JP: Speaking of making lots of smaller games, I know that in Japan, Square Enix has lots of unique niche DS titles, like language training, music appreciation and yoga. How does the development cycle and team size of games like those compare to the work cycle and team size that you have for Crystal Chronicles?
FS: Those are made not in-house, but by external developers, so I don't know exactly what the team make-up or the design process is like. But it's still part of the same strategy of trying to diversify risk, and trying to take a bunch of smaller risks than one big one at a time.
BS: Do you foresee Square Enix doing more in the downloadable space for the other consoles, or will it just be WiiWare for now?
TT: We're definitely looking into all the other download mediums.
JP: You mentioned in your speech that you initially saw the Virtual Console as the main competition for WiiWare. To date, Square Enix hasn't really participated too much in the Virtual Console. I think you have a few games available for the system. Is that something you're looking more into, or something you've tried to do and Nintendo has been hands-off with it?
TT: We don't think the games and the IP that we have have lost value yet, so we haven't decided if releasing them on VC is the best idea.
JP: So you feel that releasing older games for the Virtual Console suggests that they're not as valuable anymore?
TT: It's a matter of the package -- which is downloading. You look at a game, and you have to decide whether it will be better to be sold in a retail store, or if it will be better for download. We're making that decision carefully for each of the games that we have. It comes down to the games that we think we could make a good remake of haven't been on VC yet.
JP: It's interesting, because the one Square Enix game that has been on the Virtual Console is ActRaiser. This game reminds me a lot of the sim elements of ActRaiser. I don't know if that means anything, but I am kind of curious about how this became a Final Fantasy game instead of an ActRaiser sequel, because it didn't originally start out as a Final Fantasy.
FS: I'd like to make an ActRaiser sequel. That would be kind of fun.
Square Enix's ActRaiser
JP: I'd love to see one.
TT: I wanted it to be a part of the Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles universe, because I believed that the character design and setting and atmosphere fit in really well with the Wii user.
JP: I just have one last question. Obviously, by drawing from the GameCube game, you've saved a lot of time and trouble creating the art assets for the game. But obviously, not everyone making WiiWare will have a library of assets to build from. They won't be able to pull from those games. What kind of challenges do you think that smaller developers might have, from the process you experienced?
FS: Independent companies always have less overhead than some bigger developers, and less overhead is their strength. Having previous titles to work on, assets, and a world setting is our strength. It's all about working on your strengths. I think the question at the session was translated badly, but it's a competitive market, and everyone's got to work on their strengths, I think.