Takashi Tokita, lead designer of 1991's Final Fantasy IV, and also lead designer of recent sequel The After Years, explains to Gamasutra in a new feature interview what's wrong with current creative process.
"Right now, we're thinking about it in a way-too complex way. It used to be that our creativity could run free because we didn't worry about the end result. We could just be original and creative, and whatever came of it was original and creative," Tokita explains.
"Now, we're becoming too concerned about marketing and all these other aspects, and that's limiting us right now. There's this saying that essentially means that 'you're crossing the bridge and checking every stone while you're crossing it' -- that's how I feel development is right now."
In Japan, as in the U.S., marketing plays a very strong role in game development. But in that country, the need to sell character goods makes it a particularly complicated process, with the makeup of the party in an RPG designed to maximize return on investment and merchandisability.
"Right now, we're so influenced by everyone's opinions, and the internet, and everything you hear, and what everyone else is making. I actually think it would be better if we would shut all of that out and just made what we want to make. That would create something that would be more original," Tokita says. "I feel like creating things without getting too hung up on little details, and paying more attention to the importance to the concept itself, is the way to move forward."
The full interview, which goes into great depth on the creative process of Final Fantasy in the past and how it might improve in the future, as well as other topics, is live now on Gamasutra.