Final Fantasy 7 Remake's release date, battle system, and more - everything you need to know

Posted on 11/16 19:33 in | 0

In February 2017, Square-Enix's most famous game will turn twenty years old. It begs the question: what is the Final Fantasy 7 Remake release date already?! Teased as far back as 2006 and finally revealed at Sony's E3 2015 PlayStation press conference, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake has been a tantalizing promise for RPG fans still devoted to the original sci-fi epic. While Square has been quiet about the game since it debuted Final Fantasy 7 Remake gameplay footage at the PlayStation Experience in December 2015, we do know quite a bit about how the game including details on its semi-episodic presentation.

At PlayStation Experience 2015, a Square-Enix press release revealed that this new version of FF7 "will be told across a multi-part series, with each entry providing its own unique experience." While many people took this to mean that the Final Fantasy 7 Remake would be doled out painfully like a Telltale series or Square-Enix's own Hitman, the company has since revealed that this means that the original will be recreated fully in a series of larger games much in the same was that Final Fantasy 13 was released alongside Final Fantasy 13-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13 to tell a complete story.

"It will essentially be a full-scale game for each part of the multi-part series. In XIII, each installment told the story from a different angle," said Final Fantasy 7 director and Remake producer Yoshinori Kitase in an April 2016 interview with Game Informer. "It was kind of like approaching an unknown territory, in a sense. Whereas with Final Fantasy VII Remake, we already have a preexisting story, so it wouldn’t really make sense if that isn’t encompassed in the multi-part series, and it wouldn’t make sense to remake it if we don’t encompass that that entire story."

As opposed to being another CGI trailer to drum up hype, the FF7 PlayStation Experience demo actually showed some gameplay alongside its beautiful cutscene shots, a surprise for anyone who still didn't believe in the dream of the remake. For some, though, the new trailer's emphasis on what appears to be action combat rather than classic turn-based combat was a bit of a disappointment. Square has promised that it will retain a familiar feel while also moving towards the type of action scene in another recent Final Fantasy. 

"We haven’t completely transitioned into action, but as our director [Tetsuya] Nomura-san says, Final Fantasy (in terms of action games) is best represented by Dissidia in the current landscape," said Yoshinori Kitase in that April 2016 interview. "In terms of the Final Fantasy action battles people have experienced themselves, that is most familiar to them these days. In terms of the image of the battle system, that’s where we’re getting the feel from. It won’t be as action-focused as Dissidia, of course, but the the visuals and how the gameplay feels in essence will be drawn from that Dissidia-esque style."

In a move that is almost guaranteed to make the wait for the FF7 remake even longer, Square-Enix has handed the project to one of its busiest directors, Tetsuya Nomura. The character designer-turned-director has had a lot of balls in play over the last few years, and even when he stepped down as director of Final Fantasy 15, that was so he could ramp up production on Kingdom Hearts 3, which was edging dangerously close to mythical status. He's apparently so busy that he didn't even know he would be directing the FF7 remake until he saw his name next to the game in an internal company memo.

While Nomura's glacial directing speed might hang up the game, the studio focussing on its creation should help keep things swift. CyberConnect 2, the studio behind Asura's Wrath, Jojo's Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle and many more, is handling the heavy lifting on Final Fantasy 7 Remake PS4.

Don't worry: CyberConnect2 won't be rewriting Final Fantasy 7, an already weird game, to be as bananas as their games like Tail Concerto. Yoshinori Kitase and Kazushige Nojima, the original writers, are headlining the remake. Kitase directed FF7 and co-wrote the script with scenario writer Nojima, meaning the remake is headlined by three members of the dream team that created FF7 in the first place.

Roles have been shuffled a bit for the remake - Nomura will be directing as previously stated, while Kitase will be acting as Producer (and seems pleased with the directorial choice, per Nomura's retelling) - but it's not too much of a shift from what's listed in the original game's credits. Given that these three were responsible for many of the top-down decisions that made FF7 the phenomenon it is (apparently Nojima and Nomura are equally to blame for that one scene), they'll likely know just how to maintain what made FF7 great while making the changes that need making. 

Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, the 2005 movie sequel to the game, forever altered the way people thought of characters like Cloud Strife. Nomura's heroic but still cartoony designs were replaced by more realistically proportioned figures and setting, and that style has carried over to Final Fantasy 7 Remake. which has come to define the look of FF7's locations and characters in the ten years since it was first released. While the movie featured an opening flashbackthat could indicate what the Remake's characters will look like, Square isn't reusing any assets from Advent Children

Nomura noted in an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine: "[We] don't intend on utilizing the 3D models of Advent Children as is because, well, its a different technology." That's for the best. Advent Children, after all, was a long time ago.

"We're not able to say the details of [what's changing] but we are bringing dramatic change to the Final Fantasy 7 remake," Nomura explained following the game's E3 reveal. But before you dig your torches and pitchforks out of storage, know that Nomura doesn't want to push those alterations too far: "We are going to be bringing dramatic change, but we want to make sure it's still recognizable as Final Fantasy 7."

That makes sense, and you have to expect some change to happen when a game is remade almost twenty years after its initial release. Plus, there's the fact that FF7 was created when 3D gaming was still a wild and unexplored frontier, and it's rife with poor translations and mechanics that have missed out on twenty years of evolution, so there's going to have to be a real transformation here for the remake to appeal to a modern audience. It might be painful for some fans, but it's something that needs to happen (and hey, if Square's looking for ideas, we have a couple on offer).

Now this is easily the most predictable part of an unpredictable reveal: while the internet was collectively losing its composure over the remake announcement, Sony America's VP of Publisher and Developer Relations Adam Boyes declared: yes, this is Final Fantasy 7 Remake PS4 exclusive. But then he clarified that it's PS4 first. Final Fantasy has flirted with PlayStation exclusivity for years, and the game was revealed at Sony's own E3 2015 press conference, but this may end up a multi-platform release just like the original Final Fantasy 7 which eventually made the jump to PC.

Coming from the company that loves to abuse the phrase "Coming Soon", the fact that FF7 has no specific release date isn't specifically surprising. Also Kingdom Hearts 3 needs to be finished before Nomura can give us a firm Final Fantasy 7 Remake release date. Seeing as 2017 is the game's 20th anniversary, though, it's likely Square is pushing hard to mark the occasion in style.


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