For years, people have been hoping for a remake of Final Fantasy VII, Square’s seminal 1997 RPG. Final Fantasy VII (FF7) was the first major RPG for the PlayStation, and the game that catapulted the genre into the mainstream. It featured a huge, sprawling story that spanned four CDs, amazing (for the time) graphics with full-motion video, and some of the strongest characters in the history of video games. Over the past ten years, Square Enix has been remaking every game in its library, and yet FF7 has remained stubbornly stuck in the PlayStation 1 era… until now.
Last week at E3, Square Enix announced that they’ll be remaking Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 4. Very few details are known right now, and we don’t have much more than this trailer, but it’s coming: a full remake, with all new graphics for a modern system. Not an HD upscale, not a mobile port with a few new bosses: a complete remake.
Fanboys, Start Your Engines!
Fans of the franchise will, of course, remember Final Fantasy VII as the original anti-SJW game. If it came out now, Anita Sarkeesian would throw a fit. After all, it had…
A chick in a skin-tight white top with giant breasts. (Objectification!)
A sweet flower girl who is killed off just to advance the story. (Women in Refrigerators!)
A guy with a massive phallic symbol for a weapon. (Patriarchy!)
An extended sequence where the player crossdresses as a joke. (Transphobia!)
An insensitive portrayal of a gay bathhouse. (Homophobia!)
A white girl who was a ninja even though she wasn’t Japanese. (Cultural appopriation!)
And all this in 1997, back when gaming was still mostly about sports games and Mario. In fact, you could probably say that hot girls in video games started with FF7. Pre-Tifa Lockheart, the only fan service console gaming had was Lara Croft and her triangle-boobs.
I personally thought that a remake of FF7 was impossible: the way games are made these days is so different than it used to be that remaking FF7 will cost a staggering amount of money. Making a game costs so much more than it used to, and the PlayStation’s architecture is so old now that the entire thing will have to be rewritten from scratch. The PS4 has 8 processors running at 1.6 ghz apiece, and the PS1 had, as I recall, a single core running at around 32 mhz. That’s less than a graphic calculator now. So Square’s certainly got their work cut out for them.
A few years ago, I wouldn’t have had any confidence that they could pull this off. But Square’s been doing an excellent job lately with amazing games like Final Fantasy XIV, and if we’re lucky they just may be able to do it.
How will it hold up after 20 years? I don’t know. It was a good game, but it wasn’t a perfect one, and it had plenty of rough edges. (I’m looking at you, Chocobo Breeding.) Will new players be able to enjoy it, or will it be purely a nostalgia buy? Only time will tell. Given Square’s propensity to take forever and a day to release their games, we’ll probably see this sometime in 2016 or 2017, so there’ll be plenty of time to learn more about it.
One last thing I’d be curious about, if you’d like to let me know in the comments: how many readers here have played Final Fantasy VII? It’s a pretty old game now; if you were in college when it came out, you might very well be in your forties. Is there a new generation out there that doesn’t know about FF7, and doesn’t care about it? Or is it still as popular as ever?