Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has been officially announced, and it's already proving to be a popular talking point — perhaps as you'd expect, given the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake. This is a sequel that seems to be veering wildly from the once promised path, and 'Rebirth' certainly hammers that point home.
But what do we actually want from Rebirth? What can Square Enix do to improve upon Remake? We decided to get the Push Square editorial team together to talk about the upcoming PS5 exclusive (minus Stephen, who tried his hardest to like Remake, but binned it after a few hours).
Robert Ramsey, Lifelong Final Fantasy Fan
I liked Remake, but I didn't love it. Overall, I think the game's highpoints outweigh its lows, but I still think there's a lot of room for improvement in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth — especially from a structural perspective. For a start, more exploration would be nice. I enjoyed how well realised much of Remake's world was — Midgar will always be a great setting — but the amount of corridor-like environments that you're forced to slowly walk down is a joke. There's just too much padding in Remake — borderline terrible side quests included — so hopefully Rebirth finds a better pace and sticks with it.
With Rebirth, the one thing I have total faith in is the combat. I thought the system in Remake was fantastic — a near perfect melding of command-driven strategy and action-based battling. An evolution of those mechanics could be incredible, especially if more party members are involved.
As for the story stuff, I don't know what to think. I don't particularly trust Square Enix to make a 'new' narrative that isn't a complete mess. God knows what they're doing with alternate timelines and all that nonsense. Maybe Rebirth will defy expectations and actually take the world of Final Fantasy VII in an enjoyable new direction. I certainly hope that's the case, but I'm not exactly betting on it.
Ultimately, I'm looking forward to seeing where things go — but my expectations will be tempered.
Liam Croft, First-Time Final Fantasy VII Player
I like Final Fantasy and I like good video games, so playing Final Fantasy VII Remake back at launch was the perfect concoction despite having never played the original on PS1. I have absolutely no nostalgia for that classic experience, and I absolutely loved what happened at the end of Remake. I'm a guy who loves games that go off the rails and get weird — the earlier in the story the better — and boy did Square Enix do so. The fact it's not really a "remake" anymore is fascinating to me, and I'm here for whatever happens in Rebirth.
Square Enix, I'm telling you right now: don't stick to the narrative from 1997. Keep Aerith alive. Kill off Tifa. Have Cloud and Sephiroth kiss for all I care. I want the most mental story possible. Put it this way: if you're pissing off the hardcore fans, I'm probably going to like it even more.
When I'm actually playing the game, let's make the environments bigger and open for exploration. I've been playing Final Fantasy XIII recently and I'm done with linear hallway after linear hallway. Improve the side quests and you've got reason to veer off the beaten path. One of the Final Fantasy VII Rebirth screenshots features a compass with an objective over 1,000 metres away, and that gives me hope it could be a slightly more open game. Or Cloud and Sephiroth could just be strolling along a really long path in a flashback scene, I'm told.
No matter what happens, though, I'm playing this sequel. In 2024, because you're not getting Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth in the same year. Sorry!
Sammy Barker, Final Fantasy Casual
I came to Final Fantasy VII late, so I don’t have the built-in nostalgia that many others have. That said, while I enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy VII Remake, it left me a little #Concerned. To be honest, I have very little patience for anime bullsh*t, and while the ending of the original primarily left me bemused, I don’t think we’re looking at a remake anymore. The sequel’s subtitle, Rebirth, even implies that we’re going to be diverted heavily in a different direction.
I can see how that comes with some excitement for long-running fans: where are they going to go next? But for me, I find it frustrating – even bordering on insulting, to be honest. My favourite parts of Final Fantasy VII Remake were the moments when familiar scenes were adapted – not necessarily beat-for-beat, but recognisable at least. If we’re heading into a different timeline, a multiverse if you will, then I just don’t trust Square Enix’s writing team to pen something cohesive.
From a gameplay perspective, I’m pretty satisfied with what we got, so iteration on that will be grand –a few less Poundland side-quests would be appreciated, however. But again, it’s all about the plot for me: I already feel it’s been Kingdom Hearts-ed – and I fear things are about to get worse. Cynicism aside, though, I sincerely hope to be proven wrong.
Are you looking forward to Final Fantasy VII Rebirth? What are your hopes and dreams for the sequel? Vote in our poll, and then write your own story in the comments section below.