My 2 Cents on an Episodic Final Fantasy VII Remake

This past weekend the world was given a new trailer for the Final Fantasy VII Remake at the PlayStation Experience convention. While fans were initially excited by the new trailer, which featured gameplay from the upcoming title, the hype has seemingly been killed off due to news that the game will be episodic in nature. The game’s remake, announced this year at E3, is likely one of the most anticipated games of all time considering that fans of the game (and there are a whole lot of us) have been wanting to see it remade since the PlayStation 2 era, nearly 15 years ago. At E3 we saw that Final Fantasy VII not simply being given a HD remaster but instead being completely rebuilt from top to bottom, which was fantastic news. All that fans received at E3, however, was a cinematic trailer announcing the game itself and a promise of more information in December of this year which left fans on the edge of their seats, left to speculate what was in store for this fan favorite classic.

Now that it’s December and we the fans have been given more information about the game it seems people are more upset than happy about the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Alongside the gorgeous new gameplay trailer, embedded above, the game’s developers talked a bit about what we can expect from the game itself as we knew it was never going to be exactly the same as the original. In an interview with Famitsu, producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Tetsuya Nomura revealed that the game will be released in multiple installments rather than one single release, among other things. According to the interview, reported by Polygon, “It’s going to be multi-part because when we considered fully remaking Final Fantasy 7 in PS4 quality, and as we look over much of it, we estimated the volume to be beyond what could be fit in one entry[…]” While other interesting tidbits of information were revealed about the Remake, I’d like to focus on the talk of episodes and the news surrounding that specific reveal.

Basically, to sum it all up, in order to preserve content rather that cut a bunch of stuff out they decided it was better to put the game into multiple parts. Polygon reporter Allegra Frank states that “While some elements will be lost, the team will compensate by allowing greater exploration of certain areas, like the sprawling city of Midgar.” After the initial report, a representative from Square Enix confirmed that “Each entry will have its own unique story. As a gaming experience, each entry will have the volume of content equal to a full-sized game.” No further details as to exactly how the episodes will work or how many there will be have been revealed. All that has been surmised is that this is most likely not going to be similar to Life is Strange or any Telltale series in regards to episode size or content. If each episode is to be a full game’s worth of content then I assume there will be less than five episodes and it wont be a “buy all episodes to get one full game” type of deal, as is the case with the aforementioned episodic games.

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While at first this news seems a bit startling, confusing and frankly overwhelming I feel that with the clarification from Square Enix, Kitase and Nomura helps fans to understand why it’s being done, which makes perfect sense. It also puts to rest the initial fear that the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be the next decision-driven narrative experience from Square Enix, akin to Life is Strange. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this approach to releasing the game. Sure, at first I saw the headline stating the game would be episodic and grimaced but after reading the report and interview I felt much more comfortable with the news. As a big time fan of Final Fantasy VII I’d rather see them cut/change the least amount of content as possible and if releasing it in parts rather than a single game is the way to get that, then so be it. As I stated on Twitter in regards to the news, “I’m just glad I’m getting the game at all”, as I’m typically not one to bite the hand that feeds.

It seems simple enough, you either want the game or not and if you do then you may have to make a few compromises. However, the internet madness machine has been taking to Twitter and other social websites to shame the game and it’s developers/creators for such a decision. It’s been disturbing to see the level of disgust shown by people posting in droves who clearly read only the headline of the report and used that to fuel their anger rather than actually informing themselves fully on the issue before posting. This is yet another example of the internet’s ability to voice the loudest, most hate-filled opinions with the least amount of information behind them. Here’s the deal, everyone is obviously allowed to have an opinion on this issue. Whether that opinion is optimistic like mine or pessimistic like others, that’s up to the holder of the opinion and there is no “right” opinion to have. I feel that the only way to have a “wrong” opinion is to have one that is backed with no actual, factual information. For example, I can say that in my opinion the sky is pink all I want, but the fact is that it isn’t and therefore that opinion is incorrect. Sadly, the latter is the case with many people who are vehemently voicing their upset about this news online.

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I’m talking about this topic today to remind folks to inform themselves before sharing their opinions. Read more than just a headline or another Tweet/post from a buddy before getting mad and spewing all your inner hate onto the internet. It makes you not only look like a moron, but it is rather disrespectful to the people making the game. You don’t have to be happy about this news, but at least know what you are talking about and remember that human beings are making this game with the intent of making you happy and they don’t deserve to be virtually spat upon for doing so. This is part of a larger issue of gamer entitlement, the rise of social media outrage and willful ignorance within the gaming community, but I’m not going to get into that in this post. All I request from my fellow gamers and Final Fantasy VII fans is to just use your noggin before posting. It’s much easier and less stressful as I assume that many of the folks blowing up the internet last night in a whirlwind of rage would have done otherwise if they had stopped to actually read the full report. That being said, I’d like to welcome some dialog among fans of Final Fantasy VII and those who are/were looking forward to the upcoming Remake: What are your thoughts on this news of the game taking on an episodic nature and how do you feel about the misinformed internet outrage?

5 thoughts on “My 2 Cents on an Episodic Final Fantasy VII Remake

  1. While some of the reaction has been waaaaay over the top, as you mentioned, I do understand it from a certain angle: Even if this isn’t a Telltale/Life is Strange version of episodic content, Nomura doesn’t exactly have a great track record with long-term projects reaching fruition right now (looking at you, Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 3, whenever the hell you actually come out!). The idea of even more waiting for something fans have wanted for a decade and a half probably scares the crap out of some people.

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    • True, I can understand that response to an extent. However, if anyone actually expected this game to come out with any amount of quickness even as a singular game given what we all know for the developers, then I have no sympathy for them haha. I suppose the way I see it is that this release plan will probably work better for us than a singular game release, since they can put one out then work on the next rather than working on one single gigantic game that probably wouldn’t be as good.

      I mean, we’ve been waiting for FFXV for basically forever, it even changed names because so much time has passed. With the FF7 Remake we have seen an announcement, gameplay trailer, and some news of a release plan within the same year. That alone makes me more hopeful of actually seeing this game in my lifetime, given the dev’s track record. 🙂

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  2. Sometimes I wish the general public would know more about game development. At the same time, ignorance is a blessing. We need to care about engines, resolution, textures, lightning, voice actors, sound effects, normal and diffuse maps, frame rate, frame pacing, data size, hardware limitations, budget, time and so on. But we also pay the price when playing a game, recognizing some of the tricks not perceptible by everyone else. That, sometimes, can take out the enjoyment. It’s a tricky situation. And why many times developers simply avoid responding to the public directly.

    Last night, when this news came out, the first people I talked to were developers (not related to Square, I should add). Some fans of FF VII. None of them bothered by this news, even before it was clarified. It has a hard contrast from enthusiast forums. People claiming evil conspiracies; others saying it was only about profiting more and exploring the fanbase; someone said they couldn’t sleep, unless they hit their head on a brick to pass out.

    I perfectly understand why marketing teams need to announce a game way before its release, but in times where information (complete or not; true or not) spreads in seconds, a lot of accusations happen. There are so many things changed within a game’s development period. The original idea always gets changed. There is always cut content and almost every time, the developers are not happy about that cut (mostly because it didn’t work out as planned). Which is why I think announcing a project later in development can avoid a lot of these accusations about downgrades, cut content and so on. But, like I said, I get it.

    It’s the same thing with the “lazy developers” accusation. Oh, boy. Just today I was talking with another developer about Square’s decision to not use its own engine in their new games. The only one which still uses? Final Fantasy XV. Delayed for almost ten years. A game that became a joke for a lot of people, but we can only imagine how many technical issues they were and are having. They can’t switch anymore. Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake were early enough to make that decision. XV is not. I will be incredibly surprised if I see that game running smoothly.

    So yeah, in the end, I don’t think the public in general needs to know about this side of the industry. But, at the same time, I wish they weren’t so quick to judge.

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  3. Just watching that trailer makes me want to play the game, episodic or not. I just hope that any progression carries on between episodes and after you have all of them perhaps you’ll be able to still revisit old areas. From what I remember of the original, you were still able to wander the map aimlessly, so I would hope it doesn’t feel like the different episodes are segregated from each other.

    Either way, I’m glad that the combat looks like it will be ATB but a bit more active. It looks like exploration will also be more of a thing, which wasn’t really a focal point of the original (outside of fighting the ultima weapons and finding secrets due to having the appropriate chocobos to visit new areas).

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    • I can’t wait to hear more information about the episode structure so that we can understand how it will work. I too hope that they connect with each other in an explorative way.

      The combat and wandering bits from the trailer look really amazing. I’m still super excited for this remake!

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