This past weekend, more footage from the hugely anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake was released in the form of a cinematic gameplay trailer. Understandably, the trailer and the announcements that accompany it, have caused massive amounts of speculation and discussion as the world dissects and digests the footage. Much of this discussion is based on emotional reactions, as is always the case for properties that have such a large fanbase.
These reactions are normal and expected and not necessarily “wrong” In fact, a lot of emotional attachment comes with good reason. We generally don’t become emotionally attached to stuff that is a bit crap. However, sometimes we need to take a few steps back, along with a few deep breaths, and have a nice, rational think about things.
When I first saw the announcement of a multi-part series, I was disgusted. I felt betrayed by Square Enix. My initial thoughts were of money-grabbing opportunists, milking a franchise for all it was worth. Something that isn’t exactly rare in the industry today. After a few days to cool off and contemplate, however, my thoughts have slowly come around to the possibility that the segmentation of Final Fantasy VII could be a positive.
These thoughts were amplified by interviews with Producer Yoshinoi Kitase and Director Tetsuya Nomura by Famitsu and Dengeki Online (both translated by Gematsu), in which they made a few statements that could be interpreted a few different ways.
In one of the mentioned interviews, Nomura says “If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become condensed. We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts”. Kitase continues “The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning“ Kitase goes on to add “As you can see in the trailer, we showed Sector 1 and Sector 8, but in those areas alone, I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.”
These statements give me some hope. Although I definitely still have my doubts, I believe that Square Enix is completely aware of the monstrous expectations and anticipation that have and will be generated with the development of a Final Fantasy VII remake.
My hope is that, along with revisiting the original, Nomura, Kitase and Co want make Final Fantasy VII Remake a modern day equivalent. I want to believe that they want this game to be as monumental and ground breaking as the original. How does this all make splitting the game into multiple parts okay?
Final Fantasy VII was unique in many aspects, many of which would be difficult to translate to today’s mechanics. The selected quotes by Kitase and Nomura give reason to the assumption that perhaps a lot of these ‘unique’ extras in FF7 could be kept with a multipart series. For example, much speculation has been had on the removal of a multitude of scenes, and a large variety of minigames and gameplay mechanics that would not be viable in today’s gaming environment. These moments and segments would be less of a strain in a multipart series. It would let the development team to separate them over time, allowing them to put a higher level of resources into their development, hopefully allowing them to be as enjoyable as they were at the time of FF7’s release.
The aforementioned interviews contain a confirmation that Cloud’s cross dressing sequence will be included. Along with this, Nomura also claims that players will be able to explore areas that weren’t possible in the original. He promises that the amount of content will only increase. As for the story, Nomura says “In addition to delving into these episodes more deeply, we’re preparing a number of mechanisms and such. To those who played the original version will know the important parts and understand the story from the beginning to the end. Also for these people, I hope that they can be surprised once again.”
Along with the previously quoted line “I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.” these statements only add to the optimism. It seems like the team want to elaborate on the original story; it feels like they want to make the world more rich and detailed than it was before.
There are still doubts and worries. The more information that is made available, however, the more I hope. Personally, I’m at the point where if these guys say that they need to split Final Fantasy VII into multiple installments, then maybe it’s for the best.