Today is the 15th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII's Japanese launch, but I want to know, will we ever see this classic title remade?
By far, 1997"²s Final Fantasy VII is Square-Enix's most recognized and most popular game; the title helped catapult the PlayStation, the role-playing game (RPG) genre, and Square-Enix (which was then "Squaresoft," one half of today's whole) into mainstream relevance in North America. The game still commands a good deal of praise and nostalgia from fans of Japanese RPGs, and when Square-Enix celebrated the title's tenth birthday with several titles and a movie that made up "The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII," said fans assumed a modern remake of the original game was on the way. An E3 tech demo released in 2005 that re-created the game's iconic opening sequence fanned the burning rumor, but it remained just that: A demo.
So faithful Final Fantasy VII fans (myself included) continue to wait for a remake"¦ And they wait"¦ And they wait"¦
Is it ever going to happen? Square-Enix has been waffling on the answer for a handful of years now, but it's been suggested that the time is nigh due to Square-Enix's financial woes.
Whenever Square-Enix feels like answering inquiries about a Final Fantasy VII with a negative, it cites different reasons: A high-def remake would be too difficult to put together, Square-Enix producer Yoshinori Kitase told Ultimania Magazine, and the original team that worked on Final Fantasy VII has since scattered to the winds.
But most of the excuses Square offers for staying away from a Final Fantasy VII remake are shaky, as Square-Enix isn't shy about updating its classic Final Fantasy games to suit modern gaming technology, even if said tech isn't at the absolute cutting edge of what's available at the time. Final Fantasy I through Final Fantasy IV have been retooled and re-released for iOS, Nintendo DS, and the PSP, multiple times in some instances. Final Fantasy V and VI were re-released on the Game Boy Advance. This makes sense, as portable game systems are Japan's number-one choice, hence the reason why Square-Enix took the ninth installment of its popular Dragon Quest series over to the Nintendo DS.
So why is Square-Enix holding out on Final Fantasy VII? Is the company bent on making the theoretical remake a big, beautiful project on the budgetary level of a whole new Final Fantasy project?
It's probable that Square-Enix would want the grandest presentation possible for a reboot, and Sony would certainly want to be on the ground floor of the project, especially after losing Final Fantasy XIII exclusivity. Some fans speculate that the company has always been capable of making a Final Fantasy VII remake on the PlayStation 3 despite its claims to the contrary, and is in fact perpetually planning for one that will be revealed at the right moment. A Final Fantasy VII remake of any kind is almost guaranteed to be well-received, and now that Square-Enix needs a bit of a pick-me-up, we may well see one.
Will Square-Enix add its own exciting announcement on top of what already looks to be a very busy and memorable year? Fans of the PlayStation's biggest RPG are hoping so. I'm hoping so. A Final Fantasy VII remake on any system would prove difficult to turn away from.