Remasters are nothing new. This generation above and beyond any other has seen lots and lots of older games, recent games and classic games getting remastered. One of those titles happens to be Square Enix's Final Fantasy XII, and the developers recently explained why it's returning.
Several reasons, but since we worked on the original XII, we have a lot of memories associated with that title. And when Final Fantasy X came out as an HD remaster on the PS4 and became a successful title, we thought that maybe we should bring this one back as well. So we brought together the core members of the original development team. And then another reason was that when we created the original XII, we actually made it relatively high spec. So we were always thinking that we wanted to create an HD version of it sometime in the future. But if we did that, I wanted to have the original members work on it as well. It was difficult trying to find a time when everyone could work together again, just because everyone was on different projects
What Hiroaki Kato says rings very true. You could down a lot of the textures and assets in the original Final Fantasy XII to accommodate the PS2's limited hardware. The art-style itself was actually very cool, as it was basically a 3D rendition of an oil painting. The washed out browns and tans were were accented with deep contrasts in the shader to give the characters and environments this aged painting vibe. It was actually quite impressive, and quite the achievement for the PlayStation 2 to be as old as it was.
One of the things I'm curious about is how well they'll translate the assets over to the PS4 without diminishing the art-style that helped make Final Fantasy XII look as good as it did back in the day.
But it's not just about HD overhauls for the game, they're also bringing back the Zodiac Job System that was only available in the Japanese version of the game. Anyone who bout Final Fantasy XII outside of Japan didn't have access to the critically acclaimed mode. So for the first time those in the West will be able to experience the mode, adding an all new layer of depth to the gameplay.
Originally, the game utilized a very different battle system than previous and future Final Fantasy games. It was somewhat active time based, but you could designate how each team member carried out an attack during the battle scenes. It was a lot more strategic than previous games, and also very different from the more traditional system used in Final Fantasy XIII.
A lot of fans are excited about this remaster, and it's easy to see why. It really was one of the more underrated entries in the Final Fantasy franchise. It deviated just enough from the norm to do something new while also keeping many of the core JRPG traits that fans love.
Hiroaki Kato also explained that the reason this game was remastered instead of remade was, because all the assets were in place. So this will probably be the last remaster from the PSX/PS2 era, where-as everything else beforehand will require an actual remake, much like Final Fantasy VII.