Off the release of the highly anticipated and wildly successful Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Square Enix has jumped back into the idea of 7 as a franchise.
With the announcement of Ever Crisis, a retelling of the compilation of FF7 media that was released in the 2004-2007 period, the company seems to be putting all of its eggs in the classic RPG basket. Coinciding with an enhanced remake in the form of FF7 Remake Intergrade and a bizarre battleground game in FF7: The First Soldier, the pressure is on Square Enix to live up to the immeasurable hype.
The first version of Final Fantasy 7 launched on the PS1 back in 1997. The first Final Fantasy game that Square had made since their move away from Nintendo, the team leveraged what was then the massive storage capacity of CDs to great effect. Top-of-the-line prerendered backgrounds and cutscenes, an immense and detailed world, and charming characters and dialogue all served to make FF7 an international hit. Selling 12.8 million units, FF7 played a huge part in popularising the RPG to western audiences, and in doing so became known as one of the best and most influential games of all time.
Making a Compilation
When the first game in the FF7 compilation first arrived in 2004 with Before Crisis, fans were already obsessed with the idea of more of the original. This fervor was due in no small part to Square itself, which once hinted at remakes on the PS2 for Final Fantasy 7,8, and 9, as Siliconera notes. While none of these projects ever materialized on the system, the amount of stir they caused showed how much interest existed. Indirectly at least, they might have led to the FF7 compilation.
The compilation itself was designed as a way to expand on the world of 7, both before and after the events of the original game. Advent Children would tell a story based two years after FF7’s ending. Before Crisis would take place before the main game, and explore the history of the Turks (essentially a goon squad for evil corporation Shinra). Crisis Core followed the story of Zack, long before he arrives at the gates of mega-city Midgar, and Dirge of Cerberus would center on Vincent and his tribulations following Advent Children.
With AC, BC, CC, and DC all taken, it was just a matter before EC, or Ever Crisis as it would be known, hit the spotlight. As a side note, there was also an OVA called Last Order, but since this doesn’t fit the naming scheme and reiterates some of Crisis Core it’s perhaps not worth a spot of prestige.
The Arrival of Ever Crisis
Ever Crisis is initially slated for release on mobile phones, though we’d expect a console version eventually. From what SE has said, it seems to be developed as a way to introduce audiences to the entire compilation canon. Interestingly, from what we can tell so far, it accomplished this by tying all games towards one central game-type and battle style.
The centralization of game type is curious because of how different each of the complication titles was. Advent Children was an animated movie, Before Crisis an early mobile online game, Crisis Core an action RPG, and Dirge of Cerberus a third-person shooter with RPG trappings. It makes us curious how Square Enix is going to meet the challenge of reflecting the originals, while at the same time avoiding burnout by carrying the same battle system for so long.
A Road Already Travelled
While the translation of the entire FF7 compilation into one central and mobile experience is one of the most ambitious gaming products we’ve set yet, it’s not without precedence. The most obvious example of such a move comes from Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition. Released in 2018, this game was designed as a smaller, cuter, and more streamlined version of the original FF15. Originally released for iOS and Android this game eventually made the jump to PS4, Xbox One, Windows, and Switch.
Acting as the first Final Fantasy game to make such an enormous reimagining, even this was far from SE’s first foray into mobile adaptions. Straight ports of other games have existed for years, from FF9 backward. While some of these, like the FF6 port, are regarded as horrendous, most have been acceptable. More importantly, they let SE see what worked and what didn’t.
Outside of video gaming, this sort of mobile move is a natural development in the media space. Online casinos are a popular example of this, where websites like Betway now offer enormous selections of slots, table games, and jackpots from mobile devices. Formerly confined to desktops and laptops, the ubiquity of mobiles has proven an enormous boon to bringing in new players. In passive entertainment, services like YouTube in particular have benefited immensely from mobile integration, with smaller videos a great fit for smaller screens. A similar idea to this has applied outside of entertainment as well, going as far as personal and business software. Here, systems such as banking and light database manipulation have significantly streamlined formerly slow and even frustrating experiences to something easily accomplished nearly anywhere.
As with any product from Square Enix these days, the proof is in the pudding. While the first chapter of FF7 Remake was an unmitigated success, SE is a company with a long history of making questionable decisions and missing the forest for the trees. So, what will the eventual fate of Ever Crisis be? Ultimately, we’d hesitate to make any decisions before the game is actually in our hands. Still, it holds promise, so let’s just hope it’s more Crisis Core than Dirge of Cerberus.