It’s been three years since we’ve seen anything from Square Enix regarding its episodic remake of Final Fantasy VII. The game was a no-show again at E3 this year, but it remains in development, according to Tetsuya Nomura, who has a hand in the title along with directing Kingdom Hearts III. “We are developing [Final Fantasy VII] in parallel, and it’s not just in the early concept stages,” he tells The Verge. “We are actually in development.”
The longtime Square Enix developer says he’s been giving equal effort to both highly anticipated games. “So right now, it’s like I’ve been putting in 100 percent into Kingdom Hearts, 100 percent into Final Fantasy VII, 100 percent into Kingdom Hearts... just going back and forth,” he says. “It’s just like [working on] two titles is just going to be one [after Kingdom Hearts III’s launch]. That’s pretty much how I see it.”
Kingdom Hearts III will be off his plate soon enough, despite the fact that the game was delayed into January 2019. According to Nomura, it was not delayed because it needed more time — though that is a definite bonus to being pushed back. He says it was the original timing of the game’s release that actually made upper management decide to move the date. “We were told by many people, including hardware manufacturers, sales teams, marketing teams, that it just wasn’t good timing in the year,” Nomura tells The Verge. And when Square Enix pondered the “very tail end” of 2018, the holiday season became another possible problem. “For Kingdom Hearts III, the Western offices requested to release the game as simultaneously as possible between Japan and America, so we no longer were able to just think about Japanese issues and retail situations,” he says.
The company then had to factor possibilities of retailers in specific regions closing early or offering limited sales hours. “When we looked toward that, we were told that the best timing after all of that would be the tail end of January,” Nomura says. “We of course considered maybe speeding up the development to release earlier than we were told that it wasn’t good, but the development team said, no, we can’t do that. We could delay it, but we can’t make it any sooner. If we are to also potentially delay the release date, then we could have that extra time to work on the game a little more. It kind of just all worked together for us to decide on this date.”
Despite the long hours needed to complete such high-profile projects as Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake, Nomura says his love of creation keeps him going. I don’t get fatigued by that at all. It’s really fun for me to do,” he says. “I actually don’t like human relationships more than just work, so I just want to focus on work and creating things, if I don’t have to deal with human relationships. It’s actually a little bit easier for me to do than not working.” Still, he says, he owes a lot to his fans. “I do need fans to play my games, to be able to create it,” he says, “and so fans are definitely a factor to motivate me to keep on going.”