During the PlayStation Experience, Sony unveiled a brand new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake which featured actual gameplay from this eagerly anticipated title. This obviously created a great deal of joy among fans who have been waiting for any new information to drop on the game since it was revealed during Sony’s E3 press conference this year.
The joy felt by fans soon turned to anger however as it was revealed that Final Fantasy VII Remake would be released in multiple parts. The idea of an episodic Final Fantasy VII didn’t sit well with those who wanted a single game and they let their displeasure be known throughout the internet. They felt that Square-Enix were taking the cheap approach to this title, and that they were also doing this in order to squeeze more money out of fans who have asked for this game for over a decade.
Several interviews by Famitsu and Dengeki Online (which were translated by Gematsu) with Director Tetsuya Nomura and producer Yoshinori Kitase have revealed why the team behind the game decided to split it into multiple parts. Basically, they felt that if this was released as a single game that many elements of the original would need to be cut or truncated. With multiple parts, the team feels they could expand on the game and add even more than what was in the original.
After reading this, and finding out additional information from other sources, I’m of the belief that fans should be thankful that the Final Fantasy VII team have decided to go down this route. The way I see it, this will make for a better overall release that will truly honor the legacy of this classic game. This is a cause for celebration, not bitterness.
Let’s look back on the original game. It had a lot of stuff going on in it. There was the city of Midgar and the entire world of Gaia to explore. It was a massive place. A game of this scope was achievable due to the limited hardware at the time. The open world didn’t have much detail to it, and the characters were super deformed while traversing it. While detailed, most of the backgrounds were static 2D images. The game employed many tricks in order to convey an enormous world, but it was all a clever illusion. One that worked beautifully of course, but it was a facade nonetheless.
Recreating the world of Final Fantasy VII in a single game with our current technology can be done but it would be a massive undertaking. There’s a reason it has taken this long for the game to be re-released: it’s not as simple as just creating HD textures. It needs to be remade from the ground up, but doing so would take considerable time and considerable capital.
Much of the anger over this news stems from people assuming that Final Fantasy VII will be like a Telltale Games title, that each part will be short, 2-3 hour experiences. The opposite is true, however. Releasing the game in multiple parts will actually give us more than what was originally conceived, and result in a much bigger and more expansive game than the original title.
From Nomura and Kitase’s own words, it’s clear to see that breaking the game up into parts will mean that each segment’s specific story points can be expanded upon. With fully voiced actors, the opportunity is now there for more depth to be added to the story and more subtlety and nuance to be integrated into the performances. Let’s not forget about the game world itself, which will have new areas of Midgar that weren’t in the original. It’s also safe to assume that Gaia will have new areas to explore as well. Those static backgrounds of yore will be fully explorable areas, with a level of detail not possible on the original platform.
While having a massive, Grand Theft Auto V or Fallout 4 single game would definitely be the ideal thing, it just isn’t realistic. Yes, this is a highly demanded title, but it is still a remake of an old game. Square-Enix has to focus on putting the majority of its funds into new games. They are not going to dole out $100 million for this endeavor, they have to think in cost-effective terms. Demanding a full-blown release is simply unrealistic.
With that said, however, just because this isn’t the gargantuan production that people want doesn’t mean that it will be a cheap product. On the contrary, this approach will actually enrich and enhance Final Fantasy VII in the manner that it deserves. According to Kotaku, each installment will be the size of a full game. If that is the case, then this game will be considerably larger than expected since it won’t be confined to a single title.
Releasing Final Fantasy VII in multiple parts will actually make the overall product stronger. There is no reason for Square-Enix to create a cliff-notes version of the game when they can do something much more ambitious instead. It’s smart to release separate volumes that will enrich and expand the world of Final Fantasy VII and which can truly showcase why this game and its characters are timeless. This is a great thing for everyone, and we should all be thankful that the team behind the game have chosen this route.