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The Final Fantasy VII Remake: Everything we know so far

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. The game is finally available to play — at least the demo is — and it is scheduled to release in April 2020. Here’s everything we know about Final Fantasy VII Remake so far.

Goodbye, turn-based battle system

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Teaser Trailer | PS4

Final Fantasy VII used the Active Time Battle (ATB) system when it launched on PlayStation in 1997. ATB is a 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 from 2019 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 and appears to let you assign shortcuts for attacks, abilities, and items such as potions.

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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. One 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

Final Fantasy VII - E3 2015 Trailer | PS4

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 plot 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.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Tokyo Game Show 2019 Trailer (Closed Captions)

We got a glimpse of several of the game’s characters in a trailer posted for Tokyo Game Show 2019, including Sephiroth. After getting a look at 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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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 be expanded and fleshed out. This makes sense because the original game was released 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 to create a spacious environment we’ve come to expect in Final Fantasy games.

Multiple parts, but each will be a full game

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Shortly after the initial reveal, Square Enix said the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released in multiple parts. That is still the case, with the first part covering the game’s story up through the Midgar escape.

In a 2016 interview with Game Informer, producer Yoshinori Kitase compared each part with Final Fantasy XIII in terms of size.

How many Final Fantasy XIII-size games fit in Final Fantasy VII‘s world? It appears we’ll have to wait to find out. Square Enix hasn’t shared how many episodes the final game will be.

It uses Unreal Engine 4

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Square Enix is using Unreal Engine 4 to develop Final Fantasy VII Remake. As you can tell from the latest trailer, Cloud and friends — as well as 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 at the helm. Ever since Kingdom Hearts 3 launched in 2019, Nomura and his team have placed their full attention on developing the much-anticipated remake.

Release date and platforms

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Final Fantasy VII Remake will launch on April 10, 2020, for PS4. The game was initially scheduled to release in March before a slight delay.

PlayStation Experience 2015: Final Fantasy VII Remake - PSX 2015 Trailer | PS4

A demo version is available to play now on PS4 through the PlayStation Store. The demo features similar content to the E3 2019 presentation and covers the opening mission of the game. Those who download it prior to May 11 will get a free PS4 console theme as well.

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 games stayed put on PlayStation consoles. That changed with Final Fantasy XIII and continued with Final Fantasy XV. Ports of previous PlayStation-exclusive Final Fantasy games, including Final Fantasy VII, recently arrived on Xbox One and Switch, too.

Pre-order Final Fantasy VII Remake for PS4

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Steven Petite
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven is a writer from Northeast Ohio currently based in Louisiana. He writes about video games and books, and consumes…
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