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7 Things We Know So Far About Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy 7 from 1997 is a game that many of us have strong nostalgia for. It could be considered one of the biggest RPG franchises. The series itself has sold approximately over 110 million worldwide. That's more than Sonic, more than Halo, and even more than Assassin's Creed. So with a remake of the most highly regarded game in the series, many fans are going nuts with excitement. But how will Square Enix reproduce this Final Fantasy game 20 years later? Well, let's look at 7 things we know so far about the Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Story (Modernizing The Classic)
The remake will re-tell the story of the original game from 1997 on the PlayStation 1. It follows Cloud Strife, an ex-mercenary who joins the avalanche Eco-terrorist group to fight against the Shinra corporation who have been draining the planet's life energy. Along the way, he
becomes involved in something much, much bigger. Square is working on the careful balancing act of keeping the parts that we loved from the original while adjusting the pacing. Game director Tetsuya Nomura explained it even further:
In addition to delving into these episodes more deeply, we're preparing a number of mechanisms and such. To those who played the original version will know the important parts and understand the story from the beginning to the end. Also for these people, I hope that they can be surprised once again.
Fans have questioned will there be any changes? Would they remove potentially awkward scenes like where Cloud cross-dresses for Don? They did specifically answer yes to the cross-dressing scenario. So it seems like the story will be very faithful to the original, but it's the presentation and the approach to storytelling that may change.
Combat (Active & Real Time)
The battle system is now real time and action oriented. Different from the original Final Fantasy 7 or even Crisis Core. The battle system is referred to as Active Time Battle. The ATB gauge does not indicate the order of attacks and instead uses a new system unique to the game for dispersing attacks. Limit Breaks will still be present, but there will be new ways to use them. A party consists of three characters, and players can switch freely between them at any time. But you don't have to switch characters if you don't want to. The battle tempo could be compared to Dissidia Final Fantasy Arcade. They've only shown us the base part of the battle system, but it's clear that it's fast paced real time action. It's also more than just hitting opponents repeatedly, there will be strategy involved. Square Enix is recruiting experienced people from Dissidia and Kingdom Hearts specifically for the combat on this title.
Character Design (Blending Fantasy & Realism)
The first thing everyone looked for in the trailers were their favorite characters, especially the protagonist. Many fans were surprised to see Cloud looking, even more, skinny and pale than they have imagined, but the developers were very happy with how his look came out. There are elements of the original story that influence his appearance, but you'll have to go back and play the original if you don't want me to spoil it.
Character models are supervised by the director at Visual Works. Roberto Ferrari is doing sub-character designs for the supporting cast such as Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie. Barret is featured prominently in the trailer and he seems to have a much more mature look than what we've seen in the past. They were originally going to use Barret's design from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, but Nomura wanted to redesign him. Nomura says that from the start, he actually wanted to redesign every character. The models from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children are not being used because they're more than 10 years old at this point. They're
fine tuning adjustments to create a balance between realism and fantasy in this installment.
Graphics (& Presentation)
Unlike parts of the game released for Steam and now the PS4, the game is a full remake built from the ground-up on modern technology. Featuring full polygonal graphics as opposed to the pre-rendered environments of the original. Epic games even confirmed that they are working in collaboration with Square Enix to bring Unreal Engine 4 technology to this title. And that explains how they achieved such a detailed look and smooth flow of gameplay. We've seen a few glimpses of cutscenes in the trailer, but most of what you see is in-game footage. Believe it or not, this is what it will actually look and feel like when you
are playing the game.
Although the game is being primarily developed by Square Enix they are teaming up with CyberConnect2 for parts of the games production. CyberConnect2 has been known for developing several Naruto titles and as well as the .hack series. Square Enix believes in CyberConnect2 for their action game experience and their knowledge on video production. And they're making sure to keep the art style and design close to what Square Enix envisions.
Episodic (Multiple Installments)
The biggest difference between the presentation of the original and the new game is that it will be episodic. Game director Yoshinori Kitase explained it best in a recent interview:
One of the main reasons Square Enix hasn't remade Final Fantasy VII up until now is because it's a massive undertaking to construct it from the ground up with current technology. A proper HD remake that maintains the same feeling of the density of the original wouldn't fit into a single installment. Final Fantasy 7 was a game that takes an average of 40 hours to beat and it takes us across multiple locations in this fantasy world. Then again it didn't even fit on one Playstation disc back in 1997. In a single installment, content would have to be cut and would then result in a condensed version of the game. Creating an episodic release would make it possible to expand on certain areas. As we saw in the PlayStation Experience trailer, Midgar has more areas to explore. If anything, the amount of content should increase with this format.
Prior Rumors (& Deciding)
There's no doubt that we all wanted this remake. So why did it take so long to even be announced? This question has come up in almost every interview with Square Enix for the last 10 years. Part of that reason was due to the tech demo displayed at E3 2005 featuring the opening sequence of Final Fantasy 7 recreated using the PS3's graphical capabilities. In 2009, Yoshinori Kitase said at the Games Convention, "As for a VII remake, all I can advise right now is to play the PSN release that has come out for the time being. Maybe we'll have some news for you at a later time. In January 2010, Tetsuya Nomura said, "Fans are looking forward to a rumored remake of FFVII, but I don't believe this will happen for the time being." In February 2010, Kitase said that in order to give a PS3 port of Final Fantasy VII a similar quality to Final Fantasy XIII, it "would take as much as three or four times longer than the three and a half years it has taken to put this Final Fantasy together! So it's looking pretty unrealistic to happen!" But in March 2010, the Final Fantasy XIII director said Motomu Toriyama, "If we had the manpower and the time to work on a project, if we were to remake Final Fantasy VII with the quality of Final Fantasy XIII it would become a tremendous project. If we can get the number of people we need by all means that would be the one I would really want to remake." There're a lot of factors that went into deciding to remake Final Fantasy 7. The resources, the unreal engine 4 capabilities, the developers available, and, of course, the fan's demands. Clearly, the vision that Square Enix has for this is larger than any other Final Fantasy game they have created.
Final Fantasy VII Remake - Battle System Poll
What Type of Battle System do you want in FFVII Remake
The remake trailer is what I actually imagined when I was playing the original. Mature characters and an intense battle with a touch of Square's signature fantasy style. Will Final Fantasy 7 Remake live up to fan's expectations? That's up to you to decide. So let me know in the comments what you think of the remake. And follow me for more great game previews.