The hype is almost out of control. Will FFVII live up to it?
Final Fantasy VII is an iconic video game that some regard as the best in the series. Others think it is overrated. Personally, I loved every bit of the game, even the part where you have to get Mr. Dolphin to toss you up in Junon. It was fun, it had great moments of levity, and the graphics, for the time, were pretty good.
Like a lot of people, I was thrilled to see the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement. Yet, as the release date gets closer and closer, I have a couple of nagging thoughts about the game that are keeping me from getting too hyped.
Let me start off by saying I’ve seen quite a bit of what has come out concerning the game, but not everything. So, maybe these questions have answers already and I’m worried for nothing.
Are There Any Surprises Left at This Point?
When the Final Fantasy VII Remake was first announced, fans went nuts. After all, we’ve been sitting around waiting for a Final Fantasy VII remake since we first wondered what the game would look like with PS2 graphics. We got the teaser at E3 in 2015, heard the opening music, and we were instantly craving more of the game.
Through all the delays that we’ve gotten, Square Enix has tried to do the right thing and keep us interested. We’ve seen character models, bits of gameplay, and gotten plenty of information on the expected play style.
However, in my opinion, they’ve gone a bit overboard. At this point, we have the complete opening of the game online for all to see. We’ve seen many of the character models, too. At some point, seeing too much of the game is going to negatively impact the experience.
I understand why Square Enix did it, too. They have to show their player base that they’re still working on the game and give tidbits of information to maintain interest. Their fear, of course, is that the game won’t sell. Seriously, though, we’ve gotten the equivalent of a five-minute movie trailer. You gotta leave something new to show us at launch.
One thing that I was particularly disappointed to see was the whole Don Corneo reveal. Why? Because it’s one of the things that we wondered how the studio would handle it in the game. Is Cloud going to look pretty or ridiculous? Would they keep that scene in the game at all since our culture is more sensitive about making people the butt of jokes? Well, now we know. Because Square Enix spoiled what could have been – what should have been – a great surprise.
I’m sure we’ll have some scenes that are going to be absolutely stunning in the remake, but we also have a few months left until the game is launched in which more can be spoiled.
Will The Writers Make Better Dialogue?
We can blame it on translations all we like, but some of the Final Fantasy VII dialogue was just awful. I’m not even just talking about the infamous “This guy are sick.”
Conversations were clunky, some of them didn’t provide a clear resolution, and some use language that was silly then and stupid now.
Now with the remake, they’re adding another dimension: voice acting. So, if they don’t fix up the writing, then we’re in for heaps of trouble.
Fortunately (or not), we’ve heard some of the dialogue from the game already. For the most part, I’d say it’s an improvement, especially in the case of Barret. While he still curses and pontificates, his voice matches what you would expect a man his size to sound like.
Final Fantasy VII Remake apparently has a lot of side conversations that you didn’t get in the first game. Now, Cloud and Barret talk trash to each other between battles on the first mission. It’s pretty funny and gives you a good feel for the characters’ personalities. Yet, there is some dodgy writing in there. I’ve only watched some of the videos, but one gem I found was:
Barret: “What are you, twenty-something?”
Cloud: “SOLDIER, First Class. Doesn’t go into the twenties.
Barret: “The hell you talking about? I meant your age, not your goddamn rank”
I’m trying not to cherry-pick poorly written dialogue to make a point, but that was some ham-handed exposition if I’ve ever seen it. Square Enix has to make it a point to have sensible dialogue, even if it’s Barret and Cid just cursing at each other.
Is Anything Significant Getting Changed?
We know the world, we know the characters, and we know the story. Is it worth coming back to do the same thing again, or will we see some new things along the way? Sure, we know that there are going to be new side quests to fill out the story. Hell, I’d be mad if we didn’t get little extras since we’re getting an episodic game.
Yet, the question that is lingering on my mind is: Are we getting any significant changes to the story or not? I’m not expecting us to be able to (spoiler) save Aerith from Sephiroth’s sword, but there is potential to change elements of the story and mix things up a bit.
I see two paths before Square Enix: the company can either add enough details (new battles, fresh graphics, etc) to the game to make the remake worthwhile or the studio can change plot and character elements to make it a fresh story. I think they have to do one or the other if they’re going to get really positive reviews.
At first glance, it looks like the story is staying the same because so much of the focus is cleaning up character models, giving them voices, and not deviating too far from the original plot. I’m not saying that’s a bad way to go about things, either.
The real question is whether they can strike a balance of old and new elements that will keep players interested while not tampering too much with the story. It’s a fine line, and it’s going to be impossible to please everyone.
Where Does it End and How Long Is the Wait for Part 2 (or 3)?
I didn’t mind that they pushed back the game release date. Seriously, if the studio thinks they need time to make it perfect, then I’d take that over an early, failed release any day of the week. It would be very bad for them to pour their resources into this game and then release a buggy mess.
That being said, we’ve already waited for this for a long time. So, how long is it until the next episode of the game? Remember, Final Fantasy VII was a pretty long game even without spending hours Chocobo racing and sitting through a hundred Knights of the Round summons.
According to one interview, the first part of the remake just covers the time you spend in Midgar at the start of the game. Then we get the second one in…what? Another year seems acceptable, right? Then, if that ends at the end of the first disc from the original, we have to wait another couple years for the game’s ending at that rate?
I’ve been going back and forth in my head over this. Gamers have been telling EA and Bethesda to “release complete games”. Maybe I’m splitting hairs here, but shouldn’t we want a complete game in this case, too?
I think it’s more acceptable to people who have played Final Fantasy VII in the past to wait because we know how it ends already. But if I was a new player and had three individual releases of a game, I’d feel a little cheated. Especially when you consider that Square Enix has told massive stories with beautiful worlds in a single release in the past.
Hot take: What would we do if the sales weren’t good enough for Square Enix to release part 2 or 3? Then we would really be
Depending on how big the scope is with each part of the remake, we could be looking at years and years of waiting. A lot can happen in that time, including Square Enix suffering a bit of a downturn and not seeing the series as viable.
Square Enix can make me eat these words and squash any of my troubling questions by delivering an amazing game experience and getting the episodes out in a decent amount of time.
In the meantime, it’s hard to wonder how they are going to handle this endeavor. Are we getting a quality product that is interesting and fun without harming the legacy of the original game? Or are we getting a cash grab? I’m hoping that we get the former.
(Check out Kyle’s article, 4 Things Bethesda Must do to Make the Elder Scrolls 6 Great)