Despite being a pretty avid gamer, though admittedly less so as I get older, I usually don’t pay all too much attention to E3. At this point, you can kind of assume what you’re going to get. A lot of sequels. But the most important news to me (personally) was that they are remaking Final Fantasy VII. There are a lot of other games that look great, and I’ll probably talk about them eventually, but this is the friggin’ elephant in the room.
Final Fantasy VII is being completely redone for the Playstation 4.
Final Fantasy VII is, without exaggeration, a game that defined a generation, along with Ocarina of Time. Final Fantasy VII is the reason I love RPGs. It’s basically the reason I love GAMES. I had started to play games on the Super Nintendo, and Super Mario RPG was a favorite. It only makes sense that once I got my hands on FFVII, my life would change. I was unaware that there had been FF games on the SNES or the NES. Heck, I didn’t even know what FFVII was the first time I popped it into a Playstation. The only reason I had it was because I had rented it for my sister, and I was at a friend’s house before I brought it home. From the first moments, I was suckered in. The dilemma was that the Playstation was my sister’s, and she could tell me not to play it. I have memories of sitting at the top of the stairs while she played in the living room, just listening to her play it and being insanely jealous.
To be completely fair, FFVII isn’t even my favorite Final Fantasy. I prefer IX, VI and IV over VII, but I would never have discovered them without first playing FFVII. And they say you never forget your first (not that I would know). But I can at least apply that logic to gaming. I still play FFVII every once in awhile, and it’s like catching up with an old friend who I used to be amazingly close with. Sure, we’ve grown apart a bit, but all the memories still hold us together, and we still get along pretty darn well.
FFVII is NOT the greatest game ever, in this gamer’s opinion. There is no single greatest game ever. But this is up there. People have been clamoring for more FFVII ever since it was made back in ’97. And Square complied… in a way. The Final Fantasy VII collection was a… it was a thing. It included such gems as Dirge of Cerberus, Crisis Core, Before Crisis, and the only good thing to come out of the muck, IMO, Advent Children. But people ate it up. Why? Because FFVII, dammit! And then there was the tech demo that everyone believed would lead to the remake of FFVII, the biggest tease Square-Enix could have possibly pulled off this side of teasing a Chrono Trigger remake. Then came the announcement that Final Fantasy VII was being released on the PS4… as a port of the Steam release. At this point, people were almost giving up hope that it would ever happen.
But now, it’s a reality.
And like I said, I am scared as shit about it. Given Square-Enix’s track record with the last few FF games; the XIII trilogy, which I couldn’t even bring myself to complete, XIV and XI, which were MMOs that I didn’t touch, and XII, which was as interesting as watching a painting of grass grow as it dries, I am scared about what they will do to FFVII. It’s like having a friend who’s in a coma, and you’re told that they’re going to wake up, but when they do, they might be a completely different person.
Should they just update the graphic, do voice-overs and leave everything else untouched? Could that truly make this re-make a success? I honestly don’t know if that would fly in today’s gaming market. People like me will probably buy it no matter what, even if they do that, but if you go back, the script is sparse, the world map is sparse, and if all they do is remake the world, it’s going to seem… empty. At the same time, I also have a hard time imagining some of the sillier scenes from the game being done in ultra-modern, super serious graphics. What happens when you go to Wall Market and Cloud cross-dresses, and Don Corneo decide to choose Cloud for his lady friend for the night? Will they sensitively handle the cross-dressing Big Bro of the gym where you get the Wig? Are they going to make Cloud ultra-sexy when he dresses up as a lady? Are they going to make it obvious Corneo has an erection? How hyper-sexualized are the female characters going to be?
It’s one thing to read the text that came off as silly in the game. It’ll be another to imagine it being voice acted, much of it either coming off as ultra-cheese or utterly ridiculous slapstick. Some of it will HAVE to change, and I’m intrigued and worried to see how it will go. Will the change the battle system? Will they completely do away with Nobuo Uematsu’s iconic soundtrack? Will they completely revamp character designs? Will the keep all the silly, goofy mini-games in?
Now that it’s actually a reality, it’s kind of scary.
OR it could just go the way of Silent Hills and be cancelled.
Either way, I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops, and I’m probably going to go restart FFVII on Steam now.