Everything we know about Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake

From combat to story, here's what we know about Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Remember Final Fantasy VII Remake? Originally teased at E3 2015, the remake to one of the most revered RPGs of all time has essentially been MIA for more than three years. During Sony’s most recent State of Play livestream, Final Fantasy VII Remake made its triumphant return to the spotlight. The new trailer only ran for roughly a minute, but it represented the most substantial look we’ve seen of the reimagined gameplay thus far. Square Enix promised to share more Final Fantasy VII Remake news at E3 2019 next month as well. For now, here’s everything we know about Final Fantasy VII Remake so far.

Goodbye turn-based battle system

Final Fantasy VII used the Active Time Battle system when it launched on PlayStation in 1997. ATB is variant of turn-based battling that considers charge time for attacks and is undoubtedly familiar to longtime fans of the series. Square Enix has moved away from the turn-based system in recent entries. The last Final Fantasy games to use ATB were Final Fantasy XIII and its spinoffs.

The State of Play trailer shows off a battle system in Final Fantasy VII Remake that is very action-oriented. It looks quite similar to Final Fantasy XV‘s combat, with a prompt in the lower left-hand corner of the screen that displays moves. A command menu — similar to Kingdom Hearts 3 — can be pulled up with the press of a button that appears to let you assign shortcuts for attacks, abilities, and items such as potions.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Party members’ stats are displayed in the lower right-hand corner. From the command menu, it seems you can cycle between party members with the triggers. Hit points fly off of enemies when you attack, though they don’t have on-screen health bars.

The trailer only shows Cloud, Tifa, and Barret in battle, but it’s presumed you’ll get to customize your party throughout the adventure. The original had nine playable characters, the three mentioned above and Aerith, Red XIII, Cait Sith, Cid, Yuffie, and Vincent. Yuffie and Vincent were optional party members, though. The latest trailer does prominently feature Aerith, so we know she’ll still play a major role in the story. Also, Aerith still loves her flowers and thinks everyone wants them. Based on Cloud’s reaction in the trailer, he’s as confused as ever.

Same story with modern flourishes

While it’s hard to say for sure since the information is quite dated, Square Enix is expected to make some changes to the story in Final Fantasy VII Remake. The core story of Cloud Strife and friends taking on the Sephiroth and the insidious Shinra corporation will still be there, but director Tetsuya Nomura has stated that the story will be tweaked. Specifically, Nomura told Famitsu at E3 2015 that “there will be more plot devices in the story.”

In the same vein, Nomura told Dengeki Online that the remake dives deeper into the story. So perhaps we’ll get more lore about the world while still getting to experience the timeless tale of good versus evil.

We got a glimpse of several of the game’s characters in a trailer posted for Tokyo Game Show 2019, including Sephiroth. After a view of several heroes parachuting over Midgar, Cloud and Reno battle it out, giving us another brief view of the new real-time action combat system. Aerith is later seen engaging in combat, as well — and the pronunciation of her name confirms which version Square Enix will go with in the remake.

President Shinra is seen as a hologram near the trailer’s conclusion, looking just as terrifying as we’d expect, before chaos erupts and bullets start flying.

The world looks much larger

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Based on the three trailers we’ve seen so far, it’s fairly easy to tell that Final Fantasy VII Remake will have a larger world than the original. That doesn’t mean that we should expect completely new areas, just that iconic areas like the city of Midgar will understandably be expanded and fleshed out. This makes sense since the original released way back in 1997.

What’s unclear at the moment is if Final Fantasy VII Remake will be a completely open world. Final Fantasy XV mixed open world with the linear, though spacious, environments we’ve come to expect in Final Fantasy games. Hopefully, we get a better understanding of the progression through the world at E3 2019.

Multiple parts, but each will be a full game

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Shortly after the initial reveal, Square Enix said the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released in multiple parts. Since years have passed since then, it wouldn’t have been surprising if plans had changed. But, alas, it still appears Final Fantasy VII Remake will launch as multiple parts, according to Square Enix’s Japanese website.

It seems likely that Square Enix will clarify this at its E3 2019 press conference. Don’t expect the release format to be like a Telltale game, where you get small parts equaling a full price whole. Based on Square Enix’s wording, each part will essentially be a full game. As in, Final Fantasy VII Remake will be multiple, large RPGs presumably sold at full AAA game price. In 2016 interview with Game Informer, producer Yoshinori Kitase compared each part to Final Fantasy XIII in terms of size.

How many Final Fantasy XIII size games fit in Final Fantasy VII‘s world? It appears we’re going to find out.

It uses Unreal Engine 4

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Square Enix is using Unreal Engine 4 to develop Final Fantasy VII Remake. As you can tell from the latest trailer, Cloud and friends, and the environments look positively gorgeous. Gameplay development originally commenced at both Square Enix and CyberConnect2, best known for the .hack series. In 2017, Square Enix took over as the sole developer, with Kingdom Hearts 3 director Nomura leading the helm. Ever since Kingdom Hearts 3 launched earlier this year, Nomura and his team have placed their full attention on developing the much-anticipated remake.

Release date and platforms

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake doesn’t currently have a launch date or even a vague window. However, it will launch on the PlayStation 4, which gives us somewhat of an idea of when to expect it. PS5 rumors and speculation have been ongoing for months. We know Sony is currently working on the next PlayStation, and some analysts believe it will launch sometime in 2020.

Even if the PS5 doesn’t launch until 2021, it would be surprising to see Final Fantasy VII Remake launch on PS4 close to the PS5’s launch. For that reason, a 2020 launch seems probable. Theoretically, Square could surprise people and announce a 2019 launch date at E3 2019. But that may be wishful thinking, considering how little we’ve seen so far and what we know about the development.

Perhaps, however, Final Fantasy VII Remake will launch as a bridge title between the PS4 and PS5, appearing on both platforms.

All marketing materials and trailers have only featured the PlayStation logo. As far as the official stance is concerned, Final Fantasy VII Remake is a PlayStation exclusive. For numerous entries, starting with Final Fantasy VII, the mainline entries stayed put on PlayStation consoles. That changed with Final Fantasy XIII and continued with Final Fantasy XV. Ports of previously PlayStation exclusive Final Fantasy games, including Final Fantasy VII, recently arrived on Xbox One and Switch, too.

People have speculated that Final Fantasy VII Remake may just be a timed exclusive for PS4. That’s unconfirmed. However, retailers have listed Final Fantasy VII Remake for Xbox One on numerous occasions. Just take a look at this GameStop Ireland listing. So while Final Fantasy VII Remake is certainly coming to PS4 first, it could possibly arrive on Xbox One and maybe even PC at a later date.

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