In a recent interview with Famitsu, Square Enix's Hiromichi Tanaka discussed in depth just how fully Final Fantasy III DS is being remade over its NES version. While it has been known since Nintendo's DS conference that the game's graphics would be overhauled to 3D, Tanaka revealed that it isn't just the graphics that will be modified, but also the story, characters, and gameplay.
Tanaka, who serves as executive producer on Final Fantasy III DS and was also one of the three planners on the original Final Fantasy III, remarked that the original game was very advanced for the NES, and so he wants to maintain that advanced feel on the DS by giving players a much greater gaming experience.
The original Final Fantasy III starred four nameless, interchangable Onion Kids with identical sprites and lacking distinct personalities. By contrast, the Nintendo DS remake will develop the characters into unique individuals, each with their own character designs and sprites, and with newly developed identities and personalities that will tie into the story of the game, which is accordingly being further fleshed out.
As to Final Fantasy III DS's gameplay, Tanaka commented that his staff is adjusting the balance of the job system to add greater usability to some classes, which will ultimately allow players greater choices in how they play the game. Additionally, Tanaka wants to utilize the unique abilities of the Nintendo DS, and so the touch screen capabilities will be fully integrated into the game. While it won't be necessary, gamers will have the option of playing Final Fantasy III DS entirely through touch controls. Tanaka is also planning on adding some use of the DS's wireless connectivity for some side bonuses outside of the game's main story.
Final Fantasy III DS currently has no Japanese release date, nor has a North American localization been announced. Final Fantasy III is the sole remaining numbered Final Fantasy game to never see a release across the Pacific, though, so gamers who have long been eager to see this particular game in action should keep their fingers crossed.