Interview: Masanobu Suzui and Ichiro Hazama on the Theatrhythm Final Bar Line song lineup and future plans

Recently, we go to ask a couple of questions to Square Enix's Masanobu Suzui and Ichiro Hazama regarding Theatrhythm Final Bar Line.

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Recently, we go to ask a couple of questions to co-director Masanobu Suzui and producer Ichiro Hazama regarding Theatrhythm Final Bar Line.

In case you missed it, Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is the latest installment in Square Enix’s Theatrhythm series, and it is once again a treat for Final Fantasy fans as it features rhythm-based gameplay with various iconic songs from the series.

During our quick interview with the game’s co-director and producer, they shared some interesting insights about the game, including how they came up with the songs as well as what the future holds for the series.

The following is a transcript of our interview with Suzui and Hazama:

What were your criteria in selecting the song lineup for the game?

Answered by Masanobu Suzui: First of all, we began with the fundamental concept of creating a title that would function as the culmination of the THEATRHYTHM series, and for that reason, we wanted to include as many tracks as possible. We came up with a long list featuring all the tracks that have appeared in the Final Fantasy series, before the team sat down and went through the process of trimming that list down, taking into account as wide a variety of opinions as we could.

We made sure to include all of the tracks which have been popular since the launch of the THEATRHYTHM game series, as well as other tracks which were particularly suited for use in a rhythm game. We then began the long process of editing the list down to a manageable quantity. This involved many conferences and meetings with the team and SQUARE ENIX. We tried to ensure that tracks commonly performed as part of the concert set lists and those featured in television commercials or promo videos that have become intrinsically associated with certain titles were included, and also took into account customer feedback via social media and online surveys conducted to pick out popular tracks from each Final Fantasy title.

We have done our absolute best to produce a tracklist that features all of the fan favorites for every title in the series!

We’re assuming that a post-launch DLC with songs from other Square Enix titles will be added. If it does, how did you decide which songs from which games will get added?

Ichiro Hazama: The primary determining factor over the past 12 years has always been the voices of the fans, and that will continue to be the case. We have received, for example, an overwhelming number of requests from our users to include “Saga” tracks in a THEATRHYTHM title. Each of the wonderful titles which have marked SQUARE ENIX’s history have their own famous musical tracks, beloved by fans around the world. After coming up with a list of these titles, we then made selections of the most popular tracks from each, spending many long hours debating which should be included.

What are the biggest differences or points of improvement in THEATRHYTHM FINAL BAR LINE as compared to the previous THEATRHYTHM games?

Masanobu Suzui: This title has been positioned as the third major title in the series, carrying on the legacy from THEATRYTHM FINAL FANTASY: CURTAIN CALL, released on the Nintendo 3DS. In terms of what has evolved between that game and this, we have overhauled the mechanics by introducing fresh new elements such as simultaneous button presses, in order to make the game more enjoyable. The new system has been refined through the expertise and knowledge developed over the course of our team’s work on titles such as THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY: ALL-STAR CARNIVAL and Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory. For the FMS sections, there is more to it than simply walking through the overworld; you will also encounter monsters to battle. The EMS sections have also been redesigned for a greater sense of immersion, and a new top-down trigger system for ease of play has also been implemented.

The various game modes have all been designed specifically for this title. The Series Quests, which allow players to unlock new tracks and characters while looking back fondly at the key moments of each series, have been given a more strategic depth with the addition of RPG facets including status ailments and elementals.

For multi-player battles, online battles have been added, allowing you to participate in battles with up to four players from anywhere around the world. Two different types of Burst can now be triggered at the same time, while players can also acquire collector cards and exchange profile cards featuring their favorite summonstones at the end of each battle.

A rich array of new features have also been added to the main part of the game, to make the rhythm action much more addictive. Live info screen displays indicating inputted controls, detailed volume adjustments, functions informing the player whether their inputs were too fast or too slow, and recommendations for other tracks similar to the ones they enjoy playing have all been added to make sure that our players remain engaged with the game for a long time.

As a major console title, this game has been designed with enough tracks, modes, and features to keep our players entertained for years!

Theatrhythm Final Bar Line is available now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.