Do we need a remake of the Final Fantasy VII? No, but there are several reasons to see it exist and that’s good enough.
VII is the best-selling Final Fantasy of all time. Square Enix already put out a faithful PC and PS4 port to preserve a copy for the current-gen, so why not milk the franchise in a new way?
Telling the same story with cutting-edge visuals and gameplay is actually true to the original experience in a way. While the original narrative was strong, VII owes its massive impact to the impressive technology it displayed. Square’s juggernaut marketing campaign showed zero gameplay, focusing purely on the best CGI the industry had seen. Three PS1 CDs was a badge of honor, jam-packed with cut-scenes that truly wowed at the time.
To experience the story alongside industry-leading visuals is a Final Fantasy tradition.
Changing the gameplay for a broader crowd
Although VII pushed the boundaries of visual presentation, the turn-based combat system was nearly identical to the six games preceding it. To ditch it for a more active system is the biggest difference of all.
Nomura has claimed the new system will still have many elements of the original, but presented in a new way. “By using the new system, we want to do action battles while also being able to fight while thinking strategically.”
“In the end, it’s based on Final Fantasy VII, so elements like the ATB gauge and Limit Breaks will appear with new ways to be used. Please look forward to how this game will evolve through the remake.”
There are millions of gamers that will never touch a turn-based game. Homogenizing the system to something closer to modern mechanics could entice a new batch of customers. It sounds like there will also be enough links to the past and other Square Enix games to satisfy fans of the original.
Fans that loved the original as a traditional JRPG might be put-off by the new gameplay. But I’d bet the majority are curious as hell to see Midgar with a fresh perspective. To view favorite environments in full 3D and a down-low third-person angle will almost be like hopping into virtual reality.
Episodic format will make or break
We’ll see the first release sooner and Square/Enix could potentially triple their profit if the first two are received favorably. Realistically however, I predict a sharp drop-off in sales after episode 1. The bombing run and Midgar slums are the most memorable parts of the original and I think many will have their fill after one game.
If the first chunk is anything less than excellent, the next two will be hard-pressed to win the crowd back. Many claim that FF XIII-2 and Lightning Returns were much better than XIII , but the debacle of the first scared millions away.
My biggest worry is producer Yoshinori Kitase’s claim of each episode providing as much content as a full game (he used XIII’s format as an example). The biggest stumbling block could be stretching the content to fill three games. Extra backstory could easily become boring filler in a story with no surprises. George Lucas made the mistake of providing too much backstory with his horrifically dull Star Wars prequels.
Square Enix is guaranteed to sell millions of at least the first episode. I can only hope that gamers find three episodes of meaningful gameplay beyond the novelty of nostalgia.
Here’s the first or so of FF VII on the A 90s Kid YouTube channel.