Square Enix reminded fans after four years of silence that the Final Fantasy VII remake is still happening (and still being made into a multi-part series) and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. Cloud and his crew of Shinra scrutinizers remain one of my favorite teams out of the many RPGs/JRPGs I’ve played. There are easily a dozen parts of that game that come to mind anytime someone even mentions it. While I’ve played through it probably three times completely, the thing that stops me from starting a new save file (other than the constant barrage of new game releases) is that the visuals did not age particularly well. With the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake, that problem will be a thing of the past, and I can relive those moments in crisp HD.
This revelation brought to mind all of the scenes in the game that I can’t wait to see recreated in the upcoming remake. Not only will Square Enix have a chance to remaster the scenes for today’s consoles, if they are wise they will use the opportunity to expand upon the scenes to enrich them for the experience as a whole. They will have a chance to incorporate more of the story that comes from the various spin-offs of the game or put us into the roles and mindsets of the characters when major events happen.
It’s important for you to know that I plan on discussing several parts of the game that might spoil the story or gameplay of Final Fantasy VII. If you are waiting for the remake to experience the plot for the first time, or if you simply do not want to read details about the game, you might want to hold off on reading this piece. Although, I can’t recommend playing the original game enough!
A Lesson On The Lifestream
This is one section of Final Fantasy VII where I’m interested in seeing the remake’s version purely for visual sake. This cutscene is one of the most impressive in the game, so Square has to know that the bar for how it looks is expected by fans to be very high. The way this information is given in the original Final Fantasy VII helps players understand what the lifestream is (and how extracting it will destroy the planet). It is an enchanting and sacred piece of knowledge, instead of just feeling like a lore dump. That is in large part due to how the visuals aid Bugenhagen’s story. This information lays a lot of groundwork for the later story, and the Final Fantasy VII Remake has the ability to present that to the player in a very impactful way.
President Rufus’ Parade in Junon
This portion of Final Fantasy VII sees Cloud dressing up as a rookie Soldier and blending in with a marching troop to spy on President Rufus. There are several minigames in this section that have stuck with me as I’ve moved onto play newer games with the series. The marching minigame where you are trying to impress Rufus and Heidegger beats Blitzball in Final Fantasy X as my favorite divergence from the main gameplay in the series. It seems like minigames like this are becoming rarer in video games, so that has me curious if Square even plans to include this part in the remake. If so, how? Perhaps this portion may transform into a section of social stealth gameplay, being that Cloud is trying to perform tasks to blend in while learning them on the fly.
The parade also has the potential to become a moment of sheer visual wonder for players. In the original game, the parade gave little that was impressive in the graphical department. This could have been because the developers were limited with what they could do on screen, and even though it might not seem like it there was a lot going on taking up engine resources. There were several groups of nine soldiers moving across the screen at a time, a TV Rating score based on how well the player was conforming with the other soldiers, and other things going on behind the scenes. Who knows what could and couldn’t have been added at the time, but it’s 2019 and there is a lot that can be done within new engines that wasn’t previously possible. Having a large crowd watching as confetti flies from the sky would sure seem like a more fitting way to celebrate the arrival of the Shinra Company’s President. It would be awesome in the Final Fantasy VII Remake to see ships or barges shooting fireworks in the ocean, or spend a little extra time focusing on our companions, a few of whom are also dressed up as Soldiers. If Square Enix could deliver something more impressive like the scene where Snow proposes to Serah in Final Fantasy XIII, this scene could become one of the most memorable moments in the remake.
The Disaster at Mideel
Later in Final Fantasy VII, the party confronts Sephiroth at the Northern Crater. After Cloud is manipulated by Sephiroth, he falls into an exposed part of the Lifestream. This causes Cloud to take on very serious Mako Poisoning and thus he is left unable to function much more than an occasional horrific scream (which will be interesting in-and-of itself to hear in the remake).
There are several major events that happen during this section of the game that stick out as graphically interesting moments. There is a scene where Weapon attacks the island that Cloud has been staying on and it crumbles into the ocean during an earthquake. Cloud and Tifa are at the epicenter of this event, so the player’s perspective is right in the middle of the tragedy, not watching it from afar. Having this perspective will give Square Enix the ability to really express how woeful this scene is in Final Fantasy VII Remake. An island is completely destroyed along with everyone who inhabited it. HD visuals and more intimate storytelling will make this scene so awful to experience, but in the good kind of way.
The Journey Through Cloud’s Mind
Following the events at Mideel, Final Fantasy VII transitions into a section that takes place inside of Cloud’s subconscious mind. Players control Tifa as she helps Cloud come to terms with several points in his life which his mind has altered or completely blocked out. This is, visually, a very interesting part in the game, and you can see how the developers and artist created a neurologically inspired area to communicate to the player that they are no longer in the world that they were in before. Perhaps in the Final Fantasy VII Remake, we could see more organic movement in this area, maybe even electric pulses moving through the veiny looking growths.
By far though, the number one thing I want to see Square Enix do with this chunk of the game is to go really in depth with these events surrounding Cloud, and more importantly, Zack. With the additional story from Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, there is a lot to incorporate in this section of the game that wasn’t in the original Final Fantasy VII. Players could learn where the iconic Buster Sword came from, the adorable relationship between Zack and Aerith, and share more information on Sephiroth’s devious plan. Zack’s influence really determined Cloud’s personality for the better part of the game (since Cloud completely modeled his personality after Zack following his death), but the original game doesn’t really do that justice. The remake will give Square Enix the chance to fully tell that story, and I really hope they do!
The Crew Heads to Space
One of the great surprises of Final Fantasy VII was the sudden trip to outer space. Players are forced to join Cid on his atomic-style rocket which is being sent for an impending collision by Palmer with the world-ending meteor. What’s incredible about this scene is that it’s a very important character moment for Cid, and we really get to learn a lot about him. On top of that, being so close to the meteor threat that you’ve only seen from far away can really communicate how much of a danger it poses to the world. This can cinematically be a great contrast in a cutscene; the beauty of the people on the world and the seemly unstoppable force that will destroy them. A remake isn’t just a chance to make the game look better, it comes with the ability to better tell the story. The rocket scene can be a very crucial part of that.
Getting Dressed Up For A Night Out On The Town
One of the parts of the game that I can’t wait to see in the Final Fantasy VII Remake (that’s surely on the mind of everyone who played the original game) is the section in Wall Market. Most specifically, the part where Cloud tries to dress up as the prettiest girl for a “private” meeting with Don Corneo. There are other wild parts in this section of the game. Cloud buys a digestive to give to a lady in the restroom in exchange for some cologne. There’s a squatting contest in the gym with the prize being a fake wig. Don’t even get me started on the whole exchange in the Group Room at the Honey Bee Inn!
I’m not as interested to see these sections with today’s graphics as I am to see just how Square Enix handles these parts of the game. Will they exclude these parts of the game entirely, or keep them in for the sake of preserving the original experience?
Hey, if you believe a recent rumor, Square has planned for this section and has Cloud donning a dress and wig in the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Maybe we’ll see this part after all!
The Infamous Aerith Death Scene
Surely the part you’ve been waiting for me to mention is when Aerith is killed by Sephiroth. This moment is so gutwrenchingly heartbreaking that people still consider it to be a spoiler even though it happened well over 20 years ago. Aerith is a character that you can’t help but love from the very moment you meet her. She has an innocence about her that brings a variety to the group composed mostly of domestic terrorists. Yet, she can be surprisingly blunt, such as the time where she threatens Don Corneo that if he doesn’t give the team the information they’re looking for she’ll “rip them off.”
This duality made Aerith an incredibly deep character whose death we couldn’t have seen coming until the moment it happened. As much as I know my heart will struggle to take it, this is the scene that Square Enix really needs to drive home. It wrecks the morale of the party and really creates a more personal motivation for the team to stop Sephiroth. The music here tells the player that some impending tragedy is coming, and it would be wonderful to see Square Enix double down on how their musical score can impact a player’s emotions in supplement to the events on the screen.
It’s really important to also remember that Cloud is being manipulated by Sephiroth throughout the game and at this moment Cloud is almost the one who kills Aerith. He doesn’t do it thanks to his friends, but ultimately that doesn’t save her from her fate. This moment would benefit from Square Enix focusing more on the mental effects/visions that are responsible for Cloud trying to kill her himself. Does he simply lose control, or does something in that moment compel him to raise his sword against her?
This series of events ends with Cloud letting Aerith drift away into the lake, only to return much later to collect the White Materia. Regardless of whether or not a body should sink when placed in water (as discussed in a retro Game Theory video), this part is painful to watch even as just a refresher for this article. While it’s a twist that most people know about, I’m excited for a new generation of gamers to experience this once-in-a-generation moment.
Will The Final Fantasy VII Remake Expand The Story Or Simply Repeat It?
Final Fantasy VII is a core part of many people’s gaming identities. The story was compelling back when it was released, but there has been so much more added to it over the years. I hope that Square Enix takes the chance to incorporate some of the details from the other media I’ve gone over here, like Crisis Core, as well as from others such as Dirge of Cerberus or Last Order. The Final Fantasy VII Remake should be more than just a visual upgrade, and we hope that Square Enix sees it the same way! We’ll likely see what direction the game is being taken during Square Enix’s E3 presentation next month. Maybe we’ll be able to play some of these new parts soon, if the leak about the playable demo for PS Plus subscribers turns out to be true. The answers to these questions, and more, will be coming very soon!
Now we’d like to hear from you! What parts of Final Fantasy VII are you excited to see in the remake? Do some scenes need to be updated to match gaming trends today, or would you like to see specific parts of the game preserved just the way they were? Let talk about it in the comments below!