By brukaoru 4 Comments
Remaking Final Fantasy VIIMy thoughts on a remake of the beloved JRPG of 1997.
I remember the first time I saw the PS3 tech demo of Final Fantasy VII, during E3 2005. Embarrassingly I admit, I didn't even see the entire video until later on because I was so excited I was jumping and screaming around the house, until of course I realized it was just a demonstration to show off the power of the PS3.
As excited I was at the prospect a few years ago, now I am not entirely sure I want a remake anymore.
Why do we need a remake?
Many fans wish that Square-Enix would stop focusing on remakes and instead focus on new games. However, it's no surprise to anyone to hear that the popularity of Final Fantasy games has declined over the years. It's difficult to try to keep past fans interested in the franchise and yet garner new customers.
With less fans and the higher cost of producing games compared to ten years ago, it's no wonder that Square-Enix rather make remakes (or spin-offs) that are guaranteed to sell than risk producing new games.
I've heard many people say they have given up on future games in the Final Fantasy franchise, not liking the direction the franchise has taken. Still, many have been begging for a remake of FFVII for a long time.
How will it be made?A remake of FFVII can not just be a graphical update, although that in itself would be amazing. Everything needs to be re-hauled: The battle system (I don't think keeping turn-based combat would be considered by Square-Enix), dialogue, and changes to the overall world are just some of the aspects that have to be updated.
The big question is how many changes have to be made?
- Will the materia system still be in place?
- W ill the amount of summons still remain or will there be more focus on making certain summons more powerful and discarding others?
- Will character's be customized to suit whichever the need players want or will a job system dictate what area characters emphasis (such as medics)?
Obviously game developers want to create games that will take the least amount of time to produce while investing enough time to make sure those games will sell (not counting 3D Realm's Duke Nukem Forever and Valve's Half-Life 2: Episode 3). The estimated time to work on a remake that would be the same-quality as Final Fantasy XIII, according to Yoshinori Kitase, "would take as much as three or four times longer than the three and a half years it has taken to put this Final Fantasy together! So it's looking pretty unrealistic to happen!" He went on to say that part of the reason XIII was more linear than previous games was due to the time it took to produce the graphics (Source: http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3178056).
So this brings up another issue: How linear would it turn out to be? Part of VII's charm was being able to explore different places throughout the game. Square-Enix will want to save time in production and will surely abandon some side-quests. Important side-quests such as obtaining Yuffie and Vincent could easily become a main part of the game. But what about mini-games? Will the Gold Saucer still retain the amount of features it has?
Minor Spoiler for FFXIII Ahead:
In Final Fantasy XIII, players have to go through an amusement park during the game, at first I thought maybe there would be some mini-games to play or maybe a ride or two, but it turns out that there was nothing to do except move the story forward by seeing some Chocobos and then leaving and never coming back again. Just imagine this being done to VII's Gold Saucer, where the only feature playable would be the fighting arena because of a story event taking place there. There would be no roller coast ride, no betting on Chocobo races, no feeding Mog to get him a mate, no theater that makes Cloud get on stage and let's players choose to kiss the dragon instead of his date... The list goes on!
At one time, Square-Enix said they did not want to make a remake unless they could get most of the staff from the original game to work on it. Yet, I'm sure they've been paying attention to the amount of fans who would be interested in a remake and I don't think they'll wait to get original team members back before they go to work on it. If the original staff could all be acquired again, then I would be all for a remake without many doubts if it would be good or not. At this point, I don't think it's a matter of if there will be a remake but when it will be made and how long it'll take to produce.
No matter how good a remake of Final Fantasy VII is, the end result will be that some people will hate it, others will love it, and maybe some will just find it to be okay. The main question for fans of the original is if Square-Enix will ruin the world of FFVII? Mixed feelings about Advent Children, Crisis Core and negative reactions to Dirge of Cerberus have already indicated that fans won't be very accepting to the story line of Final Fantasy VII being tampered with.