On the evening of May 9 2019 we got a new glimpse at one of Sony’s most anticipated games of the coming years: Final Fantasy VII Remake. Easily regarded as one of the greatest JRPGs, let alone RPGs of all time, Final Fantasy VII holds a special place in the hearts of many gamers and it was truly palpable last night with the release of the game’s latest footage. Twitter was alight with images of Cloud, Aeris, and Barret, with others excitedly posting the trailer of their favourite childhood game’s return. Lasting only a minute and eight seconds the footage shown was a beautiful re-imagining of the PlayStation classic. Long gone are the days of polygonal, blocky character models that were so familiar to us in 1997, when the original Final Fantasy VII was released. They’ve since received a significant graphical upgrade.
One of the major tarnishes on FFVII has always been that visually, it has aged quite poorly in comparison to many other games in the franchise. Its early PlayStation graphics, cutting edge at the time, just don’t look as good as the beautiful sprites of its SNES predecessors like Final Fantasy VI, nor do they look like the modern 3D characters that would show up later in the console’s life span with FFVIII and IX. Another issue was something that I only discovered more recently with a series of articles published by Kotaku: that there are different aspects of the game in which the localization team significantly altered the tone and context of the events and characters, affecting the English release. Hopefully with the Remake we will see a more unified portrayal than that of the original.
So what else was interesting about the new trailer other than its much needed face lift? Well it looks like gone are the days of the turn based battle system you grew up with. The trailer shows us a few instances of combat in Remake and it looks to be similar to that of Final Fantasy XV, the most recent entry into the franchise. In FFXV we were given an area to fight within, to run, dodge, and attack while AI took control of your party members. This looks to be the case in Remake as well with monsters having moving 3D models with area of effect attacks. As a person who loves the traditional JRPG turn based combat system I am a little saddened to not see its return. However, as a person who enjoyed the combat in FFXV I can’t say I’m not excited to explore how the new combat system will work with some classic boss battles. Overall I am excited to see the return of the now legendary JRPG, a crystallized moment from my childhood brought back to me better than ever before. But one specter continues to loom over Final Fantasy VII Remake: the possibility of an episodic release.
Announced at E3 2015 to mixed response, we have known for some time that the game will have a fractured release. This means that while Remake will have a start point (which has yet to be announced but speculation puts it at least sometime in 2020) we are unsure when it will actually end
— that is to say, when it will be available in its entirety. This could mean waiting years to finish the JRPG classic, a very real anxiety when one considers the drip-feed distribution with Final Fantasy XV. And with the recent interview of Mark Cerny by Wired, we learned the next generation PlayStation console is already coming closer to fruition it’s not unfair to ask, will it be a multi-generational release? While the trailer clearly flashes the PS4 logo at the end, it might come to be that the title’s episodes span across two different console. The other concern with an episodic release of course is story pacing. A minor concern in comparison: while I’m anxious that the game will be split between multiple consoles, I have faith that the story will be done correctly. More information is coming in June according to the trailer so hopefully these fears will be assuaged.
With all that said I am cautiously optimistic for the return of one of gaming’s greatest. Now all those who have missed out on FFVII, or those young enough to have never experienced one of my favourite games will have the opportunity to explore the magical world that is Final Fantasy VII Remake.
For more Final Fantasy, check out my interview with the FFXV Cookbook Collective—in which fans “remake” the game’s gorgeous and delectable dishes!
Image Source: Square Enix