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Update: The people at Kotaku have reached out to Square-Enix to shine some light on the episodic nature of the game. Square Enix had this to say:

It means instead of concluding in one entry, multiple entries are being considered in development. Each entry will have its own unique story. As a gaming experience, each entry will have the volume of content equal to a full-sized game.

Pretty clear that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be turned into several full games. How many parts the series will have is as of yet unclear.


After Square Enix announced earlier this year that the often-requested remake of the fan-favorite Final Fantasy VII will be coming to modern platforms, the developer has now said that the game will be coming out in an episodic format.

The player response to this has been less than enthusiastic, with fan response ranging from impotent rage to outright confusion. Takashi Mochikuzi, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal posted the following on Twitter:

Mochikuzi goes on to say that, even though the game’s main story will still be in the game, they will also be adding some new scenes to the campaign. This statement has people on Reddit and Twitter questioning if this is reason enough to make the game episodic, saying that there is always the option of releasing the game on multiple discs like they did with the original game on the original Playstation. Whether they do something similar to Final Fantasy XIII, which followed the same character over the course of 3 games, or a more Telltale style approach to episodic content is as of yet unclear, but it seems like the Japanese developer is more than content with milking as much money out of the highly anticipated remake of what can arguably be described as their most iconic game in the long-running Final Fantasy series. The timing is also a bit odd because the developer announced this in a press-release after their appearance at the Playstation Experience last week.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ingame (2)

In an interview over at Famitsu (you can read the English translation here if you’ve not been keeping up on your Japanese), Square-Emix developers Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura said that using current technology will mean that making the remake just one title will be a lot of work, saying that the game’s length would make the remake feel too “voluminous”. They also said that they would need to cut a lot of content from the game if they were to release the entire game in one go. They also note that they won’t be using the character models they used for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, opting for a more updated version of all character models that is as close to photo-realism as possible. Good news for the people worried that the more wacky parts of the game will be cut out: Cloud’s cross-dressing scene will still be in the game.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ingame (1)

 

The game will also be closer to an action-RPG than a traditional RPG, noting that the combat will lean more towards the Kingdom Hearts combat system, with an added strategic element that has yet to be made clear. Players will be playing with a party of 3 characters, with the player being given the option to freely switch between the characters in their party. The game will have an ATB (Active Time Battle) gauge that will feel familiar to players of the newer Final Fantasy games, but it won’t function like the traditional ATB system where you had to wait for the gauge to fill up before you could attack. Kitase notes that the system may be renamed in the final version due to all the changes made to the way it functions.

 

The original Final Fantasy VII released in 1997 on the original Playstation to critical and public acclaim and had fans requesting a remake ever since the Playstation 3 tech-demo shown at the E3 conference in 2005. Square-Enix released a teaser trailer for the remake earlier this year, with a gameplay trailer being shown at the Playstation Experience last week.

 


Quick Take

While I usually don’t have a problem with games being released in an episodic format, I really do question Square-Enix’s motives. Releasing an episodic remake of a game that previously wasn’t episodic doesn’t feel right to me, and the explanation that the game is simply too large strikes me as a flimsy excuse at best. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the series, I hope that the backlash that this decision is getting will be enough to dissuade the developer from releasing the game in this format. This feels like daylight robbery to me.

More About This Game

Chris Anderson

Staff Writer

I’ve been playing games since I was just barely able to walk, and I never really stopped playing them. When I’m not fulfilling my duties as senior staff writer and tech reviewer, I’m either working on music, producing one of two podcasts or doing freelance work.



  • Azure

    OR how about you sell a multidisk copy like with the last one?

    Currently I doubt many people trust the episode format as recent games have shown to be rather lacking in the final couple of episodes.

    I will personally wait until the full product is out rather than keep getting hit with a FF13x2 TBC endings.

  • KefkaFollower

    Square has lost my trust years ago.
    I’ll wait until the full game is out.

    I want to see:

    * how much RP is in this game.
    * how much they respect the original story and character development
    * what DRM measures has this game. It will call home in a regular basis?

    The list could go on, but I don’t want to burden other people with my suspicions.

  • Nope Naw

    ” FF7 Remake’s data size so huge; the software will be split into several titles”

    In the good ‘ol days that would’ve been “the game will be distributed on several discs”.

    But I guess that’s not good enough for Squänix to milk.

  • Robert Grosso

    Smart idea, going to make money and going to honor the 3 disk-format from before in a way.

  • Joe Gamer

    For a brief moment hope stirred in my soul…
    Generic real time action combat…
    God awful voice acting…
    Episodic monetization with BULLSHIT excuses…
    Well, at least I still don’t have to buy a console…

  • Crizzyeyes

    Yeah, now you have to pay for the other 2. How honorable. They’re creating work for themselves just so they can ratchet up the price.

  • Robert Grosso

    And people are going to buy it.

    I would bet the price will total about 65 for a full-on game of course too, or close to it. If they turn the price to high no one is going to accept the episodic content.

  • Don Parsons

    FF XIII went for 3 full priced releases there. Wouldn’t be surprised if we see that here.

  • Galbador

    Episodic then, I see. I only hope that those episodic games will have a long runtime, because when I hate something about episodic games, then when you have only a playtime of about 1-4 hours. I really hope that this won’t be the case for this remake. It looks great and, I really hope, that there will be the japanese dub as like the english dub. I REALLY HOPE SO!!!

    Oh, and I’m really curious about the price for each episode. Hopefully not 50-70 bucks a part, that would kill my interest into this remake completely.

  • Galbador

    I would love to see this as well, but I believe that this would make the game more expensive as it is so far. On the other hand, episodic games are not that bad IF you make it the right way like Telltale. But in the end, we will see what Square will do with this little experiement.

  • Zepherdog

    Yeah but Final Fantasy XIII and it’s sequels were all attrocious. I think Squenix is shooting themselves in the foot here.

  • Galbador

    The worst thing a company could do; make an episodic game and leave it at a cliffhanger. Sadly, this is made so often and every time, people getting sucked into it.

    I LOOK AT YOU, Half-Life 2!!!

  • Hogtree Octovish

    So they have got rid of the unique battle system of the original FFVII and replaced it with another action RPG. *sigh*

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not totally against ARPGs, but if I wanted to play a Kingdom Hearts game, I would probably replay one of them or wait to buy KH3 (or the road trip simulator [FFXV], which, I admit, looks fun).
    (And I probably will buy it (launch day at that) whenever the fuck it comes out.)

    But, to me, the materia-based ATB system was part of the charm of the game, and removing that removes FFVII’s soul.

    And I really hope that “multiple entries are being considered in development” just means a new Complication arc. Please.

    But, yeah, at least the cross-dressing mission is still in.
    (Not that I personally liked it, but it was still (to others) a part of the original game’s charm.)

  • Guy Montag

    Given the hubris shown by FFVII fanboys over the years, this sure put a smile on my face. Milk those fanboys good SE.

  • Guy Montag

    There was nothing “unique” about it.

  • KefkaFollower

    That sucks. I didn’t play the half-life series. Still I have been burn by this cliffhanger thing before.

    “Dreamfall” (the sequel of “The Longest Journey”) ends in a cliffhanger. It was a 8 years cliffhanger until the chapters of “Dreamfall chapters” start to come out. 8 f**king years. If you (as developer) don’t know for sure the sequel is coming soon, have a little of self respect and don’t end your game in a freaking cliffhanger.

    “Dreamfall chapters” is other thing I wont touch until its fully released.

  • BurntToShreds

    More and more, the amazingness of Sony’s E3 conference this year starts to fade away.

  • Hogtree Octovish

    It was more unique than making the remake yet another action RPG.

    The point I’m making is, it just feels wrong to totally rip out the whole battle system, just because some arseholes think that anything that has even a semblance of turn-based combat is “outdated”.

    But I guess that’s just my opinion.

  • Guy Montag

    I hadn’t realized that the game play had been completely overhauled until just recently. I’d still say that going to an action RPG is a step in the right direction however.

  • GrimFate

    I would have thrown like 2-3 the price of a normal game at Square Enix for a version of Final Fantasy 7 that was effectively the old game with graphics and FMV quality of the new remake. Changing the combat to real-time? Splitting the game into episodes? Each significant change risks toppling my enthusiasm, and I can’t imagine I am alone. But as I am a huge fan of FFVII, I will wait until release before condemning the game in hopes it will actually be good in its own right.

    Maybe they should have considered a proper HD remake and if they wanted to do a multi-episode, real-time action FFVII game then they could have made a sequel to FFVII. But maybe that’s a rather expensive proposition.

  • Draco

    Whelp… i didn’t give too much of a damn before this… (speaking as a fan of ff7) And now I definately don’t care.

  • Chris Anderson

    I would agree. Getting rid of the turn based system means you’ll have to think on your feet, as opposed to calculate all your moves carefully. Might lead to more interesting gameplay.

  • Travis

    Calculate your moves carefully? 99% of turn based RPG gameplay is “Spam the X button until you melee down whatever’s in front of you.”

  • It’s safe to say the VII remake is not a remake but a re-imagining. The only way this can be worthwhile to the consumer is if quality extra content (gameplay or story) fills in for the lack whatever they cut, and this will naturally piss off anyone who just wanted an updated version of VII.

    I’m not a FF fan, but I loved Starcraft: Brood War, and I REALLY hated Starcraft 2’s campaigns coming out separately, and that was in a much more fitting genre to do it with while telling an original story. Cutting up a retelling into chunks sounds like a nostalgia scam.