Interview with Javier Soto, Manager for WorldWide DVD Content
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

In Part 2 of our Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within Interviews, RPGamer interviewed Javier Soto, Manager for Worldwide DVD Content for Columbia TriStar Home Video about the development of the DVD and some of special features found in the DVD release of the film. The following is a transcript of that interview. (In case you missed Part 1, our Interview with Hironobu Sakaguchi, it is available here.)

RPGamer: How long have you worked for Columbia as Manager for Worldwide DVD Content? Can you give us a brief list of some of the DVDs you have worked on during that time?

Soto: I've been with Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment for two and a half years and have worked on titles like The Animal, Hollow Man and Stuart Little. Upcoming I have Jet Li's The One, Once Upon A Time In Mexico (the sequel to Desperado) and Spider-Man.

RPGamer: How did production of those DVDs compare to the production of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within?

Soto: Each title presents its own challenges. There was definitely a lot of ground to cover with Final Fantasy. We were fortunate that Square Pictures allowed us unprecedented access to their digital files and archives. This made the task of chronicling the many phases of film development much eaiser.

RPGamer: Did the fact that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is entirely computer generated pose any unusual or unforeseen problems when developing the DVD features?

Soto: It actually opened up a lot of possibilities for added value. I think consumers will get a glimpse into the process of creating a first in cinema. The creation of photo-realistic humans. We're proud of the fact that content is tailored to the feel of the film. The menu interface and added value feels almost a part of the world showcased in the film. This is something that few discs have attempted.

RPGamer: Can you give us a brief run down of the features on the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within DVD?

Soto: Included with the traditional special features (i.e., commentaries, alternate scenes, and outtakes) that consumers love, we have the Boards/Blasts version of the film. It presents most of the film in its various stages. It begins with Storyboards morphs to Playblasts (blocky animation) and finally unfolds into the final feature. More than a simple rough cut of the film, with its optional commentary and "pop-up factoids" it provides a making-of information overload. We've also included the isolated score with Composer Commentary on disc one. Disc two presents extensive behind-the-scenes content. Most of which is presented via the Interactive Documentary. This Doc allows the consumer to "dig deeper" into content utilizing link-out windows. It's a DVD first and something that we're looking to include on future titles. Character files, Vehicle Scale Comparisons, and Trailer Explorations round out a fully loaded disc. Oh yes, there are also six easter eggs between the two discs.

RPGamer: One of the questions on the minds of Final Fantasy fans is, "Why Thriller?".

Soto: Thriller began as a motion capture outtake for animator Kelly Goldstein. We ran across it quite early in the process and asked her to complete the dance sequence for use as a DVD exclusive.

RPGamer: Were any other music videos considered for the DVD feature?

Soto: No. From Kelly's fertile imagination came the idea to use Thriller. And I feel it was the right choice. That dance sequence is known by all. The moment the music kicks in you know you're in for something special.

RPGamer: What scenes are re-editable in the Final Fantasy Shuffler?

Soto: The conference room sequence is broken out into segments that can be rearranged to change the context of the scene.

RPGamer: What can you tell us about the aforementioned Easter eggs in the DVD release?

Soto: They are a combination of never before seen images and storyboards set to score from the film. While all are well hidden, most DVD pros should be able to access them with relative ease. Thriller is the most fun and easiest to find.

Special thanks Mr. Soto for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. Also thanks to Karen Penhale for setting up the interview with Mr. Soto. The DVD release of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is set for Tuesday, October 23rd, with a suggested retail price of $29.95.

by Martin Drury    
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