The world of Final Fantasy VII is very highly adored around the world. For Nintendo fans, although Final Fantasy 7 Remake is not available on the Nintendo Switch, the original game did see a Switch release n 2019. This would be followed by the release of Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion late last year.
The original was very successful when it released on the PlayStation in 1997, but Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi mentioned in a Monaco Anime Game International Conferences 2023 panel that also had Castlevania: Symphony of the Night creator Koji Igarashi, said that the game’s success in the west was primarily because of the game having CG.
Sakaguchi explained that “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”.
The issues with Japanese games seeing success in western regions, unfortunately, did not end just because Final Fantasy VII was a success. Nowadays, this is no longer a problem. However, by the time the PlayStation 3 had released, Japanese games were still not seeing much success in western regions. The only exception was Nintendo.
Sakaguchi mentioned that “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”.
Igarashi joined in the discussion, saying that “Japanese developers had been developing skills specifically for console games, but in North America and Europe, there was a long history of PC culture. By the time there was no longer a big difference between developing for console and for PC, Japanese developers could no longer rely on their specialty as console developers, and had to master PC development”.