…or why a Final Fantasy 3 remake should have, if you prefer North American numbers.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake has been released, and it’s safe to say that the critical reception has been good. Still, I can’t help but think what could have been if they had chosen instead to create a Final Fantasy VI remake (Final Fantasy III remake if you use SNES numbering).
Don’t get me wrong, the SNES version of this game is beautiful, but this game could gain so much from a remake. I’d even say a modern reincarnation of FFVI has a good chance to be superior to the one we got with FFVII. Here’s why the Final Fantasy VI remake should have happened first.
The Story Has Many More Logical Areas to Expand
The story of Final Fantasy VII has been told to death. We’ve had spinoffs, a movie, and stories told from just about every angle. That’s not a criticism, though. It is an awesome story. Yet, if I was looking at very popular RPGs with stories that could use a bit of retelling and expansion, it would have to be FFVI.
I know that’s a picture of Shadow up there, and his story is one that is better hinted at than told outright. But his story is just a sample of the ones that could be fleshed out in a remake. I’d love to hear more about Kefka’s transformation from a somewhat regular dude to arguably the evilest clown in modern media. (Is it weird that we have at least two of those?) You get about two lines of dialog about his past when you briefly invade Vector and that’s about all you hear of it.
You could add more to every part of the game’s story like the Battle of Narshe, the Floating Continent, and even that crazy city Zozo.
With so many different areas of the world and their associated stories to explore, a remake of FFVI could result in a substantially longer, better, and more satisfying game experience. That’s not to say Final Fantasy VII couldn’t expand on its story in a new way. Anyone that played through the remake knows that the game developers innovated without taking the story off the rails. It’s just that Final Fantasy VI has so many areas worth exploring that the impact of a remake would be astounding.
New Graphics Would Impact Final Fantasy VI More
If FFVI was remade, then the update from the pixel graphics on the SNES to PS4 graphics would have been mind-blowing. I remember being impressed with the graphics the first time I played Final Fantasy VI on the SNES, and that was after the next installment had already been out for a year.
The opening scene, shown above, sold me on the game before I even took my first steps into the world. You start out working for the bad guys, and you stomp your way into town and vaporize people that don’t stand a chance in hell at fighting back. While it was cool to see Cloud leap down from the train in Midgar ready to kick ass, new graphics in FFVI would have been even more impressive due to the vast upgrade.
Square tried to give us a taste of what FFVI would look like in a few FMVs and CGI portraits through their Final Fantasy: Anthologies collection, but that didn’t do it for me.
While the FFVI team did everything they could to make the game shine in terms of graphics, it was still limited. After all, there is only so much that you can do with a 2D world. Given a 3D remake, FFVI would get new areas to explore, unique combat, and everything else that comes along with having an extra dimension.
In the same way that breaking into the Mako reactor is an iconic scene for Final Fantasy VII Remake, Terra, Wedge, and Vicks/Biggs storming Narshe in Magitek armor would be that “oh, damn!” moment that would make die-hards melt into their seats.
Many Characters Deserve More Depth
There are 14 different characters that you can add to your party in Final Fantasy VI. While many of them have a good backstory, they could still be expanded. While I’m not saying that Umaro and Mog need a whole lot, it would be nice to learn more about Celes and how she became a general at age 18 or find out what Terra was up to until we meet her.
Not only do these characters need some depth, but they also deserve it. With such a large cast, many characters had their story flattened quite a bit. Final Fantasy VII Remake did the same thing with characters like Biggs and Wedge. To be honest, I think many fans of both games would rather learn more about Setzer than hear about those two.
That way, when you get to the final fight and everyone is shouting their reasons for being there, it will have even more of an impact.
The Translation Could Benefit Even More
There are several versions and ports of Final Fantasy VI and the GBA version was probably the closest to having a good translation. Even in that version, though, there are some issues in the translation that change the meaning of the story from its original intent.
One dedicated site sifted through a lot of the game’s text and looked at many of the issues with the game’s translation and how it impacts the player’s view of the story. Simply put, a new translation on this game would give players a much better understanding of the story to go with those impressive 3D graphics.
If the developers went the route of Final Fantasy VII Remake and added a lot of new dialogue, we could have a massive, interesting and fresh story on our hands.
After seeing what Square Enix did with FFVII, I’d love to see what they could do with the story of Final Fantasy VI. I know some people are sick to death of remakes in all sorts of media, but this game could have been even better and more popular on a new console..
Still, Square Enix Could Learn from Past Mistakes
Final Fantasy VII got the remake treatment first, and that’s only fair, I guess. The game did sell a lot more than FFVI. Still, if the fans were to clamor for another remake, I couldn’t think of a better candidate than Final Fantasy VI. If that did happen, the game designers could definitely learn a little bit from the mistakes and missteps they included in their newer games.
One sore point for a lot of people has been the change in combat styles between the original FFVII and the remake. I didn’t mind it. It kept me from spamming one button and running through all the fights in the early part of the game.
Square Enix could look at some of the issues that people had with the combat and graphics to make a game that is even better than we would have gotten if FFVI had been the first remake. They could learn how to approach the next generation of video games, Final Fantasy or not, while delivering a top-tier game experience that would be very hard to screw up.
Am I trying to convince myself that there will actually be a Final Fantasy VI remake now that Square Enix satisfied many of their customers? Maybe. Still, a guy can hope.