Some of the team that worked on the original Final Fantasy VII took part in an interview ahead of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launching next month.
The interview had original director and writer Yoshinori Kitase claiming to be embarrassed by the game’s portrayal of “social problems, social issues, and cultural depictions.”
Yoshinori Kitase, currently a producer for Final Fantasy VII Remake and Rebirth, was joined by Tetsuya Nomura (character designer and visual director for the original game) and others, in an interview with Game Informer.
Nomura mentioned how Final Fantasy VII was a sort of “midpoint” in-between two different ways in which Final Fantasy development happened:
“Even within the mainline Final Fantasy titles as a series, we can consider Final Fantasy VII to be this sort of midpoint title that’s in the middle of it all. Up to Final Fantasy VI, it was created in a certain way, and then from VIII, there was a brand new way of approaching development, whereas VII sort of sits between those two titles as a sort of mixed-element title.
[Final Fantasy] VI included a lot of elements that each department on their own, just on a whim, wanted to include, so they just included it, while VIII is much more calculated and strategized. VII is a mix of that, where it’s both calculated and kind of an at-a-whim type of development. If we made games like this the way we did when we were creating the original VII, we would be in a lot of trouble right now. Times have really changed. Beyond VII is the point where I’d say times have changed. It’s the last of the titles where we were able to do things that way.”
Nomura alluded that sometimes there would be completely random changes:
“There were scripts and then suddenly things that are not even in the script that the character is now saying in the game that we’ve never even heard of. Some departments just wanted to include the character saying these things. It was that kind of world then.”
Then director Yoshinori Kitase worked closely with Kazushige Nojima, another writer, to make sure the story was intelligible:
“There were teams working on each character and the things that they say in the storyline, but then overall, Nojima-san was the final reviewer. That’s bringing the whole storyline together. That practice was carried on for future titles to have that cohesion. But besides that, it was sort of an ‘anything goes’ type of world then.”
Later in the interview, the developers began talking more about the original game’s themes, with the article writer claiming these to be “corporate greed, environmentalism, and mental health”. Here are the remarks from Kitase:
“In Final Fantasy VII, we were able to depict these types of issues, like the cycle of life, through the concept of Lifestream. If we were to depict it exactly as we experience it in the real world, it would not be very interesting. With Nojima-san’s ideas, we were able to have this centered on Lifestream and the planet within the worldview of Final Fantasy VII. In this way, I believe the game and its themes remain relevant and withstand the test of time.”
However, Kitase says he’s “embarrassed” by how the game handled “social problems, social issues, and cultural depictions”, despite it being fiction:
“Considering the way to depict social problems, social issues, and cultural depictions, in some ways, I am a bit embarrassed by the original title. In its expression, in some ways, it was very young and naive in itself. That is a learning for us, but at the same time, I do believe that perhaps that is one of the reasons why it was so widely accepted. It’s not perfect, and it’s kind of uneven and jagged in its young and naive nature of its depiction. Of course, after [more than] 25 years, there is a lot of personal learning, changes, and growth. But looking back on it, some parts of it, I am a bit embarrassed.”
Such a quote will have some wondering if Game Informer translated it correctly or ended up “localizing” it, but considering Square Enix has an “ethics department”, there is likely more truth to the quote than some would like.
While Kitase didn’t mention what exactly he was embarrassed about, it could be assumed that the many things that offend politically correct westerners were what he was talking about.
Many elements of the original game that offend (how sex is portrayed in the honey bee inn, Tifa’s sex appeal, Barret being a “racist stereotype”, Cid’s “mistreatment” of his love interest, etc.).
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is set to launch on February 29th, 2024, for PS5.
Editor’s Note: Featured image generated via Bing AI