Final Fantasy VII is one of the most beloved games of its era with some of the most gung-ho fans out there. Even before the 2005 PS3 hardware tech demo running Final Fantasy VII, fans have been screaming for a remake. After years of waiting, Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 2015. Though it’s finally underway, not every FF fan is excited about the game being co-developed by CyberConnect2.
Most controversial is the choice to make Final Fantasy VII Remake episodic and release over an undefined period. Considering that the original game was multi-disc, this seems to be the modern interpretation of it, but it doesn't immediately put fans at ease. If Square Enix wants to please their audience with this remake, here are a few things the game really needs to get right.
More Time Limits
The Meteor was supposed to be a big threatening part of the original game, but it mainly just hung in the sky without doing much. Gravity is clearly a fictional concept in this title. You can spend your time Chocobo breeding or gambling in the Golden Saucer. The Meteor will just hang in the air until you’re ready. Maybe the remake should have a deadline for when the Meteor drops or have a few of the later events with departure times. You can do X amount of objectives or spend Y hours until you are forced to leave. In the original, the Meteor just hanging there didn't convey much in the way of suspense or sense of danger. Some time limits would make the game feel more realistic.
The original battle system was turn-based and allowed you to control all the characters, but the remake will be real time. So where will your teammates go? The Gambit System was introduced in Final Fantasy XII and was a quick way to script out moves in advance. Gambits automated the gameplay to an extent. So instead of mashing the X button, your companions would take the initiative and slaughter waves of fodder mobs. You could then take the lead against more deadly enemies or bosses. With most independent sidekicks throwing themselves at enemies and dying, the Gambit System would be perfect for saving your crew in battle.
Seeing Cloud and the gang roam about in an open map would be a fantastic idea. Considering the way Final Fantasy XV played in the Episode Duscae demo, Final Fantasy VII Remake would be perfect for an open world. We understand that this might make the game a bit longer to come out, but the Final Fantasy XV demo felt magnificent purely because of the vast scope that you could play in.
The original soundtrack was wonderful to the extent that I would listen to it whenever I was alone. But the original scores are not exactly the stuff of legend when compared to current console abilities. The PlayStation was good for the time, but it has some relatively crude hardware compared to the PS4. Let’s find an orchestra and record the classic tunes with a greater depth for the Remake.
Some method of fast travel is a must in every modern game. The sheer scope of games makes crossing the world maps tedious. This might seem a bit contradictory to the earlier demand for an open map, but try walking from Solitude to Riften in Skyrim. You might find it fun at first, but then you discover everything you can find, and it turns into mindless drudgery. Fast travel could easily be disabled when events demand you walk but sometimes it’s easiest just to grab a train to the nearest town.
Grinding is the act of going out and battling mobs repeatedly to get enough experience points (EXP) to level up. But grinding quickly becomes tedious. What if Final Fantasy VII Remake took a page out of Borderlands' book? Performing certain actions in Borderlands grants EXP and the tougher challenges give higher rewards. One such challenge is called "Heavyweight Champion" and grants 20,000 EXP for 2,500 melee kills. Swap melees for bombs and things work out fine. Ability Points (AP) could be awarded for finding natural mako fountains, Gil for hunting Hojo’s creations and so on.
With so much riding on Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix has a lot to get right. One slip might be forgiven but if even a few problems get by then fans could end up disappointed.