In a recent Famitsu interview, Final Fantasy X’s key developers recount bringing the game from conception to completion.
“To get the character in the water, for the initial plan, there was a time in which Tidus was to be an underwater plumber,” explained the game’s writer, Kazushige Nojima.
Character designer Tetsuya Nomura even drew illustrations of Tidus, the plumber, but during the course of development, the character was changed to a Blitzball player.
Blitzball is an aquatic sport played in FFX, so this was a way to get Tidus in the water without having him fix pipes.
Famitsu asked Nomura if there were any traces of the character previously being a plumber.
“The overalls seem to be,” replied Nomura, adding that initially he drew designs that gave the impression of work clothes. But once Tidus was changed to an athlete, the design became much more sporty.
Yoshinori Kitase, the game’s producer, says it was his idea to make Tidus an athlete. The inspiration for this was Kitase’s love of science fiction movies that have race or sport elements to them.
“Up to that point, there hadn’t been sport components in the Final Fantasy series,” said Kitase, “so I thought this would be a new challenge.”
By having Tidus be a sportsman, the producer added, this would give him a unique identity among FF protagonists.
“At that point, I discussed this with Nojima, and he went from being a plumber in the water to an athlete that competes in the water.”
Interesting! But still doesn’t beat the best scrapped Square Enix concept ever: Tetsuya Nomura originally wanted the characters in Kingdom Hearts to use chainsaws.
“The first weapon I showed Disney was a chainsaw,” Nomura previously said. “Everyone got this scrunched-up look on their face and nobody said a word in the entire room.”
He quickly realized that the chainsaw wasn’t going to work, and the weapon of choice ultimately became the now iconic Keyblade.