Lets talk about the FFVII remake (rationally)

FFVIIOver the past couple of weeks there has been a bucket load of misinformation piled on to fans regarding the Final Fantasy VII remake. Snippets of interviews, roughly translated and words like “episode” have been used without much context. This of course has whipped people in to a frenzy. Well, I for one think it’s time to take a step back and look at what was said by the people who know what they’re talking about.

I am a big fan of the Final Fantasy series and FFVII, although not my all time favourite is one I thoroughly enjoyed and put many an hour in to. This is why I decided to sit down today and read through all of the (reliable) information we have received about the remake and put it together so we can have an objective view on the situation rather than let buzz words or memes or poor translations Cloud our judgement.

First of all, a look at a message from Yoshinori Kitase that he posted on the Square Enix Blog yesterday. In it he expands on the reasoning behind a multi-part FFVII, that unless this was done the remake would have to be a “condensed experience” and not something the fans would want.

“With FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, we have the opportunity to go beyond the story, world and experience of FINAL FANTASY VII in ways we’ve always dreamed of – from the depths of Midgar to the skies above the Planet. The multi-part format enables us to expand the original story and turn it into an epic experience for fans and new gamers alike.”

“One thing that we wanted to be clear about during this weekend to accompany the new trailer was the scale of this project. We wanted to tell you this now and not in the future so that you’d share our vision for what we want to deliver. The biggest reason why we haven’t done a remake until now is because it’s a massive undertaking to reconstruct FINAL FANTASY VII from the ground up with the current technology. Producing a proper HD remake of FINAL FANTASY VII that maintains the same feeling of density of the original would result in a volume of content that couldn’t possibly fit into one instalment.

We’ve seen everyone’s comments and reactions to the news that FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be a multi-part series and many have speculated correctly as to the reason why we have made this decision. If we were to try to fit everything from the original into one remake instalment, we would have to cut various parts and create a condensed version of FINAL FANTASY VII. We knew none of you would have wanted that.”

In my opinion, what Kitase has said should be enough to put the “episodic” mumblings to bed. Think of it this way, we had FFX and FFX-2, we had FFXIII, FFXIII-2 and Lightning Returns. This is more likely the format that FFVII will take on board. Not mini episodes that will take you an hour each to complete.

Now lets have a look at the interviews that  Famitsu and Dengeki published.  The translation I chose to read was from thelifestream.net who’s forum member Hian, carefully translated each interview. You can read the Famitsu one here and the Dengeki one here. Some of the more important points that should be noted are:

  • They are making a “full volume” remake and don’t want to make a “digest” version of the original. To do this the game must be segmented.
  • What we saw in the video at PS Ex was among other things,  Sector 1 and 8. That alone wouldn’t give us a feel for the density of the game.
  • We will be able to explore parts of Midgar that we won’t have been able to in the original game.
  • If all the content from the original FFVII were to be remade in that quality it would be impossible to fit it all in to one single game.
  • There will be a “seamless active battle system” however, elements such as the ATB gauge (which will turn red at times) and limit breaks will be introduced but be utilized differently.
  • The combat is less action based than Dissidia FF or Kingdom Hearts but leans more towards them than the likes of Crisis Core.
  • We will be able to switch between three characters freely. Combat will retain elements of strategy.
  • There will be new parts of the story introduced so that people who know the story well will be surprised again and that it should be more than just nostalgia.
  • The models used were created to be “tip-toeing near the edge of reality” so intentionally don’t look too realistic.
  • The models from Advent Children aren’t being used because they are 10 years old.
  • What we saw from the moment Cloud jumps off the train was in game footage, but they’re still brushing up on the look of it.
  • Cross dressing Cloud is included, but they haven’t decided on the design yet.

There’s more comprehensive points made in the interviews, particularly the Dengeki one, so if you’re really interested take a look. I really feel like this seems to be going in a good direction. I wouldn’t like a reduced formed of the final game that’s for certain and I am looking forward to exploring Midgar in depth. I was a fan of the ATB system in FFVII, however this combat system sounds fun, and seemingly still retains elements of strategy and is not going to reduce to firing off abilities without due consideration.

The other main thing to think about here is who is involved in this project. It wasn’t handed off to random developers, producers and artists. These are Final Fantasy series veterans with a clear passion for the series. We have Tetsuya Nomura working as director and artist, who worked on the original game’s character design, story and battle visual.  Kazushige Nojima who worked with producer Yoshinori Kitase on the original’s story and is one of the most highly regarded video game writers in the industry. Then Yoshinori Kitase himself who is producing the game, but also directed and wrote for the original. I feel like the Final Fantasy 7 remake is in good hands and what I have heard so far is not worrying me. I don’t think it’s the time for too much speculation, but unlike some with knee jerk reactions or quick to make some memes off the back of a couple of quotes, I really don’t think they are going to turn it in to a DLC ridden catastrophe.

Rejoice in the fact that we’re even getting a remake and have a look at the beautiful trailer below.

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