Let’s Think Of The Final Fantasy VII Remake As A Totally New Game

Let’s Think Of The Final Fantasy VII Remake As A Totally New Game

It’s been a strange week for the Final Fantasy VII remake, a prospect that once seemed like a nostalgic 20-something’s wet dream but is now, after a whirlwind few months, unexpectedly real.

In June, when Square announced the remake with a CGI trailer, it seemed impossibly far away. Then, after a surprise appearance at PlayStation Experience last weekend — complete with a look at actual gameplay! — the FFVII remake suddenly became palpable. It looked like they’d actually made progress. For the first time, we wondered: Could this game really be coming out before 2020?

Just a day later, another twist emerged, as Square Enix announced Sunday night in a press release that the Final Fantasy VII remake would not be a single game but instead would be an episodic series. In a series of piecemeal interviews and blog posts over the following days, Square clarified that each game in this series would be a “full-sized game” — which presumably means they will each be $80 — and that, combined, they will tell an expanded version of Final Fantasy VII‘s original story.

Yesterday on the Square Enix blog, producer Yoshinori Kitase went a bit more in-depth:

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.

It’s tempting to freak out about this news — “OMG I can’t believe they’re gonna rip my favourite Final Fantasy into multiple parts it’s gonna be RUINED” — but I’m here to preach some caution. No matter how they approach this series, one thing’s become clear: This is going to feel like a brand new game. That’s a good thing. Nobody needs a 1:1 HD replica of the original Final Fantasy VII. The old one holds up just fine — especially with cheat codes.

So let’s be open to a little experimentation, shall we? Real-time combat? Sure! Multiple episodes that play around with new forms of gameplay? Why not! Expanding the story to offer more explanation for, say, Jenova’s backstory, or Hojo’s motivations? Do it!

It’s very possible, given Square Enix’s recent history, that they will find some way to screw up the Final Fantasy VII remake, stripping out the humour and turning the RPG classic into an over-priced, thin series of episodes with streamlined levels and no world map. I sure hope that doesn’t happen. But even if it does, I’d rather see them experimenting with new forms than trying to directly recreate the same game they released 20 years ago. After all, you can always go back and play that one.


    • I bet there’ll be seven episodes in total, causing someone at Square Enix to pat themselves on the back for being “such a genius”

  • I had the same exact thought and I agree. I have always loved FFVII but I intend on going into this as if it were an entirely new game with hope that they’ll do it justice. Even with all the doubt out there, I’m still excited to finally see it.

  • No. If they want to experiment and make something new, they should make something new (what happened to FF XV? They seem to have forgotten it lately). A remake should be a remake.

    • And it is. A remake doesn’t always mean it will be exactly the same as what was made before. That’s what remasters are.

      • Not quite. A remaster is simply an update of an old product using the original data (master files). A remake is rebuilding an old product from scratch (all new materials).
        In this case they’re completely changing things like the battle system, so it’s hardly remaking the old game, it’s something new entirely (better term in this case would be reboot).

        • It’s still technically a remake, though. Exact same story, same characters, same world… only thing that’s different is the gameplay, which is perfectly fine with me.

  • I think “a brand new game with an old story” is the only way you can think about this. Only problem is… That’s not what the fans have been crying out for all these years. They’ve been crying out for a simple remake, like how FF3 and FF4 were remade for the 3DS.

    I would have been entirely happy if they’d kept the concept of pre-rendered backgrounds and made a few subtle improvements to the story and battle system. But not s complete overhaul that’s so huge it doesn’t even fit into one game. -_-

    • Yeah, my big issue with VII, and why I can’t help but prefer IX and X, is that the translation is an absolute mess. Sure, improved graphics would be nice, but Christ, there’s some real engrish in there.

  • Let’s think about this for exactly what it is: A cash grab. Or if you want to think about it in SE terms: Final Fantasy XIII that you’ll want to pay… I mean…. play.

    SE started experimenting with the multi release game with Final Fantasy XIII and stupidly enough, people bought them in enough volume to warrent SE to give it another try with a nostalgia driven release. It would have been easy enough for the Final Fantasy VII remake to be the first multi-disc game for the Playstation 4, but there’s not enough profit with that. So instead, they’ll chop the game up into bits and sell them to you one disc at a time for full price… And once again, people are going to be stupid enough to fall for this shit and we’ll start seeing more and more games released in “multi release format” at $80-$100 a pop.

  • My problem with all of this (and I suspect a lot of others) is that we don’t want a new game with an old story – I wanted a touch up of the original similar to the updates to FF3 and FF4.

    • I was hoping for the same story, same battle system, PS4 level graphics.
      Including all the side quests.

    • Having recently played through FF7 again, I’d be happy with “FF7 but with more between the plot stops.”
      It seems like a huge game from the outside, but when you’re playing through it, it almost feels short!

  • It is an interesting mentality shift, for me at least. The constant prospect that this announcement was almost inevitable was so exciting, that there is a somewhat melancholy feeling now that it has become reality. With each new piece of information Square releases about the remake, you can’t help but – as an admirer of the original – feel hesitant about the new path they are taking, only deepening the empty mood.

    Still, I am looking forward to what they come up with.

  • I’m kind of hoping they deviate from the original as it goes, flesh some areas out and drop some of the jankier content. FF7 original was amazing but it’s also a bit of a mess at times, with a lot of things sort of thrown at a wall to see what stuck.

    Really the only thing that worries me personally is the battle system. I really, really did not like Final Fantasy XV’s demo. I haven’t enjoyed a FF battle system since X. Their insistence on going real-time isn’t really the problem, it’s that they won’t fully commit to it, you’re still menuing the enemies to death or just letting the game play itself, and if it’s going to be an action RPG I’d rather have direct control, more along the lines of the Tales games.

    But what they’ve shown so far makes it really hard to draw any conclusions.

    Oh, and I hope that they improve the dub quality or give us a dual audio option. Aside from Cloud, the English dub in the last trailer was dire.

    • Yes, some of the language was a bit hit and miss, but that’s one of the things that I love about the original. The dialogue was one of the things that kept me enthralled, because aside from the excellent story and meaningful characters, I always knew there’d be a gem of dialogue just around every corner.

      I remain cautious, but I can’t wait to see it.

  • Ok fine but what about people like me.

    I never played FFVII, didn’t have a PlayStation at the time and although I have intended to pick up various rerelease a never got around to it.

    Was going to grab the last one when suddenly I heard about this remake. I could experience this story with stunning modern visuals and a few less antiquated game design tropes?

    I was so on board.

    But now I’m looking at what, over $200 to play this game?

    I’m not a fan of episodic releases like telltale do, although I understand their business model. However now I just buy a season pass (at a reasonable price for a full game) and wait for all the episodes to be released.

    Trying to do that with a full AAA styled game just is really off putting. Sure hardcore fans will complain and probably buy it anyway, but if you’re actually remaking it as a new game what about targeting new fans?

    • probably more than $200 realistically. Will be a minimum of 3 splits, so at $80 each ($110 if your getting from eb) then your looking t $240. Could be much higher though if they split it even more.

  • Im playing ff7 for the first time right now, its rusty and I can see how nostalgia is what keeps the warm feelings for this game alive however I think remaking the game in parts is a shit idea as is changing the battle system. Its fine. Its going to sell 10 million copies no matter what, i don’t think much should be changed at all. I would love to see the music remain mostly the same, the songs are brilliant and giving them off to giant orchestras will make them feel less magic. The worst part about playing ff7 for me is the graphics, everything else is alright.

  • It’s a shame there’s so much outspoken negatively surrounding the remake when in reality there’s plenty of people that are happy with it, they’re just not kicking up a fuss.

    I think giving the remake the same mechanics but with a bit of gloss and paint is so

  • I’d find it much easier to look at it as a new game if it wasn’t called Final Fantasy VII. Once you put that name on it then you are immediately setting certain expectations.

  • But wouldn’t adding in new story be counter productive in that it’s giving them more to develop when it’s already too big to fit into one installment? If you get me.
    I don’t really want to pay 80 bucks for a watered down stretched out version three times over. I’d pay 50 at for each third maximum, but they’d have to be transparent with their budget to the fans etc.

  • My problem is that square enix are rubbish at making final fantasy games so I figured if they were directly remaking someone elses game they couldn’t screw it up.

    When I saw they were putting their own spin on the battles I just thought back to final fantasy 12 where the game was so shallow you could set it up to play itself with the right gambits.

  • They need to implement an option to switch between 2 modes of the game on the fly. The re-envisaged remake which is all pretty, with real time battle combat, and then the remake for the old fans with ATB system, all speech in text, with pre rendered backgrounds. Sort of Like they did with the halo collection graphics switch.

    That would keep us all happy.

  • I have no issues if they make it episodic but add in the following storylines as side quests from the spin-off games to make the ultimate package:
    – Dirge of Cerberus
    – Crisis Core – add canon version of Zacks Death
    – Before Crisis
    If it is just the base story they are breaking a part, I’ll just wait for the complete edition in 2018 or something….

  • Square-Enix’s handling of the Final Fantasy franchise has not inspired a lot of faith. And this is not a new game. It is a remake of an old game. It is in the title. Final Fantasy VII: Remake. And this idea of splitting a game into multiple parts is bullshit. There have been warnings about this type of shit for years, that SE wanted to find a way to sell the same game multiple times. Well, Final Fantasy VII: Remake is their prototype. This is out first glimpse into a future where the new Final Fantasy, Deus Ex and Tomb Raider game are sold is multiple parts. So look forward to that.

  • They got a huge weight on their shoulders here:
    Too much like old FFVII and it’s an outdated rehash.
    Too little like the old FFVII and it’ll betray the fans expectations.

    So it comes as no surprise that we’re all a little concerned.

    • Except me. I’m buying it and loving it no matter whether it’s good or not.

      So the fates have decreed.

      • Now I want it to be soooo bad that I’ll literally be able to pinpoint the moment when your heart breaks in two.

        • You’d be surprised how much reality I can ignore to preserve the integrity of my precious beliefs. 🙂

  • My one concern is how the fuck do you make an RPG episodic? I guess you could import saves, or have new “here’s a bunch of items, materia and levels in case you didn’t play the previous part” features.

    I think as long as the final product stands as one cohesive product, maybe this episodic thing won’t be so bad.

    • I’m hoping it’s more expansion-pack style. Each part would provide its own new stuff since each part would form part of the storyline. If you split it into three, then the two Junon events could be used as episode delimiters.

      You’re right though, as a cohesive thing it’s going to be hard to do I think.
      Thinking about the import save/get given materia-stats-weapons idea
      If your stats are worse than the default, there’s no point putting effort into the previous part.
      If your stats are better then unless they do level scaling, then you might find it too easy.

  • Let’s stop thinking of the new game as “episodic” for a start. Game journalists have been using the term when Square have said nothing about episodes, but instead say that each release will be a full game focussing on content from within the original game.

    We aren’t talking about something like Dr Who here, we’re talking about Lord of The Rings and there is a distinct difference between how an episodic series is produced as opposed to a film series. Lord of the Rings could have been made into a three hour movie and left out tons of story (Heck, even the 9 hours we got left out a lot of stuff) but to properly explore the story as a whole it was split up into separate movies and no one was complaining about it being episodic.

    So until Square actually say it’s episodic, stop thinking of it as such and start thinking about it in terms of a series of movies making up a full story. If LotR isn’t your fancy, think of it as Star Wars or heck, think of it as the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy with a better plot. We don’t actually know many of the details about how the game will work so people (especially journalists) should stop tilting at windmills until we have real demons to fight. *Steps off soapbox*

    • I second that – perhaps a closer analogy would be Starcraft 2 where Blizzard from the get-go stated that Starcraft 2 would consist of three games. This is how I expect FFVII Remake to be done with discs 1, 2 and 3 likely to be the approximate boundaries of each game.

      This is quite exciting and perhaps explains Squaresoft errm Square-Enix’s release of the FFXIII on the PC (with Lightning Returns still coming) as an experiment to build assets etc for the PC platform so the end product of FFVII Remake isn’t a mess on the PC (FFXIII-2 on the other hand is with constant crashing).

  • Why oh why could they not just have given us what we actually asked for!? Lets be realistic, its not a new game, its just a way for them to hike the price up as high as they possibly can.

    And to think I was going to get a PS4 for this!

  • The battle system looks a bit like Devil May Cry. Remaking a game doesn’t need a change to the battle system… a turn-based one is still viable and sometimes preferable in this day and age(like Hearthstone). Sometimes a big overhaul works(Heath Ledger’s Joker, Resident Evil remake), but for something of magnitude like FFVII… well yeah of course it could too, but it’s VERY important to listen to initial feedback. Fans are hating it. So maybe they should change it now while they can. Rather than make the whole game like that… make a small demo, and put it out there to garner the engine’s reception. Most of the fans want the original battle system, so they should just not even bother and do that.

    To me, it’s a lot like X-Men Apocalypse coming up. It will probably be good despite a huge flaw(the look of Apocalypse).

  • Nobody needs a 1:1 HD replica of the original Final Fantasy VII.

    Pretty sure that’s what nearly everyone wants.

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