When it’s done remaking Final Fantasy 7, Square Enix should remake it again
7 mins read

When it’s done remaking Final Fantasy 7, Square Enix should remake it again

The logic behind splitting a game like Final Fantasy 7 Remake always made sense. Fans may not have loved it, but it always tracked. The original FF7 is absolutely massive. It burns through areas at a rate of knots. In a faithful remake, some zones that would take artists months to build would only be seen by the player for a handful of minutes.

Artistic intent be damned, this meant that the decision had been made for Square Enix. Any remake of FF7 would have to be split into multiple parts. The company wouldn’t be drawn on how many parts it’d be (for a while), but in the run up to the recent release of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the project’s bosses confirmed that the whole experience will consist of a trilogy of games. The newly-released Rebirth is the middle part.

Rebirth is truly excellent. As I say in my review, even with a few frustrating design flaws and questionable narrative decisions it’s sure to be on many game of the year lists – including my own. Its greatest triumph is arguably in recreating a significant chunk of the vast-feeling world of the original Final Fantasy 7 and actually somehow managing to maintain – and sometimes even enhance – that vastness.

Some of this is accomplished, of course, by padding out the game’s events. The Midgar segment of the original game runs maybe 10 or 12 hours; for FF7 Remake, Square Enix needed to stretch that out to a full-length game – meaning quadrupling the runtime of that bit of story at a bare minimum. While I was concerned about all this to begin with, it was accomplished with a deft hand. FF7 Remake doesn’t feel like a stretched out story – and neither does Rebirth.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
There’s a big world out there. | Image credit: Square Enix

In addition to adding more context, the story throws curveballs, changes things, and becomes a bit of a meta-narrative, to boot. These aren’t straight remakes, but are sort of pseudo-remakes; a work that is in direct conversation with the original title. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s interesting, relatively unique, and justifies breaking the broader FF7 narrative up into three separate games.

I appreciate this embracing of change. While I do think some of what Square Enix is delivering is baffling nonsense, I fully hold my hand up and say I was one of those people who felt that we didn’t need a remake of FF7 to begin with. I also don’t want a remake of eternal best one, FF9 (though it appears that ship has sailed; it’s happening), or even Chrono Trigger (which I believe will also eventually happen, after that miserable remaster).

These games are perfect; fans just need clean, high quality ways to play the original. I always argued the series would be better off focusing on more new games, more frequently. But if we’re going to do this remake thing, you may as well go for it. Take some swings. Be a stealth sequel, as well as a remake. FF7 Remake and Rebirth succeed at that.

Cloud and Sephiroth stand, with their iconic swords raised to the camera.
Changing and re-interpreting events – it’s a good idea. And very fitting for FFVII. | Image credit: Square Enix

With all that in mind, hear me out for a second here when I say something extraordinarily mad and silly: when they’re done with the third and final part of the FF7 Remake trilogy… they should remake Final Fantasy 7 again.

Perhaps this makes me a glutton for punishment, but my pitch to Square Enix is pretty simple. You had to break the story of FF7 into three games in order to recover the development cost and time associated with building its massive world. You then had to expand the story, changing it from that which fans remember, to have enough content to justify three games’ worth of purchases for fans.

But once part three is done… all of that work is done. Music, character models, combat mechanics, animations, world geometry and art… all of those assets are there. Like Sephiroth at the edge of creation, they’re just… waiting.

So, yes. Once the FF7 Remake Trilogy is done, Square Enix should consider doing one final FF7 game. Perhaps it could be called FF7 Revisited, in keeping with the Re-prefixed names. What this project should do is, essentially, recreate the original story of Final Fantasy 7, as it was, using the assets from Remake, Rebirth, and whatever the third game ends up being called.

Even as someone who didn’t want a straight remake to begin with, the two games so far have seduced me. We have already come this far in rebuilding FF7’s iconic world; at this point, we may as well go for the whole hog.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
It’d be Rude not to. | Image credit: Square Enix

Many scenes could play out in an identical fashion to Remake. Others would need to be changed, of course, stripping out things like Whispers and narrative curveballs. You’d strip some content away, and maybe add some other small things in places to be a little more faithful. Voice actors would need to be recalled, as many cutscenes would need to be retooled. You’d change some systems, I suppose – lose the weapon upgrade thing for a more traditional strait-laced weapon progression as in the original game, and switch the Limit Break mechanic to the simpler multi-tiered approach of the original, and so on.

But I think this could be a sustainable development. It could be a canny way, once the twisting and metatextual narrative of the Remake games is concluded, to give fans the faithful remake of FF7 many of them have craved. And crucially, Square Enix could actually ship one last game that includes the whole game and world in one package. For fans of Remake who have been left scratching their heads by story developments that deliberately contrast with and reference the original, this could be the final piece of the puzzle without asking people play a relatively slow and aged game from the 90s.

It’s crazy, but it makes sense when you really squint. Which, honestly, is the Square Enix way. I’d buy it, anyway.

Source link