Ever since Sony showed off what a potential Final Fantasy VII would have looked like running on PlayStation 3 hardware back at E3 2005, fans have been wanting to see that particular iteration of the franchise revived instead of the far more superior Final Fantasy VI/VIII. It’s taken years and years of begging, pleading and possibly a death threat or two. But only now, has the behind that resurrection found the right time to devote themselves 100% to the project, says Final Fantasy VII Remake producer Yoshinori Kitase.
“The landscape was one thing, but it was more that we’d been working on the XIII series for the last 10 years,” Kitase said to Game Informer.
My team and I were mainly focused on that project. Final Fantasy VII Remake would be an equivalent – or even greater – project in terms of scale, and so it would have been hard to do both at the same time. After XIII ended, of course XV is currently being developed by [Hajime] Tabata-san’s team, so it presented a time when we can fully place our focus on the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Thing is, the Final Fantasy VII franchise has been far from dead since that game was released back in 1997. Compilation of Final Fantasy VII kept the franchise alive and spun off numerous new games, a kickass CGI film and plenty of other merchandise that expanded on the lore of VII. Expect at least some of that extra content to make into the VII Remake. Just not all of it.
“It’s not to say that all or some of the characters from the spin-offs or other Compilation works will appear in the remake, but if there are any areas where we can use the settings or the characters, we do want to try to incorporate it in there, so it gives off that sense of nuance and those other stories existing,” Kitase explained of the expanded universe and its extra characters.
Yes, there may be instances where the characters appear themselves, or are just referenced in dialogue. But, of course, it would be difficult to follow up on everything that happened in this universe. So, maybe some of the characters who weren’t as famous won’t appear or be mentioned. But in terms of the characters and instances that remain in the memories of our fans, we do want to try our best to integrate that in some fashion in the world.
Hardcore Final Fantasy VII fans know the story of this chapter inside and out. They know every detail, every weapon and every limit break there is to find and upgrade. But there might be a surprise or two in the Remake awaiting them. “We have archived versions of our games, and a lot of times, people buy them and it starts off with nostalgia – but after that, you’re essentially following the story you already know,” Kitase explained.
That experience starts to diminish as you proceed through the game and the interest level starts to decline. If it’s just nostalgia, it’s just a matter of following the story, and there wouldn’t be any surprises. So, in that sense, we want to balance out the areas we would like change versus the areas we don’t in order to have that nostalgia, but also the surprises.
The biggest departure however isn’t in the visuals that no longer resemble a LEGO acid trip. It’s in the actual gameplay, which has a higher focus on action over turn-based combat, very similar to what was created in Final Fantasy: Crisis Core and the Dissidia series. But according to Kitase, it’s not all action all the way. “We haven’t completely transitioned into action, but as our director [Tetsuya] Nomura-san says, Final Fantasy (in terms of action games) is best represented by Dissidia in the current landscape,” Kitase explained.
In terms of the Final Fantasy action battles people have experienced themselves, that is most familiar to them these days. In terms of the image of the battle system, that’s where we’re getting the feel from. It won’t be as action-focused as Dissidia, of course, but the the visuals and how the gameplay feels in essence will be drawn from that Dissidia-esque style.
A Dissidia-heavy Final Fantasy VII? Now I’m finally interested in the Remake.