Yoshinori Kitase was game director on some of Square's biggest titles, including Final Fantasy VII, and Chrono Trigger. He then produced Final Fantasy X, X-2 and XIII. He's currently working as executive producer on The 3rd Birthday for PSP, the third game in the Parasite Eve series. We caught up with Kitase-San at gamescom 2010 to find out why Square Enix decided to make the game for Sony's handheld.
Q: Could you describe how 3rd Birthday relates to the last two games in the Parasite Eve series?
Kitase-San: We took inspiration from biotechnology and from places of horror and visually nightmarish video as well. But 3rd birthday has the same main character and the setting is entirely the same, the in-game universe is the same but the enemies are completely different and the story is very, very different as well. So we just wanted to give a title that suggests this is a new start rather than a continuation of those stories.
Q: I read the game described as a "cinematic action-RPG". I'm wondering if that implies the game is influenced by film or does this mean much of the game is cutscene based?
Kitase-San: Both really, the cutscene quality is very high and we were proud of the quality of the visual aspects. But also the story of 3rd birthday is filled with mystery and mystery story. At the beginning she loses a memory and she is on a mission to regain the memory. We look at it, the story part of the game, is a little bit like a TV drama. The picture gets clearer and clearer to keep you interested in learning more about the real, underlining story.
Q: Why did you decide to go with the PSP platform?
Kitase-San: The director of this game is also the director for Crisis Core: Final fantasy VII and many of the team members are from Crisis Core as well. So the team had a lot of experience and knew a lot about making a game for PSP which is why we chose PSP as the platform for this game. But if this game turns out to be a success then we'd be looking at extending the franchise into ps3. At the beginning we were actually going to make it for mobile but during development, particularly being involved with a PSP title, we worked very hard and thought we were going to end up with something that would be really too good for mobile really. So that's why we changed the platform to PSP.
Q: I was reading about the Overdive, a game mechanic that lets you change bodies with characters around you, and how that relates to the story?
Kitase-San: We can't talk a lot about the story at this point unfortunately. But Overdive's system plays a very important key role in her search for her lost past.
Q: What was the attraction of coming back to the Parasite Eve series after ten years?
Kitase-San: In that ten years it's not that we actually didn't do anything with Parasite Eve, we did make attempts to redirect the series because we thought it was very good IP and we did make prototypes but none of them really worked out. But we had to review what was the best feature of parasite eve. Its main strength is the characters of the series.
3rd Birthday is due for release this winter on PSP.