When Sony and Square Enix announced an official remake of Final Fantasy 7 at E3 2015, most people expected the game to go through some changes before it released. Several months have passed since that announcement, and we have confirmation of some changes, in addition to a few hints that even more changes will come to the highly anticipated remake. While some of these changes will be quite drastic, Square Enix reassured fans that the game will still resemble Final Fantasy 7.
Since this article was originally published we have updated the content and created a new article detailing some of the confirmed changes to Final Fantasy 7 Remake announced at the 2015 PlayStation Experience. You can find a link to the new article at the bottom of this page, but for now enjoy some of our early thoughts on the Remake.
The first confirmed change is the battle system. Back in 1997 when the original version released for the PlayStation console, it was a time of turn-based role-playing games. Almost every RPG that released around that time was turn-based. Fast-forward nearly 20 years and times have changed. While there are still a few turn-based RPGs left, most of them are regulated to the Nintendo 3DS. There are a few exceptions, but they're just that... exceptions.
Almost all of the recent releases in the Final Fantasy series feature a more action-oriented combat system, and that's exactly what you should expect from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. All Square has said at this point is to expect "dramatic changes" to the combat system, but if you examine the combat system in Final Fantasy 15, or even Final Fantasy 13 and the two sequels, you can see a clear trend toward action-based combat. If we're lucky, Square Enix may include a traditional turn-based option for classic fans.
The most obvious change comes in the form of a significant graphical upgrade. If you thought Final Fantasy 15 looked good, you should expect the Final Fantasy 7 Remake to look even better. Final Fantasy 15 jumped from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a long and troublesome development cycle. Even Kingdom Hearts 3 had some problems when it comes to development, changing the graphics engine and shifting director Tetsuya Nomura from dual duty on Final Fantasy 15 and Kingdom Hearts 3, to solely focusing on Kingdom Hearts.
All of the issues clouding the development of Square Enix’s upcoming RPGs has had a negative impact on the games. While they're both likely to be some of the best games Square Enix has made in recent memory, the troublesome development cycles took a toll. That impact shouldn't be felt when it comes to Final Fantasy 7. Not only has Square Enix learned a lot about developing for the PlayStation 4 over the last few years, the company also knows how high the expectations are for the Remake. If it's anything other than the best-looking game Square Enix releases on the PS4, there will likely be fan outrage.
No matter how you look at it, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is still Final Fantasy 7. Square Enix can change the combat system and graphics, but in order for the game to remain Final Fantasy 7, the story has to be intact. However, game design is an art form and artists are never truly finished with their work. It's been nearly 20 years since the release of Final Fantasy 7 and there are bound to be a number of things Tetsuya Nomura and crew would like to change about the story.
While it's likely the major beats will still be in place, expect at least a few adjustments to the flow of the plot and how things play out. Aerith will still die while Cloud and Sephiroth will still battle it out at the end, but the pacing and more importantly how you obtain items will likely be adjusted. We already know the combat system will see dramatic changes, which means that materia and abilities may also be used differently. This could lead to adjustments in obtaining materia and abilities, causing the story to be changed to compensate. Again, the major beats will still be in place, but don't expect the story to be a carbon copy of what you played in 1997.
Most Final Fantasy RPGs are traditionally single player affairs. While Square Enix has made no official comment on multiplayer in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake, fans should not rule it out. Don't expect a full blown co-op mode, but the Gold Saucer alone is a prime point to add multiplayer. We've already seen the card games from Final Fantasy 8 and 9 appear in other Square Enix titles, and while Final Fantasy 7 didn't have a card game, there are more than enough mini-games and side activities that would adapt well to multiplayer.
Square Enix is updating the combat system because the company feels turn-based combat is a thing of the past. The same can be said about single player only games in general. If a console game doesn't have some sort of online multiplayer, that decision is almost always thrown into question. Even modern RPGs such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne feature an added multiplayer option. Don't be surprised to see some sort of multiplayer functionality in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Don't forget to check out our updated article on the confirmed changes coming to Final Fantasy 7 Remake, as well as everything we currently know about the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Stay tuned to Prima Games as we continue to update you as the game approaches its unknown release date.