Calling Out For A Classic
Since Final Fantasy I in 1987, the series has become decidedly less “final” as there have been 14 main games, two direct sequels and numerous spin off titles. Originally the swan song of Square, FF1 effectively saved the company and brought one of the most successful and critically acclaimed game series to the masses. Final Fantasy VII is universally praised as not only one of the best games in the series, one of the best games ever produced.
When released on the PlayStation in 1997, Final Fantasy VII had it all: an immersive story, a great battle system and with character depth, this game provided well over 100 hours of game play. In terms of visuals, the game has not aged well. The FMV sequences were ground breaking when originally released and still look OK, however with blocky visuals and pre-rendered backgrounds it is a prime example how far graphics have moved in just 14 years.
With new technologies pushing boundaries of artists to create photo-realistic graphics, Square-Enix have become increasingly under pressure from fans to revisit the game and remaster it in full High Definition. It wasn’t as simple as fans demanding and Square-Enix saying no. We look at the story so far.
The year is 2005, and E3 only a day away. People were expecting the follow up of the PS2. Hotly tipped to be the biggest announcement at the expo, the PlayStation 3 was the words on everybody’s lips. Halfway through Sony’s presentation Square showed a demo of the opening sequence of Final Fantasy VII using PS3 graphics. After the clip, it was made clear that it was just a demo and no plans were in place to release a remake. Fans questioned the use of that certain game. Until that point, no serious consideration was given for a remake. Showing what the PS3 could do light the fuse that has now become such a big demand. Square-Enix drew first blood.
Coupled with this showing at E3 2005, Square-Enix also expanded on the Final Fantasy VII universe by releasing several games for various platforms. Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII is a game that was released only on Japanese mobile telephones. Featuring the Turks, this 2D side scrolling adventure was set 6 years before the events in the main game. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII was the PS2 hit featuring Vincent in a third person shooting game. Finally we were treated with Crisis Core, the PSP smash that told the story of Zack & Cloud and the battles as SOLDIER troops. The game ties up loose ends and even closes with the opening sequence from Final Fantasy VII! While all the games were successes in their own right, however rubbed salt in the wound that Square themselves created.
Square-Enix went even further – teasing the loyal fanbase with not one, but two Final Fantasy VII feature films. The first film commissioned was Last Order, a 30 minute anime exploring the events surrounding the Nibleheim destruction as well as Cloud & Zack’s escape from SHINRA. What really got the forums on the internet overloading was Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. This was a CGI movie which was a direct sequel to the game. The character models used were the same everyone saw in that E3 demo. This was the strongest indication yet that a new PS3 version of Final Fantasy VII would appear. The murmurings were dismissed by Square. Stating in their response that it would take too much man power and time that a remake would be impractical.
This was an unusual response and for many – simply not good enough. The character models were in place – even Bahamut was represented in Advent Children. Obviously changes in the models would be needed to bring them up to battle standards, and environments to be added, but most fans would agree that the time spent on 3 spin off games, 2 movies could have been spent on what the fans want to see.
Further to the people’s argument remakes and remasters such as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the 3DS and the re-releases of previous Final Fantasy games have proved great money spinners for everyone involved. They re-introduce gamers to their old favourites and brings new people to the games to see what they missed the first time around.
The “-2” games are a nice expansion to games and are good in their own right, however the idea of a Final Fantasy game is that it is Final. The story on it’s own should be good enough not to warrant a sequel. For instance Final Fantasy X ended with Sin defeated and a rebuild on the way. Was it really necessary to bring back Yuna in her search for Tidus?
Interestingly, Square-Enix have never denied the existence of a remake. Square have maintained there are no plans at present to release the game. In March 2010 went on record saying that they are looking at the possibility of a remake as they know there is a demand for a Final Fantasy VII to comeback. Through social network websites such as Facebook, there are numerous cries from fans all over the world to produce it. Just this once, it would be nice to hear a definitive answer from Square just so fans know where they stand. A Yes it’s happening, or No it’s never going to see the light of day, would end all this misery Final Fantasy fans are dealing with!