Final Fantasy 12 was a difficult game. Kato believes part of this was due to presenting a new approach to combat and exploration that fans of the series weren’t used to.
“One of the biggest challenges we faced in Final Fantasy 12 was to ditch the classic random encounter system that we had,” he explained. “In other games, you would go into battle suddenly, whereas in Final Fantasy 12 you saw enemies as you moved through the field. It’s a real-time battle system. It was a big departure from the classic system.”
Even within this new style, however, many players struggled to progress in Final Fantasy 12. In response to this, Square looked to more senior staff members for support.
“We actually got help from Hiroyuki Ito, who worked on the game design for previous Final Fantasy titles,” Kato said. “We overhauled the game balance so that it would be easier for players — closer to the feel of a classic Final Fantasy title.”