Justin’s Words of Wisdom: Would A Final Fantasy VII Remake Even Work?
By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassador to the Mushroom Kingdom
As if enough people across the interwebs didn’t discuss this subject enough, I decided that I should throw my hat into the ring. In all honestly I am writing this because I recently played through Final Fantasy VII again, followed it up by watching Advent Children Complete and I am currently playing Crisis Core to top things off.
I said in my FFIV article that I didn’t really care if FFVII would get a remake or not, but I admitted that Square-Enix might as well do it at this point. Now, the official reason why they say the project never got off the ground is the desire to reunite the original team together. Any hardcore FF fan knows how hard that task is to accomplish. Many team members have scattered, and key staff are usually tied to other projects constantly. The notion certainly isn’t impossible, but it is still unlikely in my opinion.
While I certainly believe that’s a reason why Square-Enix hasn’t tried to pull off a remake, I think there are multiple unsaid reasons why it’s not really happening. Even if I am incorrect in that assumption, I believe these reasons would be tough to tackle.
With the Compilation of FFVII, many new characters have increased the universe’s roster tenfold, and some important events have been altered. My concern is having the newer material drag down the original material. Should they include scenes where Genesis from Crisis Core talked to Sephiroth in Nibelheim’s Mako reactor? For that matter, should they include scenes from that incident at one point where the Turks get involved? And I’m only naming a couple of examples from one part of FFVII’s overall story.
Square-Enix is stuck either way. If they include the scenes from other FFVII related games, people who haven’t played them will be understandably confused. If they don’t include the scenes, many hardcore fans will be disappointed that the newer content was ignored. A good compromise would include nods to other FFVII projects, but even then the remake would seem like a convoluted mess, which is one of many complaints from critics of the original title.
Which leads me to the next problem: the story. I’m not one of those people who thinks FFVII’s story is terrible, but I think some ideas should have been fleshed out more. Okay, sounds good, right? However, there would be so many scenes that need to be extended and/or completely rewritten that the game will seem like a completely different title if it is approached that way. Again, some people would have no problem with this, but there would be an equal amount of people who would not like to see many changes.
FFVII was made in the same vein of the original Star Wars. There were so many problems and experimentation during production that no one expected it to be as big as it was. That’s why the full motion videos are very inconsistent and there’s a pointless CPR minigame, among other oddities. Was I the only one that thought that a snowboarding minigame so soon after the death of Aeris was just weird? Can you imagine how silly the cross-dressing scene would be with Advent Children visuals? Or how about that scene where Cloud gets duped into sharing a bath with a bunch of burly muscle men? I bet you forgot about that.
Okay, I heard some of you. Why does a FFVII remake have to look like Advent Children? When I discussed this with staff writer Steve McCarthy, he pointed out that they could go for an anime look. After all, the original game had an anime style to it. However, I don’t think Square-Enix would want to go down any other path. It seems that Advent Children set the standard for how the FFVII universe should look. Plus, how many fanboys would whine and cry if Square-Enix actually had the balls to do that? If you thought the backlash for making Windwaker into a cell shaded game was bad, I guarantee the outcry would be worse in that scenario. If they are going to make a remake, it’s likely that they will go for a more realistic approach.
It all comes down to this: a FFVII remake would do a poor job pleasing fans. Sure, you can’t please everyone, but I fear no matter how Square-Enix would tackle it, the majority of fans unhappy would outweigh the satisfied customers. Thanks to the Compilation and FFVII being a product of its time, the remake may not work like some fans would hope.
Front page image from spawnkill.com.