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Why Final Fantasy 7 Should Not Get a Remake

Ever since 2005 when Sony unveiled the tech demo for the PS3 Final Fantasy fans have been wanting a remake of their smash hit Final Fantasy 7. Many were convinced that this tech demo acted as a trailer, however, in clear as day writing it says “Technical Demo For PS3”. There have been tech demos for other Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy VI for the N64 or Final Fantasy 8 for the Playstation 2. But neither of them garnered as much attention as Final Fantasy 7’s. Square Enix was bombarded with emails and forum posts about a remake. In about 2008 it seemed to be an official statement from Square that there will not be a remake. A year later it was stated that a remake would be possible and that it is in the air. Nomura outright stating that he would love to remake Final Fantasy 7. However, it does not seem like this idea will come to fruition. There are simply too many Final Fantasy projects being under way. Not to mention a few new Kingdom Hearts games. With Final Fantasy XIII-2 being released on the 15 Year Anniversary of Final Fantasy 7 there were many posts reminiscing about the game. Many of which were wanting a remake. Here are reasons why a remake of Final Fantasy 7 would be a bad move for Square Enix.

Now, I will be the first person to say that I find FF7 to be the most overrated title in the series. There is nothing special about the game itself. When I replayed the game in recent months I was reminded of the mediocre battle system and how average the writing and storytelling was. However, this did not stop the game from getting massive praise for being the first 3D Final Fantasy title. The game also sparked two prequels, a Vincent Valentine spin off, and a feature length film acting as a sequel to FF7. The universe is expansive and the fanbase for this game alone is huge. For those who want a remake I encourage you to replay the game for the sake of understanding what I am about to rant about.

The best comparison I could make to best describe the reception of a remake is Duke Nukem Forever. DNF was the game that took 14 years to come to life. The amount of hype was simply too much and it appeared that Gearbox chocked at the pressure. I found it to be a perfectly average FPS by today’s standards. If it was named “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4” or whatever the kids are playing online these days it would have been game of the year. Because it carried the name and legacy of Duke Nukem it was viewed as a bad game. Many people criticized the game on the crude humor. However, this humor never changed from Duke 3D. What changed, was the players. Many people who loved Duke 3D were younger, between the ages of 10-20. This seems now 14 years later fans are more mature.

You may be thinking, “Hey this is supposed to be about Final Fantasy 7, why are you talking about Duke Nukem?” I needed to create a foundation so I may build my skyscraper. The reason why a remake of Final Fantasy 7 would be a bad idea is because the fanbase has changed and grown. Many people, including those who want a remake, love Final Fantasy 7 for what it was. It had its own image; its own appeal and at the time no other game could compare to what Final Fantasy 7 had. Any change made to the game would drastically alter the history and image it once had.

The game would have voices. Just the inclusion of a voice cast would change the game. Even if they used the Advent Children voice actors it still would not feel right. It would lose the luster of being a text based game (in terms of communication and storytelling). It would feel strange hearing Cloud and Aerith communicating in the chapel when they first meet. Players had their own way of determining the inflection their voices had. To have that changed could actually upset people. A great way to show how strange voice acting would be is the cross dressing scenario with Don Cornero. That quest has a very big spot in the Final Fantasy franchise. How odd would it be to see and hear Cloud going through the different missions to get the best equipment. Now you are probably saying to yourself, “BUT THAT WOULD BE HILARIOUS!” You may be right, at least, from what you would recall from your memory. If you still have the game, again I urge you to play through it again. See and experience the kind of atmosphere it presents without voices or super HD graphics. Just that scene alone may change your viewpoint. Final Fantasy had/has its own appearance, its own way of presenting itself with what technology it had available at the time.

I slightly mentioned this in the above paragraph but I shall elaborate further. The graphical appeal of Final Fantasy 7 was significant. I cannot deny that the look of this Final Fantasy title had a lot to do with the success. There was a large fanbase around Final Fantasy at the time and the previous three games were great (4,5,6), but they were all 2D. Now this was a Final Fantasy game in a 3D world. You could see attacks the way they have never been seen. The cutscenes had far more to offer. It was able to convey a story through a different medium and a different look. To update the graphics to Advent Children status would not only be a lengthy endeavor, but a slippery slope.

The polygonal textures gave the characters a different look and style compared to the sprite version of characters in previous FF titles. In many ways it helped convey humor, but it did not convey any other emotion well. You knew someone was happy because they were jumping up and down. You knew if they were sad if their head was hanging low. But that was as close as it was going to get. If the graphics were to change to convey emotions it would change how FF veterans would view the game as well as the characters. Take a look at one of the most famous scenes in gaming history, “Death of a Flower Girl”. Aerith’s death was saddening for many players, Sephiroth descending upon the innocent defenseless woman in the City of Ancients with his sword drawn and pointed downward, ready to kill with no remorse. I would think this would enhance the scene so much in such a way that it would be bad. You would see the evil in Sephiroth’s eyes, you would see the pain in Aerith’s face and most of all, the feeling of being useless with rage in Cloud’s eyes when he sees what happens. The scene would be so emotional that it could ruin what it had as polygons. With polygons you didn’t see detailed facial expressions. It was up to the player to determine what kind of emotions the characters had. With the updated graphics this would be decided for them.

Yes, the battles and cutscenes would be very nice to look at, but that is not the reason why you played Final Fantasy 7. You didn’t pick up FF7 for the graphics. You picked up Final Fantasy 7 to see what was so new about the game for the Final Fantasy franchise. Final Fantasy 7 gave the player a way to give the characters their own emotions, their own look and in some ways their own personalities. I may be a giant FF7 hater, but I can’t deny what FF7 did for the franchise. If seven was to be remade, it would probably worsen the image of the older fans, and bring in new ones. It would be very much a hot or miss opportunity. But I say, let the series be the way it should be, a placeholder in franchise history. It has been doing just fine that way for 15 years.

5 Comments

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  1. Janez says
    January 3, 2014, 7:14 AM

    Great website you have here but I was cuoruis about if you knew of any community forums that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really love to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Zach M. says
      January 22, 2014, 11:30 AM

      We don’t have any forums sadly enough. Just the ability to comment on articles.

      Reply
  2. Sephron-9 says
    April 11, 2012, 4:37 PM

    I agree with you on some of your points, but I must say that an HD Final Fantasy VII wouldn’t shatter this “illusion” of a great game. Final Fantasy VII has a large fan base because of it’s unique story, interesting villain, and the diverse world. Many FFVII fans have seen what the characters look like in HD, so they know if that’s what they want. An HD remake might seem like a waste of time, but you have an almost 100% chance of good sales. I don’t think game companies should be obedient to the demands of fans and live in the past, continually remaking things… But looking at VII, the graphics haven’t aged well. There’d be less demand for a remake if it looked like FFVIII, and if remaking VII’s too much of a problem with Square Enix, they could always continue the story of the universe through a Final Fantasy VII-2 after Dirge of Cerberus.

    Reply
  3. Allan S says
    February 3, 2012, 2:28 PM

    Personally, my views on remakes goes like this: Games should only be remade if there is something that could be improved upon from the original. For example, I think Breath of Fire II should be remade. The game had a great story and was one of the best RPGs on the SNES, but it faltered with a horrible translation and unexplored gameplay mechanics (IE the truncated Dragon Transformation system, and the interesting but not really useful Shaman Fusion system).

    Final Fantasy VII, doesn’t really seem like a good candidate. True, I find the game to be a worthy RPG, above average in most regards, but isn’t just not the “Greatest RPG ever” that it’s made out to be, and while there COULD be improvements, those improvements would come in the form of completely changing the game all together. So much so to the point calling it Final Fantasy VII is just to make the fanboys weep tears of joy.

    In fact, I think if FFVII where to be remade, it would only serve to shatter the illusion of how great the game was. Of course, this shattering would take the form of “The remake SUCKS! The original was the BEST!” rather than a realization that nostalgia works in very subtle ways.

    Besides, I can’t stand behind Square after they remade Final Fantasy IV. I’m not saying anything bad about the remake, but it’s just that I never saw the NEED to remake FFIV (especially since I got FFIV: Advance 2 week before that announcement).

    Reply
    • Canneddirt says
      February 5, 2012, 10:59 AM

      I agree with you and the article….and yet, if they made it, I would be first in line for the preorder. As you said: nostalgia can be very powerful. I would like it if they improved the battle system, random encounters and much of the dialogue….wait…ok, better not to remake it. I just wish the newer games were any good. FF XII amd FF XIII were atrocious. Heck, I don’t think there has been a good FF since VIII. Ah well, c’est la vie.

      Reply

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