‘Final Fantasy VII’ Remake – Battle System Details Revealed

Bob Mackey
Final Fantasy Games
Final Fantasy Games

Final Fantasy VII just passed its 20th birthday in Japan—and will do the same in the US come fall—leaving us all to wonder “just where is the remake?” While a reworking of Final Fantasy VII seemed like an obvious choice for years, developer Square-Enix didn’t announce this project until the E3 convention in June of 2015. Since then, we’ve seen very little of this upcoming game, which isn’t very reassuring to those who know it’s being directed by the notoriously pokey Tetsuya Nomura. (Who’s seemingly been working on the massively delayed Kingdom Hearts 3 for an entire decade.)

Thankfully, the Final Fantasy VII remake seems to be coming into being—however slowly—and a recent Famitsu interview with Nomura (graciously translated by Gematsu) has revealed plenty of new details about this highly anticipated reboot of sorts.

A New Take on Final Fantasy Fighting

Cloud ducks behind cover to avoid an enemy guard in the Final Fantasy VII remake.

We've known for a bit that this remake won't be entirely faithful, and will replace the turn-based, menu-based battle system of vanilla Final Fantasy VII with something more focused on action. Thanks to Nomura's interview, though, we now have more info about how these battles will play out. Seeing as VII's remake will be taking a more realistic angle, random encounters have been removed completely; previously, you'd suddenly find yourself transported to battle scenes when wandering in an area with hostile enemies.

Now, since enemies will be visible on the screen before you can encounter them, the FFVII remake will allow players a few pre-fight options. When traveling through an area with, say, enemy soldiers, you can now hide behind obstacles Solid Snake-style and wait for them to pass, or simply chuck a grenade and eliminate them in an instant. These combat options may sound incredibly basic to fans of action games, but this remake's changes are really turning the Final Fantasy VII experience into something entirely different than the 1997 version.

Meet the New Boss

The Guard Scorpion's new form in the Final Fantasy VII remake.

As the traditional enemy encounters change, so will the bosses. And to point out how, Nomura employs Final Fantasy VII's first boss, the Guard Scorpion, as an example. Previously, this enemy existed to throw a wrinkle into the extremely basic encounters players waded through up until then. Instead of just attacking at will, players had to make sure to time their attacks correctly so they didn't land while the Guard Scorpion's tail raised in the air—unless they wanted to face a nasty counterattack.

This battle won't play out quite so simply in the Final Fantasy VII remake, and, in the interview, Nomura uses the Guard Scorpion as a way of explaining how movement, position, and environment now play a role in battle. Players will now have to switch between characters at will to play effectively; if Cloud's sword can't quite reach the enemy, jumping to Barret and using his arm-mounted machine gun could serve as an effective strategy. And this time around, where you attack enemies plays a much more important role; take out the Guard Scorpion's legs first, and Cloud and company will definitely have the advantage. Nomura also noted that environments can change during battle, but his comments were limited to a vague statement about "map and object destruction."

Still a Ways Off

It should be noted that everything shown of the Final Fantasy VII remake has been limited to the very early scenes of the original game. And while we don't have an insider's look at the actual development, this focus implies the final version could be far, far off—maybe even 2018. In any case, the coming months—and this year's E3—are sure to reveal more about this upcoming channel, so be sure to check back with Fandom for more updates.

Bob Mackey
Bob Mackey is Games Editor at Fandom. Since joining the games press in 2007, he's written for sites like 1UP, Joystiq, The A.V. Club, Gamasutra, USgamer, and many others. He also hosts the weekly podcasts Retronauts and Talking Simpsons. Follow him on Twitter @bobservo.
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