This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.
Final Fantasy VII Remake has its qualities that are legitimately impressive. It looks and sounds amazing, and when it is following the source material closely; it reminds fans why they fell in love with it in the first place. The developers gambled in a few places in an attempt to one-up the original game, and for the most part their efforts failed to make good on those promises.
Dividing a story into parts, and taking what was about 10% of one part of the game and making it as long as the original, may become Square Enix’s undoing. Unfortunately, this is the reality we live in, and the only thing we can do is hope that the next installment won’t double down on the same mistakes made during the Midgar arc.
Continuing Final Fantasy VII Remake in the modern age can go in any direction. The original game was pretty edgy for its day, and the current climate today is much more politically correct. Compounded with the desire to make as much money off this venture; can the powers that be at Square Enix help themselves from succumbing to making these mistakes in the next part of Final Fantasy VII Remake?
Softening of Edginess
The original Final Fantasy VII was a bold and daring JRPG in its day. It was unafraid to feature a cast of degenerate NPCs, and a main party of unconventional heroes. Aside from Barret Wallace being a brutal and violent eco-terrorist, there was also the loveable Cid Highwind, who didn’t mind giving Shera a bit of the ole balled-fist tough love and harsh language.
The way Cid expressed himself in the old PlayStation game will undoubtedly be reinterpreted and made neutered for the eventual remaking. The character will be regretfully deemed “problematic,” and he will also probably lose his trademarked cigarette habit. This is too bad because smoking was a crucial aspect of depicting his self-destructive and older personality.
It will be a miracle if Cid Highwind is even a playable party member after seeing how Square Enix did Red XIII so dirty. Once again, the episodic structure has negatively affected how the story is told. The edginess of the characters was a major aspect of the original Final Fantasy VII, and for it to be sanitized would be an affront to the core pillars of what made it so great.
Loss of Sex Appeal
The edginess of Final Fantasy VII wasn’t just limited to characters swearing a lot or Cid slugging his girlfriend; it was an incredibly sexy game too. The visuals of the remake are undoubtedly impressive, and can render the best aspects of the female form better than the original could. But Square Enix put less priority in delivering on the promise of what every boy growing up with the original hoped for.
Boys growing up with Final Fantasy VII had to play Ehrgeiz if they wanted a better look at the stuff they only could dream of. Every hot blooded male who eagerly sought the recruitment of Tifa Lockheart in Final Fantasy VII Remake lamented. Instead of heavenly soft white cotton the dream died with depressing and disappointing bike shorts.
SHORTS!? We waited for over 20 years and Square Enix put her in shorts? Not to mention the thinly-veiled ethics department to allegedly reach a younger demographic by taking Tifa’s most memorable design trait down a peg.
Where will the line be drawn in the next installment? Will the scene where Cloud rummages through her drawers even make the cut? The way the remake adds so much, but also removes the things we loved about the original is one of the reasons why it is hard to be optimistic for the future.
By far the worst addition to the story in the remake are the Whispers. Their entire purpose was to make fans of the original unsure, and to reintroduce some element of surprise. The entire problem with this is that story made the meta of Final Fantasy VII a plot point for the remake, instead of having the story stand on its own.
The original story was subversive by virtue of its story, and characters that were unlike anything gamers had ever seen before. Cloud was not just a hero who was not willing to take the call to adventure; he was a callous and disinterested dork who was in it for the money. At the time it reimagined all kinds of fantasy tropes with a new spin, while mixing elements of horror with sci-fi. That was what drew in so many fans.
Final Fantasy VII Remake tries to introduce an entirely foreign and incongruent theme about nostalgia and fate. The original was never about this, and this kind of betrayal will hopefully be course corrected in the subsequent parts of the remake.
Final Fantasy VII was never about defying fate, and the remake emphasizes this because it’s trying to make fans question if Aerith will live or die this time. It’s cheap and unnecessary.
Padded Story Filler
Since Final Fantasy VII Remake had to make what was originally a five hour sequence last the span of an entire JRPG, having filler was inevitable. In the continuation of this remake iteration of Final Fantasy VII, there will hopefully be much less padding, and the story can be paced more in lines with the original.
If the rate of expansion is consistent with the first part of the remake, then the entire ramen series could potentially become five parts or more. The Midgar arc was stretched more than goatse due to extraneous characters; like Roche, Chadley, or any of the Wall Market bosses who contribute nothing to the story.
The hours spent in the train graveyard, the seemingly endless chase in the sewers for a key stolen by a pig, and the tedious bumbling in the rafters of Midgar are a blur of padding. Hopefully the continuation of the journey won’t be stretched out with forgettable and lengthy moments that drag the story out longer than necessary.
The biggest fear that is a reality for subsequent episodes of Final Fantasy Remake is the possibility of the story not finishing. By focusing so much on just the Midgar arc, and no road map for where the expanded take on the story will be headed, there is no telling how long Square Enix will take to finish the remake.
Compounded with the troubled and lengthy development of the first part, and the fact that Final Fantasy direct sequels have historically sold less (i.e. Final Fantasy XIII-2, Final Fantasy X-2, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII), the future for the next episodes are worrisome. For some reason, most people expect Remake to be three episodes, but does it need to be?
Since being a single episode is impossible at this point, Final Fantasy VII Remake should ideally conclude and wrap itself up with its second part. Instead of padding itself out over the course of who knows how many episodes that will have gaps lasting years, or potentially decades, it would for the best the story finishes in a timely manner instead of never.
What about you, the Final Fantasy VII fans at home? What are your fears for the future of the Final Fantasy VII Remake parts? Sound off in the comments below!
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade launches June 10th on PlayStation 5. Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PlayStation 4, with console exclusivity ending April 4th, 2021. In case you missed it, you can find our review here.