Final Fantasy VII Remake

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Final Fantasy VII Remake
FFVIIRemake.png
Developer(s) Square Enix [lower-alpha 1]
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s)
Producer(s) Yoshinori Kitase
Designer(s)
  • Tetsuya Nomura
  • Mitsunori Takahashi
  • Kyohei Suzuki
Artist(s)
  • Tetsuya Nomura
  • Roberto Ferrari
Writer(s) Kazushige Nojima
Series Final Fantasy
Engine Unreal Engine 4
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
ReleaseMarch 3, 2020
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Mode(s) Single-player

Final Fantasy VII Remake [lower-alpha 2] is an upcoming action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4. Split across multiple releases, the first part is scheduled for March 3, 2020. The game is a remake of the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII , following mercenary Cloud Strife as he and eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE battle against the corrupt Shinra megacorporation and the rogue former Shinra soldier Sephiroth. Gameplay is planned to combine real-time action similar to Dissidia Final Fantasy with other strategic elements.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

Square Enix Japanese video game company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling 144 million, the Dragon Quest franchise selling 78 million and the Kingdom Hearts franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

PlayStation 4 Sonys eighth-generation home video game console

The PlayStation 4 is an eighth-generation home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15 in North America, November 29 in Europe, South America and Australia, and on February 22, 2014, in Japan. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox One and Nintendo's Wii U and Switch.

Contents

The remake was announced following years of rumors and fan requests. Key staff members returned to help with Remake: original character designer Tetsuya Nomura returned as both director and main character designer, original director Yoshinori Kitase acted as producer, and Kazushige Nojima returned to write new material. Due to the scale of the project, the team decided to release Remake as multiple games so no original content would be cut. They also decided to add new content and adjust the original character designs to balance between realism and stylization.

Tetsuya Nomura is a Japanese video game artist, designer and director working for Square Enix. He designed characters for the Final Fantasy series, debuting with Final Fantasy VI and continuing with various later installments. Additionally, Nomura has led the development of the Kingdom Hearts series since its debut in 2002 and was the director for the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

Yoshinori Kitase Japanese video game designer

Yoshinori Kitase is a Japanese game director and producer working for Square Enix. He is known as the director of Final Fantasy VI, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy X, and the producer of the Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XIII series. Kitase is an Executive Officer at Square Enix, the Head of Square Enix's Business Division 1 and part of the Final Fantasy Committee that is tasked with keeping the franchise's releases and content consistent.

Kazushige Nojima is a Japanese video game writer and is the founder of Stellavista Ltd. He is best known for writing several installments of Square Enix's Final Fantasy video game series—namely Final Fantasy VII,Final Fantasy VIII,Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy X-2, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and the Kingdom Hearts series. Nojima also wrote the original lyrics of Liberi Fatali for Final Fantasy VIII and both Suteki da Ne and the Hymn of the Fayth for Final Fantasy X.

Premise

Pre-release gameplay screenshot of Final Fantasy VII Remake shown at PlayStation Experience 2015 Final Fantasy VII Remake gameplay screenshot.png
Pre-release gameplay screenshot of Final Fantasy VII Remake shown at PlayStation Experience 2015

Final Fantasy VII Remake, which retells the story of the original game, follows Cloud Strife, a former Shinra soldier who joins the AVALANCHE eco-terrorist group as a mercenary to fight against the Shinra corporation, who have been draining the planet's life energy, only to become involved in something much bigger. Unlike ports of the original game released for computers and other high-definition platforms, the game is a full remake built from the ground-up, featuring full polygonal graphics as opposed to the pre-rendered environments of the original. [4] [5]

Pre-rendering is the process in which video footage is not rendered in real-time by the hardware that is outputting or playing back the video. Instead, the video is a recording of footage that was previously rendered on different equipment. Pre-rendered assets may also be outsourced by the developer to an outside production company. Such assets usually have a level of complexity that is too great for the target platform to render in real-time.

Footage shown at PlayStation Experience 2015 demonstrated both exploration and battle mechanics, which both take place in real-time like Final Fantasy XV . The remake appears to use a real-time battle system similar to the Kingdom Hearts series, which allows players to freely control Cloud or one of his allies as they use their respective weapons to attack enemies. Players will also be able to use magic and summons, and a Limit Break gauge allows characters to perform more powerful attacks once charged. Producer Yoshinori Kitase stated that while the game has more real-time elements, there would still be strategic elements, such as selecting weapons and magic for each character to wield. [4] [5]

<i>Final Fantasy XV</i> action role-playing video game

Final Fantasy XV is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix as part of the long-running Final Fantasy series. It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2016, and for Microsoft Windows in 2018, with a version for Google Stadia scheduled for a later date. The game features an open world environment and action-based battle system, incorporating quick-switching weapons, elemental magic, and other features such as vehicle travel and camping. The base campaign was later expanded with downloadable content (DLC), adding further gameplay options such as additional playable characters and multiplayer.

<i>Kingdom Hearts</i> video game series

Kingdom Hearts is a series of action role-playing games developed and published by Square Enix. It is a collaboration between Disney Interactive and Square Enix, and is under the direction of Tetsuya Nomura, a longtime Square Enix character designer.

The 2019 E3 gameplay demo revealed that the game features an "Active Time Battle" (ATB) gauge, which gradually fills up slowly, or can fill faster with attacks. Once it is filled, the player can pause the action and use special abilities such as magic, items and special moves. The player can also assign these special abilities to shortcut buttons, allowing them to play entirely in real-time without pausing. Each special ability uses up a segment of the ATB bar. [6] The player can also switch between party members at any time. Each party member has their own individual skills, such as Cloud's close-quarters melee attacks and Barret's long-range distance attacks. [7]

Production

History

Yoshinori Kitase, original director of Final Fantasy VII and producer of Remake, in 2009 Square-enix dissidia yoshinori-kitase.jpg
Yoshinori Kitase, original director of Final Fantasy VII and producer of Remake, in 2009

Final Fantasy VII was developed by Square (later Square Enix) for the PlayStation home console. [8] Beginning its development in 1994 as a Nintendo project before transferring onto the PlayStation, its main staff included producer and series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, director and co-writer Yoshinori Kitase, artist Yusuke Naora, character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima. [9] Released in 1997, the game received both contemporary and lasting critical acclaim and established the Final Fantasy series as a major franchise. [8] VII was later expanded upon through the multimedia project Compilation of Final Fantasy VII , headed by Kitase and Nomura. [10]

Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

PlayStation (console) Fifth-generation and first home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment

The PlayStation is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was first released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, on 9 September 1995 in North America, on 29 September 1995 in Europe, and on 15 November 1995 in Australia, and was the first of the PlayStation lineup of video game consoles. As a fifth generation console, the PlayStation primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn.

Nintendo Japanese video game company

Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics and video game company headquartered in Kyoto. Nintendo is one of the world's largest video game companies by market capitalization, creating some of the best-known and top-selling video game franchises, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Pokémon.

Demands for and rumors of a remake grew in the wake of both a PlayStation 3 tech demo that was shown at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, showcasing the opening of VII with the company's new Crystal Tools engine, and the game's impending tenth anniversary in 2007. On both occasions, it was stated by Square Enix staff that no remake was in development. [11] [12] [13] Despite continued speculation caused by staff messages within the Compilation titles, various reasons were given for why a remake was not being developed: these reasons included wanting a contemporary title to best the sales and popularity of VII; the wish to focus on new titles; the necessity of deleting parts of the original game to make the project manageable; the difficulty of developing on hardware such as the PlayStation 3; and the required development time being overly long. [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

A remake was initially attempted in the early 2000s, when the company announced a remake for PlayStation 2 alongside Final Fantasy VIII and IX , but nothing further was heard of these projects. [19] [20] The main reason attempts had failed was because remaking VII on then-current hardware would be a "massive" undertaking, and if kept within a single installment would require heavy cutting of content. [21] Another reason cited was that the staff were preoccupied with developing Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, and Remake would have been an equally large or larger project hard to undertake at the same time. Once the XIII series ended, the team were free to pursue other projects. [22]

The Remake project finally began when Final Fantasy producer Shinji Hashimoto broached the subject to Kitase, Nojima and Nomura. All three were reaching a stage of life that they defined as "that age": all felt that if they waited much longer, they might not be alive to or would be too old to develop a remake of VII, and passing the project on to a new generation did not feel right. [23] [24] [25] Another reason for developing the title was that Square Enix was creating a growing library of PlayStation 4 titles, and the team hoped to increase the console's popularity. [25] A notable absence from the originally announced team was Nobuo Uematsu, who composed the original music for VII. [26] Kitase later revealed that Uematsu was working on the game's music in an undisclosed role. It was the first time Uematsu and Kitase had worked together since the release of Final Fantasy X , and Kitase initially thought Uematsu would refuse as he had long since left Square Enix and found success as an independent composer. [27]

Development

The game reached the full development stage by late 2015. [28] Production of Final Fantasy VII Remake is being handled by Business Division 1, an internal production team at Square Enix. [1] [29] While Nomura was involved with the project from the start, he only discovered he was the director after seeing himself credited in an internal company presentation video, as he had expected Kitase to fill the role. He revealed that Kitase himself thought Nomura expected to become director. [23] Nomura worked as director for both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts III . [30] Despite there already being a story in place, which greatly simplified production on some fronts, Nojima was brought back in to create new story material. [22] [23] Another project leader was Naoki Hamaguchi, who had previously served as programmer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and project lead for Mobius Final Fantasy . [1]

While the team had the option of simply creating a remastered version of VII with better graphics as many fans had requested, they noted that its graphics and many of its mechanics had become dated by modern standards. With this in mind, they decided to do a full remake, rebuilding the game systems to suit modern tastes and using current gaming technology to recreate the world of VII. [23] [25] This decision triggered the creation of Remake's action-based battle system, in addition to the most representative modern title for the Final Fantasy series being the 2009 fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy. With this in mind, the battle system will draw from that action-based style while not going over to an entirely action-based system. [22] The battle system is being handled by Nomura and Mitsunori Takahashi, the latter of whom had worked on both the Kingdom Hearts series and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy . [31] One of the game designers was Kyohei Suzuki, a veteran of the company's Business Division 4 who had previously worked as a planner for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Coded . [32] The team's aim was to retain all the original gameplay mechanics that were well liked by players. [31]

While developing the scenario, the team needed to work carefully so the game did not come over as too nostalgic. They also needed to take decisions about what could be carried over from the original and what needed adjustment due to changes in social norms since the original's release. [21] [22] [28] The team were also planning to include references to events detailed in the Compilation titles, though what form these references will take and their scope is still under consideration. [22] Nomura later clarified that, as of early 2017, Remake did not share a direct continuity with the Compilation. [33] The scenario for the first installment was completed in December 2015. [34] The game will be fully voiced, with the plan being for the voice actors from the CGI movie Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children to reprise their roles. [28] [34] Ultimately, the English characters were recast for Remake. [35] According to Kitase, choosing a new generation of voices for the characters was part of the game's rebirth as Remake. [36]

The subtitle "Remake" was included to differentiate the game from its 1997 original. It was originally going to be story-related, but the team did not want to give the impression that it was a sequel or spin-off. [21] Rather than using the character models and graphical style of Advent Children, which by that point had been developed using ten-year-old technology, the team decided to create new designs and models for characters: Nomura wished to balance the realism of Advent Children with deformed stylization. Nomura is in charge of the revamped main character designs, while designer Roberto Ferrari is in charge of designs for secondary characters. Character modelling is being supervised by Visual Works, Square Enix's CGI development branch. [21] [28]

Rather than developing their own engine, Square Enix licensed Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 to develop the game, with Square Enix and Epic Games Japan working together to optimize the engine for Remake. The team also received technical assistance from the developers of Kingdom Hearts III, as the latter game is being developed using the same engine. [2] [34] The game's lighting is augmented with "Enlighten", a lighting engine licensed from software company Geomerics. [3] To help with the action gameplay and video quality, Square Enix originally partnered with video game developer CyberConnect2: while their expertise was appreciated, the two companies needed to keep in close contact due to very different development styles. [21] In 2017, the game's development focus shifted from being developed with external partners to being a primarily internal project. [1] One of the biggest changes was the fact that the game was planned as a multi-game release: according to Kitase, this was because trying to fit the game onto a single release would entail cutting large parts of the game, which went against the team's vision. By splitting the game into multiple parts, the team were able to give players access to areas in the game, such as within the city of Midgar, inaccessible in the original. [21] Each game is planned to be on a similar scale to Final Fantasy XIII. [22] The first installment focused on the city of Midgar due to its iconic status among the Final Fantasy community. [36]

Release

Rumors about Square Enix beginning development on a remake appeared in 2014, apparently coming from an industry insider source. [37] Remake was officially announced at the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) during the PlayStation conference: the announcement received a standing ovation from the audience. [38] [39] The announcement trailer was created by Visual Works. [23] Square Enix's stock prices rose in the wake of the announcement to their highest rating since November 2008, and the YouTube release of the reveal trailer garnered over 10 million views within the following two weeks. [40] [41] It was next showcased at the 2015 PlayStation Experience, which showcased cutscenes and gameplay from the opening sequence of VII. [42]

During the Final Fantasy 30th anniversary opening ceremony event hosted by Square Enix in Tokyo on 31 January 2017—the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII—the game's first CGI key visual was unveiled, along with announcements for a collaboration event with Mobius Final Fantasy . [43] On 18 February, Nomura revealed and discussed two new screenshots of the game, showing off the game's updated HUD. While he wanted to show video footage, Square Enix denied his request. [44] Due to its lack of footage since 2015, switch to internal development and other projects Nomura was involved in, there were concerns about the status of the project. Speaking following E3 2018, Nomura stated that the game was in active development, with his full attention being shifted to it when Kingdom Hearts III was completed. [30] [45]

After years without substantial footage, a teaser trailer was shown during PlayStation's 2019 State of Play livestream. Kitase announced that the team had wanted to "try something new" on the State of Play broadcast by showing the trailer. [46] A release date for the game's first release was revealed the following month in a second teaser trailer during an orchestral concert dedicated to the music of Final Fantasy VII in Los Angeles. [47] Further details about release plans were announced at the company's E3 2019 press conference, including different editions of the first part of Remake. [48] Kitase later clarified at the event that Square Enix had yet to determine how many games Remake would cover, adding that they were in the process of planning out the second installment. [49]

A gameplay demo was playable at E3 2019, demonstrating parts of the opening mission, including some of the exploration, combat system, and first boss battle. The playable demo has received a positive reception in early previews, with praise towards the graphics, gameplay and combat system. [7] [50] [51] [52] [53] [54] It won three awards at the Game Critics Awards for E3 2019, including Best of Show, Best Console Game, and Best Role Playing Game. [55]

Releases
TitleRelease dateNotesRef
First partMarch 3, 2020The first part of Remake will cover the game's opening events in the city of Midgar over two Blu-ray discs. Versions include a standard edition, Deluxe, and Digital Deluxe edition featuring an artbook and soundtrack. The 1st Class Edition will include a figurine of Cloud riding his motorcycle. All editions will feature a new summon for the game. [48]

Notes

  1. Primary development by Business Division 1. [1] Additional work by Geomerics and Epic Games. [2] [3]
  2. Fainaru Fantajī VII Rimeiku(Japanese:ファイナルファンタジーVII リメイク)

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<i>Final Fantasy VII</i> 1997 video game

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

Cloud Strife protagonist in Final Fantasy VII

Cloud Strife is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Square's 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary claiming to be formerly of SOLDIER, a group of elite supersoldiers employed by the Shinra Electric Power Company, a megacorporation responsible for draining the life from the planet. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group AVALANCHE, and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth, Cloud learns to accept his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud reappears as the protagonist in the 2005 computer-animated sequel film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, in which he fights a new threat to the world while dealing with a sickness that infected his body. He acts in a supporting role in other Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles and is featured in several other games outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity. Additionally, he has been featured in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, and the Kingdom Hearts series by Square Enix.

Aerith Gainsborough Character in Final Fantasy

Aerith Gainsborough, transliterated as Aeris Gainsborough in the English releases of Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics—is a player character in Square's role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. She was designed by Tetsuya Nomura with influence from Yoshinori Kitase, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yoshitaka Amano.

<i>Compilation of Final Fantasy VII</i> media franchise

The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII is a metaseries produced by Square Enix. A subseries stemming from the main Final Fantasy series, it is a collection of video games, animated features and short stories based in the world and continuity of Final Fantasy VII. Officially announced in 2003 with the reveal of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the series' core products are three video games and one movie release. Alongside these are tie-in products and spin-offs including books, mobile games and an original video animation. Advent Children and the mobile title Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII are a sequel and prequel to VII, respectively focusing on Cloud Strife, the original game's main protagonist, and covert operatives known as the Turks. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII follows the story of Zack Fair, an important major character in VII, while Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, which acts as a sequel to Advent Children, follows Vincent Valentine, one of the original's optional characters.

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<i>Mobius Final Fantasy</i> 2015 video game

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<i>Dissidia Final Fantasy NT</i> fighting game with action role-playing elements

Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is a fighting game with action role-playing elements developed by Koei Tecmo's Team Ninja and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4. The game is a follow-up to Dissidia Final Fantasy and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, released for PlayStation Portable, and similarly allows players to battle one another using many characters from the Final Fantasy series. The game is a console port of the 2015 Japanese arcade game Dissidia Final Fantasy, and it was released worldwide in January 2018. A free-to-play version of the game was released for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows on March 12, 2019.

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Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and developed and owned by Square Enix. The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs). The eponymous first game in the series, published in 1987, was conceived by Sakaguchi as his last-ditch effort in the game industry; the title was a success and spawned sequels. While most entries in the series are separate from each other, they have recurring elements carrying over between entries: these include plot themes and motifs, gameplay mechanics such as the Active Time Battle (ATB) system, and signature character designs from the likes of Yoshitaka Amano and Tetsuya Nomura.

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