFI and on, we would always look at the previous games for things we felt could have been better. FFI had an orthodox design, while II featured a narrative story plus a brand new growth system that didn’t use experience points. FFIII had jobs you could switch between while you fought, the ability to cast multi-target spells, and other such gameplay tempo improvements, as well as more fully-refined experience and battle systems.
After we finished FFIII, we started FFIV with the idea of a slightly more action-based, dynamic overworld rather than keep combat as a completely separate thing. But, at some point, it wound up not being IV anymore… Instead, it was eventually released as “Seiken Densetsu 2” (Secret of Mana), but during development it was actually referred to as “Chrono Trigger”. (laugh)
At the time, just after FFIII, we were working with Mr. Toriyama on a game with a seamless, side-view system. A CD-ROM attachment for the Super Famicom was scheduled to be released, you see. So we had this enormous game planned out for the CD-ROM attachment, but ultimately we were never able to release it.
So we had the Chrono Trigger project changed to a new game, and this other game we had been working on was condensed down into Seiken Densetsu 2. Because of this, Seiken 2 always felt like a sequel to FFIII to me.
I’m sure this is old news to a lot of hardcore Square fans, but I’d never heard any of this before! I do remember hearing that Seiken Densetsu 2/Secret of Mana had been designed for the CD attachment and that lots of stuff had to be scrapped, but this is the first I’ve heard it connected to the other Square games I loved from back in the day 😀
If anyone can share more info or if anyone has old Japanese gaming magazines from the early 90s, please let me know! I’m trying to gather as many of them as I can, since they’re so full of cool info, but they’re really expensive to import from Japan one by one 😐