As a huge fan of the original Final Fantasy VII, and its subsequent side content and spin-offs; I am incredibly excited for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. The completely overhauled remake was announced at E3 2015 to the joy (and skepticism) of Final Fantasy fans everywhere. Many fans wondered if a remake was necessary, while those who had been clamoring for it for over a decade wondered if they could truly capture the magic of the original.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake (documented most of the time as simply “Remake”) was immediately subject to controversy, as it was announced that in order to keep from having to cut any content, the original game would be split into multiple “Feature Length” installments, compared to the Final Fantasy XIII series of games which told parts of a (questionably) cohesive story. It was also revealed that there would be new story content created by Kazushige Nojima, while Tetsuya Nomura would serve as the project’s director.
The remake will also depart from the original game’s turn-based action system, instead following a similar form of combat to the Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts style combat. The developers have stated that we will be able to control any member of Cloud’s party and swap between them, while also being able to customize magic and equipment. There will be other strategic RPG elements but as of yet, the developers have been relatively tight-lipped.
Some fans have been concerned by the transition to making Final Fantasy VII’s Remake into an episodic title; however, I think in this day and age doing it that way is almost required. I remember sitting at home playing the original Final Fantasy VII (one of the many times I’ve finished it) and I used to think about how massive the world seemed. You could fly on the Highwind and explore, go to places just to grind, or catch Chocobos, or even search for elusive Materia. This was before Final Fantasy XV and other larger open world games released. Now I can’t even imagine the joy of exploring Midgar (which is likely to be massive) or Cosmo Canyon in full 3D.
Other fans have become concerned by the lack of a release window, especially with news releasing that Square Enix has pulled the project in-house, cutting ties with outside developer CyberConnect2 and choosing to devote large amounts of internal resources to the upcoming remake. However, Square Enix has also released job listings to recruit a large number of staff members to the project, followed by a statement by Tetsuya Nomura himself.
“I believe that many of us developers share the same feeling that Final Fantasy 7 is a special title, Twenty years have gone by and the number of generations that aren’t familiar with Final Fantasy 7 is increasing, so we must remake the game using today’s technology and systems in order to make it into a title that can last several more decades,” Nomura stated (translation via Siliconera).
After playing through Final Fantasy XV and Episode Gladiolus, I am a firm believer that the 10-year wait was worth it, especially with the free content updates and support slated to continue through the year and possibly even farther. Recent projections have stated that we likely won’t see this Final Fantasy VII Remake release until sometime in the next three years (according to a recent outline released by Square Enix president Yosuke Matsude and Chief Financial Officer Kazuharu Watanabe.) However, it is good that things are progressing and that Square Enix is recruiting staff for the project.
E3 is coming quickly though, and it begs the question of what Square Enix will show this year in regards to the Final Fantasy VII Remake. The short answer is that it could go either way. We could either see nothing this year (due to issues with the development and the transition over to in-house development,) or we could see a demo release (like Square Enix did with Episode Duscae and the Platinum Demo for Final Fantasy XV.)
If we see nothing this year at E3, then it likely means that we’ve got a bit of a longer stretch to wait. I personally would love for Square Enix to do SOMETHING to commemorate the fact that the original title is 20 years old. As a huge fan of Final Fantasy VII, I am incredibly excited and hopeful that we will see something at E3 this year. A new trailer is nice, but something a little more substantial would be great too.
There also is the question of whether there will be companion content to the Remake like Final Fantasy XV received. Will we get another film like Kingsglaive? Or an anime like Brotherhood? Maybe we’ll see an HD remaster of Crisis Core, or Dirge of Cerberus. There is so much to the expanded continuity of the Final Fantasy VII game that I would be surprised if the project hasn’t spawned a few bits of side content. There is also the possibility of a Re-Release of Advent Children, which wouldn’t be the worst idea considering that it was actually pretty great and will likely share voice actors with the new remake.
I am also much more hopeful about the gameplay after enjoying Final Fantasy XV, as I feel like they have had enough feedback on the combat system that they can incorporate good things from XV into the remake, and polish off some of the less satisfying elements. A return of the Materia system would be nice as well, though I doubt we’ll see anything regarding that this year.
The one thing I would ask fans of the original game to take away from what we’ve learned so far, is that as a fan, it is clear to me that the developers at Square Enix aim to surpass the greatness of Final Fantasy VII. To capture the emotional impact and build upon it in order to create something that will “last for decades to come.” There is so much I want to know about the upcoming remake. What new content are they adding? *SPOILER* Will Aeris survive somehow? *SPOILER* Could they get Gilbert Gottfried to voice Hojo? (Okay I’m mostly kidding on that one.)
Maybe I’m an optimist, and many people might call me naïve, but I am still incredibly excited for the Final Fantasy VII Remake. I can’t wait to see what comes out at E3 this year and I know that when we do finally get our hands on it, it will be worth the wait.