Final Fantasy X originally came out on the PlayStation 2 in 2001. One modder is trying to make it conform to modern PC gaming standards — with mixed results. Naxshe has posted a couple videos of their effort to give the recently released Steam version of Final Fantasy X a full 60 frames-per-second makeover. Here’s the game’s opening cut-scene:
And here’s a battle scene:
Not gonna lie: they look damn nice. Problem is, Final Fantasy X was never intended to run this way, resulting in a myriad of issues that include animation glitches and sound syncing. When asked how long it will take for Naxshe to massage the whole game’s creaky joints into buttery 60 FPS smoothness, they replied, “Months, minimum.”
This whole episode continues a chapter of the modern PC gaming storyline tastefully titled, “SIXTY FPS OR DEATH”. The basic idea is that 60 FPS looks really smooth, and it’s something that PC — resplendent with glorious hardware — can do better than other platforms. Therefore, some believe that all games should be optimised for it, and any developer who decides it’s not worth the time or effort is “lazy”. The movement even has its own police force. Unfortunately, things don’t always go super great when people decide to mobilise and deem themselves police, even when intentions are good.
Final Fantasy X is an especially interesting case in that it’s 15 years-old and was never meant to run at 60 FPS. Moreover, it’s not a reflex-intensive game, so a higher framerate doesn’t fundamentally alter how it plays. There are also some who say 30 FPS (where FFX is currently locked) looks more cinematic. Given that FFX is a story-focused RPG, one could make a case that keeping things low and slow suits it just fine.
Still, however, plenty of people have been calling Square Enix “lazy” here, including Naxshe. The PC port of Final Fantasy X is actually pretty good, all things considered. It’s certainly a far cry from the sort of smoking heap developers and publishers would drop on PC folks’ doorsteps back when framerate locks were frequently a sign of neglect.
It’s cool that Naxshe is doing this. I hope it proves feasible, despite the obvious scale of the project. If not, though, there are worse things in life than an HD remaster of a classic RPG whose main theme I still can’t listen to without getting all teary-eyed.