Warning: Possible Final Fantasy VII spoilers ahead.
Hoo boy. It looks like you guys didn’t heed my advice. Getting excited for something as big as a Final Fantasy VII Remake requires a lot of expectation managing, and after two controversial reveals this weekend, the entire Square Enix fanbase is throwing a fit. I’m going to give the company the benefit of the doubt here and try to make sense of these announcements.
I said that there is no way Square Enix would incorporate the traditional menu-driven fighting from the original since it’s not popular or sexy anymore, and indeed, Square Enix will be taking ideas from Final Fantasy XV’s and Dissidia Final Fantasy’s books with a more action oriented approach. And I also said that Final Fantasy VII is simply too big, both in scale and in reputation, to recreate from beginning to end, and we just learned this morning that the game will instead be presented as a “multi-part series.”
Such a grand remake, scene-for-scene, fight-for-fight, materia-for-materia is simply too much for a company to handle in this day and age, especially Square Enix which already has a large number of projects underway. Expect new scenes to be added and a lot of filler to be cut, and if it truly plans to release this monster over the course of a few episodes or even full releases, you’ll have to be very patient.
Right now, there are two leading theories of how Square Enix will proceed: the “Telltale route” and the “Final Fantasy XIII route.” If it follows in the footsteps of Telltale, you can expect brilliant bursts of Final Fantasy VII’s most popular scenes recreated up to modern standards and delivered a few hours at a time. If it goes the Final Fantasy XIII route with full releases, we might actually get to see most of the the story, but it will take eons to complete with development for each chapter taking a year at the least, two years at most.
Recent interviews make me lean towards the full release model, and I believe that the team will try to cram in as much of the original story as it can. However, I want to tease the “Telltale route” a little bit. If we get brief chunks from Final Fantasy VII recreated as action set pieces, three or four hours at a time, what are the best scenes from Final Fantasy VII to use?
Let’s say that each episode would be held to single locations, and they still have to tell a comprehensive story overall. Which of Final Fantasy VII’s most important points are best suited for this? I’m going to list five since that’s the “Telltale standard,” but I have no clue where it could end up.
Shinra Reactor 1
We already know this one is going to be included since it was shown off at PlayStation Experience, but we should have expected it anyway. Final Fantasy VII’s opening operation is about as perfect as they come, setting the explosive pace that the first part of the game unfolds at. Cloud and his “terrorist” friends charge the ranks of Shinra soldiers and attempt to bomb a Mako reactor. Cutting through soldiers, taking down a giant metal scorpion, setting the bomb, and then escaping. It’s about as action friendly as it gets.
Then there is the train ride back to base, which I’ve always thought was the perfect “cool down” scene, and finally meeting Tifa back at her bar, where I think the episode would end. We also get to buy a flower from Aeris. Don’t forget that!
From there, we’ll skip a few scenes like cross-dressing Cloud and the bombing of Sector 7’s pillar and go to the closing section of Midgar, Shinra’s headquarters. Hundreds of floors await Tifa, Barret, and Cloud as they storm up to reach an imprisoned Aeris and Red XIII on the roof. Waves of enemy soldiers await with each passing staircase while Hojo, Rufus, and the whole gang of villains make preparations for their assault on the top floor. Sephiroth makes an appearance, kills everyone, escapes with Jenova, and Cloud and friends make a break for it on the back of a truck and the G-Bike.
End scene. And yes, my theory here has since been made impossible because cross-dressing Cloud has been confirmed by Director Tetsuya Nomura. We’ll be hanging out in Midgar much longer than I expect.
Cosmo Canyon, Nibelheim
These two scenes are right next to each other, and they are both very important to the storyline. Cosmo Canyon is the coolest “non-Midgar” setting in the game, and it’s also where Bugenhagen teaches the team about the Lifestream in his giant planetarium. Red XIII discovers his petrified father in the back of the cave, and we possibly have also recruited Yuffie at this point as well.
The team then continues to Nibelheim, Cloud’s hometown and the game’s most mysterious location. Maybe we’ll blend the flashback scene into this chapter, and we learn about the massacre years before. From there, we jump back into modern times and explore the underground library, recruit Vincent into the party, and listen to Sephiroth’s ambitions before he storms off.
There’s not a whole lot of combat yet for this episode, so maybe the team heads into the mountains and battles monsters at the Mako reactor, and we close this chapter by stumbling into Rocket Town and being greeted by Cid.
The Temple of Ancients is an important scene in the game, but I hate it and many others do too. The same goes for the Great Glacier, which will have no place or purpose in the remake either. Instead, we’ll travel to the location where that scene happens. We start off the episode looking for our missing compatriot on the Northern Continent, witness the ultimate video game spoiler, and then be swept away back to Junon under the imprisonment of Shinra.
Ultima Weapon shows up and dukes it out with Shinra’s impressive armaments while the team escapes and takes off on the airship. Maybe we’ll get lucky and see Tifa’s slap fight with Scarlet.
Wow, four episodes and only the first CD covered. Luckily, most of the places in the second half of the game are ones we’ve already visited.
We’re going to skip a bit of the game here, mostly because the search for the Huge Materia is just filler. The mine-cart ride, Fort Condor, the submarine battles, and sadly, going into space. None of it is necessary. Instead, this episode sends the team back to Midgar to battle Shinra.
It opens with Diamond Weapon attacking the city, and Cloud and his friends delay its deadly assault. Afterwards, the transported Junon Canon punches a hole in it and damages the crater defending Sephiroth up north. Before it can fire a second time, Cloud and his friends infiltrate the city and stop Hojo from executing his maniacal plans
… okay, it’s need more than five episodes because that’s way too short!
Pretty straightforward. Cloud and his friends settle their business with Sephiroth. The end? Nope, this sixth chapter has extra Easter Egg content!
Gold Saucer, Emerald, Ruby, and Ultima Weapon
The Final Fantasy VII Remake might still include the three secret boss fights in some regard, and the same goes for its mini-game heaven, the Gold Saucer. It wouldn’t be Final Fantasy VII without them That’s only if you buy the season pass DLC of course… just kidding… maybe.