12/07/2015: "Final Fantasy VII Remake News Roundup"
We have a bunch of new details about the Remake today, via translated interviews with Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura, plus a statement made to Kotaku by Square Enix clarifying the news about the game's episodic structure. Read on to learn the game's official title, why it's episodic, and much more.
First off, some credits. Thanks to Clidus for pointing to this story on the Square Enix fansite Nova Crystallis, which summarizes the latest Japanese-language interviews. Giving further credit where it's due: the original interviews referenced by Nova Crystallis were conducted by Famitsu and Dengeki Online and were translated by JeffAtomsky on NeoGAF and tokyofog on Twitter. There is also a full, complete translation of the Famitsu interview here by a bilingual Japanese Tumblr user named Jirokichi. Elsewhere, Kotaku's story on the episodic structure of the Remake is here. Now, let's go through all this and get started; I will be summarizing this information more or less in the same order that it's presented in the Famitsu interview. Some minor alterations have been made to some of the raw translations for clarity's sake.
The official title is Final Fantasy VII Remake
It's unimaginative, sure, but the reasons behind it are simple: having a different title, such as one with a subtitle attached, wouldn't have generated as much excitement. In Famitsu's interview, Nomura said, "When we include a subtitle, it seems like a spin-off or the second arc. We didnít want to give that kind of impression." Kitase adds, "When we were having the presentation today [at the PlayStation Experience keynote], we used footage that had recorded the reactions of the viewers [of the first trailer back at E3]. They seemed skeptical at first, but when the word 'REMAKE' was shown on the screen, they believed that ďVII itself will be back!Ē and they got so excited. We appreciate those reactions. If there had been a subtitle, it wouldnít have been like that. With that in mind, we picked the simple title for the official one as well."
(To keep things simple, I'll shorten Final Fantasy VII Remake to FFVII-R for the rest of this piece.)
Why FFVII-R is episodic
In explaining this, Kitase once again reiterated why he was hesitant to remake FFVII in the first place, and how this factored into the decision to make FFVII-R episodic: "The reason why we havenít attempted an FFVII Remake [in the past] is that itís extremely hard to remake FFVII with the current technology, and to be honest, we hesitated. Remaking FFVII in HD without losing the originalís 'density' requires more than one part."
Nomura adds, "If we were to put it in one part, then we have to cut many parts and deliver it as a digest. Nobody wants that kind of game. Plus, users can explore many places in Midgar where they couldnít in the original game. Once we decided to remake VII, we will develop those details and more. Of course we have to cut some parts from the original, but users can expect the VII world that only VII Remake can deliver. We estimate that, with the quality of those details, the volume of the game will be larger than the original after all. You may worry about the schedule, and we want to provide the game as soon as possible. Making it multiple parts is the line we drew to deliver the game."
So it seems that some places, like Midgar, will be larger than they were in the original FFVII, and yet some other parts will be cut. It's not clear what will be cut just yet, though some of the more broadly exploratory aspects, such as the World Map, seem likely to go.
It also appears that this decision to deliver the game in chunks will also make it come out sooner. The date and pricing for the first episode is still a ways off, but this news makes a 20th anniversary release in 2017 even more likely.
In a statement to Kotaku, Square Enix noted that each episode will have a unique story and as much content as a full-sized game. Whether "full-sized" means the length of a Halo campaign or a Tales or Persona-length JRPG remains to be seen.
Parts of FFVII-R's production will be outsourced
The rumors surrounding CyberConnect2's involvement with the remake have come true: they are indeed contributing to the game's production. Kitase notes that CC2 is experienced in making exciting action games, but also says that during production of the trailer, there was a lot of discussion in order to get it to fit more to the style he and Nomura are aiming for. Nomura and Kitase also mention that CC2 is not the only outside subcontractor involved in the project.
It's somewhat disappointing that FFVII-R's production isn't being done entirely in-house, but those teams are likely hard at work on the likes of Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III. It's unknown how well juggling all these subcontractors will work out; it's quite common in the anime industry—even Studio Ghibli uses them regularly—but less so in Japan's video game one.
Some battle system details
The new battle system will be an active one, but will also retain elements like the ATB and limit break gauges, albeit with some alterations. It will be completely different from Crisis Core's system, and not as action-packed as in Dissidia Final Fantasy Arcade or Kingdom Hearts. The speed of battle that they're aiming for is similar to Dissidia Final Fantasy's, and will still allow for strategic decision-making.
Players will also be able to switch between three party members during battle, though they will not need to. This seems to hint at some sort of AI systems for characters that aren't being controlled at the time.
Cloud's new look
Cloud's pale skin was explained as a consequence of the lighting. Also, apparently, when FFVII-R writer Kazushige Nojima saw the new character model, he said, "Cloud looks sickly and I like it."
And yes, the crossdressing scene has at last been confirmed to be in FFVII-R, though Miss Cloud's design has yet to be finalized.
Barret's new look
The original plan was to base Barret on his Advent Children incarnation, but then Nomura decided to redesign him. It seems that, from the start, Nomura had insisted on redesigning all the characters. In Barret's case, he wanted him to be more realistic. However, Nomura doesn't want to make the overall graphics "too real", so they're trying to find the right balance.
Potential story changes
Nomura said that they're looking to delve deeper into the story in each episode, and are planning techniques to accomplish that. He wants to surprise even those players who know the original FFVII's story by heart. Kitase adds that they do not want this remake to purely be about nostalgia, and are adjusting the storyline in order to fulfill this goal and to get veteran players' hearts racing.
Posted by Reeve at 02:22 PM EST