Final Fantasy VII Remake really could have gone either way, looking back. Remaking a game as iconic and important as the original Final Fantasy VII was no small feat, but thankfully Square Enix delivered the goods, and we got the outrageous Honey Bee Inn dance scene we deserved. As anyone who played through to the end knows, however, changes were made to the game that could have major ramifications for the next chapter of the story in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
In an interview with VG247, producer Yoshinori Kitase discussed why the decision was made to deviate from the storyline of the original game, recalling, "we approached the FFVII Remake project with the aim to make it something that could be enjoyed by both fans of the original game and people who did not know it."
But its more challenging to design a game for someone who knows what happens next, and nostalgia can only take you so far, as Kitase explains, "I have also had experiences where a game that I loved and had a lot of fun with in the past was remade, and I bought it and played it out of the overwhelming nostalgia. It is enjoyable for a while, but the fun from that nostalgia only really lasts through the first sections." This was a state of affairs Kitase hoped to avoid. As such, he "decided that Final Fantasy VII Remake would not just appeal to nostalgia, but would include a new story as well to feel both nostalgic and fresh at the same time."
Kitase confirms that this ethos will continue on in the next two chapters of the planned trilogy of games, and that players should expect the unexpected, noting that "the result of [the changes] is that, for Part 2 and Part 3, we are able to give fans the excitement of wondering which parts will be 100 percent faithful to the original - and where the new elements will be added."
But it's all a matter of perspective. Kitase has the legacy of a beloved franchise to consider, a fact of which he is well aware. He says that "the original Final Fantasy VII has been loved by the fans for over 20 years, but I started to feel that I didn't want it to finish up as something in an archive, and wanted to make it a title that continues to be loved for another 100 years to come. That is what Final Fantasy VII Remake is."
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is expected to launch Winter, 2023. Are you excited to see the storyline take a turn for the unexpected, or would you rather it stayed more closely in line with the original? Pick a side in the comments section below.