Final Fantasy VII was a landmark title for PlayStation and the games industry as a whole. Remaking it presented a unique challenge - how do you reimagine such a beloved game in a way that pleases fans, but also introduces it to new players?
The Final Fantasy VII Remake development team had a fine line to tread: remaining utterly faithful to people’s memories of the game, while incorporating modern technology and techniques to present this iconic adventure to a whole new audience.
That philosophy fed into every single aspect of the game - the characters, the world, the combat, and more.
Final Fantasy VII has one of the most memorable casts of characters in any game. For many players, this will be their first introduction to this diverse crew and the developer wanted to make sure that even minor characters were fully fleshed out in their own right.
A mercenary and a former member of Shinra’s elite SOLDIER division. He has recently taken on a job for the anti-Shinra group Avalanche.
The leader of Avalanche and a passionate warrior. His concern for the planet is only matched by his love for his adopted daughter, Marlene.
A flower seller from the slums of Midgar. When she encounters Cloud, both of their lives will be changed forever.
The president of the Shinra Electric Power Company, a ruthless man who will do anything to achieve his goals. Even if hurts people.
This sinister scientist heads up Shinra’s science division. While a genius, he will not hesitate to cause harm for the sake of his experiments.
He may look like a beast, but Red XIII is as intelligent and eloquent as any human. He has been captured by Shinra and used in their experiments.
Final Fantasy VII Remake takes place in Midgar, a city controlled by the Shinra Electric Power Company. It’s already an iconic video game location, and the developers wanted to show new players exactly why.
Due to technical constraints, much of the world in the original Final Fantasy VII was implied. When you left an area, for example, the screen would cut to black and you’d re-emerge somewhere else, giving the impression of travel.
One of the goals of Final Fantasy VII Remake was to fully realize this iconic city. Now areas connect more organically, and they’ve been expanded with immense levels of detail. For new players it would feel like a living, breathing world, while fans of the original would get to see both new areas and familiar locations like never before.
Midgar’s most famous - and infamous - entertainment quarter is a sight to behold. Make sure you stop at the Honeybee Inn for a night you’ll never forget!
The original used the series’ famous Active Time Battle (ATB) system - turn-based, but with time-based elements that made the flow of combat dynamic and strategic.
Modern gamers expect choice and, for Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix wanted to give it to them. While the combat system retains the classic feel, it also incorporates more-immediate real-time action, with a lot of options to vary your play. Here’s how it works:
To create an energetic pace of combat, you’ll dish out blows in real time, stringing together combos and switching fighting styles with the square and triangle buttons directly.
Dodge and block abilities mean you’ll be able to avoid incoming attacks or at least reduce their impact - though you’ll have to learn to read your enemies and respond quickly to do so.
Standard attacks don’t do much damage by themselves, but they have a more important purpose: filling up the ATB bar.
A signature super-move of the Final Fantasy series, Limit Breaks make their return in Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Unleashed when a character has taken a barrage of blows, these all-or-nothing abilities appear in the command menu. Some will deliver devastating pain, others will buff or heal the party - whichever you use, it can tip the battle in your favour.
You might, however, prefer to focus on the strategy of a battle, rather than the moment-to-moment action. This is why the developer implemented Classic Mode.
In this mode, characters move and attack automatically, letting players focus solely on issuing commands via the pause menu. Again, it’s all about choice: providing less action-oriented gamers or fans of the original game a way to choose a turn-based combat mode.
These glowing orbs of crystalized Mako imbue characters with incredible power. Different types of Materia can be collected throughout the game and equipped into your weapon and armour slots.
Green Materia allows characters to utilize useful spells. Depending on which Materia you find and equip, you’ll be able to fling fire at your foes, shock them with a lightning strike, or even restore your health. As you use Materia, it will level up, allowing you to unleash more potent versions of those spells.
These red orbs allow characters to summon a powerful ally into a battle. As you fight, a meter fills up - once charged you can bring in this support. They’ll fight on their own, but you can issue them commands with ATB. When it’s time for them to leave, they’ll unleash a final, super powerful move.
While the main story of Final Fantasy VII Remake follows Cloud Strife, you’ll be supported by up to two additional characters at a time. Each character brings their own skills, strengths, dialogue, and more to the adventure.
Each playable character in Final Fantasy VII Remake has a signature fighting style and weapon, including Cloud’s iconic Buster Sword, Barret’s gun-arm, Tifa’s acrobatic martial arts, and Aerith's ranged attacks.
Certain character’s abilities are indispensable for certain situations – firearms are useful against ranged enemies, while melee strikes can help stagger larger enemies. Knowing which character to use in which scenario is crucial.
To compliment this, you can switch between each party member mid-combat by tapping the left or right directional buttons. You can also issue commands to characters you’re not in direct control of with the L2 and R2 buttons.
Enemies often come in large groups with differing attacks and abilities, and many larger enemies will need multi-pronged attacks to bring them down. Remain flexible and responsive, and listen for hints your party members might drop.
Overcoming tougher enemies requires a little strategic finesse, and survival demands teamwork.
Party members can be incapacitated by certain enemy attacks – physically pinned by a big boss monster or put under a numbing magical effect – and if they take too many hits they’ll collapse altogether.
When one party member is out of the action, switch to another and help get them back in the fight - no amount of strategy will succeed if the party aren’t on their feet!
The Shinra Electric Power Company is a greedy corporate entity drawing power directly from the planet’s life force.
It’s led by the ruthless President Shinra, with support of an executive board including Heidegger, Scarlet, and Palmer - they have shown that they will do anything to achieve their objectives.
Sephiroth is considered the finest member of Shinra’s elite SOLDIER unit. His gallant efforts in the war with Wutai made him a hero, and he’s inspired many brave youth to join SOLDIER.
It is believed that Sephiroth died during a top secret mission, but there may be far more to the story than people have been lead to believe. What ties him to Cloud and Tifa’s past?