The last few days have been a real emotional rollercoaster for die hard fans of Final Fantasy VII. At Saturday's PlayStation Experience keynote, a new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake offered a glimpse at in-game footage, including a new, real-time combat system. Across social media and message boards, fans of the series seemed incredibly excited for the game (though some purists voiced objection to the loss of FFVII's Active Time Battle system).
Then, yesterday, a press release revealed that the game would "be told across a multi-part series, with each entry providing its own unique experience," and the tone shifted dramatically as fans began to worry what this might mean for the game's content, release schedule, and narrative focus. It wasn't clear if the series was going to be episodic in the vein of a Telltale game or if "multi-part" meant something closer to the way Final Fantasy XIII spun off two sequels over four years before concluding. More than anything, though, there seemed to be a breach of trust between Square-Enix and Final Fantasy fans. I guess that's what happens when you sneak a pretty major detail about an anticipated game into a press release without offering much detail.
Late last night, Square-Enix began the process of rebuilding that trust by providing some clarification and some new information via interviews with Famitsu and Dengeki Online. Game director Tetsuya Nomura and producer Yoshinori Kitase explained that due to the remake's increased density, making the full game as a single release would require a number of undesirable cuts and it would limit the team's ability to make new additions. So, rather than that, they chose from the beginning to target a multiple part release. Kitase said that the company would provide more information about this release strategy in future announcements.
The two also provided more information about the game's development, combat system, and story. Some highlights (with thanks to Gematsu for translation):
- CyberConnect2, along with other "various companies," are helping with development.
- The developers are aiming for a "seamless active battle" system similar to what is in the Dissidia and Kingdom Hearts franchises, but that will retain some elements of the original Final Fantasy VII's Active Time Battle system (including some version of Limit Breaks.)
- Like the original, the remake will feature a three person party. You'll be able to switch between which character you control freely.
- Some story content will change, some will remain the same. Nomura and Kitase are definitely aware that they need to both keep die hard fans of the original game happy while also updating an out-of-date script. So on one hand, yes, Final Fantasy VII Remake will still feature Cloud cross-dressing for Don Corneo. But on the other hand, Nomura says he wants to "surprise" fans who know the story from start to finish and Kitase says that he wants the remake to be more than just "something nostalgic."
For lots more info, check out Gematsu's story.
While I have my own opinions on this stuff (I'm generally glad that Square-Enix willing to shake things up, but I also think that this has been a real lack of control over the game's messaging), I'm very curious about what Final Fantasy VII superfans think of all of this. Does the "multi-part" announcement ruffle you or are you confident that this will work out in the end? How close do you want the remake to stay to the original? Do you plan on waiting for the whole thing to be released, or playing the game as it comes out, one part at a time? Lemme know!