Experienced Points: The Final Fantasy VII Remake is a Fantasy

By Shamus
on Jun 4, 2010
Filed under:
Column

I am sometimes compelled to write things, even when I know I will regret doing so. This week: A remake of Final Fantasy VII would be excessively time consuming and expensive.

I dread posting anything on Final Fantasy. Halo fans get a bad rap (and deservedly so, if you read the comment thread for this comic) but I think Final Fantasy fanboys can give them a run for their money. Note that I’m a (nominal) Final Fantasy fan myself, and I’m sure many of you are as well. But there is this group of humorless, angsty, semi-literate ragebots that surround the franchise who are imbued with an epic sense of entitlement and who take standard review-style criticism of the game as a personal affront.

Exhibit A against Final Fantasy fans is the post where I discuss the mating habits of the Viera, the race of Maxim-ready bunny women from Final Fantasy XII. It’s clearly having some playful fun at the expense of the source material. Not exactly the most hilarious thing I’ve ever written, but it’s still obviously a joke. But a few weeks after the post went up some FF fanboys found the thing and the comment thread went septic. Not vile or terribly offensive, but just stupid, petty, and inane. One person actually called everyone else “retarted”.

(And here my moderation policy comes back to bite me. I’m a big believer in the idea that trolling is like vandalism, and that if you don’t clean it up you’ll attract more. So, the worst of the comments have been purged. Still, the remaining comments are enough to see the problem.)

It’s not that they miss the joke. It’s not even that they would feel the need to post and “correct” my understanding of the Final Fantasy lore. It’s that they would get so offended and then communicate so poorly. You could excuse them as just been teenagers, but you’ll see this behavior even when dealing with the early Final Fantasy titles. In fact, it almost seems like the fans are dysfunctional in proportion to the age of the game, where you would expect them to trend older.

So I don’t have high hopes for the discussion thread for this week’s column. But I had to say it. For reasons I still don’t understand.

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  1. Canthros says:

    In fact, it almost seems like the fans are dysfunctional in proportion to the age of the game, where you would expect them to trend older.

    Final Fantasy was originally released (in the US) way back in 1990. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that anyone still wrapped up in a game after 20 years would be a little mentally dysfunctional.

    • Dev Null says:

      Spot on, I think.

      As time goes by, more and more of the crazed fanboys trip over a little perspective, cringe at their own misguided but well-intentioned over-exuberance, change their screen names and slink into the shadows. For a newer game, I’d expect to get _more_ frothing rage posts, but the ones you do get for the real old games are going to be the distilled essence of decades of crazy.

      I should know; I once killed a man for daring to impugn the original Fallout. Justifiable homicide.

      • eri says:

        Don’t forget that often the most rabid of fanboys get into the newer titles, then go back to play the older ones and are somehow wowed into believing that they are the pinnacle of gaming.

        • Felblood says:

          That’s because being older than the player makes a game several times more awesome to experience. Suddenly, it isn’t just a game; it’s culture.

          This tends to leave people who were alive when the game was released scratching their heads in wonderment.

          “I played that when it came out, and honestly, it wasn’t that great. What do you people see in this?” comes the query.

          To which the the reply is inevitably, “STFU n00b! this game is awezome!and j00 suckz for not lieking it!”

          I can say that, because I was guilty once.

          • Yar Kramer says:

            I’d like to mention that the “older ones were better” crowd has a point, insofar as doing anything in 3D takes more time/effort/money than doing the same thing (or something similar) in 2D, and thus takes time/effort/money away from other things.

            And then there’s the fact that … well, I dunno. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but I don’t remember anything in Final Fantasy 7 that had the same emotional impact as, say, the scene in Final Fantasy 6 when Locke confesses to Celes that, even for a very short time, he did think that she’d betrayed them. Sure, Aerith dies, but by the time I got FF7, I knew in advance that it was coming, and anyway it’s a lot less subtle.

  2. Steve C says:

    So the steady advance in game technology makes good games obsolete in favor of flashy graphics.

    • Tizzy says:

      Not exactly a fair characterization (either of Shamus’s words or of the situation). But different technologies have different constraints, and Shamus made that point really well. Every solution comes with its own limitations.

      Now, why did we completely discard old technologies, that’s another question. My impression is that one could make games using Baldur’s Gate-type technology but with much higher resolution and that would look really awesome. I felt that the 3D in NWN was a step backwards in terms of eye candy.

      But then again, I don’t know anything about the subject, so maybe it’s not really possible.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        If you get the “hi-res” mods for Baldur’s Gate (and other Infinity engine games), they do look fantastic even now.

        Character models are basic though, but it’s amazing to see how well the characters are presented with limited graphics and voice acting.

      • Vegedus says:

        Sounds like what you’re talking about is the abandonment of pre-rendered 3D graphics. At one point, pretty much everything was pre-rendered, which is much cheaper to do, and actually pretty spry looking. It’s just not “really” 3D in that what you’re looking at is actually 2D graphics, just made with a 3D technique. I’m not sure what exactly prompted the transition to full 3D, but I’m sure the advent of FPS games, which are nigh-impossible to make pre-rendered, was one of the reasons. I remember clearly Warcraft 3, which didn’t have as many details as some of it’s competitors, but you could actually turn the camera and perceive depths, and such.

        Now, to make this more relevant to the topic, FFVII was actually very much regarded as a technological marvel at the time. Pretty much everyone looked up to it as the peak of technology at the time, even if we laugh at their tubby bodies today. However, if one pays more attention, all the pre-rendered stuff still looks very good. Backgrounds especially, I’d say looks better than the fully 3D ones in FFX. That’s one of the things Shamus is saying: Those pretty environments where just a pictures, that they now have to realise fully, from every angle. Because, well, no-one makes games with prerendered 3D graphics anymore. It can’t really be used for games that doesn’t have a isometric viewpoint (which aren’t really all the rage) and it just looks so retro/old, now.

        • Tizzy says:

          Yes to 3D FPS, of course, but I don’t see why every game should use the same types of graphics. Already for Warcraft 3, was the moving camera worth the overall uglification? I remember making a face when I saw the first few screenshots, and to this day I’m still unsure it was worth it.

          [Disclaimer: I’m not even that much into graphics to begin with. I’m the first one to say that I truly notice graphics only in the first few minutes of a game, and then promptly cease paying attention in the heat of the action.]

  3. Irridium says:

    Eh, a remake would need voice acting, which would ruin the “name everyone whatever the hell you want” mechanic. I loved naming everyone Bob. It let to some insanely entertaining dialog.

    It will be interesting to the the reactions to this. I’m sure it will be hilarious.

  4. Tizzy says:

    When has a remake ever made fans of the original material happy anyway?

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Resident Evil for Gamecube.
      Final Fantasy III/IV for DS.
      Dragon Quest IV/V for DS.
      Chronicles of Riddick for 360/PS3.
      Skies of Arcadia: Legends for GC.

      When a remake is done well, it’s a true thing of beauty and makes buying the same game twice an easy purchase.

      • Tizzy says:

        That figures! I have played neither originals nor remakes in that list, but I’m happy to take your word for it. (I was mostly thinking about movies, which have a worse track record.)

        • SatansBestBuddy says:

          Another interesting bit is that I’ve only played the remakes in that list, I have no idea how they stack up to the originals, so maybe they are shafting their fans, but I find that hard to believe when I throughly enjoyed each and everyone one of those games, and I likely would have never had the chance to play them if they weren’t remade.

          • Blake says:

            I was about to post the exact same thing.
            I’ve still never had a chance to play FF7 either and I think trying to play the original now wouldn’t do it justice as the whole game would feel really dated.
            If they made a DS version of it, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

      • Nick Bell says:

        Adventure games are also full of quality remakes, from redoing the original text-parcer Quest games to new high quality Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition.

      • Irridium says:

        Plus the recent Pokemon Gold/Silver remakes seem to be doing very well. At last check they’ve sold well over 8 million units.

        • guy says:

          They’re… a bit special. Actually, they’re very special. For one thing, their graphics are not full 3D. For another, they very easily add content and can copy a bunch of sprites from the later games really easy.

  5. SatansBestBuddy says:

    The weird thing is that Squre-Enix already learned the grand lesson of “graphics cost too much,” and that was why FFXII was less detailed than FFX, to make a larger game in less time with better performance.

    Besides, FFVII was pretty anime-ish compared to the rest of the series, part of the reason that sword was so freakishly huge compared to every other protagonist in the series, so a remake would on PS3 would lose that cartoonish tone and thus lose a lot of it’s initial charm. (don’t believe me, then check out FFXIII when it forgets it’s not anime, it just looks awkward)

    • Garden Ninja says:

      That’s a good point. I’ve felt for a while, that if they ever did remake FFVII, they should do it with a visual style something like Tales of Vesperia. Trying to do “realistic anime” would just look weird. Even FFXIII looks a bit strange, despite that they downplayed the anime style a bit.

  6. acronix says:

    The mere fact of having “Final Fantasy” in the title automatically summons this kind of comments:
    Whatever you said in there, you are wrong! No one speaks about Final Fantasy like that!NO ONE!

    Seriously now, those are good points that nobody seems to remember. It´s pretty much like those days in which making a bunch of square rooms in Doom with a couple of enemies could be considered a level and be done in an hour, while today you´d need a whole day or two for just one room.

  7. Andy_Panthro says:

    My only issue with the money argument is that they are producing new FF games, which I imagine would cost a similar amount.

    They could just decide to stop making new games, and make remakes instead.

    I get the feeling they’d rather just make new games than remake older ones though, which is why they don’t bother with a new FF7. Unless we see it for a handheld I suppose, although you can play FF7 on PSP anyway (which I got to replay when I finally get around to finishing crisis core).

    • acronix says:

      Take into account that older games had more content, as Shamus says in his article. Less voice acting equals more versatile dialogues, since strings of text occupy almost nothing. Sound files are bigger, and voice actors are expensive (and can´t be around if you suddenly realize you need a few new lines for a scenario you didn´t forsaw before), etc.

      So, a new FF game is actually cheaper: it has less ammount of content, shinnier graphics and voice acting for the dummies that like those things. A remake of FF7 with all those qualities would just take too much time which is, again, the point of the article.

  8. LintMan says:

    Would a FF7 remake really be that much bigger than, say, Dragon Age as to make it unfeasible?

    It’s such been a long time since I played FF7 that I don’t remember it well. And the ending was so WTF that I haven’t spent much time since then thinking about it.

    I’ll just add that my preference would be for Square to do a new story-based single player game – any new one – instead of another damn MMO.

    • Nick Bell says:

      Dragon Age solves the large content/expensive graphics problem with cheaper graphics. Put the game next to Mass Effect 2, and you see a drastic difference in quality of textures, models, and animation. If they did that with FFVII, the rabid fan boys would accuse Square of being cheap since it wouldn’t look as nice as FFXIII.

      • Garden Ninja says:

        Also of note, they didn’t have voice acting for the main character.

        I’ve only played the first few hours of Dragon Age, and while each area was decent sized (certainly larger than any area in FFVII), based on the map, it didn’t look like there were that many of them (Do more locations show up later?), and there wasn’t an overworld. So, at least in terms of pure geography, FFVII is much bigger.

        • eri says:

          Dragon Age has a good deal of locations, but they tend to reuse lots of assets, and it’s pretty easy to build levels in its editor. Not easy, mind you, but it’s not like it’s the kind of game where every single tiny brick needs to be painstakingly hand-placed.

          • Scott says:

            Which you would need in a FFVII remake… bah.

            • Felblood says:

              Oh, sweet blood! I just thought about that, and it’s terrible.

              Imagine trying to replicate any of the areas of lower Midgar in 3D, without resorting to to Borderlands’ reused garbage pile textures. It would take forever, and a fortune.

              Remember the salvage town outside the Don’s mansion, where each hut was made from a different type of scavenged material? That means you can’t even re-use the sheet-tin models, like Fallout 3. There was a weapon shop built from almost entirely from stretch iron and scavenged tank parts.

              –Or when you climb that massive structural pillar, and you can see the entire slum city, layed out before you in glorious decrepit detail, as indication to the vastness of the evil and human suffering that your terrorist agenda seeks to put right? There’s a reason that a city that large is never all one zone in 3D, at least not in that level of detail. You’d need to shorten the fog distance to make the scene render in time, thus making the scene pointless. Putting aside that the game is so vast, some of these shots are beyond what a current gen console can conjure, and that’s just in the first town.

              The of Wu-Tai is probably the easiest part of that game to convert to modern graphics, and it’s not even part of the plot. It’s an entire island city-state, unlocked via a side quest.

  9. Honestly, I’m a little surprised that you didn’t mention FF13 reactions. The changes they made didn’t go over well with everyone, but thanks to their savage fan-base, it actually was a double dose of stupid:

    Regular person – “I dunno about this new style of combat. And the elimination of towns weirds me out.”

    Rabid Fan #1 – “HERESY! Square Enix know exactly what they’re doing! The altar I keep in my closet told me so!”

    Rabid Fan #2 – I Agree with Regular Person completely! Square Enix has raped my childhood with a rusty Spoon and So I leave now to track them down and return the favour!”

    Rabid Fan #1 – Silence non-believer! Square shall deliver us to a promise land where we buy stuff at save points!

    Rabid Fan #2 – They will take the blessed franchise and tear it from the hands of the faithful!

    Etc.

    So yeah, that was fun.

  10. Nonesuch says:

    It’s important in situations like these to remember: The word “Fan” is derived from the word “Fanatic”. :D

  11. Joshua says:

    Well, my favorite from the series was always VI(or III, on the SNES). I played the original back when I was 16 and it was groundbreaking. I bought the remake for the Gameboy a couple years ago and it hasn’t lived up to my nostalgia. Some game contrivances and cheesy storylines have upped their annoyance factor in that time. I’m not sure if a remake of VII would have much of a market beyond those who played the original in its heyday, and that’s rather limiting. Just an opinion though, as I pretty much stopped paying much attention to FF and its fans after VII.

  12. Jarenth says:

    Sidetrack: It occurs to me that FFXII would have been a much better game if they’d replaced Vaan with FFVII cinematics instead.

    • Winter says:

      Vaan really was the low point of that game. He’s totally irrelevant…

      Balthier should have been the POV character and the game should have been named “Balthier’s Happy Fun Time Adventures” and it should have been entirely inside an airship and it should have been an adventure/pixel hunting porn game.

      (What? You know i’m right!)

  13. Re: Halo.

    (1) You post an inflammatory comic strip implying that all Halo fans are idiots.

    (2) A bunch of Halo fans take offense and get a little hot under the collar. Some of them tried to defend the game against the implied criticisms you had made in the comic.

    (3) Ha! Ha! They really are stupid!

    Yeah… not so much.

    You tried to create a no-win scenario for them, but it just kind of makes you look lame.

    Re: “FF7 would take 30-40 years to make.” Well, that’s clearly bullshit. All you need to do is point to FF13: It’s longer. It has more characters. It has more cut-scenes. It has more dialogue. It has more monsters. It has more music. It has more locations. It just flat-out has more content of every single type. FF13 didn’t take 30-40 years to make, ergo FF7 wouldn’t take that long to make at the same level of quality.

    • Shamus says:

      I didn’t see it as “implying all Halo fans are idiots” at all. It was really just lampooning Master Chief.

      Of course, I knew Halo fans would throw a fit, but I’ve said worse things about better games and never gotten such an infantile response.

      Note the nobody from SE ever said “40 years”. Someone said “It would take ten times as long”, in a spoken interview. Clearly off-the-cuff hyperbole.

      • “Just lampooning Master Chief”.

        Interesting.

        Well, it appears someone hacked your Escapist account. You might want to look into doing something about that:

        “Do you guys get it now? The punchline of this joke isn’t Master Chief. The punchline is YOU. You delivered it for me when you came in here and acted just like the angry fanboy parody I set up in the comic itself.” (emphasis added)

      • Neil Polenske says:

        Now let’s be honest here Shamus. You weren’t “lampooning Master Chief”. You were specifically satirizing the common responses from the Halo fanbase against common criticisms against the series and how they’ve become so needlessly defensive about it.

        No, you were not implying all Halo fans are idiots, but that doesn’t mean you weren’t antagonizing them. Because you were.

        Not saying you are wrong to do so, but call something for what it is.

    • Gale says:

      Also, “FF13 has more content than FF7”? Well, uh… No? That’s… Not even sort of true. I mean, maybe it might have a higher concentration of prerendered cutscenes, but longer? More dailogue? More locations? Really? Are we talking about the same games, here? The fact that FF13-level graphics are so time-consuming to make has been used as a defence for FF13’s unusual linearity. I must be misunderstanding something about these words you’re using, because they seem to contradict basically everything I’ve been told about FF13.

      Also, I’m pretty sure that the joke about the Halo comic was the thing of “Breen thought he was inviting the cool surly storymode Master Chief onto his show, when it turns out he got the spawnkilling, teabagging power-armoured space marine fanboy that typifies the stereotypical multiplayer Spartan”. I can’t say I actually saw anything aimed at the actual fanbase. Hell, it’s debatable whether he said anything about the game – the Master Chief repeats a few counter-arguments popular among fanboys, which strongly implies that “fanboys are oversensitive. Also silly”. Which, y’know, most of everyone agrees with. Hell, even fanboys make fun of fanboys. The Halo part of it isn’t even that substantial. You could switch the Master Chief for a Call of Duty protagonist, and you’d only have to change three or so lines.

      Really not seeing where you’re coming from, I’m afraid.

      • Felblood says:

        No.

        The joke is, Breen can’t get a positive conversation going about Halo, because Master Chief is too busy defending against claims that Breen didn’t even make.

        It is constructed to be a little hard to grasp, so that a fanboy who fails to grasp it will appear, and provide proof that this is, in actual fact, the way any conversation about Halo flows.

      • Re: FF13.

        I’m trying to figure out how the game can possibly be getting simultaneously attacked for being way too long AND too short.

        There seems to be some sort of strange disconnect here where people can just pick whatever facts are convenient for whatever argument they want to be making.

        (Linearity, BTW, says nothing about size. War and Peace is a lot longer than a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.)

  14. Kolobus says:

    I am in shock. How can all of these comments be so passive? There I was, innocently reading the article, when I clicked onto page two and BAM! A picture of a dead Aeris?!?! HOW DARE YOU SPOILER WITHOUR WARNING SIR! TO THE FORUMS! :)

    • Jarenth says:

      In all fairness, that’s only a picture of Aeris being dead if you know in advance that, in fact, Aeris ends up dead at some point. For someone who really doesn’t know the FFVII story, it kind of looks as if Cloud and Aeris are taking an impromptu swim.

      • Kolobus says:

        An impromptu swim in full battle gear? Maybe it’s some sort of trust exercise. She doesn’t yet trust Cloud enough to catch her when she falls backwards so they started with something safer; a trust back-float.

        Sorry, I just couldn’t resist making a joke about the picture. I think the only thing that riles up obsessive fans more than critiquing their pet franchise is posting spoilers to their pet franchise.

        • Scott says:

          They are always in full battle gear, this ain’t no dress-em-up game!

        • ps238principal says:

          The only FF game I ever played was “The Secret of Mana” on an old Game Boy, and even I know that Aeris dies.

          That’s about as big a spoiler as “the ship sinks,” “it was the name of his sled,” and “he was dead the whole time.”

          Heck, I think it came up in a search result when I was looking for a recipe to polish off some leftover chicken.

          • Jarenth says:

            I’m certain I knew Aeris dies before I even know what Final Fantasy was.

            • Kolobus says:

              Wow, now I feel old. I remember borrowing the Playstation of a friend to play this game when it first came out so I got to be surprised by her death. I remember feeling impressed that they would do something like that in a game. Of course, I didn’t have a computer at that time so it would’ve been hard to stumble across a spoiler. But you just know there had to be some forum wank from people who found out about it before reaching that point in the game.

  15. Wayoffbase says:

    “This is like saying, “We have the script for James Cameron’s Avatar, we just need to add some footage and the movie is done!”

    Avatar had a script? I thought they just used one they found laying around?

  16. Abnaxis says:

    The thought ringing through my head for this whole article was “OK, if it’s so hard, how the hell did they do the Resident Evil remake so good?” Seriously, the game has some of the most beautiful graphics of anything on the Gamecube, and it does exactly what you say is impossible. I have yet to see anyone who didn’t applaud it.

    I never actually played FFVII (the only one in the franchise I haven’t played, irony of ironies), but what’s the difference between a remake of FFVII and RE? And don’t give me junk about voice acting–they only had acting in cutscenes for RE, and I didn’t see anyone ding them for it…

    EDIT:Hrm…looking at that, it looks rather flame-ish. Just trying to spark conversation, honest! *hides in closet*

    • Eldiran says:

      Mostly because FF7 is an RPG, and has a much, much larger world than any presented in any RE. Not as many knee-high fences to block your path :P

      (Truth be told, I haven’t played through FF7 either, but being familiar with RPGs in general, I know that Resident Evil is a smaller game.)

    • wtrmute says:

      Apparently, Squeenix can’t be arsed to learn the new development pipeline, which is why FFXIII took so long to develop and is so MGS4’ish. So the problem of the complexity of PSIII titles is compounded by the inefficiency Square works with.

      Also, I know Shamus said not to bring the topic up, but it’s kind of parochial to say FFVII made the series “become a defining force in gaming”. The series was already a defining force in gaming, but the branch of gaming that was a primarily Japanese enterprise (the 8 and 16 bit console era). What happened was that after the 90s, Western developers started to develop for consoles, so it looks like it’s a “gaming industry”, but there were actually two — and the Japanese one was the bigger.

    • Taellosse says:

      Completely different circumstance. Resident Evil is, if I understand it correctly (I don’t generally play survival horror games), a linear shooter, more or less. It’s typical gameplay time is, I imagine, counted in terms of a dozen or 2 dozen hours. FF7, meanwhile, is a huge RPG. There are hundreds of NPC characters, major and minor, nearly all of which the player can talk to and get multiple pieces of dialogue from. There are dozens of locations across an open-world map (which is meant to be the size of an entire planet, though movement across it isn’t to scale) that can, at least in part, be accessed freely within the first few hours of play. There’s a story that, even excluding the time spent grinding to level up, would take several dozen hours to complete by most people–play times in the neighborhood of 200 hours are not especially unusual. The scope of the two projects are entirely different orders of magnitude.

      • SatansBestBuddy says:

        Sorry to nitpick, but no, RE1 is not a shooter.

        RE4 is, but that game was completely different from RE1.

        RE1 had one big scary mansion that had most of it’s doors locked, and a huge part of the game was exploring the house, finding keys to unlock the locked doors you found earlier, most of which had puzzles you needed to solve inside and notes scattered around that helped you piece together what happened before you arrived.

        There were zombies, and you did shoot them, but they came at you one or two at a time and had insane amounts of health, combined with scare ammo to be found meant that you were always in danger of running out of bullets and being unable to fight back.

        The game itself is rather small, so even though Capcom made the entire thing about 50% bigger, with a forest and such, most players would still finish the game in under 12 hours their first time through, and skilled players who know where they’re going can finish it in under 3 hours.

        Fortunately, the game has eight different endings and a whole bunch of random events during the game itself, plus the fact that the two characters you could play as are completely different gameplay and story wise…

        Anyway, yeah, that was a different brand of game entirely, plus it was made early in the Gamecube’s life, back when standard definition was, well, standard, so I bet you anything if Capcom tried to do the same as it did with RE1 today, it would take at least twice as long to do.

        • Taellosse says:

          Apologies for mis-using the word ‘shooter’ but your description of the game more or less proves my point–while I’m sure it’s a great game, it is considerably smaller in scope, even with alternate endings and such, than FF7. Let’s not forget that FF7 had to be put across 4 CDs. Of course, the world map had to be replicated on all 4 discs (though I doubt all the areas that could be reached from it were, since many of them are inaccessible until you get certain modes of transport that are unavailable until specific points in the game), but that’s not THAT much data. In terms of playtime, we’re talking about a factor of 10-20 times longer at least. I think the record for fastest completion of FF7 is around 20 hours, but that’s skipping most of the optional material (of which there is a fairly large amount, some of it potentially VERY time consuming) and just doing the main storyline as rapidly as physically possible.

          • Neil Polenske says:

            Uh…FFVII was only 3 CDs and the only additional information put in the last disc is the final dungeon, so they could conceivably have trimmed it down to 2 CDs.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,you mean that avatar wasnt film in just a month after 10 years of painfully hard script refining?Shocking.

    However,I have to disagree with you(and no,Im not a fanboy of the game,I havent even played any final fantasy).Yes,all of that is quite expensive and time consuming.However,the fact is that they are doing all of that already,except that they are adding new gameplay,new story,new music,new characters,etc atop that.Every final fantasy is a completely new game(unless Im mistaken),so besides the graphics and voice acting they have to shell out money for everything else as well.The fact is that a remake will always be less expensive than a completely new game(same goes for movies).True,story,dialogue,gameplay and music arent as expensive as 3d animation,but that doesnt mean they are cheap either.

    And there is also one other important(and expensive)factor you are forgetting:advertising.For every new game you need to make new gripping trailers that will not only attract new people,but will convince most of the fans that this one is at least as good as the last one.With a remake,however,you just need to drop the name,and youll already have at least half the fans willing to buy it blindly.Not to mention the horde of reviewers ready to praise it before they even see a single pixel of the game.

    Finally,let me point out fallout 3,that pulled all of that you mentioned as impossible(move from 2d to 3d,with new models,voice acting,populating the world,etc),and failed exactly because it changed those things youve mentioned as trivial(story,dialogue,gameplay,models for characters and weapons).

    • Shamus says:

      The point is that FFVII is BIG. Justin Alexander says that FF13 is bigger, although I can’t comment on that since I haven’t played that one yet. But VVII is far, far larger than X or XII.

      • Abnaxis says:

        OK, good point.

        BUT! Part of my point is that, with RE1, they added absolutely no new shiny technology, whatsoever. It added polish, some content, and some (proven) gameplay elements to the original. It was still 3rd person, with pre-rendered areas. It was more an improvement than a remake, and everyone I know liked it, every review I saw of it had nothing bad to say.

        My point is, if the game is good enough to stand on its own and already has a rabid following, all they really need to do is make the graphics shinier and keep pre-rendering things and they will sell millions. This is ten orders magnitude less work and, consequently, more profit.

        • SatansBestBuddy says:

          Yeah, hate to point out the blindingly obvious, but Shamus’s article was basically saying that graphics are exactly why a remake would take so long, at least when it comes to bring the game up to PS3 levels.

          Compare how Cloud looks in FFVII to how he looks in Advent Children; you can tell the PS1 game took maybe an hour to do, not counting tweaking time, while the movie version looks like it took a good 60 hour work week just to get modeled, never mind textured and animated.

          True, movie quality =/= PS3 quality, but it’s close enough to point out how massively time consuming making just one of the hundreds of characters this game has.

          Plus, we don’t know how many people Square-Enix has; Bioware has literally thousands of people working 50 hour work weeks on one game, so they can make super detailed games done in a couple of years, while Square-Enix has, what, 200-300 people doing about ten games a year? (haven’t counted, but you get the idea)

          • Abnaxis says:

            Hate to point out the apparently-not-so-blindingly-obvious, but no, he’s saying technology updates (not just “graphics”) are why re-making FFVII would take so long. Big difference. 3D rendering (what Shamus is talking about adding) takes many, many more hours of work, because you have to be able to rotate whatever you’re looking at to see it from any angle. Pre-rendered setpieces (what I am talking about) only require you to make a nice, pretty, layered 2D scene–much less work than making a 3D model, as Shamus points out specifically in his article.

            Where my issue lies is this idea that upgrading to 3D-rendering and full voice acting are absolutely necessary to avoid getting crap from fanboys. 99% of the work he listed is completely unnecessary. You don’t have to have full voice-acting (FFXII doesn’t, and I didn’t see anyone complain…). You don’t have to have fully rendered 3D environments. You’ll probably want some 3D models for the main characters in cutscenes, but if you aren’t going the fully-voiced route, the number of characters that need lip-syncing and motion capture drops about a hundred fold.

            Actually using the technology the game was designed for, the game becomes two orders of magnitude more affordable, and I guarantee they would sell at least a million with the fan base they already have. And the graphics would look considerably better than if they tried to go the full 3D route anyway–which people seem to care more about, as RE1 has shown through its success. All they need to do is add a shiny new coat of paint and polish–Capcom got away with it with stellar reviews on RE1, why couldn’t Squeenix?

  18. MadTinkerer says:

    IT IS THIS:

    Final Fantasy VII was a unique blend of a mid-20th century industrial technology society with a swords & sorcery world. There are themes borrowed from action movies, cyberpunk, spy thrillers, mythology, shintoism, post-modernism, anime, the 8 bit and 16 bit era of videogames, environmentalism, and biological-horror-themed science fiction. Within the Final Fantasy series itself it is uniquely appealing to a current-day audience. Let’s compare it to the other Square Enix games that are most like it in terms of world design:

    Final Fantasy VI: If you don’t count deliberately anachronistic/fantastic technologies such as “airships”, this is the first game where Square really started blending technologies from different periods, and themes from other genres, in with their usual swords & sorcery mix. And also making the game mechanics unique to the setting. In the case of FF6 it was 19th century industrial technology, hinging the plot (and game mechanics) on the plight of the Espers (summons), and starting off with the most Star Wars-y story in the series up to that point, but adding a big twist in the middle and going post-apocalyptic.

    Chrono Trigger: The often-forgotten “missing link” of the series, rarely counted in with the rest of Final Fantasy for the mere reasons of Toriyama character designs and the fact that it’s title is different (however, judged only terms of game mechanics, it’s unquestionably a FF game). Like all Toriyama-worlds, the “Earth” of CT certainly has recognizable features, but the continuity is completely different and the plot hinges on melodramatic villains and awesome fight scenes. Good, and especially important if you pay attention to game mechanics, but very, very cartoony and thus not as serious as the Final Fantasy games.

    Final Fantasy VIII: Properly introduced for the only time in the series two rival properly-modern-tech societies, as well as (SORT-OF SPOILER) a futuristic society. The plot is the most political-thriller-y of the series, throwing a bunch of military school graduates into a world-spanning conflict which turns out to be engineered by a witch from the future (sounds weird but it makes perfect sense in the context of the plot). I really enjoyed it, but the plot and game mechanics are the most esoteric of the series, and the protagonist is too mopey. It’s the most science-fictiony of the series until XIII.

    Final Fantasy IX: Total throw-back to the swords & sorcery & anachro-tech of the first five games, with an interesting science-fictiony twist towards the end. For those who were familiar with the series before 7 and 8 it was brilliant, for those who weren’t, it seemed downright bizarre.

    Final Fantasy X: Brief intro with a futuristic society in the beginning, but the main plot takes place in a tropical fantasy society with copious anachro-tech (although this time the anachro-tech is justified, though that’s a little too much of a spoiler to explain here). Most technology is scavenged from [spoiler censored], so it’s kind-of post-apocalyptic in a tropical paradise. The plot and characters are all a bit dumb except for Lulu and Auron. Tidus is an idiot who can’t get over his abandonment issues even when it turns out that it really, really, wasn’t his father’s fault. But I digress. Small caveat: the best thing about the game is “Otherworld” and everything that happens when that song is playing. Unfortunately, during the rest of the game, other stuff happens.

    EDIT: Actually that was a bit negative. There were some things I loved about FFX, but I really felt like Zanarkand was way more interesting than whatever the island chain place was called. I mean: I’ve actually forgotten what the main bit of that world was called. The gameplay was great, and I even liked the temple puzzles. The story and world, however, were a bit of a letdown.

    Final Fantasy XII: A brilliant cross between Star Wars and Lord of The Rings. It’s not like Square wasn’t already hinting at both in previous games but they really went all-out in 12 and made a brilliant fan-fiction-y hybrid. My favorite of the series so far. The society and tech is closest to Renaissance-level technology but with a huge dose of pseudo-science based on magic crystals. Fantastic if you’re a fantasy/sci fi nerd, less appealing to the mainstream.

    Final Fantasy XIII: OOOooooh! We’ve gone FULLY futuristic in this one, finally. Just started playing it a few days ago, and love every minute. I don’t understand why people complain about it being linear for a long stretch of the beginning as if every Final Fantasy wasn’t already like that, you idiots. I loves it, but in terms of world-tech it’s the second least modern one I’ve mentioned here.

    So anyway: Of the entire series, FF7 is the most like an action movie loosely set in the real world but with magic and wire-fu and science-horror, and all the crazy-awesomeness Hollywood has thought up. Other than 8, which is esoteric for other reasons, all of the others are either very pre-current-day or very post-current-day. It’s no wonder the fans want an updated version of 7.

    • DKellis says:

      How is Chrono Trigger game-mechanically a Final Fantasy game? Honest question; I’ve never thought about it like that, but now that it’s brought up, I still can’t really see it.

      The game mechanics just don’t seem to be very FF-ish. Maybe some bits of it might have a resemblance to FF, but I’d definitely, as it were, question the “unquestionably” label.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        General Combat:

        Weapons:

        As of FF6, weapons were class-based. (in a game that otherwise had no classes, certain characters could use certain equipment and others could not.) As of CT and FF7, weapons were character-based and it stayed that way for the rest of the series.

        Equipment:

        As of FF6, armor was also class-based. As of CT and FF7, anyone could equip any armor or accessory (except for a couple gender-specific ones in CT) and it stayed that way for the rest of the series.

        Party size:

        As of FF6, you could have up to four characters in your party at once. As of CT and FF7, that number was changed to 3 and it stayed that way for the rest of the series.

        Character Development:

        Although FF6 was the first FF to really break out of the paradigm of characters’ abilities being defined by their Jobs (even in the ones that didn’t have a specific Job System, individual characters had abilities Because Of Their Job. e.g. Cecil Did Dark Knight Things Because He Was a Dark Knight and he couldn’t learn non-Dark Knight ), I see CT as part of the evolution of the idea that characters’ skills should be related to their personality. Many of the CT “techs” overlap with each other, such as Marle and Frog’s Ice/Water 1, 2 and 3. Likewise with the various healing abilities and the way three of Magus’s starting spells are the same as three of the other characters’. Thus, while technically CT didn’t have a separate “system” of character advancement, you instead got depth of combat variety from considering who had what abilities and which double-techs you have from any particular combination.

        FF7 and 8 strayed a bit from this idea by giving everyone the exact same potential (8) or almost exactly (7), but from 9 onwards each FF game had an advancement system that combined initial strict specialization with later broad, overlapping variety. Much like CT.

        A Villain In Your Life

        Sephiroth wasn’t the first antagonist to get really, really personal with the protagonists. Magus was. Kefka barely acknowledged the heroes unless they were physically between him and what he wanted. X Death barely noticed the heroes until it was time to fight. While not every FF antagonist from that point forward had the same level of badass-awesome as Magus, several of them did (obviously Sephiroth in particular) and it was Magus who set the standard.

        Character-Themed Optional Sidequests

        First seen in CT.

        There’s also a ton of stuff CT borrowed from earlier FF games as well: an airship, the ATB battle system, the ability to swap out party members, and other features Dragon Quest didn’t have before or afterward*. That is important because half of the CT team was from the Dragon Quest team and the other half was from the FF team. Bottom line: character designs aside, CT is overall a heck of a lot more like FF than DQ and a lot of other RPGs of it’s time.

        *Well, okay, eventually DQ had airships too, but it was very late to the party.

        • Joshua says:

          “Character-Themed Optional Sidequests

          First seen in CT.”

          Hmm, I’ll disagree here. FF VI had these. You had Cyan’s quest to make peace with his dead wife and child, Gau’s meeting with the father who abandoned him, Sabin’s meeting with his old master, and probably a few more. I don’t believe any of these quests were required to get through the game.

          • Neil Polenske says:

            Actually almost the entirety of the last half of FFVI is comprised of optional side quests. You grab in this order Celes > Sabin > Edgar > Setzer. At this point, you get the airship and have enough to make a three party split and can attempt the final dungeon. It’s suicide of course (unless you crazy grind), but the fact remains the rest of the cast are not needed to beat the game.

        • Hal says:

          To be fair, I thought Golbez (FFIV – spoiler alert!) was a pretty personal villain, but then they committed the, as I see it, unforgivable plot sin of swapping villains at the last moment.

        • DKellis says:

          The thing is that I was pointing out the “unquestionably” label, which implied something more than “shares some similarities with the FF games”.

          Mainly because as we’ve seen, even games in the main FF series don’t have much to do with each other game-mechanically, so I don’t know if the lack of random encounters on the world map, or the combo tech system, or even the importance of enemy positioning in battles count as “variations” rather than “differences”. For example, FF8 had the Magic Junction system which other FFs don’t, and it is a “main FF game”. (FF8 didn’t have character-themed optional sidequests either.)

          Not going into the personal villain thing, because you said “only in terms of game mechanics”, and this seems more like a story/plot thing. Also, Magus wasn’t the final antagonist, which makes me think of (as mentioned already) Golbez in FF4.

          Overall, I suppose I’m asking: what criteria are you using to define a game as “unquestionably” a FF game game-mechanically?

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Final Fantasy VIII: Properly introduced for the only time in the series two rival properly-modern-tech societies, as well as (SORT-OF SPOILER) a futuristic society. The plot is the most political-thriller-y of the series, throwing a bunch of military school graduates into a world-spanning conflict which turns out to be engineered by a witch from the future (sounds weird but it makes perfect sense in the context of the plot).

      I’ll admit it, I lol’d.

      • Scott says:

        I played the game. It made no sense.

        Why did they go into space? Seriously?

        • MadTinkerer says:

          I really liked the game and I still had trouble keeping track of what was going on, but when you realize that there’s a witch from the future messing with your heads it all makes a lot of sense. That is: it makes sense within the context of the story, but the plot itself is still the strangest, most meandering FF plot ever. Compared to VIII, XII’s plot is downright straightforward. That’s a big part of what I mean by VIII being too “esoteric” to have mainstream appeal.

        • Zukhramm says:

          This question alone makes me want to play the game. I know nothing of it, but any game where you can ask “Why did they go into space? Seriously?” is a game I need to play.

          • Felblood says:

            They went into space to they could have a cutscene with exploding space ships.

            Any other reason you perceived was a figment of your imagination, not provided by the narrative itself.

        • Alex says:

          “There’s no reason for them to be in space!”

          “On the contrary, there’s every reason for them to be in space!”

  19. Don Alsafi says:

    Whenever the evolution of gaming and the staggering difference of scale comes up, I still think back to the anecdote from when LucasArts was creating Day of the Tentacle. As you’ll remember, this sequel to Maniac Mansion had the nifty feature of actually including the original game, playable, inside of the sequel game. They came up with the idea of doing this when they were creating Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and realized that the entirety of the original MM was smaller than a single cutscene of Indy.

    And that was 1993….

  20. Mazinja says:

    Forget FF7. I’m waiting for the FF6 remake :D

    … I mean… it’s coming… right?

    … right? :(

  21. Scourge says:

    I played FF7 too, granted, that was in 97 because it only came out then in germany. <.<

    The most prominent thing I remember about it was the way cutscenes, could you really call them that though, played over into the gameplay.

    The first instance, you arrive in midgar city, the train rolls over the tracks and into the endstation.
    And then, without any loading or anything, did the people come out of the train.

    Yes, that was one of the most memorable instances of the game, at least for me.

    I wouldn't need a remake actually, what I'd prefer is if they would make a reasonable new game instead of any remake. *nod nod*

  22. Ramsus says:

    While I’m not really a fan of FFVII it seems like it would still be worth their money to remake it. I say this because of the way FFXIII has been received. It seems like they would be guaranteed high sales and unless they went out of their way to screw things up, fans of the original wouldn’t really end up complaining about the kind of things they do for newer games. So that would probably put some more money in their pockets and create some more good will for their company.

    Of course personally it would engender ill will as I didn’t really care for the game and I would see remaking an old game instead of making a new one as kinda lame.

    I don’t disagree it would be a lot of work though. Perhaps they don’t do it because they feel there are too many people who just wouldn’t care enough to buy a remake at this point or maybe they just don’t see themselves enjoying remaking a game.

    • Danel says:

      The remake could be a technical tour-de-force, the perfect synthesis of graphics and gameplay… and there would still be a sizeable minority of the original’s fanbase who would regard it as a travesty and an abomination.

      Add in the fans of the original who don’t own a PS3 and thus couldn’t play a remake in any case, and those fans who’ve given up gaming in its entirety in the interim…

      I honestly can’t understand those people who argue that a remake of FF7 would be guaranteed to sell more than a new Final Fantasy. It’s insane.

      • Felblood says:

        I’m pretty sure that a remake of VII would sell less than a XIV.

        Between the fear that they wouldn’t “get it right” and the fact that we’ve almost all already played it, I don’t see gamers lining up to get this on launch day. People will wait for the reviews on that sort of thing.

        Of course, by the time we can produce an updated remake of VII on a profitable budget, the years of teasing us will have made this into the most anticipated game of all time, which is probably the point of all this.

        • DKellis says:

          Well, FF14 is a MMO, so I don’t know if they have a different metric for sales figures needed to be considered a success.

          • Felblood says:

            Is 14 announced already? Then I meant 15, or whatever the next FF game that is similar in structure to FF7 enough to form a valid comparison.

            The hype around FF7 has gotten so weird that I’m not sure it would pull the same sales numbers as another Final Fantasy game that was similar in every way, but changed the numbers and the character’s names.

            Plus, removing the rose colored nostalgia lenses from the eyes of FF7 fans might not be in Square’s best interests. A FF7 that doesn’t send jaded adult gamers into throes of childlike wonderment is likely to damage the entire FF brand.

            It isn’t going to flop by any means, but FF games pull such awesome numbers, that there’s no reason to take a chance on such an unknown anomaly.

  23. Danel says:

    As much as I love ff13, part of the reason is that Square seemed to have made a deliberate decision to make trade-offs and sacrifice some beloved traditional elements entirely in order to focus on others.

    A remake of FF7 would almost certainly have to make similar decisions to be even remotely feasible, and people would end up complaining about that.

    I know you’re not familiar with FF13, Shamus, and I’m not even sure what you’d think of it if you tried it; but you’re very right in that I can’t even begin to imagine how it would be possible to remake FF7 at a similar graphical level.

  24. Daimbert says:

    I can’t be the only one bothered by the fact that people are saying that a remake of an old game would be too expensive and take too long to bring up to modern graphics standards. Just that in and of itself seems to hint that there’s something wrong; it shouldn’t be any worse than creating a new game, and should be slightly easier because you’ve basically got the plot, gameplay and all those years of comments telling you what worked and what didn’t. That it’s seemingly because there’s too much content in the older game so that making all the cool graphics would be too hard is even worse and should bother everyone: wait, you’re telling me that you have to leave content out to be able to make the game with the best graphics standards? Hmmmm. Maybe you should do slightly less impressive graphics to allow for more impressive content.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      “wait, you’re telling me that you have to leave content out to be able to make the game with the best graphics standards?”

      YES.

      This is precisely the problem that many others, including Shamus, have complained about many times elsewhere. It’s also the main thing that killed Duke Nukem Forever: the team couldn’t bear to ship a game that didn’t have the latest graphics and all the content they wanted. So they kept remaking parts of a game over and over until they ran out of money.

      Without assets you can recycle (see Half Life expansions, Half Life 2 episodes, Left 4 Dead 2, etc.), making new stuff is ridiculously expensive. Expensive means the bosses are less willing to take risks and you get a jillion Military FPSs and not a single follow-up to Magic Carpet 2. Or, for that matter a FPS/strategy game that’s as original and different as Magic Carpet 1. No, you instead get Fable over and over again and even then Molyneux was only able to make it as different as he did because a bunch of the mechanics were borrowed from his earlier games.

      Death To Good Graphics indeed.

      EDIT: Oh yeah. BTW, Portal = totally original game mechanics, still recycled a ton of assets from other Source games to stay under budget. You might say it couldn’t have been made without recycling assets.

      • Daimbert says:

        The issue here, though, would be that they are making other Final Fantasy games, so they should have some assets to re-use already. It sounds like the highest standard graphics assets just can’t be re-used, if this is right. And that’s really sad.

    • acronix says:

      You know how the bulk of current gaming think. If anything has worse graphics than then they´ll complain about “aged graphicz” (that you couldn´t see anyway because you´d need the Pentagon´s computer).

      • Scourge says:

        Point in case, Alpha Protocol.

        Its a good game with reasonable graphics about which I would not complain. Yet are the gamefaqs forums filled with “OMG teh graphicz suck!!!111” threads.
        Heck, even the reviews complain about said graphics.

        Which in turn reminds me, I never ever saw a game that got a 10/10 in the graphic department.

    • SatansBestBuddy says:

      Maybe you should do slightly less impressive graphics to allow for more impressive content.

      And that’s why I keep saying that if it will ever happen, it will be on the Wii.

      And fans will complain, but I won’t, because I actually like the Wii and wish more games were released for it.

      But it won’t happen, because Square-Enix and, indeed, every third party that’s made a Wii game hasn’t gotten a tenth of the sales they deserve, for reasons that are quite baffling but which I just mark up to hardcore gamers knowing how to pirate Wii games.

      (went off on a tangent there…)

  25. I think the point Shamus is making isn’t:

    “Remaking FFVII is impossible, or ludicrously time-consuming”;

    But, rather:

    “Remaking FFVII is not like remaking FFIV or FFV on the GBA, you idiots.”

    I don’t know what the turn-around time for FFIV on the DS was, but I BET it was a substantial amount of manhours. And that’s bumping FF4, SNES-level, up to, say, PS level. That’s one generation. Not two.

    Let’s say for a moment they got rid of voice acting, or only had it for some important parts. Let’s say the fans wouldn’t skin them alive for that (and while FFX voice acting was embarrassing, Dissidia was positively chilling, and Sazh’s acting in XIII is awesome). Even STILL, they need to take a script, game balance concepts and mechanics (even assuming they add NOTHING, which, for God’s sakes, won’t happen: They WILL add a new dungeon or two, plenty of sidequests, new gear, new Materia, etc. THEN have to balance, test and debug all that new content), and art IDEAS and turn them into models, modern sound, physics engines, etc. etc. Yes, it’s true that they could, say, adapt FFXIII’s engine to it, or some such. They still have to make, FROM SCRATCH (since there’s NO SUCH THING as importing PS1 sprites), models for hundreds of characters, dozens of locations, a whole world map…

    Why would they do this? They can make much easier money releasing endless FFVII reimaginations. (Please, PLEASE release something in FFVI – even IV got After Years!) I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it announced. It would also not be surprised if it took several years, and might even end up being a next-gen project.

    My favorite FF? FF6. Followed by 4. Then 5. Then 2. THEN 7. Then 9. Then 8. Yes, SNES fanboy here. But the series is so expansive and has meant so many different thing to so many different people that I chalk up the differences to nostalgia dissonance. Can’t we all just agree to enjoy the games we like and ignore the others? (Oh, and IMHO, the FF series is one of the potential counter-arguments to Ebert: Games are art. Very few get this passionate about Picasso v. Renoir).

    • Scott says:

      No 1, 2 or 3? I would have ranked 8 below all of those.

      • Felblood says:

        2 is definitely a favorite, with that quirk X-COM-esque leveling system, but 1 is about on the same level as 8 for me.

        Granted, I actually finished 1, and not 8, and I played them both in the same year, so there might be something to your statement, but I’ve seen the end of each game and they’re both nonsensical “closed time-loop” stories, with all the valuable exposition garbled and rammed into the epilogue.

        FF1 was a lot of fun, but there were a lot of un-losable battles that took enormous amounts of time, because you couldn’t waste resources that you would need further in the dungeon. Just keep invoking the heal staff, to keep your HP topped up and wait for the enemy to slowly wittle down to nothing (if you’re damaged you can actually get in random battles to top off your HP before fighting a boss). –and I was running A Knight and a Master, brutal melee fighters who can down the end-boss in three rounds with decent buffs, well before the level cap. I’ve heard of people running all mage party’s for extra challenge, but without melee fighters that game would take hundreds of hours of raw grinds, or the sort that would make me claw out my own eyes. Plus, the end boss is resistant to all elements, so you’d have to beat him to death with a staff.

        There were also several dungeons that required power leveling outside of a town, running to the inn at regular intervals, before taking on the first floor. Add in several points where you’re expected to just wander into the next plot point, because there’s nothing left to do at your current location (“destiny” apparently means no side quests), and you have a game that has a lot of fail potential.

        That is, there’s a large percentage people who it would fail to resonate with. I liked it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone I like.

  26. LB says:

    I’m honestly surprised Shamus is so familiar with FFVII.

    Anyway, I’ve been arguing this point for years on forums. (I know, I know!)
    It’s not just the cost of rendering all the unique environments in 3D, it’s the amount of voice acting and the space that would take up. If you’ve ever installed Jade Empire on the PC, you should know what I mean.

    But additionally, in terms of cost/space consideration; the uniqueness of FFVII’s small and numerous environments can’t be overstated.
    The Mythril Caves are distinct from the cave that one guy lives in, which is distinct from the Gi caves, which are distinct from the caves in Gaea’s Cliffs which are distinct from Crater’s caves.
    That’s just caves!

    Whereas FFXIII’s fifteen or so ‘tubes’ and one open area, with all the gameplay which consists entirely of fighting – took them at least three years.

  27. Ern'st says:

    Humorless, angsty, and semi-literate? Sounds like the FF series’ writing.

  28. Eric T says:

    I’m going to wait untill FFXIII vs comes out, before casting judgement on square. Vs is suppose to be a traditional FF on a modern console. If they can pull this off, there’s no excuse not to remake 7. I feel that the reason Most fanboys are up in arms about this is since that tech demo in 2006 why haven’t they been working on it? When will they start working on it? In the interview Kitase stated “We’ve gotten this question a lot from many countries.”, which in to me says the world over is waiting for this game. I almost feel like they’re giving false information out there to keep the game development under wraps.

  29. Ham08 says:

    Great article, Shamus. You gave a very thorough and logical explanation of the situation and it made perfect sense to me.

    People need to know about the astronomical expense and technical difficulties that would need to be overcome for any such current gen HD remake of FF VII. The fans need to give the developers some slack, because they are in the business to make money. If they thought they could make money on a HD remake, they would most certainly do it. Pronto. Unfortunately, Square Enix could actually lose a ton of money in remaking the most important game of their flag ship series and nobody wants that. Not to mention that the rabid fan boys would probably scream and moan no matter how good the finished product turned out and far too many western reviewers are notoriously harsh on JRPGs these days.

    I think they should just do a remake of FF VII for the PSP or NDS like they did for FF I, II, III, and IV and the fans would go nuts. Considering the fact that the FF III and FF IV remakes for the NDS were pretty darn good, I think most people would be extremely happy with just that. It seems like that sort of remake would be extremely profitable (much cheaper to develop), not just for Square Enix but the game may actually sell a ton more hand-held consoles too which would be good for the entire gaming industry because the user base would grow significantly. Everybody wins.

  30. JohnTomorrow says:

    Isn’t it interesting that we have people in the world who will become physically upset over words on a screen, or even worse, having to reply to those words with such venom.

    Is it really that hard to construct some critical response? Perhaps even politely refute the initial post and leave it at that? “I think you are wrong, here are my reasons why.” Why do people seem to devolve when they are on the internet? “FOK U NUB LOLOLOLOL” is the downfall of us all.

    Here’s a good example of why this is all so screwed up: Would you give a man a library card if all he’ll do is scribble on the walls inane dribble and wipe his ass with books he didn’t like? Would you allow him access to the library in the first place?

    I rest my case.

  31. TheZoobler says:

    Actually the posts on that Master Chief thread didn’t seem that stupid. “I’ll never read this comic again” is infantile sure, but the rest kind of made sense.

    The “infantile fanboyism” that was supposedly present for Halo was nonexistant. Just people claiming the comic brought no new ideas to anyone. The only fanboyism I found was “Haha, another great product Shamus” parroted about 50 times. I mean I guess the comic might be interesting or funny to people, but I dunno, your own fanbase was the most devoted and omnipresent in that thread. I think I counted two total “This comic sucks” posts before you jumped in and claimed “See this kind of childish reaction was the point of my whole comic.”

    You made a (subjectively) boring comic that brought absolutely nothing new to light about Halo or the Halo fanbase, and people said it was pretty boring.

    We knew the problems with Halo. We knew that people would defend it. Not that they really appeared to have in your Escapist comments thread.

    …okay. Why not just accept the pride hit. You’re not infallible. I love your posts and your opinions, and clearly several thousand or hundreds of others do too, but that doesn’t make everything you do perfect. Why not just accept that you might have trolled absolutely no one and ended up with a somewhat boring Halo comic strip?

    You know, this brings up a related problem at The Escapist. The Escapist isn’t really a good forum of discussion. There is a huge camp of trolls and fanboys on the site. They could both listen to each other a little more ><. It is a common complaint that The Escapist forums community is a bunch of smug fanboys who worship the site and each other and are way caught up in themselves. The trolls naturally conflict with this. In the end, you have trolls who simply don't appreciate the valid points and ideas that several Escapists possess, and Escapist fanboys who don't appreciate the valid points that "trolls" are making about their own smugness. I dunno. The Escapist community, fans and trolls alike, could stand to listen to each other a little more is all.

    • Shamus says:

      A “boring” comic?

      People do not leave angry reactions when the comic is “boring.” (A as if a comic lasted long enough to “bore” you.) They do so when angry. If you didn’t see that in the thread, then I can’t help you.

      Compare the very first strips to the halo one. I savaged that game and nobody raged out. I don’t see any reason to accept a “pride hit” when the comic was clever, people enjoyed it, and it proved its own point when Halo fans threw a completely absurd fit over some very gentle prodding of their game.

      Your comments about the Escapist community are, of course, true. I think about this dynamic often. Is it a natural an unavoidable property of the size of the community? Is it the subject matter? The moderation style? Is it possible for a community to grow from a small town to a city without losing that small town feel.

    • acronix says:

      Wait, are you saying that congratulating someone is a show of fanboyism? Imagine there´s a painter somewhere, and he makes a picture. If I say “Nice work!” after seeing the work, am I fanboy? Because I thought fanboyism was defending a certain object/s with agression and beyond any reason.

      • TheZoobler says:

        I dunno, I guess I just wasn’t really convinced that the comic was a bold statement. I apologize, I guess I really don’t have much say on the matter because I’m not big on Stolen Pixels, so I can’t judge it too much. Always loved the Lets Plays and Game Reviews and Experienced Points on this site more than anything else. THAT is some game savaging I can dig my teeth into :D. Oh well lol. It’s not really the most important thing in the world to argue over the existence or nonexistence of trolling on a message board. It’s possible I just didn’t see some of the more blatant fanboys because I was expecting the thread to be extremely… volatile from your description.

        And yeah. I guess the comic praise wasn’t that fanboyish. I was just projecting my own disappointment and thoughts on The Escapist community onto the argument at hand and didn’t realize it till the 30 minute editing window was up lol.

        I didn’t mean to sound like such a troll :X

        Anyway. Yeah, don’t mind me lol. I think you do a great and insightful job tearing video games to pieces. And also, I forgot to mention it in my OP, but this was a really good article about FFVII, I never looked at it that way before o.o.

        And yeah. It’s really disappointing, about The Escapist community. I love The Escapist. Love it to death. They have great articles that never cease to be interesting, great video series, and great reviews. If only the forums were more bearable lol D:. And yeah, all those questions are extremely relevant. It’s hard to tell what’s right and what’s wrong. I mean, the moderation style could have everything to do with the troll/snob population, but it might not. It’s pretty noticeable that The Escapist has a VERY hardcore moderation staff. You can’t go one page through a thread without seeing multiple bans lol. Sometimes the post being ban-worthy is debatable, often not. But just because The Escapist has hard core mods/admins and an equally hardcore snob population does not necessarily mean one caused the other. I mean, your troll-pruning here on Twenty sided seems to work pretty well. I don’t get the snobby feeling from these comments. Just people with ideas to share lol. So maybe it’s not their moderation.

        Maybe some snobs were just the first people to the forums, and like-minded people began to flock in to where they could talk and be snobby and be accepted. It’s not particularly anything about The Escapist that did it, it’s just how the community formed and evolved.

        And it’s pretty impossible to just change people. I honestly have no clue how one or several would go about transitioning The Escapist from a dueling two-camp battlefield to a generative wellspring of community thought and contemplation.

        And honestly? There are more important things in life than attempting to sway the hearts and minds of forums-goers.

        …Although, intelligent discussion is one of the most important things life can offer, and it would be lovely to have an Escapist where that is more of a possibility.

        Oh well. The Escapist does have some good threads now and then :D. Maybe The Escapist needs this feature: http://www.xkcd.com/481/
        It could read the post back once in a childish voice, once in a condescending voice, and if the post fit either one too well maybe people would pick up on something. LOL.

        Also I’m just curious how did you start this blog up? I have an interest in starting up a blog following the grand tradition of bloggers such as you and Rutskarn and just throwing my ideas into the internet. How do I start? Lol.

        Edit: Jeebus I write way too much in these comments. Apparently the transition to blogging won’t be that difficult. -.-

        • Shamus says:

          “Jeebus I write way too much in these comments. Apparently the transition to blogging won’t be that difficult. -.-”

          You’re a natural!

          I stared by writing up a D&D campaign, but the thing got fmous when I did DM of the Rings.

          How to start? I’d suggest getting an account on wordpress.com. I use WP here on this blog, and I really dig it.

          • TheZoobler says:

            Alrighty, thanks. Yeah, haha, I attempted to do the same thing with the campaign I DM, using a free website tool. A laggy, terrible free website tool. But WordPress actually looks really nice. I’ll have to check it out. Probably try doing a D&D session blog, or find a game someone HASN’T Let’s Played yet. They look like a lot of fun to write!

            Anyway. Thanks for the help, sorry if I made a bad first impression ^_^;

            • TheZoobler says:

              Side note. How would one go about capturing screenshots on a console? Is there an easy way to do it? Let’s Plays look fun to write and Star Ocean: Til The End of Time was so dull I would love to dig into it. Unfortunately it’s PS2 bound. But I believe you pulled screenshots off of the PS2 version of Silent Hill: Origins for the Let’s Play somehow?

  32. ccesarano says:

    Just summarizing what I said on The Escapist.

    If Squenix makes an FF7 remake, the most logical choice would be for it to be on the PSP. Partly because I believe Sony still holds publishing rights, but also because you could make the game for cheaper, it’ll still look and “play better” than on PSX, and no matter what it’ll sell millions upon millions. Sure, people will bitch that they aren’t getting a full 1080p remake, but they’ll soak it up anyway, just like gamers claimed they’d boycott Left 4 Dead 2 and Modern Warfare 2 and, well, they didn’t.

    Though I didn’t get to say it in there, I actually really liked this article and I will probably end up linking it any time the discussion comes up in other forums. So good job on, well, doing what you always do: writing good analytical articles.

  33. Patriarch917 says:

    I just feel the need to point out that HALO is best gam 4 evar and ur retarded i u dont leik it.

  34. Conlaen says:

    Well in the mating habits article you did call moogles little bunnies. How dare you?!

    But that does raise an interesting question. Maybe the Viera are actually a half breed race of humans and moogles! And they are in fact infertile like a mule and in this case even a-sexual.

    Huh, I never thought of it that way. :)

  35. Tesh says:

    So, wait… there are people out there who actually *want* to see Cloud in drag flirting with Don Corneo in high res glory?

    That alone is worth keeping the game in low fidelity…

    • Guile says:

      So, wait… there are people out there who actually *want* to see Cloud in drag flirting with Don Corneo in high res glory?

      Yes. Yes I do.

      I would certainly be one of those who would buy a FFVII remake, but I’m not really clamoring for it. It’s probably better in my memories as an 8th grader, anyway.

      In reply to one of those posted comments 50 commenters up… okay, Final Fantasy 8 wasn’t the best game ever. But you really liked FFI better? I mean, Time Compression hurt my brain trying to get my head around it, but FFI was… not good.

  36. Robyrt says:

    One nitpick:

    The God of War remakes don’t actually have better graphics, except possibly the menu screens. They’re the exact same graphics, running at 1920×1080 instead of 720×480 – and it still looks great. Sure, you can see the polygons on the 3D models, but they didn’t do anything like the wholesale revamp you’d need for Final Fantasy.

  37. Jimmie says:

    I’m still mad they haven’t remade Wizardry with modern graphics.

  38. Greg says:

    I’m curious about something. Suppose an FFVII remake would take exactly the same resources as FFXIV (It won’t for the reasons Shamus states) which would do better?

    Would you prefer the remake or the new title? And would you buy the other one if you didn’t get your first choice?

    I predict that most people who would welcome a remake would be just as likely to buy a new title, but that the reverse is not true – but lets see :D

  39. Arquinsiel says:

    I love FF VII.

    No other topic can cause someone to ragequit an IRL conversation quite so fast as simply comparing the main antagonist with Elric of Melniboné.

    In fact, a basic understanding of the Elric saga is a pretty solid way to cause a flamewar with FF fans AND Tolkien fans who want to credit him with influencing actually. Great ammunition for any aspiring troll.

  40. asterismW says:

    I’d be interested to know how a remake of FFVII is different from a remake of, say, Monkey Island. That remake was built on the original engine, with updated graphics and added voice acting, and it turned out beautifully. I don’t think it took them a crazy long time to make it, nor was it crazy expensive. So how are the two different? Granted, I’ve never played FF, so maybe that’s the reason I just don’t get it. But I’m honestly curious about why it works for one game, but not for another. Would it just look silly? MI managed a simple art scheme that was still nice to look at, even if they weren’t top-of-the-line graphics. Would the gameplay be awkward? MI retained the same gameplay mechanics, but it didn’t feel lazy or weird. So why couldn’t there be a similar remake of FFVII?

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah. You’d have to see an FF game. HUGE, highly detailed set-pieces, motion-captured everything, fantastic beasts and machines. There aren’t any western games (that I’ve tried) that can even compare.

      Comparing to MI, the characters are far more photo-realistic (or at least, more complex) and designed to be viewed in closeup with lip-sync.

      Even the new & improved Guybrush is probably a little simpler than your average throwaway background extra in an FF game.

      • asterismW says:

        So basically, FF fans are looking for more than a simple art upgrade, which is essentially what we got with MI. (After all, MI 2.0 didn’t worry about lip sync, and even close up shots used the same simple facial expressions, but with better resolution.) What FF fans want is a game that looks AND feels AND plays like FFXII, but with the FFVII story.

        Which brings up another question: If they only upgraded the art, would a remake be plausible? And if that’s all they did, would anyone even want to play it?

  41. Kdansky says:

    Even tough I’m late to the party, I have my own theory as to why FF7 does not get a remake:

    Square profits a lot more from nostalgia than they ever could from a remake. FF7 was a great game, but it is not as incredible as most fans believe it is. Now if Square made that FF7/b, new players would go “what’s so great about it?” and old time fans would go “meh, the original is better” (or be outright disappointed) and cynics would say “well, it’s quite the same, actually, but it’s not very good. Maybe FF7 is just not as good as I believed it was”. The loss of trust would hurt the franchise more than what a single big hit would be worth. FF7 fans buy most games of the series, hoping for another 7, despite 8+ not actually being very good. Solid, yes, and sometimes a spark of brilliance, but riddled with issues. If FF8/9/10/12/13 were not Final Fantasy franchise, I doubt they would have sold very well.

  42. Wsbbro says:

    Its Just something but issnt it posible that they are saying they dont and still make it ?
    They Can at least hide it for us and then put it on the market ,
    i love the way people think about No remake or remake or w/e the only thing is the Orignial FF7 issnt boring and shiz
    its still a great game , im not against the remake but if they make one it better be a great one .. els it would be a waste of time and monney =] Greatz

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