It is hard to believe that Final Fantasy VII came out all the way back in 1997.
Why you might wonder? Well, as many of you who have followed me might know, Final Fantasy VII is not only one of my favorite games but it is also considered a timeless masterpiece by many gamers.
That is why it is up on the block and slated for a remake: It is that amazing and good. But what makes it that way?
I can only speak for myself, but it is the almost perfect balance of lore, characters, and gameplay mechanics.
As a huge fan of the series in general, it is easy for me to place FFVII among my favorite FF games and, again no mystery to my longtime fans, Aerith is easily my favorite female character from the series as well as video games in general. So, as you might imagine, the remake of Final Fantasy VII is kind of a big deal to me, just like it is for millions of other fans out there.
The biggest question for longtime fans is what exactly will be new and different in the remade FFVII game. Again, the answer is both more complex and simpler than you might imagine.
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Some ambitious plans – and a few details are still unknown
In short, Square is planning on no less than a total overhaul when it comes to how the story is presented as well as the gameplay mechanics.
Because of the depth of content on offer, there will be new story lines, music, areas of Midgar, you name it.
Cast as an expanded, director’s cut of the original edition, the remade Final Fantasy VII is promising more of everything and that means adding a lot of stuff that was not around the first time.
Delving into what is new about the game also highlights what is markedly different. While it is still unknown whether or not Final Fantasy VII’s remade story will be the same as the original but the expanded lore does point in that direction.
The major concern for many fans in this regard is the planned episodic format.
As detailed in the Square Enix press conference about the game at E3 2019, the first episode comes out in March 2020 and deals with the initial Midgar section of the game.
This will be the entirety of the first episode while this segment in the original game comprised some 5% or so of the overall story. To expand what was formerly 5% of the game into an entire 50-60 hour episode means that the remake of Final Fantasy VII will contain so much new stuff it is hard to list it all here.
One thing we do know for sure is that the characters and their personalities will be given a lot more attention in this game, than ever before.
A renewed combat system – expectations are high
Naturally, since the remake is using a more powerful system and is more aligned with modern FF combat mechanics than the system used in the previous game, the remake will feature markedly different combat mechanics.
Square has shown off what looks like a hybrid between the system used in Final Fantasy XV and the active-time battle system of the past games.
You can command more than one character and the battles are both a pageant of coordination and flare. Some gamers might be reminded of the Kingdom Hearts series and Square seems to be aware of that,but overall though the company is promising something very, very different with the remade Final Fantasy VII title.
What this remake gives the developers the opportunity to do – from the standpoint of many older fans – is to correct some of the problems the first time around.
At the end of the day, it could be a win-win situation, both for Square and the above fans.
Time to right some wrongs – I am coming for you Sephiroth!
Actually, the above mentioned “problems” extend beyond just gameplay quirks and mechanics and even into the realm of the story itself. I do not know about you, but I spent hours and exhausted every source available to find a way to attempt and resurrect Aerith in the game.
Eliminated in a surprise, almost out-of-nowhere scene, Aerith’s death was one of the most shocking developments in a JRPG ever. It still ranks highly on most top 10 lists and, ultimately, still makes a lot of fans mad. Sure, it kind of makes sense in the scheme of the total plot Final Fantasy VII presents, but the game would also work without her dying.
Even if Square decides not to change the story much at all where the major points are concerned, putting a way in the game to resurrect Aerith would be a cool nod to those of us that attempted to do the impossible so long ago. Again, the main thing is that Square keeps the feeling that the original invoked. We all can allow for some changes here and there.
We can even make way for some major changes as long as they make sense in the scope of the gameplay. It is a modern game and we are aware of that. Further, Square should make some effort to accommodate fan needs but it should not change everything based on that.
If Aerith has to die, as much as that would stink, then that is the way it has to be. But given the amount of time, lore, and new game space being introduced with the episodic games, it only makes sense to include an Easter egg here and there. After all, secrets and hidden content were such a huge part of the first version of the game, that they should definitely make as much of an appearance in the remake.
Final thoughts – Counting down the days
Even with all of this heady news, some pessimists on the Internet are worried about the scope of the remake.
It does sound massive and it does raise questions about Square possibly biting off more than they can chew. But, as things stand right now, Final Fantasy VII Remake is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest titles of 2020 and will probably sell like absolutely gang busters.
Since money is what greases the wheels of development at most video game publishers, there is little reason to think that FF7 Remake will not see out its ambitious plans and produce one of the most epic, comprehensive video game experiences ever.
What about you retro folks? Are you eager for the upcoming remake of FFVII? I cannot wait to hear your opinions!