The Internet has been buzzing with all kinds of chatter and excitement about the new Final Fantasy 7 remake trailer and as much as I love FF7, I simply cannot get behind it. I know, I know…it sounds almost like I’m being deliberately contradicting and a real stick in the mud, but I assure you that’s not it. The real problem stems not from what Final Fantasy 7 was, but from what Square-Enix IS.
Allow me to elaborate. According to Wikipedia, Square-Enix was formed as a merger between the RPG giants in April of 2003. And what was their first order of business? Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. Mmm…hmmm. Oh, but don’t worry, they also released Final Fantasy X-2, Front Mission 4, and Drakengard that year! Uhhhh…hmmm. Okay, and Sword of Mana and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, but you get the idea.
“Oh, but that was over a decade ago!” And Final Fantasy 7 was nearly two decades ago. Some argue that the last “solid” Final Fantasy was FFX, which again, I only refer to as FFX and not FF10 because I’M NOT SAYING FINAL FANTASY 10-2…it’s just…wrong. So is Final Fantasy 13-2, but let’s not get too sidetracked here. Hell, my brain hurts just from typing that.
Charlie’s Angels X Final Fantasy
It is true that Square-Enix has made solid products since FFX, such as the remakes of older Dragon Quest games, the GBA ports for older FF games, further Kingdom Hearts stuff (despite the ridiculous names I’ve yet to find one I did not like), Dragon Quest 8, Radiata Stories, Dragon Quest Heroes Rocket Slime, Front Mission 5 (which didn’t officially come to America but the translation patch is solid), the PSP version of Valkyrie Profile, and so on.
Ah, but if you’ll notice, the ONLY Final Fantasy games I just mentioned were ports. In other words, the only NEW Final Fantasy games I’ve actually been able to vouch for since the 2003 merger were Final Fantasy 12 (as a personal taste), Final Fantasy 13-2, Crisis Core, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and A2…and yeah, that’s about it.
What’s more, Cloud has been more or less deified in a very strange way by Square-Enix and FF fanboys alike. It’s gotten to the point that he’s no longer a man, but some kind of demi-god fanfiction wank material. You needn’t look further than the first Kingdom Hearts to see this. His blade is wrapped in bandages for whatever reason, he’s donning a half cape, his hair looks more stupid somehow, and he has a wing…since when has Cloud had a wing?
What the Christ
And I swear to fuck that if your response is to watch that fanboy wank material Advent Children, then you can go straight to hell. I’m what’s considered a Final Fantasy purist, which leads to an even bigger question: who is this remake even for, really? Millennials won’t get it unless they rape the source material to make Cloud somehow more emo than Squall and all boyband-like…which does not sound like something I would be interested in.
So is it for people like me? If that’s the case, then you’re pandering to 30-somethings who’ve long since lost faith in your company…at least in many respects. Sure, you still make great things like Sleeping Dogs, Just Cause 2, and Deus Ex Human Revolution, but then you also make atrocities such as Dirge of Cerberus, Valkyrie Profile 2, Chocobo Tales, and Front Mission Evolved.
My worst fear is they will use Final Fantasy 13’s engine to make the remake which, while graphically and audibly beautiful, was terrible in virtually every other aspect. As a side note, if they were to do it with FFX’s engine, I think they would win over all audiences, but I don’t think if they thought that far ahead. So why am I so pessimistic? Don’t they deserve a chance at this?
Well sure, if it was the exact same people that developed the project initially and had a clear idea of the demographic. Pretty sure that’s not the case. Moreover, consider the case of Duke Nukem Forever, the little game that could. EVERYBODY wanted to see Duke Nukem Forever completed, not contemplating what that would actually mean.
In many respects, I consider the unveiling of Duke Nukem Forever on the unsuspecting public to parrot the reveal of the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark. We simply were not ready for how terrible it would actually be. Even I imagined it would range from just okay to absolutely amazing. Never in a million years did I imagine it would not only be a major letdown, but also a real kick in the balls.
So why am I mentioning this? Well, how long have we been teasing the idea of a Final Fantasy 7 remake? What, since maybe one year into the lifecycle of the PS3? Wouldn’t that be around 8 years? If I recall, Alan Wake also had a ridiculously long development lifecycle and, while it was a very fun game, clearly had a lot of residual issues that should have been ironed out in the QA process and almost had a rushed feeling to it as a result.
Duke paused. At this point, he could think of nothing to write. Is this what Sonic felt like? A lone tear was shed before he finally settled on drawing dickbutt and handed it back to the youth before running away bawling.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s possible that I’m just talking shit and it will totally blow us all out of the water, absolutely shattering our already high expectations…but don’t count on it. It’s also possible that, like most Square-Enix projects, it gets delayed 500 times with really pathetic reasons. Or, much like what happened with the PS3, they will simply say it was a “tech reveal,” meaning the movie was only made to showcase the power of the PS4, not that it was EVER intended to be released full scale to the public.
Of course, that would be a lie, but Square-Enix would find a way to spin it, even though they revealed at E3, which you would think is definitive. But let’s assume they have all their ducks in a row and it is DEFINITELY going to come out with no delays. Well, that alone would be impressive. Will it be shit? Well, it could be another Final Fantasy 13, so here’s the deal with that.
Square-Enix loves to ride the hype train, but sometimes that gets derailed at the next station. In the coming months, they will do absolutely everything they can to promote the product, as a good company should. All I’m saying is be cautiously optimistic. This is a company that has milked Final Fantasy for all it’s worth, then kept milking well after that cash cow was dead.
I find it very hard to believe that they would deliberately screw this up, but I find it very possible that it will happen anyway because they don’t know exactly who they should be making this for. I’d like to believe they take the Persona stance and simply make a classic game with modern themes, but that could also lead to ruining the source material in the process.
I think it’s possible for FF7 to be remade successfully, but I’m not entirely convinced Square-Enix could pull it off. Honestly, I want it to be a success because that will add yet one more reason to get a PS4 for me. Really, at this point they’re not hurting me if it ends up being a total flop. And that’s the thing; though it would sting that they would make a terrible remake, it would also be predictable.
With Duke Nukem Forever, we just wanted it DONE. We assumed it would be done well or at least well enough that we would enjoy it. And to be fair, there are actually aspects of it I like…but purely from the angle of how awesome the game would’ve been if it was released 10 years earlier. With Final Fantasy 7, we’ve been burned so many times by the company since 2003 (or earlier if you’re real cynical) that we simply don’t care.
I’m convinced this is Sora grown up
At the end of the day, the original kids who played it won’t care and the millennials won’t care either because they never cared about the source material. So really, it would only serve to blow up in their face. If it’s a success, cool. If it isn’t, whatever. I hate to present that level of apathy, but it is what it is.