For many of us, Final Fantasy VII revolutionised gaming.
When this iconic RPG came along in 1997, the PlayStation was home to many titles, but none were as engaging, immersive, stunning, rewarding, richly-textured, or outright unforgettable. While the prospect of playing a game spread across three discs, featuring a huge cast of bizarre characters and lots of dialogue might not have appealed to us all back then, simply spending a few minutes within its company was more than enough to hook you in.
For years now, fans have demanded a remake, keen to enjoy the same plot and gameplay with the latest technology, but Square Enix seemed to have little interest in granting our wish.
However, the remake has finally been announced. Footage has been revealed.
2016 will see Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Red XIII, and the rest of AVALANCHE’s extended family return with shiny new face-lifts. To say Square Enix have a lot of people to please is an understatement – one bad move, and fans will be left frothing at the mouth, demanding vengeance.
So, what do we want from Final Fantasy VII Remake?
High Standards of Powerful Storytelling
Final Fantasy VII’s story is near-perfect. Carrying such themes as environmentalism and the greed of power-hungry corporations, the plot is always engaging, always exciting, pulling gamers in through strong characterisation, humour, & depth. Cloud and his friends are likeable, psychologically-believable (even the non-human cast-members) figures, all with their own goals, motivations, & beliefs.
The remake is already promising to extend its reach beyond the plot, world, and experience of the original game in ways fans have fantasised about, but can it possibly live up to the same exceptional standards?
We certainly hope so, and the revelation that Remake will be released in episodic instalments (to avoid certain parts being pared down or glossed over) is encouraging – clearly, Square Enix have a real ambition to make this everything fans have dreamed of for so long.
Mini-Games at the Gold Saucer
Yes, this isn’t a key part of the story, but the mini-games available at the Gold Saucer remain one of FFVII’s more iconic features.
Being able to try some snowboarding, biking, or chocobo-racing provided a welcome distraction when trying to level-up characters or facing a huge challenge (such as battling a boss). These games were actually incredibly well-made, incorporating different styles.
While it’s unlikely to be many fans’ main focus, the Gold Saucer mini-games are as much a part of FFVII’s identity as the summons or the characters. With today’s more powerful consoles, there’s real potential to make these games stand-out experiences in their own right – fingers crossed!
The Knights of the Round Summon
As one of Final Fantasy VII’s most legendary summons, Knights of the Round is an essential part of the game: located on an island only reachable by riding a golden chocobo (itself incredibly difficult to find … or make!), this is the most powerful support-materia available.
The attack itself is known as ‘Ultimate End’, and involves thirteen knights – all of whom strike your targets with either a weapon or magic. The summon can, at its strongest, deliver an immense 129,000+ points of damage to an enemy – making it invaluable in the final battle with Sephiroth.
Not only does finding Knights of the Round make for a thrilling achievement, but it’s also visually stunning. Hopefully, Square Enix will include this in Remake, and keep it as a hard-to-find secret, requiring the same (or similar) process to locate.
As with the Gold Saucer mini-games, Knights of the Round’s no deal-breaker – omitting it won’t ruin the remake, but it’ll definitely be a shame if Square Enix choose to forego it.
That Amazing Score
As fans will remember, Final Fantasy VII features an amazing score, composed by series-regular Nobuo Uematsu.
Beautiful, haunting, rousing, anthemic, evocative – you can use all kinds of adjectives to describe the score. Playing the game without this music just wouldn’t be the same, with certain cues signalling the arrival of various characters (remember the Turks’ own sound?), helping to give them their own distinct identities.
Clearly, the exact same score won’t be used, but we hope the revamped soundtrack, whatever form it takes, is similar enough to hit the same emotional chords.
We have high hopes for Final Fantasy VII, and are sure it’ll turn out to be everything fans want – and more. Even with inevitable changes, if Square Enix can provide a fantastic experience as good as, or close to, that of the original game, we’ll be happy.
Fear not, though: the slightly-updated version of the original is available, offering a sleeker visual style. If you’ve never played Final Fantasy VII, there’s still time to dive in before Remake is released – you’ll never regret giving it a try!