The Fan Future of Final Fantasy VII

I’ve had awesome track record with blog posts.

So let’s all calm down, and do something fun that wont indirectly incite factions of people wishing to destroy each other.

I mean what painful ludicrous and polarizing arguments and anger could be possibly be unleashed by talking about a game like Final Fantasy VII?

Right?

Right??

 
I’ve wanted to do a post like this for a while. Waiting for the stars to align in terms of certain events, and perhaps my own personal psyche and experience? I've been a bit inspired to finally post this due to the recent fan english release of Policenauts. Regardless, I believe it might be a good time to have a bit of a brain dump. Just an attempt to try and dump all my thoughts and ramblings out on a certain subject.

 
I believe the terminology of having a “brain dump” deserves it’s own logo…


It's time for Vidiot to take a giant dump.

That, is going places.

For those interested in the Final Fantasy VII modding scene. Check Qhimm. 

Final Fantasy VII is a game that fascinates me. There are only a handful of games so polarizing in internet social circles as Final Fantasy VII. The conflict between the two opposite ends of the internet spectrum; sometime override my personal interest in the game.

But while this little blog post is about the games future and evolution, it IS required (just for a moment) to look at the games past.

Stupid logical conundrums.

 
My personal opinions of Final Fantasy VII are, what I consider: practical.

It’s a great game, not THE BEST of the series (I find comparing certain titles directly amongst a 20 year old history…a bit….dumb, even with common elements among each title of the series.) I don’t consider one title in the franchise to be the best-of-the-best. I do see it as a game that helped the Playstation library, at the time considerably. I do find it the game showed that RPG’s in general were a commercially viable risk on a console, and we should be appreciative over what it accomplished.

And that’s about it. Let’s move on. (I scratched the surface with that. I would love to talk about the game ad-nauseum, more specifically how the game changed how JRPG's mechanically over time for better or worse.)

The popularity of the game was understandable. At this time however, something absolutely fantastic happened.

It only took us almost a decade to figure it out.

Eidos was tasked with releasing a PC port of the game, and boy was it terrible.

I remember years ago trying to get it to…function…on a friends machine. Grimacing as I heard Uematsu’s original score downgraded. The video during the cutscense were more compressed for some reason or another. It was all sorts of bad. My friend looks at me, wondering why the heck I was suggesting this game to him, as the cutscene of the reactor exploded…upside-down

I didn’t give it a second thought after that. Final Fantasy VIII had a PC port as well, and it was even worse received that the first Final Fantasy PC port effort. Square did not allow Eidos to give Final Fantasy IX a PC port treatment.

Years pass, and Square changes. My opinions on Square have become more volatile in nature over the years. It’s difficult because I was, and still am, very much so a fan. But recently I can’t avoid what they have obviously become. I view them as monolithic in nature, and from a public relations standpoint, act like spoiled uninformed children. My impression is that there are high levels of their corporate structure, living ten years in the past, while at the same time expecting the gaming world to revolve around them.

Its arrogance, but more importantly a serious case of being completely out of tough with their audience, at least concerning their western audience.  
It’s understandable
Overtime the company has become increasing bloated and rightfully successful. With constant success and expansion the likelihood of a bubble situation makes sense. Concerning their games, their track record has become increasingly…varied…With excellent games juxtaposed with moments of more awkward mediocrity. Success comes with a price, and that price can come into play when following thorough with success.

 
I’m talking about The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

The last few years Final Fantasy VII has gotten a strong resurgence. Years ago I remember Square considering a re-release of their Playstation titles for the PS2. Ports specifically. (They were port happy back then.) I think people forget that the clamor for a Final Fantasy VII remake, or a re-release of some form, is not necessarily something new. This has been a pipedream for many fans going back for multiple years.

Instead we got the Compilation, or as I affectionately call it: “Everything but a remake.”

The two prequels (Before Crisis / Crisis Core) and Final Fantasy VII’s subsequent sequels (Advent Children / Dirge of Cerberus.) have understandably been met with mixed reactions. It also, with the combination of an E3 technical demo, raised our collective basic expectations as fans. Why wouldn’t it?

Square’s PR claims regarding the reasons to not do a remake have been difficult to swallow, especially from a company more than eager to milk it’s franchises for all their worth. I found debate on online forums and from game commentators more enlightening than: “were too busy doing stuff.” Basic logistical problems regarding adapting gameplay mechanics have been brought up. Looking at Square’s track record, the fact that they have suggested that if a project of this magnitude would be undertaken, (Final Fantasy VII remake.) the possibility of something more than just a graphical overhaul being done is quite high.

As you can imagine: While Square struggles to make its yearly Final Fantasy spinoff quota, and struggles even worse regarding releasing main entries into the series, the possibility of a remake in our immediate future looks a bit bleak.

On second thoughts, perhaps the “too busy doing stuff” is legit?

Final Fantasy XII I believe still holds the Guinness world record holding of longest time a game took to be released. (2001-2006) For those of you who are wondering, yes, I do believe XIII   is expected to beat that record.  
That, or they have terrible management somewhere in that bloated company. Regardless, I'm getting off base into more reiterating speculation.

Remember that crappy PC port I was talking about?

At first it was simple: A few minor character swaps, change a few weapons, and some necessary basic software upgrades.

Watching the modding scene of Final Fantasy VII has been over the last few years: Deeply entertaining.

Modding is nothing new. But it’s a rare situation where a Japanese game can get fair modding treatment, as from what you can imagine is an amazingly talented community.

Character replacement is still going strong, and it has developed quite a bit. At first it was a simple swap of large battle characters for their SD field brethren. Now we have custom models, featuring a game that now has custom resolutions. 


The lineup.
 
Why, hello there updated Cloud model.
But that’s not all. Remember those terrible downgraded cutscenes I was talking about? Or how about the downgraded music? Guess what’s also been updated? 
 
Want to play the game with the opening clip from the Final Fantasy VII tech demo, while storming the reactor with an orchestral version of “Bombing Run”?

Done.

In fact, one of my favorite gaming soundtracks this year was done by a fan named Final FanTim. For Final Fantasy VII specifically he re-mastered every track in the soundtrack with high quality instrument samples. The end result is something simply glorious, that’s will give even a novice fan something to smile about.

This ingenuity is not uncommon among fans of Square. In fact no matter how phenomenally large, bloated and awkward Square becomes, their fan base seems to always go the extra step.  

So much so, that they have done more to the Chrono Trigger franchise that Square has done in the past decade.

Square didn’t like that.

The infamous Chrono Resurrection project.

 
A lot of people have strong opinions regarding the amount of fan service projects Square has shut down, for a game that until recently had been out of print for years. Legal conundrums aside, the legality of the Final Fantasy VII mods are devoid of any headaches. Although, as you can imagine, the amount of people who perhaps own a copy of Final Fantasy VII PC versus the amount that have torrented it is questionable. It’s not a very difficult, or controversial statement, to think that the ratio is not in Square’s favor.

 
For those of you who are wondering why bring up Final Fantasy VII modding now: Or why the hell have I decided to write down a bunch of stuff that you already probably know, the reasons are as follow: There is still a considerable amount of people who have no idea that such a scene exists, and, perhaps more importantly the big next thing that is on the horizon.

I recently went on a trip and took Final Fantasy VII on my PSP with me. I was blown away at how well Final Fantasy VII worked as a portable game, but slowly began to get bummed out. Why you might ask? Well, for one, because of this:


Not as much as you are.
 
Final Fantasy VII still has a terrible translation. The PSP release made me remember this fact due to it being a direct copy of the original Playstation version. One of the few pros of the original PC version was that the script had been at least looked at and touched up, but not nearly enough. For many, Final Fantasy VII’s inaccuracies with its translation were overlooked. People were pretty stunned to learn in Advent Children that Tseng had lived, and not perished to Sephiroth, which was a direct cause to a poor translation in the original game.

 
Well guess what’s currently being done about that?
 
As of writing a retranslation has begun from what I can tell. Text editors for the game have been created.

No matter how, or when an official update to Final Fantasy VII will be like if it is ever released, fans might be able to make their definite version in the near future. One can argue that they can already.

I remember an interview with Gabe Newell from Valve talking about the possibility of fans making a mod of a remake of the original Halflife. He simply agreed that of course it would eventually happen.

While everyone jumps up and down screaming for a remake, clinging to all matter of information released by Square. Or, for those whole simply wish to see any form of update of any kind to one of the most pinnacle games of all time. Take the time to remember during these times of upset and disappointment regarding Square’s bizarre suggestions and announcements, that fans might have your complaints covered.  
 

10 Comments
11 Comments
Edited by vidiot

I’ve had awesome track record with blog posts.

So let’s all calm down, and do something fun that wont indirectly incite factions of people wishing to destroy each other.

I mean what painful ludicrous and polarizing arguments and anger could be possibly be unleashed by talking about a game like Final Fantasy VII?

Right?

Right??

 
I’ve wanted to do a post like this for a while. Waiting for the stars to align in terms of certain events, and perhaps my own personal psyche and experience? I've been a bit inspired to finally post this due to the recent fan english release of Policenauts. Regardless, I believe it might be a good time to have a bit of a brain dump. Just an attempt to try and dump all my thoughts and ramblings out on a certain subject.

 
I believe the terminology of having a “brain dump” deserves it’s own logo…


It's time for Vidiot to take a giant dump.

That, is going places.

For those interested in the Final Fantasy VII modding scene. Check Qhimm. 

Final Fantasy VII is a game that fascinates me. There are only a handful of games so polarizing in internet social circles as Final Fantasy VII. The conflict between the two opposite ends of the internet spectrum; sometime override my personal interest in the game.

But while this little blog post is about the games future and evolution, it IS required (just for a moment) to look at the games past.

Stupid logical conundrums.

 
My personal opinions of Final Fantasy VII are, what I consider: practical.

It’s a great game, not THE BEST of the series (I find comparing certain titles directly amongst a 20 year old history…a bit….dumb, even with common elements among each title of the series.) I don’t consider one title in the franchise to be the best-of-the-best. I do see it as a game that helped the Playstation library, at the time considerably. I do find it the game showed that RPG’s in general were a commercially viable risk on a console, and we should be appreciative over what it accomplished.

And that’s about it. Let’s move on. (I scratched the surface with that. I would love to talk about the game ad-nauseum, more specifically how the game changed how JRPG's mechanically over time for better or worse.)

The popularity of the game was understandable. At this time however, something absolutely fantastic happened.

It only took us almost a decade to figure it out.

Eidos was tasked with releasing a PC port of the game, and boy was it terrible.

I remember years ago trying to get it to…function…on a friends machine. Grimacing as I heard Uematsu’s original score downgraded. The video during the cutscense were more compressed for some reason or another. It was all sorts of bad. My friend looks at me, wondering why the heck I was suggesting this game to him, as the cutscene of the reactor exploded…upside-down

I didn’t give it a second thought after that. Final Fantasy VIII had a PC port as well, and it was even worse received that the first Final Fantasy PC port effort. Square did not allow Eidos to give Final Fantasy IX a PC port treatment.

Years pass, and Square changes. My opinions on Square have become more volatile in nature over the years. It’s difficult because I was, and still am, very much so a fan. But recently I can’t avoid what they have obviously become. I view them as monolithic in nature, and from a public relations standpoint, act like spoiled uninformed children. My impression is that there are high levels of their corporate structure, living ten years in the past, while at the same time expecting the gaming world to revolve around them.

Its arrogance, but more importantly a serious case of being completely out of tough with their audience, at least concerning their western audience.  
It’s understandable
Overtime the company has become increasing bloated and rightfully successful. With constant success and expansion the likelihood of a bubble situation makes sense. Concerning their games, their track record has become increasingly…varied…With excellent games juxtaposed with moments of more awkward mediocrity. Success comes with a price, and that price can come into play when following thorough with success.

 
I’m talking about The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

The last few years Final Fantasy VII has gotten a strong resurgence. Years ago I remember Square considering a re-release of their Playstation titles for the PS2. Ports specifically. (They were port happy back then.) I think people forget that the clamor for a Final Fantasy VII remake, or a re-release of some form, is not necessarily something new. This has been a pipedream for many fans going back for multiple years.

Instead we got the Compilation, or as I affectionately call it: “Everything but a remake.”

The two prequels (Before Crisis / Crisis Core) and Final Fantasy VII’s subsequent sequels (Advent Children / Dirge of Cerberus.) have understandably been met with mixed reactions. It also, with the combination of an E3 technical demo, raised our collective basic expectations as fans. Why wouldn’t it?

Square’s PR claims regarding the reasons to not do a remake have been difficult to swallow, especially from a company more than eager to milk it’s franchises for all their worth. I found debate on online forums and from game commentators more enlightening than: “were too busy doing stuff.” Basic logistical problems regarding adapting gameplay mechanics have been brought up. Looking at Square’s track record, the fact that they have suggested that if a project of this magnitude would be undertaken, (Final Fantasy VII remake.) the possibility of something more than just a graphical overhaul being done is quite high.

As you can imagine: While Square struggles to make its yearly Final Fantasy spinoff quota, and struggles even worse regarding releasing main entries into the series, the possibility of a remake in our immediate future looks a bit bleak.

On second thoughts, perhaps the “too busy doing stuff” is legit?

Final Fantasy XII I believe still holds the Guinness world record holding of longest time a game took to be released. (2001-2006) For those of you who are wondering, yes, I do believe XIII   is expected to beat that record.  
That, or they have terrible management somewhere in that bloated company. Regardless, I'm getting off base into more reiterating speculation.

Remember that crappy PC port I was talking about?

At first it was simple: A few minor character swaps, change a few weapons, and some necessary basic software upgrades.

Watching the modding scene of Final Fantasy VII has been over the last few years: Deeply entertaining.

Modding is nothing new. But it’s a rare situation where a Japanese game can get fair modding treatment, as from what you can imagine is an amazingly talented community.

Character replacement is still going strong, and it has developed quite a bit. At first it was a simple swap of large battle characters for their SD field brethren. Now we have custom models, featuring a game that now has custom resolutions. 


The lineup.
 
Why, hello there updated Cloud model.
But that’s not all. Remember those terrible downgraded cutscenes I was talking about? Or how about the downgraded music? Guess what’s also been updated? 
 
Want to play the game with the opening clip from the Final Fantasy VII tech demo, while storming the reactor with an orchestral version of “Bombing Run”?

Done.

In fact, one of my favorite gaming soundtracks this year was done by a fan named Final FanTim. For Final Fantasy VII specifically he re-mastered every track in the soundtrack with high quality instrument samples. The end result is something simply glorious, that’s will give even a novice fan something to smile about.

This ingenuity is not uncommon among fans of Square. In fact no matter how phenomenally large, bloated and awkward Square becomes, their fan base seems to always go the extra step.  

So much so, that they have done more to the Chrono Trigger franchise that Square has done in the past decade.

Square didn’t like that.

The infamous Chrono Resurrection project.

 
A lot of people have strong opinions regarding the amount of fan service projects Square has shut down, for a game that until recently had been out of print for years. Legal conundrums aside, the legality of the Final Fantasy VII mods are devoid of any headaches. Although, as you can imagine, the amount of people who perhaps own a copy of Final Fantasy VII PC versus the amount that have torrented it is questionable. It’s not a very difficult, or controversial statement, to think that the ratio is not in Square’s favor.

 
For those of you who are wondering why bring up Final Fantasy VII modding now: Or why the hell have I decided to write down a bunch of stuff that you already probably know, the reasons are as follow: There is still a considerable amount of people who have no idea that such a scene exists, and, perhaps more importantly the big next thing that is on the horizon.

I recently went on a trip and took Final Fantasy VII on my PSP with me. I was blown away at how well Final Fantasy VII worked as a portable game, but slowly began to get bummed out. Why you might ask? Well, for one, because of this:


Not as much as you are.
 
Final Fantasy VII still has a terrible translation. The PSP release made me remember this fact due to it being a direct copy of the original Playstation version. One of the few pros of the original PC version was that the script had been at least looked at and touched up, but not nearly enough. For many, Final Fantasy VII’s inaccuracies with its translation were overlooked. People were pretty stunned to learn in Advent Children that Tseng had lived, and not perished to Sephiroth, which was a direct cause to a poor translation in the original game.

 
Well guess what’s currently being done about that?
 
As of writing a retranslation has begun from what I can tell. Text editors for the game have been created.

No matter how, or when an official update to Final Fantasy VII will be like if it is ever released, fans might be able to make their definite version in the near future. One can argue that they can already.

I remember an interview with Gabe Newell from Valve talking about the possibility of fans making a mod of a remake of the original Halflife. He simply agreed that of course it would eventually happen.

While everyone jumps up and down screaming for a remake, clinging to all matter of information released by Square. Or, for those whole simply wish to see any form of update of any kind to one of the most pinnacle games of all time. Take the time to remember during these times of upset and disappointment regarding Square’s bizarre suggestions and announcements, that fans might have your complaints covered.  
 

Posted by Hailinel

For what it's worth, I have no sympathy for the people behind the shut-down Chrono Resurrection project.  Years ago, I saw a demo video of portions of the game, including the credits.  The creators must have either been incredibly ballsy or incredibly stupid because part of the video included the game credits, which credited the Resurrection project members with things such as character design.
 
Right.  Character design.  As in "Someone drew fan art of Akira Toriyama's work and used that instead."  The credits were simply filled with idiocy such as this, followed by a list of Special Thanks credits of people from the original Chrono Trigger development team.  Like that's going to be enough?

Posted by vidiot
@Hailinel: Personally, I agree totally. I remember that video in question, and I remember scratching my head quite a bit. Even if it was just a tech demo. 
For other projects such as the recent shut-down of Crimson Echoes, my mind wanders a bit. 
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Hmm... The problem is that all the modding (which looks awesome) is for the PC version of the game, which certainly isn't owned for the majority of the people who want a FFVII remake, and those that do certainly aren't aware of the modding scene.  It is a nice idea though.

Edited by Symphony

First time I had heard of the Chrono Trigger mod stuff. Doesn't surprise me that SE shut them down. Disgusts me, but doesn't surprise me. Thinking back, I haven't cared for SE since... around FFX. Sure I'll buy FFXIII and try out FFXIV, but I hold them in the same amount of contempt as EA and Activison. 
 
Don't really know what else to say in response as I haven't had any real attachment to FFVII for years now.
 
Edit: Oh, I know! Nice brain dump logo ;P Needs more bloom effects, though. Bloom!

Posted by Absurd

I tried playing FFVII on the PC, but after a bunch of crashes and lost saves, I figured it wasn't worth it and uninstalled it. Maybe I'll try to play it again with some mods once I'm done playing Crisis Core on my brother's PSP.

Edited by vidiot
@Symphony:  Don't blame you. My opinion of Square is like a roller coaster these days. One day I'm praising them with the likes of Crisis Core and, most recently, Dissidia. The next day I'm reading about how the senior vice president Shinji Hashimoto, when asked about future entries into the Chrono Trigger series scoffs off such a concept because, and I quote: 
 

 "Why does everyone ask about Chrono Trigger?" he laughed. We told him it's a very loved series. "That's not what the sales tell me!" he responded.

"If people want a sequel, they should buy more!"

/insert facepalm, and a giant neon flashing sign reading: "FU** YOU!"
I've been thinking of compiling a list of all the great PR gaffs they have had in recent years. In a way it's kinda funny.
 
That logo is terrible and took literally one minute to make. The next time I shall use it: prepare to see bloom....and lens flare....

@Absurd: Don't blame you either on giving up on FFVII on the PC. I sure as hell did initially. Point of interest though, there have been a few mods and developments of attempts to bring Crisis Core models into the game itself. Although the practice is highly discouraged due to obvious legal reasons.
Edited by Symphony
@vidiot: Seriously, is that VP retarded?  According to Wikipedia which cites two sources for this claim -
 
"Chrono Trigger sold more than 2.36 million copies in Japan and 290,000 abroad, reaching two million in sales in only two months. It ended 1995 as the third best-selling game of the year"
 
It also mentions, and cites sources - "Chrono Cross shipped 850,000 and 650,000 units in Japan and abroad respectively"
 
Let's compare some others that did see subsequent sequels recently -
 
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time - "[I]t had estimated U.S. sales of 630,000 copies, with revenues of $23 million. In Japan, the original sold 533,373 copies as of 2008."
Pretty similar sales, a bit less than Chrono Cross, and it saw a recent (albeit pretty bad) sequel...
 
Saga Frontier 2 - "SaGa Frontier 2 has sold over 675,000 copies in Japan as of December 2004"
No mention of sales abroad, but that warranted the release of Unlimited Saga (which was panned and labeled as terrible in the West).
 
Then there's their new games like Last Remnant and Infinite Undiscovery which are just godawful... so it's okay to basically throw away money on publishing crap games like these (okay, I'm sure they turned a profit, but still...) but not on working on a tried and true franchise that HAS the sales numbers to prove it's loved? *boggles* Shinji Hashimoto statement strikes me as that of someone who has either no concept of the franchise he's talking about or no concept of sales. Possibly both. I wouldn't be surprised if (hell, I'm willing to bet on it) his only knowledge of the game is the DS port and he's basing his sales figures off of that alone. Because a DS port of a game is definitely going to tell you how well a full-fledged console game would sell, right? 
 
That's like guessing FFXIII's sales off of the FFIV port to the DS or a better analogy would be basing the sales of an FFVII remake off of the sales of Crisis Core on the PSP (cause we know EVERY FFVII fan bought that game (and a PSP to play it on), right?!) 
 
*facepalm*
 
Edit: I should note that if the issue were that the original creators of the Chrono franchise had no desire to work on it any more, that would be another matter entirely... and it does seem like, as Yasunori Mitsuda (who showed interest in working on the score) put it, "there are a lot of politics involved [with the franchise]". So even if the sales numbers prove the game would sell, the franchise might not have the backing of the creative team that made the games so endearing in the first place.
Edited by vidiot
@Symphony: One of my other personal favorites came from a recent interview where Kitase said a few phenomenally out of touch statements. One of which was how Square was doing something amazing and new localizing the game while developing it. A statement that I believe made Hideo Kojima and a dozen other Japanese developers laugh hard.
 
There seems to be a lot of "politics" regarding the inner structure of that company. (Again it's huge and bloated.) While Sakaguchi left Square primarily due to the failure of the Final Fantasy movie, some of his statements in interviews seem to hold water about how they now operate. At least that's what they consistently show us with statements like this.
 
Oh, and BTW, thanks for ripping that VP a new one. Couldn't agree with you more. There's no way a DS port of a game that's over a decade old and has been out of print for years is going to show you how a new console title in the franchise would sell.
Posted by Fallen189

That was far too convoluted, I didn't even understand what you're getting at.
 
The company who owns the rights shuts down a fanmade non liscensed copy?
 
Oh dear.

Edited by vidiot
@Fallen189: I don't think I actually expressed my opinion regarding the fan made Chrono projects in the blog at all. The closest I got was replying to Hailinel, and agreeing with him regarding Chrono Resurrection. Nor, was that the point of this blog even remotely. I used the fan made projects as something to point to regarding the ingenuity and dedication that the Square fan community has, and how the mods are a rare appropriate avenue for those fans to show off without breaking any rules. 
 
I knew I had a lot of ground to cover, I'm sorry if it didn't keep your attention. I called it a brain dump for a reason.