Final Fantasy VII Remake. Just those four words across the screen, partnered by the sound of the opening notes of Nobuo Uematsu’s “Opening Mission” theme for the game, are enough to send shivers down the back of literally millions of fans. Both those who played the original in their childhood, forming ever-lasting bonds with the game’s main characters Cloud, Tifa, Barrett, Aerith, Cid, Vincent, Yuffie, Caid Sith, Red XIII, or even the antagonist Sephiroth, and the ones who weren’t around during the game’s initial release in 1997 yet, impressed by all that they’ve seen from it so far and the excitement surrounding it, can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about.
The truth is, the developer of this highly-anticipated project, Square Enix, have had quite a rocky past when it comes to these types of titles, which has left the trust of their faithful followers in tatters. Many issues across the -formerly known as- Fabula Nova Crystallis series, the initial launch of Final Fantasy XIV and the lengthy wait for Kingdom Hearts III don’t really allow for much optimism.
Recently though it appears as if the big-wigs at the company are beginning to show signs of changing their way of thinking. Whereas in the past they would opt to show off a title until there was nothing left of it to show, now there are statements of regret and choosing a different path. For example, recently during the results of the current financial year, their CEO Yosuke Matsuda explained that they feel they “…need to reduce the time between announcement and launch of triple-A titles.”
That in itself is a reason to be optimistic. It means they understand that fans aren’t willing to wait around forever for a new game, no matter what it may be called. They may have had a rude awakening from their experience with Kingdom Hearts III, which even though sold admirably, surpassing 5 million copies within its first month of release, wasn’t able to turn in a profit for the company since it was too heavily marketed.
This isn’t the first time that Square Enix set the bar way too high with their sales expectations either. I’m afraid I don’t recall what year it was, but they were aiming to sell close to ten million physical copies of Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which despite being quite a great game and the franchise having its own following, but there was never any chance it was going to make it that far. Of course, due to exceedingly high expectations, the title was inevitably deemed a failure (although it actually is one of the greatest hits in this generation).
Going back to Final Fantasy VII Remake, one would hope that all of these experiences have taught the higher-ups at Square Enix to curb their enthusiasm a bit and maintain a low profile. This title does indeed have the potential of breaking records, just as the initial title did, but this is a whole other playing field and one measly little thing is enough to set the entire fan base against you.
Speaking of which, the recent one-minute and twenty-second teaser trailer that was given during PlayStation’s StateOfPlay showing was already enough to set them off. After the initial excitement that lead to over 2 million views on YouTube in less than a week(!), several online outlets or individual fans began their… reactions: “Barrett’s voice not a proper representation of the African-American community”, an article on Kotaku reads. “Fans in Japan are outraged over Aerith’s long face”, @RedMakuzawa posted on Twitter… and this is just the beginning. We haven’t even seen the infamous Honey Bee Inn scene, where players are tasked with going around looking for items to help Cloud dress up like a woman in order to gain access to a brothel and help his fellow team member Tifa.
It feels a bit pointless to keep saying this, but people need to understand that this game is a faithful remake of a game that was launched in 1997, when the world was a different place. If the scene is changed too dramatically, then the purists will complain about it and if it is shown in its full extent, then the developers will be blamed for being insensitive towards the LGBTI+ communities. Everyone is literally waiting at the corner for them. Is there even a point to all of this?
This was just one example of how high in regard people hold this title. It’s like a work of art for them, it needs to be delivered perfectly. All the themes of life, all the funny parts, all the areas of exploration need to be displayed perfectly, otherwise it just won’t be worth it. How easy of a task that’ll prove to be for Square Enix remains to be seen, yet so far, they seem to be doing a pretty good job at it.
We were promised more information at this year’s E3, which is just three short weeks away. Right now, the internet has gone into overdrive with new rumors regarding release date, leaks, trailers and other things that might be shown being talked about almost on a daily basis. The most recent debate on Twitter is on whether or not the game should be political (a game that talks about how large corporations can destroy planets and where you’re part of a terrorist group, I don’t know how it can get any more political than that, anyway.) We’ll probably get so much more in the days up until the Square Enix E3 Conference (Tuesday 11 June, just in case) that in the end it’ll be hard to say which one was real and which were lies just to attract some attention.
But all of this is just part of the excitement. Hopefully we won’t need to wait much longer for the first part of this remake (it has already been announced that a project this large cannot be delivered in one disc so they needed to divide the work) and like the info says, we can play it by the start of the new year. However it’ll be a good idea for them to keep it under wraps for a while, let it go AWOL and then begin to advertise it again when it’s really close to release. There’s really no point in showing off a game today that is meant to be released in September 2020. That’s almost harmful to its image. Five-three months before release is a good time in my opinion.
From all we’ve read and heard, it seems this will be Square Enix’s flagship title (kinda like their main attraction, if you will) at this year’s show. They don’t have much else going on, other than the expansion of Final Fantasy XIV, Shadowbringers and the episodic releases of Life Is Strange 2. So it would be a little self-destructive if they were to bring it back next year as well. Public interest would wane. If they’re shifting into full-on promotion of Final Fantasy VII Remake, then it needs to come out by the end of the fiscal year (March 2020.) Plain and simple.
Almost five years into production, surely it’s enough for just the first of many parts of a single title..? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Till June 11.
Originally published at http://sopeoplewhatsup.blogspot.com.