A remake of Live A Live Switch took “three years” to make, says the original director

Square Enix’s next big RPG release is a Live A Live remake for Switch this July, an HD-2D remake of the cult classic Super Famicom. In anticipation of the release, Famitsu sat down with the director of the original, Takashi Tokita – who went on to direct Parasite Eve and co-directed Chrono Trigger – to learn more about the length of the development process.

In an interview (kindly translated by Nintendo Everything), Tokita revealed that the team started working on the remake “Early 2019, and it took us three years”. Three years is not very long for the game to be in development nowadays, so when asked why the turnaround was a little faster than other releases, Tokita brought HD-2D visuals to the game:

Deciding whether to go for 2D or 3D in pre-production alone takes about six months, and the fact that we didn’t have time for it was a big deal. We had no doubt that the HD-2D remake would go well with the Super Famicom original.

With the decision on HD-2D, which celebrated another RPG with more characters and more tracks – Octopath Traveler – it helped Tokita and the team to reduce development time, as well as to have the original Super Famicom at hand.

Live A Live is known to have several different scenarios in different time periods, but what makes this more unique is that each time period and character has a different gameplay system. And retaining this has caused some problems during development. Since COVID-19 has been in full swing for only a year in development, this has caused some delays.

In particular, several scenarios required additional work and fine-tuning – “Bakumatsu” (or Secret Orders, the bow in which you control the ninja) and “Prehistory” (the oldest time period in which you play a caveman). Since the first involves stealth and has three different endings, and the second allows you to use your character’s flair to find enemies and there is no dialogue, we can see why this would be a little tricky. But we are even more excited to try these two chapters.

Tokita sounds very excited about the release of the remake, and so does his team! The director commented on the enthusiasm everyone had during the making of the remake:

We made the patterns according to the way we did things before, but the pixel art staff loved Live A Live so much that they drew twice as much movement than we expected. Even during the development period, everyone had 1.5x more passion and momentum. We managed to develop passionately to the end and it ended up being something above our expectations. I hope everyone is looking forward to the final release!

Well, Tokita’s passion is contagious! There really is nothing like Live A Live, and we already have a few details about a few time periods. But with more stories in different settings, he was ambitious in his time, and he is ambitious even now.

Live A Live will be released on July 22 on Switch consoles around the world. Share with us your opinion on the remake in the comments!

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