Final Fantasy VI Remake was announced way too early according to Tetsuya Nomura (FF7 Remake Director, Director of the Kingdom Hearts series, and holder of many design and director credits throughout the Final Fantasy series). Although the team has stopped making their own game engines and now use Unreal Engine 4, there is mounting evidence suggesting that the title will not be done anytime soon and could look completely different from what has been seen thus far by the time it launches. And this wouldn’t be the first time a Square Enix game’s development has been like this, as Final Fantasy already know all too well…
Ever since a tech demo during a Square Enix press event in Chiba City, Japan in 2005 of Final Fantasy VII running on PlayStation 3 hardware with all new graphics (further popularized at E3), demand for a FF7 remake has been massive. But Motuma Toriyama and Yoshinori Kitase of Square Enix were asked about such a remake and told the world that to re-create Final Fantasy VII with the graphical quality of the then work-in-progress game FF13 would require “over ten years”. Perhaps there is more truth to that statement than previously believed.
2005 PS3 FF7 REMAKE TECH DEMO
As many fans may be aware, some of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s work was out-sourced to a company called CyberConnect 2 so that Square Enix teams could focus their efforts on finishing and releasing Kingdom Hearts 3 (a game which itself was announced 5 years ago and still won’t release until January 29, 2019). The relationship with CyberConnect 2 reportedly ended on bad terms and is said to have costed the team 2 years worth of work despite efforts to downplay the effect that the issue had on the game’s progress, which were likely made to prevent an outbreak of panic among FF7 fans about the possibility of heavy delays or poor quality in the end result of the project.
Nomura himself has declared in recent interviews that Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy VII Remake were both announced by Square Enix’s executive publishing branch without his approval. Unfair pressure to show off the games at early stages have caused a strain on the development of both titles according to the game director.
Now that Kingdom Hearts 3 is nearing completion and release, Final Fantasy VII Remake appears to be completely absent from the marketing and discussions of Square Enix as a whole. That’s likely because the game is actually very far away from being completed, even though it will release episodically. Even now the team is hiring a Battle Planner which would be someone involved with designing the battle system of the game and planning boss fights, something that obviously shows how little work has been completed on this title.
Nomura went on to explain some of the reasons that Square Enix executives may have decided to announce the games early and push his team for trailers, even without his permission, knowing that the game was many years away from being ready to show to the public. He says that rumors and leaks both real as well as faked are becoming a major problem in the development of long-term projects. As much as fans want to get their hands on information regarding these titles that he says are often very important to the industry, leaks and fabricated rumors are hurting the games they mean to generate excitement for. Unrealistic expectations, or just the wrong overall theme of a game make it even worse when it turns out that a game needs a few more years than expected in development.
Final Fantasy VII has been the source of rumors since the Square Enix PlayStation 3 Tech Demo teaser came out. Once again before the PlayStation Vita released rumors of an FFVII Remake for the unreleased handheld began to rage on, and perhaps could even be partially blamed for the Vita’s poor sales when it launched without a trace of new Final Fantasy content to be seen (in contrast to FF7: Crisis Core being a major source of system sales for PSP). Were these leaks and rumors based on reality or just completely made up? Were they projects that failed to work out and got cancelled in favor of the more modern FFVII Remake we now see being created today? We might never know, but in any event their existence as rumors has had an influence on how early this new project got announced.
Regardless of how hard the team works to keep things secret, he does not believe that the people working on Final Fantasy VII Remake would have been able to avoid leaks and sees the upside of a double-edged sword in the early announcement of the game at least giving control of the messaging to the actual company making the game and not to fans with wild imaginations or journalists with jaded views and skeptical agendas. In the day and age where magazines are mostly dead and websites now face a decline in advertising revenue, stories that get the most clicks are usually reports on disasters going on at these companies.
It’s almost as if the gaming news outlets involved would rather see these teams fail and face problems so that they can paint the picture of a big scandal to their viewers, therefore generating more clicks, views, and advertising dollars to prop up their dying medium in an attempt to save their careers. But this is a downward spiral that dooms everyone since without big games to report on and get people excited for, the web outlets engaging in this sort of sabotage would no longer have any content to leech off of. The more and more fragmented the industry becomes the less each article will get viewed as players turn to many smaller games to satisfy their needs rather than a few big hits each year.
But you’ve seen gameplay of Final Fantasy VII Remake in 2015, it must not be as bad as we say it is, right? Wrong. While many gamers don’t want to hear it and refuse to accept it, the industry has a well documented track record of faking trailers from the Battlefield series using custom builds on $10,000 computers soldered together and pushed to their literal breaking point (no longer functional after E3), to the Watch Dogs trailers using graphics features that were later disabled, to perhaps the more well known No Man’s Sky marketing footage used to show features that didn’t even exist in the game’s engine until its recent NEXT update added them in years later.
There’s also a well known practice in the gaming world of creating ultra high fidelity still images to promote games that are light years away from how the actual product will look. These are known by industry veterans and even hardcore gamers are ‘bull-shots’ and you may have heard of them without stopping to realize what that name means. They’re bull… It is extremely likely that the footage we have seen of FFVII Remake so far is actually not even video from a real game but instead was created as a standalone CG (Computer-generated) cinematic video clip to get people excited.
CyberConnect 2 were supposed to help create this video game but instead the bulk of the work they’ve performed seems to be simply on making marketing trailers that will only mislead the public about what this game will actually be like. Just look at Final Fantasy Versus XIII which was announced at E3 2006 as a PlayStation 3 exclusive title, renamed to Final Fantasy XV seven years later, and then finally released on November 29, 2016 (a full nine years since the original announcement) as a completely different looking project than originally advertised. Thankfully, fans have responded well to the final product – but will the same outcome be FFVII Remake’s ultimate fate? It’s certainly a much larger gamble given the nostalgia factor involved and very different landscape of the industry.
Fans were already being asked a lot to accept a new version of FF7 that isn’t turn-based, doesn’t hold the same elements as the original, and is being treated more as a brand new creation rather than a remake according to Square Enix (despite its name).
If Final Fantasy VII Remake: Episode I doesn’t come out until November 2021, has a completely different name (that name is terrible anyways), new vision, and design than originally shown in 2015, and exists only on next-generation platforms like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Project Scarlet – will you still give it a chance?