It's 2014, meaning that if it were a human, Square's seminal RPG Final Fantasy VII would be wrapping up its final year of high school and moving off to college. It can already drive a car, and it might just be voting in the 2016 election. Yet, despite coming of age and still being massively popular all around the world, fans still cry for a younger and sexier version.
Longtime Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase has spoken to Eurogamer about his thoughts on doing a remake, saying he'd love to but it would take a lot of convincing.
"I can honestly tell you I would love to do that. If you simply ask me if I personally would like to do that, yes I would. Definitely. There's no lie about it. But you must believe me when I say it would take a lot to happen."
Earlier in 2010, Kitase said a remake to match the graphics and scale of Final Fantasy XIII would take three to four times longer to complete, mirroring the the recent comments in which he said "staff availability and budget" are also key issues to overcome.
Now is certainly not the time for such huge undertaking. Square Enix is in full recovery mode after a disastrous 2012 killed its profits and revenues, and only recently has the company begun climbing out of the hole after the success of Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Square Enix's savior from an unlikely place.
The Final Fantasy XIII trilogy is finally wrapped up, and now Final Fantasy XV is the company's main priority before moving on to Kingdom Hearts III. Square Enix also has HD ports it is working on, which are far easier to make than full blown remakes, and it is dicing up its SNES library for iOS and Android, which are also obviously cheaper and easier to make based on their quality.
Kitase mentions that the project would have huge personal implications for himself as well, something he's not quite ready to undertake.
"Even if I casually say I would like to do that, because it would be a huge project I would have to motivate myself to the level that I really am prepared to take on this huge responsibility. I don't know if those three things will happen simultaneously. It has to tick lots of very big boxes. I won't rule out the possibility, but it would take a lot to make it happen.
But should I ever take it on, it would have to be the biggest project I've done. My life work. So I would have to be as highly motivated as that to end up with something I'm very happy with. It's a huge thing for me."
Final Fantasy VII fans, I hear you! But it's not going to happen any time soon. The budget would be way too high, the staff would be spread way too thin, and Square Enix simply has too many other projects and hurdles on its mind right now.
Not to mention, the groundbreaking title was video game "lightning in a bottle" that happened right when both graphics and JRPGs were taking off exponentially. Square Enix's financial situation aside, the timing isn't even right to make the phenomenon happen twice with many others championing graphics and the JRPG migrating to handhelds. Nostalgia sells, but not not on the same level as new technology and new trends.
Final Fantasy VII would struggle to crack the ten million units it nearly did a long time ago. The name brand isn't nearly as trusted as it once was, and my guess is the size of this project would have to sell in the eight digits to break even. The remake would just be a nice novelty enjoyed by far fewer than Square Enix would need.
Plus, Advent Children was really stupid. Would Square Enix have what it takes to make Final Fantasy VII even cool again?
Unless you want a subpar Android or iOS remake like we've been seeing from the SNES games, your best bet is to just enjoy Final Fantasy VII as it is.
And why not? Games have changed since 1997, but it's still a completely enjoyable game. I might not have the same reverence towards it I once did, but it's still fun to blast through. If you're an old fan or a new fan looking to see where the hype comes from, it's more available now than ever before. It can be played on PlayStation 3, PSP, PS Vita, and PC with an easy digital purchase, and you know Square Enix is going to put it on the PlayStation 4 eventually.
Games are a product of their time, and the best survive past their prime. If you want to experience Final Fantasy VII, your best bet for the foreseeable future would be just to play the real thing.