Final Fantasy VII was first released on three discs for the original PlayStation in 1997. It featured crude, polygonal characters in pre-rendered, 2D environments, which was much less resource-intensive to develop than the modern 3D graphics in the trailer. “If we took everything that’s in the original game and remade it at that quality, we couldn’t get it all on a single release,” original game’s director Yoshinori Kitase told Dengeki.
Epic in scope, the game spends a whole long and complicated act just inside the city of Midgar before even opening up to the traditional Final Fantasy world map. As was typical of RPGs from that era, play times averaged 40-60 hours, and could go upwards of hundreds of hours for real completionists. Doing a single release of modern quality would necessitate cutting and condensing a lot of that content, which would likely irk fans. It would also leave them with even less wiggle room to introduce new ideas. Splitting the remake into episodes allows Square Enix to adapt the entirety of the original into something that honors its depth and scope, without being restricted to just the highlights.
Square Enix previously made clear that the remake would be changing many elements of the game, starting with this weekend’s revelation of the episodic structure and the trailer’s more dynamic combat. Another potential change that many fans have been curious about since the remake’s announcement was also addressed in a recent Famitsu interview (via Gematsu). The notorious Don Corneo cross-dressing quest will remain a part of the remake.
Cloud dresses up as a woman early in the game in an attempt to get close to a mafioso-type and then threatens him for information. The whole quest is played for laughs, largely at the expense of men dressing up in women’s clothing. Now that the culture at large has a much greater sensitivity to transphobia, many people questioned whether the section could or should be included in the remake. Depending on how Square Enix handles the quest, we may get to look forward to the now-standard back and forth of online criticism, defense, and name-calling whenever gender politics come up in gaming.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is currently in development for PlayStation 4. There is no word on a release date or any particulars of the episodic release schedule.