Back in May of 2005, Square Enix did something that perhaps they regret. The PlayStation 3 had yet to be released, but we were getting plenty of trailers to remind us how amazing it was going to be. Some developers went out of their way to produce tech demos that weren’t necessarily games, but just examples of how powerful the PS3 was. Square Enix got a piece of this action and made one depicting a next-gen Final Fantasy VII. This demo turned out to be the greatest thing ever produced by mankind next to sex.
As soon as this video went up, fanboys, myself included, rejoiced at the mere thought of Final Fantasy VII on PS3. However, Square Enix was really quick to remind people that this was just a tech demo and not an announcement. But it was too late — they had put the idea in our heads, and now we wanted (and still want) a remake!
Above: You know the one
To say a FFVII remake would be highly anticipated is a gross understatement. Square Enix, though, has been good about killing any rumors when they start, most notably in an interview with OXM. In this interview FFXIII producer Yoshinori Kitase said: “[…] if we were to take one of the past Final Fantasy titles and make a sequel to it, I think that would be a lot more challenging because when they were on PlayStation and PlayStation 2 their actual game volume was a lot bigger, kind of.
“Graphically they weren’t as advanced as they are now, but there were lots of towns and worlds and cities and whatever. So if we were to recreate the same kind of game – sequel or not – with the same volume, but give it a much higher level of graphical quality, it would us take three times, four times, even ten times longer to make such a game. So making a sequel for an old game would be a lot more challenging.”
Seems as final as you could get, that. Fortunately for all of us, it’s bollocks; here are a few reasons why.
5. They’ve been preparing for it this entire time
What if I told you every Final Fantasy from the moment that tech demo came out til now was part a huge experiment? Hear me out.
Remaking FFVII has been a plan of Square’s for sometime since they released that tech demo (at least). There is a possibility that it can be traced back to FFX, but I’ll explain that later. While Square was truthful about that demo not being a trailer, it did serve another purpose other than showing off the PS3’s amazing graphics. It was a marketing ploy to A) test the waters to see if there was enough interest in the remake, and B) to get people talking about Final Fantasy VII again. As I mentioned earlier, it worked. People have been talking about a remake to this day.
So that begs the question: If the interest was there, why hasn’t it been made yet? The answer is that Square is playing it smart, and taking care to make it great. They need this game to be epic and are thus preparing the Hades out of it. Everything about this one –whether it’s a remake or another FFVII sequel — has to be perfect, from the visuals to the combat system. Square needed a way to prepare, so they did through every game they’ve released. Well, with the exception of the Final Fantasy MMOs and that one FFXII sequel on the DS.
A lot of the plan for another FFVII title can actually be seen in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. That movie shows off a lot of what Square wants. With its mind-blowing visuals and epic combat, it reintroduced the characters of FFVII and breathed new life into that universe. After Advent Children‘s, the focus then seemed to make fights in Final Fantasy games look and feel less turn-based and more like a scene from the movie. It made sense to me, as the usual combat systems seemed pretty slow in comparison. If you look at the combat from FFXII to FFXIII-2, you can see what I mean. There’s no better example than the Final Fantasy XIII-2’s opening scene:
We’ve also had a multitude of games either remind us of FFVII, or simply give those characters cameos; Kingdom Hearts and Dissidia are major examples. They also released Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, both a spin-off and a prequel to FFVII, respectively. These games, while making Square Enix tons of cash, are doing what the demo did, which was to keep FFVII fresh in our heads. Why else do this unless something is on the horizon?
4. Square Enix doesn’t want vaporware on their hands
Our very own Joe Garcia wrote an interesting column awhile back about games that may as well be vaporware — games that studios announce, only to disappear into nothing. Examples that Joe cites include Metal Gear Rising and Final Fantasy Versus XIII. When studios or publishers announce a game, they should probably do so when they’ll be able to release it within a calendar year. That way it’s long enough for us to get excited, but not so long that we get annoyed by the wait.
A game being labeled vaporware can be a major blow to the credibility to it and the studio. Also, the more time we have to think about a game, the higher our expectations will be. That’s why Square hasn’t announced a release date, instead doing their best to deny the possibility of this game. No one can call a game vaporware if it hasn’t been announced, after all.
In many ways, they’re everyone a favor. We don’t get our hopes up and get annoyed, and they have all the time they need to make it good. It’s actually a really smart move on their part.