Thanks to an announcement at E3 2015, we all know that Square Enix has finally bowed to public pressure and will be releasing a completely overhauled remake of their hit RPG, Final Fantasy VII. The game will boast current-generation graphics, in addition to…actually, that’s all we know about the game thus far, they’ve been absolutely silent about the game since the short teaser announcement. Certainly, a new, better version of Final Fantasy VII is something that fans have been requesting for years, but does that mean that actually doing it is a good idea? Maybe it is, but we’ve got some reasons why it might not be the best plan for Square Enix, and they’re worth considering, at least.
5. They Still Haven’t Finished Final Fantasy XV
Before Square Enix even considered pouring resources into a full remake of an old game, they probably should have considered this abomination, hanging over their heads like the Sword of Damocles for the better part of a decade at this point. That would be the game which started life as part of the proposed series of Final Fantasy XIII spin-off games, then stayed in development so long that not one, but two different versions of Final Fantasy XIV were released, making the name a little ridiculous and forcing them to re-brand it as the next full Final Fantasy game. And even that re-branding was two years ago. Since it officially became the fifteenth game in the core series, we’ve had a single short demo a while back, and then…nothing. There’s still no release date for this game, and even though every indication is that it should come out in 2016, given what we’ve seen so far there’s no way to be sure. It sure seems like it should be all hands on deck getting this out the door, before Square Enix even considers other projects.
Of course, once you release Final Fantasy XV, that leads to another problem…
4. This Will Probably Delay Final Fantasy XVI
Due to Final Fantasy XV’s ridiculously long development time, faith in whether or not it’s even going to be a good game are rising by the day at this point. We’re not going to come right out and assume that it’s going to be terrible, but the list of games that have exceeded expectations after the amount of internal strife this game has had are a lot shorter than the list of ones that have been dismal failures. Sure, the knowledge that a re-make of Final Fantasy VII would help divert attention if the game is bad, but you know what else might help? Having the sixteenth Final Fantasy already well into development and possibly releasing core games of the series at a pace slightly faster than George R. R. Martin puts out new books of A Song of Ice And Fire. The first five Final Fantasy games released on a near-yearly basis. In the next eight years, they slowed down slightly, but still released another 6, including their first MMO. In the thirteen years since then, they’ve released a grand total of three core series games, and that still doesn’t include Final Fantasy XV. If the FFVII remake takes precedence over a completely new Final Fantasy, will we ever even live to see the sixteenth entry happen?
3. To Edit Or Not To Edit
As great as Final Fantasy VII is, it’s still old enough to be the product of a different and slightly less enlightened age. There’s a good chance that somebody working on the remake is going to look at things like a scene where Cloud explores a brothel in order to find makeup so he can pretend to be a woman for a disguise, or Barrett’s stereotypical “black” dialogue, or any number of other questionable parts of the game (and there are more than a few) and say “whoa, we can’t put that in a game that’s going to come out in 2017” (we’re being optimistic). The problem is, the people who really want this remake are the die-hard fans who are going to pore over every bit of this game and will surely complain if even a single thing is changed from the original (frankly, we’d be okay if they took out the entire pointless snowboarding mini-game, at least). By completely rebuilding the game from the ground up, you’re raising the question of if you’re simply copying the old game, or making a new games that hits the major points of the original, but still has new things for everyone? Because either way, someone’s going to be pissed.
The Original Still Holds Up, And They Know It
Speaking of copying the original game, Final Fantasy VII isn’t some lost classic from the 8-bit generation that would really benefit from a massive graphical overhaul. The game was released for the original Playstation, and had revolutionary graphics for the time when it came out. Sure, it doesn’t have the ridiculous detail that we now enjoy years later, but it’s still a perfectly playable and enjoyable game that loses nothing from the dated (but still good) graphics. In fact, Square Enix already knows this, because you can already play Final Fantasy VII on every console they make, with a port for PS3, Vita, and Steam already available, and an HD upgraded version due out for PS4 in early 2016. Why, then, are they spending time and money to do a total tear-down and remake of a game that still holds up really, really well? Maybe they should just make a Final Fantasy VII animated movie using modern graphics so fans can re-live the story they love without having to put all the time into playing a game they’ve been able to play, consistently, for nearly two decades.
It’s Not The Final Fantasy We Want Re-Made
This might be personal pettiness on our part (and in fact, it almost certainly is), but Final Fantasy VII isn’t the Final Fantasy game that needs a graphical overhaul. What about the old Super Nintendo games, like IV and VI, which were, in our opinions, far superior games to begin with? If you’re going to totally rebuild a Final Fantasy game from scratch, why not go back to the 16-bit era and pick a game that, while a massive achievement at the time, never got a version that could take advantage of the huge graphical upgrades that came available in the very next generation. And no, the cutscenes from the Playstation Anthology re-releases were not enough to satisfy us. Sure, Final Fantasy VII was a massive hit for the Playstation and Square Enix, but after years of spin-offs and movie sequels and re-releases, maybe it’s time to let that well run dry for a while and bring one of the other classic Final Fantasy games back to the forefront. If you have to remake any of them at all, which we’re still not certain is necessary.