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Final Fantasy 7’s Western Success Was Helped By Adding CGI, Says Hironobu Sakaguchi

Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi has revealed that the success of 1997’s Final Fantasy VII in western regions can be largely attributed to its prolific use of CGI.

Speaking during a panel at the Monaco Anime Game International Conference 2023, Sakaguchi-san, who was joined by Castlevania: Symphony of the Night creator Koji Igarashi, touched base on how Square Enix initially struggled to popularise Final Fantasy outside of Japan.

At the time, people in the West saw pixel art and three-heads-high characters as something for children. It was frustrating that our games were struggling there, as we wanted to find a way to expand our business. That finally happened when we were able to incorporate CG for Final Fantasy 7.

Sakaguchi also spoke about the fact Japanese games started to wane somewhat in the West around the time of PS3, despite their success on PS1 and PS2.

I think that one of the main reasons for that is the fact that consoles like the NES and PlayStation were very specific hardware. This made it easier for Japanese developers to master the hardware, as we could ask Nintendo or Sony directly in Japanese.

This is why – I realize it might be impolite to say this – Japanese games were of a higher quality at the time. As a result, Japanese games were regarded as more fun, but when hardware became easier to develop for, things quickly changed.

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Final Fantasy VII was a huge success globally and is widely regarded as one of the best entries in the venerable RPG series to date. Square Enix is currently in the process of remaking the game, with part two of the project, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, due out in Winter 2023.

[Source – IGN]