Comments from Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura in interviews with Famitsu and Dengeki Online suggest that the PS4 remake of Final Fantasy VII announced earlier this week at E3 will go beyond a mere cosmetic update.
“I can’t get go into details, but this is not a simple remake. Let’s say for argument’s sake that we only pretty up the graphics for current gen hardware, I don’t think that would surpass the original version.”
“So, if you are going to do a full remake, you have to take a different approach and make something that suits the times.”
“We haven’t shown any gameplay yet, but since we’re updating them quite a bit, please look forward to that…For a title like this, even if you only redo the graphics, I don’t think you get something that’s exciting.”
“Since we now formally revealed Kazushige Nojima’s name for the scenario, there will be more plot devices in the story, so I think you can also look forward to that.”
Fans have grown so attached to Final Fantasy VII’s plot and characters over the years that Square Enix must realize that major alterations to the story would cause an outrage. Most likely on this front, it’s safe to guess that any additions will only flesh out minor characters and tie up stray lose ends. Final Fantasy VII’s rushed translation to English has been the butt of many jokes over the years, so at least in the U.S., merely polishing up the script will make the game’s story feel significantly improved.
However, what changes they have planned for gameplay is really anyone’s guess. While Square Enix’s earlier remakes and releases on handhelds have only adjusted difficulty levels or stats, and added a hidden playable character or two, its also totally concievable that major realtime party AI and action-oriented elements from Final Fantasy XII, XIII, and XV could make an appearance in Final Fantasy VII.
After all, the combat systems of the various Final Fantasy games have always played second fiddle to storytelling, and shifted dramatically from title to title. To this day, fans still debate the merits of Final Fantasy VII’s customization and skill systems against those of Final Fantasy VI, VIII, and others in the franchise, so how many will really miss a beat if these things are altered once again?