These days, HD remakes are pretty common! They usually are the same games, but with spiffy new graphics and, often, optional and updated controls. The big question is whether or not this is a straight-up remake. From what Square Enix's Tetsuya Nomura tells Famitsu and Dengeki Online, it's not.
"I can't get go into details," Nomura said, "but this is not a simple remake. Let's say for argument's sake that we only pretty up the graphics for current gen hardware, I don't think that would surpass the original version."
(Note: Here Nomura actually said "next gen hardware," but he is referring to the current gen.)
It seems that if the game only featured better graphics, then the difference between this remake and the upscaled port would merely be cosmetic.
"The original version is a game that came out in 1997, and if you look at it today, you can feel how dated the graphics and the game system are," Nomura told Famitsu. "However, that's also part of Final Fantasy VII." Nomura added that even today, the game continues to get support and that is unlikely to change.
However, it sounds like like the remake will feature evolved gameplay. Again, here's Nomura:
"We haven't shown any gameplay yet, but since we're updating them quite a bit, please look forward to that," Nomura told Dengeki Online. (Note: The word Nomura used, 進化 or "shinka," can also mean "evolution" or "progress." He didn't say 変化 or "henka," which means "change" or "variation.")
For a title like this, even if you only redo the graphics, I don't think you get something that's exciting."
So, what does that mean?
"Since we now formally revealed Kazushige Nojima's name for the scenario, there will be more plot devices in the story, so I think you can also look forward to that."
Ah, perhaps maybe they will be adding to the story, fleshing certain parts out or adding more backstory? That I can see making this more than a simple high-def remake with pretty graphics. I hope this doesn't mean certain parts of the original story, however, will be written out...
"So," Nomura told Famitsu, "if you are going to do a full remake, you have to take a different approach and make something that suits the times."
According to Nomura, Square Enix is planning to reveal more about this remake later this winter -- at the very least, the game's formal title. So, yes, yes, look forward to that too. Expect it.