Final Fantasy VII Remake
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Released Apr. 10th, 2020
Published by: Square Enix
Developed by: Square Enix
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Details
Final Fantasy VII Remake is an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix, released for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020. It is the first in a planned series of games remaking the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII.

Set in the dystopian cyberpunk metropolis of Midgar, players control mercenary Cloud Strife as he and an eco-terrorist group known as AVALANCHE oppose a powerful megacorporation known as Shinra from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. The gameplay combines real-time action with strategic and role-playing elements.

Remake was announced in 2015 following years of speculation. Several key staff members returned, including character designer Tetsuya Nomura as director and main character designer, director Yoshinori Kitase as producer, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima as story/scenario, event planner Motomu Toriyama as co-director/scenario design, and composer Nobuo Uematsu returning to compose the main theme of the game, among other staff. The staff redesigned the characters to balance realism and stylization.

The game was well received for its graphics, gameplay, narrative and music. It has become one of the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 games, selling over 3.5 million copies within the first three days.


Premise

Final Fantasy VII Remake is the first in a planned series of games remaking the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII. It covers the first section of the original game, set in the metropolis Midgar; IGN estimated that Remake covers approximately 10-15% of the original game's story.

Players control Cloud Strife, a former Shinra soldier turned mercenary who joins the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE to fight the Shinra Corporation, who have been draining the planet's life energy. Every element has been remade, using real-time polygonal graphics as opposed to the pre-rendered environments of the original. The story includes major expansions to character development and some notable plot additions.

Exploration and battle mechanics both take place in real time, like Final Fantasy XV. The game features an altered "Active Time Battle" (ATB) system from the original, which gradually fills up slowly, or can fill faster with attacks. Once it is filled, the player can halt the action and use special abilities such as magic, items, and special moves. The player can also assign these special abilities to shortcut buttons, allowing them to play entirely in real-time without pausing. Each special ability uses up a segment of the ATB bar. The player can also switch between party members at any time. Each party member has their own individual skills, such as Cloud's close-quarters melee attacks and Barret's long-range distance attacks. Players are also able to use magic and summons, and a Limit Break gauge allows characters to perform more powerful attacks once charged. While the game has more real-time elements, strategic elements still remain, such as selecting weapons and magic for each character to wield.


Plot

Cloud Strife is a former member of SOLDIER, the elite warriors of the Shinra Electric Power Company. Shinra uses mako, the Planet's spiritual energy, harvested by massive reactors, to power the metropolis of Midgar and develop cutting-edge technology. Disillusioned with Shinra, and at the request of his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart, Cloud takes a mercenary job for Avalanche, an ecoterrorist organization, led by Barret Wallace, who believes excessive mako harvesting will cause environmental disaster, which they attempt to prevent by bombing a mako reactor. In the aftermath, Cloud is haunted by memories of Sephiroth, an enigmatic former SOLDIER member, and meets the florist Aerith Gainsborough. Although Cloud intends to leave Avalanche after receiving his pay, mysterious ghost-like entities, who often reappear at pivotal moments in the game, cause him to be recruited for another reactor bombing, which goes awry, separating him from the group.

Cloud meets Aerith again and protects her from Shinra forces, who pursue her for unknown reasons. While attempting to reunite with his party with Aerith's help, they see Tifa entering Wall Market, a lawless walled-in city, and, reuniting with her, learn that she is trying to gain information from Wall Market's crime lord Don Corneo. Corneo reveals that Shinra plans to collapse a piece of the "plate," home to Midgar's upper class, onto the slums of Sector 7 to retaliate for Avalanche's destruction of the mako reactors. Cloud, Tifa, and Barret fail to stop Shinra's plan, and the plate falls. Thanks to Aerith, much of the population is able to evacuate in time, but she is captured by Shinra.

While clearing the rubble left by the plate's fall, Cloud, Tifa, and Barret discover an underground Shinra research lab. Horrified by the experiments they find inside, they infiltrate Shinra headquarters and rescue Aerith before she suffers the same fate. She reveals that she is the last descendant of the Cetra, a near-extinct precursor race who resided in a "Promised Land", which Shinra covets due to its boundless mako reserves. The group also meets a talking wolf-like creature called Red XIII, who explains that the strange ghost-like entities the group has encountered are called Whispers. They exist to ensure that the course of destiny (implied to be the events of the original game) is not altered, by correcting any deviations from this course. Meanwhile, Sephiroth infiltrates Shinra and steals a mysterious entity known as "Jenova", somehow connected to the extinction of the Cetra.

In a confrontation at the top of Shinra headquarters, Sephiroth murders the president of Shinra and also impales Barret, although the Whispers save him, while the party fights a hallucinatory apparition of Jenova. With the death of President Shinra, his son Rufus assumes control of the company and briefly fights Cloud, but is defeated. Cloud and his allies flee the scene via the Midgar Expressway, but find Sephiroth waiting for them at the end. Sephiroth cryptically challenges Cloud, opening a portal to another dimension. Aerith somehow alters the portal, stating that they will change destiny if they continue. The group enters the portal and battles the Whisper Harbinger, an entity formed by an amalgamate of Whispers. While this happens, in what appears to an alternate timeline engulfed by Whispers, SOLDIER Zack Fair fights an army of Shinra troops determined to kill him and Cloud.

After the Whisper Harbinger is defeated, Sephiroth confronts the group, seemingly seizing the remnants of the Whisper's power. Together, the party overwhelms him, but as Cloud seems poised to finish him, Sephiroth transports the both of them to a metaphysical realm he calls the Edge of Creation. Sephiroth urges Cloud to join him, and defy fate together. Cloud refuses and fights Sephiroth, but is no match for him alone and is defeated, although Sephiroth spares him before departing, cryptically stating that he will have seven seconds to defy fate.

Meanwhile, in the presumed alternate timeline, Zack Fair triumphs over the Shinra forces. After Cloud returns to his group, they agree that Sephiroth is a greater threat to the Planet than Shinra, and commit to pursuing him. However, as the group departs Midgar, Aerith expresses concern over their now uncertain future.


Design

The game entered full production by late 2015, led by Business Division 1, an internal production team within Square Enix. While Nomura was involved with the project from the start, he only discovered he was the director after seeing himself credited in an internal company presentation video, as he had expected Kitase to fill the role. He revealed that Kitase himself thought Nomura expected to become director. Nomura worked as director for both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts III. Another project leader was Naoki Hamaguchi, who had previously served as a programmer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and project lead for Mobius Final Fantasy.

While the team had the option of merely creating a remastered version of VII with better graphics as many fans had requested, they noted that its graphics and many of its mechanics had become dated by modern standards. With this in mind, they decided to do a full remake, rebuilding the game systems to suit contemporary tastes and using current gaming technology to recreate the world of VII. This decision triggered the creation of Remake's action-based battle system, in addition to the most representative modern title for the Final Fantasy series being the 2009 fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy. With this in mind, the battle system draws from that action-based style while not going over to an entirely action-based system. Nomura and Mitsunori Takahashi are handling the battle system, the latter of whom had worked on both the Kingdom Hearts series and Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. One of the game designers was Kyohei Suzuki, a veteran of the company's Business Division 4 who had previously worked as a planner for Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts Coded. The team aimed to retain all the original gameplay mechanics that were well-liked by players.

Rather than using the character models and graphical style of Advent Children, which by that point had been developed using ten-year-old technology, the team decided to create new designs and models for characters: Nomura wished to balance the realism of Advent Children with deformed stylization. Nomura was in charge of the revamped main character designs, while designer Roberto Ferrari was in charge of designs for secondary characters. Character modeling was supervised by Visual Works, Square Enix's CGI development branch.

Rather than developing their own engine, Square Enix licensed Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 to develop the game, with Square Enix and Epic Games Japan working together to optimize the engine for Remake. The team also received technical assistance from the developers of Kingdom Hearts III, as the latter game was developed using the same engine. The game's lighting is augmented with the lighting engine Enlighten. To help with the action gameplay and video quality, Square Enix originally partnered with video game developer CyberConnect2, with the two companies keeping in close contact due to different development styles.

In 2017, the game's development focus shifted from being developed with external partners to being a primarily internal project. One of the most significant changes was the fact that the game was planned as a multi-game release: according to Kitase, this was because trying to fit the game onto a single release would entail cutting large parts of the game, which went against the team's vision. By splitting the game into multiple parts, the team can give players more substantial access to areas in the game, such as within the city of Midgar, which was mostly inaccessible in the original. Each game is planned to be on a similar scale to Final Fantasy XIII. The first installment focused on the city of Midgar due to its iconic status among the Final Fantasy community.


-- Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Final_Fantasy_VII_Remake