A phenomenon when it came out in 1997, Final Fantasy VII was originally intended for Nintendo’s next-gen console but, after a falling out between the two companies and the Big N’s decision to stick with expensive, bulky (and limited) cartridges, Final Fantasy VII made its way over to Sony’s disc-based system, the PlayStation upstart. Originally born out of a collaboration with Nintendo, the PlayStation didn’t become its own thing until Sony was literally jilted at the altar. In a way, Final Fantasy VII represents a major miscalculation for Nintendo on multiple fronts and turned out to be a coup for Sony in the process.
Introducing the now standard cinematic JRPG experience, Final Fantasy VII was quirky, deep, and new enough to cause a sensation. Many gamers had never played a JRPG title before and Final Fantasy VII was their first foray into that world. Being such a cultural touchstone has its advantages, naturally, but it also comes with a myriad of drawbacks. Chief among them being how exactly does Square “remake” such a game?
While details remain sketchy ever since its initial release years ago, and confidence remains low given Final Fantasy XV’s laggard development time, the Final Fantasy VII remake is expected to be one of the biggest titles of the year whenever it drops. And we have some idea of just when that might be.
First, we know that Square is dividing the experience into multiple chapters. How that will play out from a console perspective is unknown but, given that FFVII is no longer a Sony-only party, we think that Square-Enix will probably want to establish some kind of platform upon which they can iterate content, much as they do with their massively multiplayer online role-playing game Final Fantasy XIV.
Promising not only improved visuals and an expanded universe, the Final Fantasy VII remake will also probably try to capitalize on the rising “games as a service” business model in much the same way as FFXV with its online expansions and downloadable content. Given that current timelines are placing the next-gen consoles’ debut sometime in 2020, a release of the Final Fantasy VII remake before then seems unlikely. That is, many people think the game is being geared for next-gen systems given the limited lifespan of the current console generation. That would place the release of the first installment in the remake at sometime in 2020 or later. Of course, that doesn’t mean Square Enix won’t release the game for both generations, in the vein of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V, but we think that the FFVII remake is going to be massive and we can’t see Square intentionally dividing the audience like that. Outside from an upgrade in visuals and an expanded story, Square also has promised to add even more in the way of content to the game. While some speculate that the side stories could be included in the remake, hints from the company have directed speculation towards even more universe-expanding fare and new, untold stories using the FFVII remake engine.