FFVII Remake: Square’s Denial A Confirmation?

In my very first blog post below, I recounted a fond memory of my first time playing Final Fantasy VII. I suppose that means it’s a good time to talk about the oft-denied remake. Fresh off a bunch of 10th Anniversary rigmarole featuring new merchandise and a gallery showing of art and artifacts from the game, Famitsu sat down to talk with Crisis Core’s producer Hideki Imaizumi (amongst other key staff) to talk about the spin-off’s genesis. Unsurprisingly, the issue of a pure FFVII remake came up again, only to be denied as it always has been.

Here’s the quote: “Imaizumi closed off by confirming once again that there are currently no plans for a FFVII remake. However, he noted that this could change rather quick, alluding to Kitase’s comment about how the decision to make Crisis Core took only two days.”

My question is, why dance around the perimeter when you can bust your moves in the round? Granted, there’s a very good answer to this. All of the key team members from the original are currently tied up in other projects, but the sentiment is clearly there. They want it as much as the fans do. It’s the only game in the series to maintain such a strong fandom after so many years. It’s great that we’re getting an expanded universe in the forms of the already-released Advent Children film and the soon-to-be-released Crisis Core featuring Cloud-alike Zack, the same character’s late best friend and source of identity crisis.

As quickly as it took them to decide on producing CC, it seems that swift sales of the new release would go a long way to pushing the remake along. Oh, I believe Square-Enix’s denial when they say the game is not under actual production, but it’s a forgone conclusion that they have plans for it tucked away in a filing cabinet somewhere. Never has the term “on the back-burner” been more apt.

Some fans question the fidelity of the sequel, though. Will it retain the magic and charm of the first go-around? Undoubtedly, Square-Enix has set a precedent for itself with Advent Children’s visuals and production values. To dial back from that at this point would be wholly unsatisfying. But wasn’t it the deformed look of the characters that endeared you to them initially? I’m not sure I buy that argument. It was more due to a technical limitation than anything, as opposed to FFIX’s spritely characters being a clear throwback to the series’ early days. A quick assessment of most fanart shows more attention to Nomura’s full-bodied concept designs than any in-game representation. FFVII arguably marks the point in time when the super-deformed character designs lost their appeal in the series, hence the need to “go back to them” briefly in IX.

As much as we look back and say that FFVII suffered from technical limitations today, it was unlike anything anyone had seen at the time. It’s the game’s hallmark. Foregoing the bad blood between Nintendo and Square in the mid-90s, Sony’s console offered them the prowess to create a truly epic game. That’s why Square switched and considering that the enmity has been smoothed over these days and the company’s back to producing games for Nintendo platforms, it’s the reason you’ll hear most often.

Once again we find ourselves in the same spot. With the Wii and DS outclassing almost everything else in sales, it would be the safe bet to say that a remake might be headed to one of the two. Maybe a port for the DS and a remake for the Wii? But what does that realistically offer a series with such drive? It might be dandy for spin-offs, but for a reinvention of the game that defined the modern video game epic? With the production bar set so high by Advent Children? Sony was not the popular choice before, but it was the only platform capable of expressing the designer’s vision at the time. And, for Sony, it was the one game that really sold their system to the public. Several years of good, but not great sales were offset by the massive push of Final Fantasy VII just ten years ago.

Playstation 3 find itself where the PSX once did. Languishing, but not out of the race yet. A remake, if it is not already under production, may came just a tad too late. No worries, though. That’s what FFXIII is for, though who knows if it’ll have the same impact as its erstwhile predecessor? Either way, it can only work on the Playstation 3, and that’s great news for Sony.

~ by Cavin Smith on September 6, 2007.

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