Near the end of the video, Lead Battle Designers Tomotaka Shiroichi and Kosuke Sakane talk about how the boss battles in Final Fantasy 7 Remake were inspired by Yonkama, a four-panel manga style from Japan.Yonkoma is usually seen as a comic style made up of four panels in a vertical column, which follows a famous structure known as Kishotenketsu. As Shiroichi explains, the core parts of this structure include an introduction, a middle part, a development and a conclusion.
The developers go on to explain how this works in the context of Final Fantasy, their words supplemented by footage of the Abzu boss fight from Final Fantasy 7 Remake. In the footage, the player encounters the beast and is on the back foot, but then studies its special moveset and counters with targeted attacks, leading to its defeat.
“Encounter the enemy and start the battle in Phase 1, show each other’s hand and the boss takes lead in Phase 2, In Phase 3, the boss shows you the signature attacks and the players start fighting back,” Shiroichi explains. “That’s when bosses start revealing their weaknesses – Phase 4 is the climax and introduces the next part of the storyline!”
The battle designers note that the boss battles in Final Fantasy 7 Remake follow this pattern and as such, connect key events within the story by following those four steps from Yonkama manga.According to Shiroichi, each phase should also display Jo-Ha-Kyu, a Japanese concept of movement that he describes as a “slow start, swift break, and rapid end.” The video contains a number of other details about how the team behind Final Fantasy 7 Remake approached the game’s combat, including a section interviewing the game’s director Tetsuya Nomura about balancing the old-school hallmarks of Final Fantasy 7’s ATB system with the demands of a modern audience.
For more on Final Fantasy 7 Remake, check out our article about how COVID-19 has impacted its global launch, leading to an early release in Australia and Europe.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN who can’t wait to display Jo-Ha-Kyu on some unsuspecting Shinra troops. Follow him on Twitter.