Three Changes That Could Be Good For The Final Fantasy VII Remake
With confirmation that the Final Fantasy VII remake will not be a like for like re-release but rather a fully blown remake coming from the mouth of project director Tetsuya Nomura, the speculation floodgates can be cast wide open. Here are three changes that could really help make the Final Fantasy VII better than ever.
Even though there are no additional characters as far as we can tell, the actual plot itself, or at least elements of it have been implied by Nomura as being fair game. Now, despite the classic status of the original and the fact that it owes much of that to its much beloved story, let's be objective for a minute. While the plot was gripping and quite good, what really sold it was the marvellous characters and phenomenal world, as well as some tear-wrenching moments.
...the creative team has a real opportunity to plug up some of those holes, flesh out some sub-plots...
Let's be honest, the plot was actually pretty poor in some major ways. There were plenty of plot holes and bizarre coincidences that were only a little bit above deus ex machina. The characters, the world and the basic plot are fantastic and with the gift of hindsight and objectivity, the creative team has a real opportunity to plug up some of those holes, flesh out some sub-plots and really make the Final Fantasy VII story an unarguably classic tale.
Perhaps in the remake, Sephiroth will get burned here
Modern Combat System
Even though the turn-based combat system from the Final Fantasy games is iconic and very much liked by fans of the series, there have been innovations in game design that would make keeping the exact same combat system as the original feel lazy.
Final Fantasy VII with its magic and summons is one of the best known of these systems, but all the games in the series tweaked and modified the basic concept in some way. Final Fantasy VIII had you choose a limited number of available actions for each character, and Final Fantasy XIII used a paradigm system to give deceptively simple mechanics real depth. As well as that, Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core on the PSP utilised real-time combat while very much keeping the feel and strategy of its turn based cousin.
Final Fantasy VII needs to keep magic, summons and limit breaks, but the possibilities for modernising the system with real-time combat or paradigms or any of the other wonderful innovations over the years are enormous. Give us a brand new system rooted in the classic original.
Do modern gamers even have the patience for this?
Of all the possible changes this is the one that seems the most likely. The most recent Final Fantasy games have ditched the text-based exposition and dialogue in favour of voice acting and Nomura has actually mentioned the challenges with remaking a game that uses text boxes today.
Even without any changes to the plot, changing the way in which the same story is told will have a huge impact on how the player receives it. It is comparable to your favourite novel getting a movie adaption. The voices, personalities and behaviours of these characters were at least partially created by you - the player in the text-based game. With voices, we will be presented characters exactly as the developers want us to see them.
Much like when a director casts that actor you hate as your favourite character, this could fundamentally change how we perceive certain characters or events.
Some good casting can really make a character
Change can definitely be a good thing, and the idea of getting a full remake of Final Fantasy VII is something that we should embrace. The original is not sacred, it's just old. Nothing can take the original Final Fantasy VII away from us, so let's see that plot improved, let's get some talented voice actors and let's make the combat more gripping and exciting than ever before. Do all that, and Final Fantasy VII could be the game to define a second whole generation of gamers.