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Inside Final Fantasy VII dives into the making of Square Enix’s iconic game

Inside Final Fantasy VII 7 developer interview retrospective documentary
Image used with permission by copyright holder

With recent releases on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, the PlayStation classic Final Fantasy VII was introduced to audiences that may have never experienced this pivotal Japanese RPG and gives experienced fans another chance to take the journey through Gaia. On Thursday, April 11, in the third entry in the series of developer featurettes exploring this legendary franchise, Inside Final Fantasy gives us a close look at Final Fantasy VII with insight from the game’s writer and director Yoshinori Kitase, art director Yusuke Naora, and publicity producer Shinji Hashimoto.

Kitase was previously the director and writer for Final Fantasy VI, but Final Fantasy VII was a massive step for him and the Square team overall. It was the first 3D Final Fantasy, which is casually respected from an external perspective all these years later, but was a major moment for the development team at the time. As such, that transition is a huge focus of this edition of Inside Final Fantasy.

“I’m pretty sure everyone will have different opinions on this, but the first time we felt that Final Fantasy had become an influential, epoch-making thing was when we made the television commercial for Final Fantasy VII,” Hashimoto said.

“A revolving 3D render of this very large building, Midgar, was used very frequently in commercials,” he added. “Up until that point, of course, the art had been beautiful, but it was only 2D. All of a sudden, there it was in 3D and full CG, and there was a palpable sense that before long, movies and games were going to start being the same thing. We really felt that we were approaching a new era and that was kind of the moment that we felt like we were grasping something really new.”

Beyond the shift to 3D, the team shared a few of their favorite moments from Final Fantasy VII. Despite the game originally releasing back in 1997, the team shied away from specific spoilers so that players that are getting their hands on the game for the first time can share the same experience that millions of others have.

“The opening scene where you see Midgar has an incredible impact,” Kitase said. “Of course, I can’t help but recall that famous scene with Aerith, either. And then I don’t want to give anything away, but the scene at the end where Red XIII is running … I’ll never forget it.”

Naora dug even deeper into that “famous scene.” “My favorite scene? Uh … that would definitely be a spoiler. So to word it in a way that doesn’t spoil anything, the greatest tragedy in that game, the greatest tragedy in that story is a part that I really love. The cinematics, the battle, and the drama all come together and combine beautifully with the visuals and the sound and the music. It gave us all goosebumps as we were making it.”

It’s far out, but new and old players will be able to experience this incredible story, including that terrible tragedy, once again when Square Enix releases the Final Fantasy VII remake, which is currently in development.

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Charles Singletary Jr.
I'm a Birmingham, AL raised author, journalist, and gaming enthusiast currently residing in San Antonio, TX. My work has…
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