If you play video games — or played them roundabout 17 years ago, at least — then you may already have heard the big news. After years of waiting, hoping and pleading, video game developer Square Enix has at long last answered perhaps their public's biggest wish: the Final Fantasy VII remake is finally happening, and the first trailer looks flat-out amazing.
First released in 1997 to massive commercial and critical success, Final Fantasy VII is arguably the most beloved entry in the iconic game franchise. It's a massively important video game in all different directions — for its plot, extensive original score, art direction, gameplay, forging of a surprising emotional rapport with the player, and of course, raw entertainment.
And in spite of the fact that fans have been clamoring for this for years — there's almost no more cliche item at the top of a Final Fantasy wishlist than a full remake of VII, complete with the staggering high-definition graphics of the modern era — it still almost feels unreal. The original version of the game debuted on the Sony PlayStation, and now we're up to PlayStation 4. Frankly, as someone who spent many an hour with the original as a young teen, it was not to feel a little giddy on the trailer's first viewing.
It's a kind of unprecedented concept, at least to my knowledge — doing a full remake of this scale and magnitude, of a game released three full console generations ago. To that extent, it really feels like this must have been the result of all these years of clamoring. I could try to summarize some essential details about the game itself, but I'd fall painfully short. The original takes a solid 40 hours or so to finish, and there are some pretty big spoilers in there, after all.
So, suffice to say that it's an incredible work of fiction within video game history, and it definitely deserves the top-dollar treatment. The difference in fidelity is going to be huge, make no mistake. Maybe the biggest reason this is so exciting is that the original game, the first Final Fantasy to make use of polygonal character models, often looked pretty terrible. Take a look at the differences between some similar settings from the original to the remake — even though the new stuff isn't gameplay footage, the contrast is stark.
Or, how about this?
The biggest problem with the original was the characters, without a doubt — to really hammer the point home, here's the before and after of Cloud, Final Fantasy VII's protagonist, both from behind.
A picture's worth a thousand words, no? Simply put, Final Fantasy VII was a masterpiece that debuted a little before it was truly meant to be. The technology was there to tell the tale, but nowhere near polished enough to impart as much feeling and environment as it could have. But now, it looks to be coming back in full, breathtaking visual force.
In short, it's not hard to see why people are so geeked up about this. Unfortunately, it's not yet clear when the remake is due to hit shelves — 2017 marks the 20-year anniversary of the original.
Images: PlayStation/YouTube (4); StanfordFunk/YouTube (3)