The Final Fantasy VII Remake is upon us, or at least it will be soon (hopefully). Aside from a quick gameplay trailer that was released in December of 2015 and a few screenshots here and there, Square Enix have largely kept news about their major project behind closed doors. Hopefully we will get some sort of look at the game this Spring during some of the big gaming press conferences at E3 and Gamescon. Personally, I am fine with them taking as much time as they need in order to make this game incredible. In the meantime however, I do hope that they’re taking what the fans want from this game into consideration while in the development process.
So I thought I’d let them know exactly what I want to see from the game. Here are eight things (in no particular order) that need to be included in the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
#1:Expand the World
The planet Gaia in Final Fantasy VII is an incredibly beautiful place. Even with the limited technology that they had in 1997, I am still amazed at the scale in which Square was able to build this world. Now with the advancements of 21st century gaming technology, Square has the ability to truly bring this world to life and give it the cinematic treatment it deserves. Forget about having to traverse back and forth between a select number of screens given to each of the world map’s locations. Imagine being able to fully dive into the industrial metropolis of Midgar, having complete freedom to explore the city’s every nook and cranny, the way we were able to explore the city of Novigrad in a game as massive as The Witcher III: Wild Hunt.
This also brings me to my second point about side quests. The remake needs to include fun and interesting side quests. Although Final Fantasy XV included side quests, they were mainly just boring, cookie cutter, little assignments where you had to go get something and bring it back to the quest giver. Not really anything you were that excited to do. We need story driven side quests that take you deeper into the world of Final Fantasy VII, the way CD Projeckt Red was able to in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Maybe even side quests that explore some of the side characters.
Give us more dialogue options for all the interesting people in iconic locations such as Midgar, Fort Condor, Nibelheim, and Wutai as well. Not just the typical sequence of clicking on some random NPC’s character icon and having one line of dialogue appear, but actual back-and-forth dialogue between the player and certain NPCs the way you would see it in a Bioware or a Bethesda title. Now obviously not every NPC has to be a fully developed character, but perhaps just a few intriguing characters in which you can talk to, learn about the area from, and maybe given a quest or a hunt from. Final Fantasy XV did this fairly well, but I think Square can do a lot better with this in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
I don’t know about you but when I first played Final Fantasy VII, I did not want to have to leave this world after the game was over. Especially since the remake is going to be episodic, we’re going to need more content to keep us busy after the main story is completed on the first episode until the second comes out. So please Square, allow us to be fully immersed into this beautiful world that you’ve created.
#2: Zack FairAh, the prodigal son has returned. The heroic member of S.O.L.D.I.E.R whose close friend Cloud Strife took on the persona of. Zack’s character MUST be explored deeper in the remake. Let’s start with the hidden scene that depicts what happened to Cloud and Zack after the Nibelheim incident, as well as Zack’s heroic last stand. There is no reason why this should not be a built-in part of the main story in the remake. It is an essential plot point for understanding the character of both Zack and Cloud. It could easily be added and should be added to the part of the game in which Tifa is trying to piece together Cloud’s memories. Or it could appear shortly after this by having it be a part of Cloud regaining some of his memories.
This brings me to Zack’s parents. I would love to be able to interact with them more. When you meet them in Gongaga in the original game, they ask you if you know of a young man named Zack who works for Shinra and that they haven’t heard from him in years. If you have both Tifa and Aerith in your party, hearing about Zack will trigger them to leave the house, remembering who Zack was to them and the painful memories that that brings. Let’s explore that more in the remake. How cool would it be if you could go back to Gongaga after remembering what happened and tell them about it in order to give them closure about their son? We can also use this opportunity to expand upon the relationship between Cloud, Aerith, and Zack.
When director Testuya Nomura said that the remake and the Final Fantasy VII Compilation were no longer in continuity with each other, it was not made clear what exactly this means for the story of Crisis Core. Whether the slate has been wiped clean for a slightly different backstory for Zack Fair or not remains to be seen. Either way, it is about time for this fan favorite character to get a grand return to the franchise.
#3: Compilation Characters
The Final Fantasy VII Compilation introduced some great new characters into the universe with the release of games like Before Crisis, Dirge of Cerberus, and Crisis Core. Let’s start with Cissnei, the young member of the Turks who helped Zack and Cloud escape from Shinra. She and Zack had a very tenuous relationship at best. Zack didn’t really trust her as she was a member of Shinra’s shadowy intelligence agency, but in the end she would look the other way in order to help Zack. We never really got to see what became of Cissnei after the events of Crisis Core. The question of whether or not she stayed with Shinra during the events of Final Fantasy VII can be adequately explored in the remake. The same can be said of Zack’s other friends, Kunsel and Luxiere. These two were both members of S.O.L.D.I.E.R during Crisis Core and there were hints that they would both abandon Shinra in order to help Zack. Exploring what these three Shinra employees did after the Nibelheim incident and how they could interact with the main cast would provide us with another angle to the story.
There is also of course, the character of Genesis Rhapsodos. There’s a lot they could do with Genesis in the remake. In the Crisis Core version of the Nibelheim incident, Genesis appears in the mako reactor to tell Sephiroth the truth about his origins. This could be included in the remake when the truth about what happened that day is revealed in Cloud’s memories. It could possibly provide some more context and could be a factor in explaining Sephiroth’s sudden descent into madness. There is also of course his appearance at the end of Dirge of Cerberus, but we will discuss this further later in the essay.
Deepground is another plot element that can be explored in the remake. This secret project of the Shinra Corporation could be hinted at perhaps being the focus of a future expansion to the franchise. Since the universe seems to be getting a reboot anyway, the remake could give us a brief glimpse at what villains lie ahead.
One more character I wanted to mention here is Zangan. Although not a compilation character, I find the character of Zangan to be very interesting. We don’t know what became of this seasoned, martial arts master after he carried Tifa to Midgar. Having him make a cameo in the remake would be very cool to see.
#4: Make Yuffie and Vincent Mandatory Party Members
Apparently, both Vincent and Yuffie were intended to be part of the main narrative, but due to time constraints they had to be relegated to side characters. Now that Square Enix has had twenty years and then some to work on the remake, there’s no reason that Vincent and Yuffie should not be part of the main narrative. Having them only be optional characters would mean that new fans playing the remake could potentially miss out on these two great characters and what they both add to the story. This also leads us to why they don’t appear during the ending of the original, which is explained in Dirge of Cerberus, but since that’s no longer canon, Square can modify the ending however they choose.
Since Vincent in particular has a such a strong connection to Sephiroth through his relationship with Dr. Lucrecia Cressent, his backstory should be a major focal point in the main narrative of the remake.
#5: Fix the Minigames
As impressive as the original game was, the minigames featured in that masterpiece are definitely very dated. Though the idea behind the motorcycle chase, the snowboarding sequence, and the chocobo races is a good one, they just aren’t very fun to play in their primitive states. In fact, they’re quite frustrating to play if I’m completely honest. With next generation technology at Square’s disposal, these minigames could be one of the highlights of the remake.
Think about how much of a blast it would be to go hang out and play at the Gold Saucer for hours on end if it’s done right. It would kick ass!
#6: Red XII’s Backstory
Of all the main characters in the original game, Red XII remains the most mysterious. We’re not exactly sure what species he is or if there are any others of his kind out in the world. He’s a unique character. At some points he is a stoic, strong-but-silent type individual. At others, he’s child like as he plays around in a sailor suit. His relationship with his “grandfather” Bugenhagen at Cosmo Canyon along with his powerful connection to the planet make for some great backstory to be explored.
#7: Bring Back the Original Voice Cast…Minus One
The voice actors who played the original characters in Advent Children, the Compilation, and the Kingdom Hearts games were fantastic and have made their voices inseparable from the characters they played. Steve Burton as Cloud, Rachel Leigh Cook as Tifa, Steven Blum as Vincent, Rick Gomez as Zack, and George Newbern as Sephiroth. All of these actors did a phenomenal job portraying these iconic characters. That is except for Mena Suvari as Aerith. This is nothing against Mena as an actress. I’m sure she does a fine job in most of her roles, but her performance as Aerith Gainsborough in the Kingdom Hearts series and in Advent Children was just awful. Every line she utters just sounds so dull, lifeless, and unnatural. She is really not up to the task of doing this character justice. Both Mandy Moore and Andrea Bowen did a far better job of portraying this character and either one of them is fit to voice Aerith in the remake. Since Andrea Bowen was the last person to voice Aerith in her last three appearances (Crisis Core, Dissidia, Explorers), she will probably be the one Square picks to voice Aerith.
The only other character whose voice actor is rumored to change for the remake is Red XII’s. It’s funny how in both Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus, he only gets two lines.
#8: A Coherent Ending
What exactly happens at the end of the original game is left rather ambiguous. As our heroes narrowly escape the Northern Crater after defeating Sephiroth, they are powerless to stop Meteor as it quickly descends upon the planet. Suddenly, the power of the Lifestream quickly emerges from the planet to stop Meteor dead in its track. The scene then cuts to a shot of Aerith, implying that she is the one stopping the destructive power of Meteor. The game ends and we get a post-credits scene set 500 years in the future of Red XII and his cubs looking out toward a lush, forested, and abandoned version of Midgar, signifying that the planet has been healed.
We don’t know what our beloved characters do after this. Of course we were told what happened in Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus, but again if these stories are no longer canon, then technically we don’t know what officially happened after the events of Final Fantasy VII. Now that the remake has this blank slate, Square can finally give this story and these characters a satisfying ending.
Plus, they can also tell us what is going on with Genesis after his last appearance in the secret ending of Dirge of Cerberus and perhaps even continue the story.
Well, there you have it. Those are eight things I would like to see featured in the Final Fantasy VII: Remake. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! What do you want to see in the remake?