Hiroaki Kato, and Naoyuki Takahashi, The Producer, and Lead Game Designer of Tactics Ogre: Reborn were kind enough to answer a few of our questions in an email interview about the recent remaster.
Hiroaki Kato joined Square Enix in 2001 and was the project manager for Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced, Tactics A2, and the original PSP release of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. Naoyuki Takahashi similarly, acted as the director for Armoured Core V and Armored Core: Verdict Day before joining Square Enix.
Both of them have plenty of experience working on strategy RPGs which you can see in the latest remaster of Tactics Ogre. This is the second time the game has seen an enhanced new release. It was first launched on the SNES and later remade for the PSP. Reborn is an HD Remaster of the PSP version. Here’s what they had to say about the incarnation of Tactics Ogre:
The PSP version of Tactics Ogre used a class-wide leveling system, but this version will be using a unit-by-unit leveling system similar to the original SNES version. Could you tell us more about the decision to change it back?
Hiroaki Kato: The introduction of the class-wide leveling system for the PSP version was made to make leveling simpler and easier to understand. The feedback we received from users, however, indicated that many enjoyed the leveling-up process for individual units, and wanted to see that return.
Therefore, for “Tactics Ogre: Reborn”, we placed focus on three key issues with regard to leveling. First, we restored the unit-based leveling system so that users could enjoy the development of individual units; second, we reduced the difficulty of leveling up to allow newly added units to be more easily used; and finally, we made sure that none of these changes compromised the sense of tension in the gameplay that is at the heart of the game.
In order to fulfill these goals, we decided upon the implementation of a Union Level (level cap) to maintain the balance between unit leveling and the requisite tension in battle scenes.
A lot of mechanics in Tactics Ogre: Reborn make the game more accessible to new players like replacing random encounters with training battles. Was it difficult to balance these new quality-of-life features with the older mechanics fans have come to expect?
Naoyuki Takahashi: Once decisions about what content to include had been made, it was not particularly difficult to maintain balance in terms of functionality within the gameplay, but the original process of deciding whether to be faithful to the PSP version or closer to the SNS version involved a great deal of deliberation and thought.
With no “correct answer” as such, these decisions were made after long discussions involving the entire team, in which we strove to view the issues from as many different perspectives as possible.
In the previous versions of Tactics Ogre, certain characters [for example – Arycelle] were brought over to prior points in the story using the WORLD system but would leave your party if you chose a new alignment because their loyalty would drop. Is this still the case in Tactics Ogre: Reborn?
Hiroaki Kato: To answer your question, characters may still leave your party if their loyalty drops, in the same way, they did in previous titles.
A number of new playable characters were added to Tactics Ogre on PSP like Ravness Loxaerion but for Reborn, the character roster seems to have been kept the same. Could you tell us more about the playable characters and the decision to not add any new units?
Hiroaki Kato: With the decision to fully voice all of the game’s cut scenes, the narrative focus was placed on refining and fleshing out existing scenarios and characters, rather than adding new ones. In particular, the game’s script has been rewritten with the concept of the spoken rather than the written word at the forefront.
Many voice lines have also been amended to better match the specific features of each character, especially with respect to how they are voiced. I believe the pirate Azelstan is a prime example; the impression users have of his character is likely to be quite different from that of the previous titles.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is certainly a unique game. A classic from the golden age of RPGs Reborn once again. Seeing how developers continue to update its complex mechanics to suit a new audience while still being true to the original is fascinating.
We’re thankful to Mr. Kato and Mr. Takahashi for speaking to us in this interview and wish the best of luck to both them and Tactics Ogre: Reborn.
Tactics Ogre: Reborn is available for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, and PC.