UPDATE 2: Both Square Enix and Epic Games Japan have made the joint announcement after the Famitsu interview’s release that “Final Fantasy VII Remake” will run on Unreal Engine 4, and will be powered by the next-gen, “Enlighten” technology by Geomerics.
UPDATE: The remake’s director, Tetsuya Nomura, and producer, Yoshinori Kitase, have spoken even further about the game in a recently-translated interview from Japanese magazine, Famitsu. Apparently, the game will directly be called, “Final Fantasy VII Remake” to solidify that the game is an all-new experience, not simply a re-skin, remaster or spin-off of the original. The duo also clarified that the reasoning behind the episodic structure is indeed to release the game faster than they could otherwise be able to, also elaborating that, while some optional areas from the original game are indeed being cut, existing story areas will be expanded and made bigger and more diverse than ever before. Ultimately, the remake will add up to having more content than the original, even with some areas from the 1997 build being cut, and Kitase claimed that he wants to end the remake on something exciting and new, rather than nostalgic, so some parts of the story will be modified and expanded. Finally, the involvement of other game developers like CyberConnect2 was confirmed for “Final Fantasy VII Remake”, and the game will continue to boast three-member parties and the ATB Battle System, though since the combat is now in real-time and action-based, the ATB system will obviously be modified from the 1997 game, and not simply being about waiting for one’s turn to attack. The battle system has been compared to being a streamlined version of the combat mechanics from PlayStation Portable fighter, “Dissidia: Final Fantasy.”
Original report follows:
After we got a look at some stunning gameplay footage from the monstrously anticipated Final Fantasy VII remake at PlayStation Experience this weekend, Square Enix dropped something of a bomb about the game. Apparently, the remake will not simply be one self-contained game. Instead, it will be a multi-part series, which sounds an awful lot like the game will be broken up into a series of episodes, Telltale Games-style.
Naturally, this move has divided Final Fantasy fans quite a lot, with some actively denouncing this design direction on social media. Unfortunately, Square Enix didn’t say much about why this style of design was being implemented in the Final Fantasy VII remake, or exactly how it will work. All they said was that each section of the series is designed to offer its own unique gameplay and story experience. Word has also come down that the action-based revamp of the battle system, and re-tooled locations from the original game, means that the overworld map, and some of the optional areas from the original 1997 game, are being removed in the remake.
It’s possible that Square Enix may have simply decided to divide the game into multiple parts, in order to get the game into fans’ hands sooner, even if it’s just one chunk of it. It would seem likely that the project is an enormous undertaking, and it’s pretty much inevitable that Square Enix would want at least the bulk of the remake to be finished in time for the original game’s 20th Anniversary in 2017, which would also explain why English voiceovers have already been recorded, as the recent PlayStation Experience trailer confirmed. Perhaps Square Enix didn’t want to risk having to delay the game beyond 2017, and it’s as simple as that. It’s also worth noting that the original PlayStation build of Final Fantasy VII from 1997 was spread across three discs, and was originally planned for five. Perhaps Square Enix wishes to emulate this vintage style of PlayStation RPG presentation as well.
In any case, the Final Fantasy VII remake currently has no official release window of any kind, and it’s unconfirmed whether the episodic style means that the game will see a physical retail package in the end, or will be digital-only. Regardless, the remake has so far only been announced for PlayStation 4.
Keep summoning Eggplante for all news and updates on the Final Fantasy VII remake, and other big developments in the Final Fantasy series.