One of the most anticipated titles of the year is Square-Enix’s remake of Final Fantasy 7 (the first episode) which releases on April 10th. In a new blog post, Producer Yoshinori Kitase and Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi answer a wealth of questions on the approach for the remake, Midgar, the role of Red XIII, and more. Be aware, there are some minor spoilers contained within.
For the full interview, we would recommend visiting the blog itself here. You can also find some excerpts below:
Why did you make the decision to set this game entirely in the city of Midgar?
Kitase-san: “Ultimately, we decided the best option for the project was to go for the highest level possible, with an expanded story. Having more than one game in the project allowed us to focus on keeping everything people loved from the original, but go into greater detail and more story depth than before.
Midgar is iconic to FINAL FANTASY VII, so we had to start the game here, and follow the story up to the main party’s escape from the city.”
How have you expanded the city? Can fans expect to see new areas of Midgar?
Kitase-san: “In the original game there were a lot of breaks in the game, where the screen went black, and then the game continues in a different location.
In other words, there were a lot of parts in between sections of Midgar that were implied, but never seen. That was something that we wanted to address with remake – to fill in all those gaps, show how the different parts of the city are connected, and make it a continuous experience.”
Some fans have expressed disappointment that Red XIII is not a playable character. Can you specify the role of Red XIII in the game?
Hamaguchi-san: “To explain more about why we did not make Red XIII a playable character in this game, we felt that because he only joins the team during the latter stages, having him as a playable ally with full character growth potential would not be a satisfying experience for the player. So we decided to have him join for now, as a guest character instead.
However, the development team feel the same way that the fans do when it comes to seeing Red XIII as an important character, and we designed his gameplay in a special way to offset him not being playable in battle.”
How did you approach the design of the combat system in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE? How much inspiration did you take from the original game?
Hamaguchi-san: “At its heart, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has the same battle system as the original game: you wait for your ATB bar to fill up and choose what to do from your list of commands.
But action elements are also layered on top – by skilfully using these mechanics, you can open up the enemy, knock them down, and create a chance to do big damage. You can also much more efficiently charge your ATB gauge.
The combat system was intentionally designed to bring those two things together – I think it’s a really effective hybrid of action and turn-based combat, and I hope players will enjoy it.”
This will be many people’s first time playing FINAL FANTASY VII – perhaps even FINAL FANTASY. What have you done to make sure the game is welcoming to new players?
Kitase-san: “Our goal was to capture everything that made the original game so special, but bring it up to date with the latest technology so that new players could be just as excited as players of the original game were when that released.
For new players, this is where the story of FINAL FANTASY VII begins. If you’ve seen characters such as Cloud or Sephiroth in other games, and wondered where their story began, this is the game.
We’ve also intentionally designed the game to be welcoming to all players – if you’re a fan of action games, or prefer something more tactical, there are different control modes that allow the game to be played to your preference.”
For fans of Final Fantasy 7, the remake looks to be one of the greatest fan service remakes ever; possibly even beyond Resident Evil 2 Remake. It’s clear that extensive planning and development has gone into the title and we can’t wait to see fans get their hands on it in just a few weeks!