Final Fantasy 7 maintains an almost legendary status among RPG gamers. It is one of those games that makes other gamers gape at you when you admit you haven’t played it. As a result of this, it is no surprise that Final Fantasy fans have clamored for a remake of the game for years. Until now, they’ve been met with deafening silence and what seemed to be a complete unwillingness to make those fans’ dreams a reality. Now it’s happening. We’ve rejoiced. We’ve gushed. Now we’re starting to wonder what it all means.
Back in 2012, Yoichi Wada, then CEO of Square Enix, famously said that a remake would mean “the end of Final Fantasy.” Though many in the media ran wild with the quote, what he was actually saying was that the company was trying to top Final Fantasy 7, not remake it. Today, Square Enix is in a substantially different position and not necessarily a bad one. Titles like Final Fantasy 15, Just Cause 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Hitman, Kingdom Hearts 3, and World of Final Fantasy are all hotly anticipated. So what’s the deal with finally giving in on a remake?
First of all, let’s take a second to call out just how flimsy that 2012 excuse was. What they were selling is that Square can’t multitask and we all know that’s not true. No, I think the reasons go far deeper than that. Take, for example, how crestfallen Final Fantasy fans were after finally, finally getting their hands on Final Fantasy 13 and realizing that it was a closed-world, hyper-future caricature of previous games. The franchise has recovered but is still swaying on its feet from the Fabula Nova Crystallis series (Type-0 not included). They lost cache and, frankly, the series is losing relevance with younger gamers.
So, they have something to prove. They have legendary status to reclaim. Cecil and Cloud won it (or Squall if you’re one of us cool kids). Lightning and Snow lost it.
FF7 achieved the rare feat of transcending itself and becoming a cultural phenomenon. Once a piece of pop culture achieves that level of success, it is the daring maker that toys with greatness. That’s the trouble: how could Square ever release a game that lives up to everyone’s expectations? That’s still the problem. Whether they just touch up the art or re-do all of the game’s systems, someone will be upset. More than any other scenario in recent memory, Square is poised to really wreck somebody’s day.
You can remake games, not memories, so it’s very good news that Final Fantasy 7 will be more than just a remaster. We don’t know yet what will be changed, but in interviews with Famitsu and Dengeki Online, Tetsuya Nomura pointed out that it’s not just the graphics that feel old but also the game systems. Does that mean that the new, action-oriented combat of Final Fantasy 15 might make its way into the remake? It might. This is the perilous line Square Enix has to walk: make it new enough to feel fresh, but similar enough to stay true to the original.
If I had to predict how they accomplish that, I’d say that they will take the story, the characters, and the setting, and wrap that combat inspired by Final Fantasy 15. Materia and summons will still there, along with all the other standard Final Fantasy stuff, but I’m betting battles will be almost unrecognizable. Think “remake” in the same way movies are “based upon” true stories. The way to sell Final Fantasy 7 isn’t to mimic, it’s to re-envision.
So why now for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake? If I had to guess, I would bet a worry-filled memo went out amongst the executives at Square Enix, the same memo that pushed them to create World of Final Fantasy. A note about a company pillar losing relevancy against the likes of Dragon Age, Mass Effect and The Witcher, and of lost fans and money on the table. Yoichi Wada, the “Final Fantasy would be finished” guy, stepping down as CEO in 2013, and now off the board of directors, may or may not have had anything to do with it.
Destiny players are unhappy and the devs are here with a response. The controversy stems from the recently announced The Taken King expansion retailing for twice the cost of the packs before it. What’s more, to get all of the emotes and customizations, players will have to re-buy the previous expansions through a Collector’s Edition for $80. Bungie’s message is still “wait for the weekly update.” Thanks for that. But hey, you know what you don’t have to wait for? A RedBull exclusive questline. Marketing at its finest!
Path of Exile’s latest expansion, “The Awakening,” has entered the bug fixing and balancing stage of beta testing. Look for it in early July.
Want some multiplayer Elder Scrolls but Tamriel Unlimited not doing it for you? A Skyrim modder by the name of Siegfre may have just the thing. With the Tamriel Online mod, you can play Skyrim with a friend. Or lots of friends – you just can’t attack the same mob. Check it out here.
We told you about the announcement of Pillars of Eternity’s first expansion. Now, we’re back with a boots-on-the-ground preview of what we saw of it at this year’s E3 first hand. I can’t wait!
ARK: Survival Evolved is dead serious when it comes to dinosaurs. And bugs. That’s what I meant to say. First up, we have a story about Wildcard Studios wiping PVP servers following a duplication exploit. Now, Wildcard is upping the ante by offering $100 to any player that reports a hack impacting gameplay or server stability (excluding aimbots/esp/speedhacks). Treat ARK like a cash-spewing piñata, dino-fans. Break it!
Details on the final piece of DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition may have leaked via… EA survey. Someone really needs to get a handle on this. These surveys spoil more things than a fridge door in the night… left ajar *cue ominous music* No spoilers here. Click through if you’ve finished the game or don’t care knowing.
I hear a lot about this Suikoden thing. Rumor has it the series is pretty good. Is it? All three games are on PSN as of this week, PS4 owners.
That’s all we have room for this week! Let us know what you think in the comments below!