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Virtuos on porting Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster, Zodiac Age to Switch – challenges and more

Posted on January 26, 2019 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch

Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster

Nintendo Life was recently able to interview Virtuos about porting classic Final Fantasy games for Switch. The company is responsible for Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster as well as Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. During the discussion, Virtuos weighed in on when development started, challenges involved with porting, and more.

We’ve rounded up a few highlights from the interview below. You can find the full discussion here.

On when discussions started about porting the games to Switch…

This project got on our radar in the second half of 2017, so the team was up and running in December. For big franchises like Final Fantasy, it usually takes some time to get release dates aligned with the rest of the SKUs and other projects, so we usually put some flexibility into the schedule.

On how hard it has been to scale the games for release on Switch…

I would say it was quite technically challenging because to make Final Fantasy work on Switch, we needed to convert it to 64GB. So, the Switch version needed to be shrunk without impacting the performance. As this requires a fair amount of skill, we have a small team specifically to target these parts of the remaster.

On any elements that needed to be tweaked or were improved…

For such a great franchise, the main goal is to bring the exact same experience as the original version to the player. So, we haven’t touched the core content of these games in order to keep the same flavour as before.

However, some obvious legacy issues have been fixed during porting, including some UI logic and translation glitches. We’ve taken the “quick recovery” feature from PS Vita to Switch in order to take advantage of its touch screen. Finally, we’ve also integrated the “key mapping” system into both Xbox One and Switch versions in order to give more control flexibility to players around the globe. This is the first time we brought it to consoles (PS4/PSV don’t have it, only PC has such functionality).

We believe these features and fixes can actually give a better experience to players than the previous remaster versions.

On lessons learned from having to port the games to Switch…

For Nintendo Switch, the main challenge was the package size, as the previous raw data size could reach up to 50GB. This much data simply cannot fit on a single Switch game card, so we had to analyse and modify the data cooking pipeline and managed to fit the game on a 32GB card without any impact on visual quality or loading performance.

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