There was plenty of news at E3 2015 to get gamers excited. The Microsoft Hololens was jaw-dropping, Fallout 4 looks awesome, and The Last Guardian is, indeed, still happening. But no announcement led to greater fan reactions than Sony’s report that Square Enix is officially working on a full remake of Final Fantasy VII.
Fans of the game and the series in general, myself included, have been eagerly awaiting this news more or less since the release of the PS2. But Square Enix clearly feels that the time is right to remake their greatest masterpiece, and I couldn’t agree more. The technology of current gen consoles has the potential to make FFVII better than it ever was. But the director of the remake, Tetsuya Nomura, who has helmed some of the most prolific games in the series including FFVI, FFX, and FFXIII, has stated that in regards to the remake, the world doesn’t need two of the same game. So what changes are in store for one of the most popular and greatest video games of all time? Slick HD graphics, re-translation, deciding on Aeris/th’s name, and voice acting are no brainers, but no real details have been revealed regarding any changes or updates. The following are some things that I, as a hardcore Final Fantasy fan, would like to see added, adapted, removed, or otherwise adjusted in the Final Fantasy VII remake.
No More Optional Characters
In the original PS1 game, both Yuffie and Vincent appear as entire optional (yet very cool) characters. As a consequence of their status as non compulsory party members, the duo never actually appears in the game’s cinematics. Yuffie and Vincent, and especially Vincent, are fan favorites and a bit of their effect on the game is lost when they don’t show up during key moments of the story and adventure.
That being said, if Vincent and Yuffie remain optional characters, console technology is at a point now where multiple cutscenes could be triggered depending on in game choices. What I mean is that Square Enix could simply create varying cinematics depending on which characters you have in your party. This way both optional characters could appear in the game’s cinematics, or not. Or maybe just Yuffie, or just Vincent. There are plenty of options to explore here.
Full Orchestral Soundtrack
FF7 has some of the best and most memorable music in the entire series. And for a series that is built on a foundation of rich lore and moving music, that’s saying a lot. Like the recent PS4 release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD, the option to use the original FF7 soundtrack in all its 90s synth glory needs to be included in the game. But even more important than the ability to listen to the retro tunes is a complete overhaul of the soundtrack.
Personally, I’d like to hear all the music in a fully orchestrated score, like the above video which is taken from this year’s Final Symphony album. The music from this game is so grand and so epic that Square Enix can ill afford to not treat it like John Williams would treat any of his scores. Long time series composer Nobuo Uematsu absolutely must be brought back to assist in the rearrangement and orchestration of his masterpiece.
A long-running tradition in the Final Fantasy games is the inclusion of summonable monsters, known as Eidolons, Guardian Forces, Aeons, Espers, or any other multitude of titles depending on which game you’re playing. FF7 has some of the coolest summons thanks to the three incarnations of Bahamut, and Knights of the Round.
I’d like to see a few additional summons introduced into the games from other titles in the series, which could be obtained through additional side quests. In particular, I think it would be extremely cool to see Ark from FFIX, either Yojimbo or Anima from FFX, and, just imagine this, Terra from FFVI. The idea of additional summons adds extra gameplay and could also loosely tie the remake to the rest of the Final Fantasy universe.
In Final Fantasy V, Gilgamesh is the annoying, four-armed, samurai sidekick of the big bad guy of the game, Exdeath (awesome name…right?). After Gilgamesh nearly botches Exdeath’s evil plan, the villain casts in into The Void, which is the interdimensional rift that is central to Exdeath’s scheme. Once in this rift, Gilgamesh is able to travel throughout time and space, and is the only character to appear in multiple main series Final Fantasy games. He was an Esper in VI, part of a Guardian Force in VIII, a small time criminal in IX, a shady arms dealer in X, and so on. In fact, he has made an appearance in some way in nearly every game in the series, including remakes of the games prior to his origin. But which game did he not appear in at all? Yup, FFVII.
Gilgamesh is a personal favorite character of mine, but aside from my feelings regarding the character, he is an important tradition of the series, and VII feels empty without him. He also has arguably the coolest theme song in the series. So whether he’s included as a summon, an optional superboss, or something else entirely, let’s get Gilgamesh into one of the only games he missed out on, shall we?
Square Enix really took the success of FFVII and ran with it. Following the release of the game, years later, there are two spinoff games, Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus, as well as an entire movie, Advent Children. While none of these releases were as well-received as the original game, they all add extra story and lore and together provide a deeper and more meaningful FFVII experience.
In order to celebrate all of these releases, the remake could add extra gameplay that provides a better framework for the spinoff media. The idea of Crisis Core is already fairly well established in the original game. We know who Zack is and the influence he had in Cloud’s life. But Dirge of Cerberus and Advent Children came seemingly out of no where, and now the game creators have the opportunity to create a more seamless transition between all these titles.
As an added bonus, the release of the remake could even include updated versions of Crisis Core, Cerberus, and Advent Children right on the disc, a la the Kingdom Hearts HD collections, or as download codes, like the God of War collection on PS3. The thought of all that FFVII content in one place is enough to make any fan happy.
A New Superboss
Nearly as famous as Sephiroth, the main antagonist and final boss, are FFVII’s two superbosses, the Ruby and Emerald Weapons. The two monstrous enemies, Ruby Weapon in particular, are renowned for being controller-smashingly difficult. They hammer you with brutally strong physical attacks, keep you at bay with nearly impenetrable defence, and then destroy you with powerful magic like Ultima.
Growing up, we probably all knew that one kid who’s endless bragging about defeating Ruby Weapon was enough to end friendships over. So what better way to stick it to him than to come out with an even more difficult superboss? The HD remasters of Final Fantasy X included the optional Dark Aeon bosses, which made Braska’s Final Aeon seem like a level three goblin. A similar boss in FFVII would be incredible. Here’s an idea. You defeat Emerald and Ruby, and then they combine into one huge megaboss. You’re welcome, Square Enix.
Last and certainly not least is the combat style that the FFVII remake will use. Surely no other aspect of the game’s re-creation has developers more concerned and focused than this, and it all boils down to one simple question: Turn-based combat, or not turn-based combat? Strong cases could be made for either answer, but if one thing’s for certain, it is that the slow-paced combat of the original game will not mesh well with all the other updates this game will receive. So does that automatically mean they jump straight to combat styles similar to FFXV or Lightning Returns? Let’s hope not.
The turn-based combat allows you to connect with each individual character because you get to experience their moves, their fighting style, and their personalities. That level of accessibility has been lost in recent Final Fantasy titles where you only control one party member during combat. So, my solution? A fast-paced turn-based (solid rhyme) combat system like the one provided by Final Fantasy X. What that battle system does better than any other is let players control each and every single character during battle, even if they didn’t start in the battle party. Consider that combat mechanic in FFVII. Flying enemies causing you trouble? Send in Vincent, Barret or someone proficient in black magic. Armored baddies getting you down? Get those heavy hitters like Cid and Cloud into the fray. FFX’s combat style offers unlimited strategies and play styles, and let you experience all the strengths and weaknesses of each character, which is exactly what FFVII needs.
What would you like to see as part of the new remake? Do you agree or disagree with our choices? What was your reaction when Sony showed the remake trailer during their E3 press conference? Let us know all your thoughts on the upcoming game in the comments below!