Press Clippings | Interview with Official UK PSX Magazine
Published in October 1997
Official UK PSX Magazine: Describe the game in 100 words.
Square: The latest in the Final Fantasy series is the closest Square have come to their ultimate goal of blending real-time action with FMV-quality animation, in an all-encompassing, totally absorbing and immersive interactive gaming experience. This seventh heaven is a mix of stunning backdrops, adorable and believable characters, intriguing plots, pulsating battles and tricky puzzles, which all add up to the best RPG yet to appear.
What's the plot?
The world of Final Fantasy VII expands on FFIII's concept of Magitek, where magical forces are a reality and have thus been incorporated into the technological progress of civilisation. This isn't your typical fantasy setting: vast chimneys belch smoke, steam trains criss-cross the urban sprawl, neon signs crackle in the rainswept ratruns between towering factories. It transpires that Mako is a 'dark' form of magic, and its insidious corruption of the Shinra Corporation has created a police state by empowering a security force. You begin the game as an ex-soldier-turned-revolutionary, and immediately find yourself assisting a terrorist group called Avalanche in their attempt to overthrow Shinra and restore balance to the exploited world.
Is there anything in this game that we've never seen in any other?
If you've played SNES versions of the Final Fantasy series, then possibly not. There are slight deviations from the first six, and the music and graphics are obviously enhanced. But as a PlayStation starting point, continuity was very wise. For novice owners, however, this will be like nothing you've seen.
What other games have influenced Final Fantasy VII?
Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy II... need we go on? There is a whole history of RPGs and all the paths that lead Square here were winding. In Final Fantasy VII, however, there have been more Western influences both externally and from those on the team.
What's going to be the best bit of the game?
Taking an already believable story and gameplay and placing it in an environment that now looks real it is a real shock to the senses.
Why will it be better than any other game of its ilk?
The characters for a start. Square's scriptwriting talents are once again employed to make you fall in love with the characters, then mercilessly pull your emotional strings as they experience suffering, joy, love, betrayal and even (whisper) d.e.a.t.h. Also the quest is huge, straddling no less than 3 CDs, and with so many locations that the average completion time is reportedly 120 hours.
Any specific technical conventions to speak of?
At first the system might seem to bear similarities to Resident Evil, in that your polygon hero can move around a detailed pre-rendered environment, but the backgrounds are packed with interactive 'hot spots'. The integration of old and new techniques also gives FFVII a unique cinematic quality. Its many cut scenes are CGI movie sequences that use the same pre-rendering as the rest of the game, so that when the dizzying camerawork finally comes to a halt, the scene on which it settles is also the environment in which your character can explore. The direction is seamless. The combat system boasts AD&D complexity. Weapons and items have slots in which to fit Materia, orbs that endow the wearer with extra powers such as the ability to steal, or summon Esper-like creature attacks, with some weapons boasting more slots for combining enhancements.
So why should anyone care about the game?
Because it's the best RPG to appear on the PlayStation. It's sold five million copies already in Japan!