Hironobu Sakaguchi told me that three years ago, he had the chance to replay Final Fantasy VI with some of his peers who worked on the game with him. He was the lead producer on that 27-year-old classic, which is often regarded as the best entry in the storied series. “It really brought me back and reminded me why I love the RPG genre so much,” he said, thus, inspiring his latest project, Fantasian.
It’s been almost two decades since Sakaguchi had been involved with Final Fantasy, but as the creator of the illustrious franchise, he’s still trying to capture the spirit. “I went back to my roots into the pixel art era of RPGs and paid a lot of attention to that nostalgia element in the game’s overall construction,” Sakaguchi said when I asked him about how the past work of his development studio Mistwalker influenced Fantasian. However, he and the team aren’t simply resting on the laurels and relying on our love of old-school RPGs.
When Fantasian was first revealed during the Apple Arcade premiere in March 2019, Sakaguchi was shown working with handmade dioramas–this is how in-game environments are made for Fantasian. The game boasts over 150 dioramas used for scenes, backdrops, interiors, and overworlds to explore, and even the objects and props in these environments were physically created.