Square Enix seems to be in dire straits. They reduced their earnings forecast for the fiscal year by 91%. They delayed Deus Ex: The Human Revolution. They fired the top dogs behind Final Fantasy XIV Online, and delayed its PS3 version. This has the Internet trolls up in arms. “It’s the beginning of the end” for Square Enix, they say! Nevermind that delaying games hopefully means a debacle like FFXIV won’t happen again. The company’s clearly in trouble, and apparently, people still think a remake of Final Fantasy VII will magically solve all of Square Enix’s problems — let alone actually happen at all. Despite all the contrary evidence, there are some that truly believe the Square Enix of today can pull off a remake to the much-beloved as Final Fantasy VII. Why?
Didn’t you all hate Final Fantasy XII? And Final Fantasy XIII? And we all know the deal with FFXIV. What makes you think the Square Enix of today would do FFVII justice if they couldn’t, in the Internet mob’s opinion, get the past decades’ worth of installments right? No, the last thing Square Enix needs to do is release more remakes — it releases enough. The company just announced yet another one for Final Fantasy IV. If we’re keeping count that’s like six or seven remakes for the same game in the past few years. If we’re really keeping count, shouldn’t Square Enix do FFV and FFVI, first? Let’s keep things in order here, people.
But back to FFVII. You guys forget a lot of the more ridiculous moments of Final Fantasy VII wouldn’t work very well in the super-realistic, HD life-like graphics of today. Let’s run ‘em off:
- Anything that involves Cait Sith (who never made much sense)
- Anything that involves Red XIII (he tip-toes on his hind legs past guards or something at one point)
- Barret in a sailor suit
- The Tifa/Scarlett slapfight atop the Junon Cannon
- The squat contest between Cloud and the bodybuilders
- The whole Don Corneo scenario
- Snowboarding down a mountain moments after Aeris’ demise
- Hiding aboard a cartoony submarine
- Protecting a giant condor’s eggs
FFVII is a silly, silly game, even when it was serious. So, wait, Sephiroth is actually a series of ghost clones manifested by, uh, his will to lure Cloud to his resting place to hand him — wait, how does a ghost slay a Midgar Zolom, a president or a flower girl?!. It wasn’t until 2005′s animated movie Advent Children made all the characters droll super-serious Super Saiyans, and everyone suddenly forgot Cloud once donned a dress and tiara to sneak into a bordello to rescue Tifa by seducing a slumlord. In a place called Honeybee Manor.
FFVII straddles old and new styles of RPG presentation. The CG cutscenes featured tall, well-modeled characters running into blue pick-up trucks and escaping on impressive-looking motorcycles. The commercials for the game showed only these parts of the game and with Advent Children, Crisis Core, and Kingdom Hearts fresh on everyone’s minds this “realistic” style is all anyone remembers. The aforementioned goofy segments wouldn’t translate well at all in the Advent Children-ized remake everyone wants. The goofy elements would have to be excised to suit that style. The game would be stripped of its personality, like Cloud.
The battles feature similar attractive, lean graphics, but the bulk of the game, and its plot, is presented in an overworld perspective not all that different from the first six Final Fantasies. In this “view” FFVII‘s super-deformed characters are a polygonal stone’s throw from the tiny little sprites of the old NES and SNES games, big eyes, squatty arms and all. Imagination had to fill in the rest until those cutscenes showed you everything “made whole” again. It wasn’t until Final Fantasy VIII (a game unfairly mauled all the time because it isn’t FFVII-2) that Square Enix made the whole visual package complete.
The FFVII we have now is a bizarre-looking hybrid, and that’s where most of its charm lies. For better and worse, it brought RPGs, and games in general, to the mainstream. If Square Enix remakes FFVII it to resemble Advent Children, where everyone looks like they just stepped out of Rent or Twilight, we’ll have another cold, dreary game about the end of the world with no significance attached. It’ll just be another cash cow in a too-long line of remakes. Square Enix pumps out remakes faster than a gold chocobo at the races, so the chance of a remake remains a faint possibility. On the other hand, we know how much fanboy and fangirl clamor, petitions, wishing and praying gets us. I still don’t see Metal Gear Solid 4 on the Xbox 360, or a fresh Chrono game.
God forbid they set their sights on new Saga, Mana, or tactics-based Front Mission games — or a proper Xeno game. Or The World Ends Without You 2. Or, hell, a new IP.
Here’s another morsel for thought: How would Square Enix handle the battle system? Leaving it as it won’t fly with today’s audience used to Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Fallout. What about variable choose-your-own-adventure good-or-evil style of play? Hmm. You think Square Enix will keep all that the same for its fans? Or go for the biggest audience possible?
Finally, a remake would be a stupendously expensive venture. Why would Square Enix spend all those hours, money and resources on a game that came out over ten years ago, that recently came out again on the PlayStation Network, when it already made several lousy spin-offs, sequels, and prequels? When they could spend all that effort on something else, something better?
Square Enix has wasted enough — more than enough — attention on FFVII. For that matter, haven’t you, too?