The Final Fantasy VII remake is more than retelling a familiar story from a classic role-playing game. If you want to play it, you shouldn't read any further. When you've finished the last chapter, you'll know that its end is quite different from the original story – not just changing the canon of the game, but turning the existence of the canon into an action point. It's ambitious, confusing, and extremely strange, and the reactions here at The Verge have changed a lot.
How effective was Final Fantasy VII Remake's great narrative swing? How well does it work for newcomers compared to long-time fans of the series? And since the remake only covers the first section of the original game, how well are future installments set up?
Last warning: spoiler for Final Fantasy VII remake Consequences.
Andrew Webster, game editor: In the end, what impressed me the most – which I can hardly describe – is how unexpected it was. For most of FFVIIR's duration, it's a fairly traditional remake. It extends the original significantly, but generally tells the same story and addresses the same important points of action. The new game only covers the Midgar area, which was essentially the opening of the original.
I expected subsequent episodes to do the same and examine important sections of FF7 with additional details. Now I don't know what to expect. The end of the game proposes a completely new way for the story, in which the events of the original are malleable and fate is not predetermined, but something that can be changed. I started to play a portion of nostalgia – but now I need to know how things will actually be different in the future.
Nick Statt, news editor: Given the extremely confused plot of the original FFVII, I was pretty sure two things would go into the remake: The game might not end with Cloud and his Ragtag crew leaving Midgar before the credits roll. And I was certain that if the game was really going to be a 30- to 40-hour adventure in a realistically small fraction of the story, they would have to start incorporating some elements of Sephiroth's story earlier.
The game delivered both points at the same time, and after thinking a little bit about the end, I consider myself in the pro-alternative universe / timeline camp. I loved having an epic final battle, even if it seemed outside of the left field. I personally am not particularly fond of the idea that the stake suddenly became so high because it feels like this will permanently change the attitudes of all characters if they know from the start that it is about the world in front of you Saving the man they have I hardly know, instead of slowly taking on such colossal responsibility that more of the whole plot is revealed.
Maybe everything was a Sephiroth-induced dream
But atmospherically, it was very Final Fantasy, and I'll forgive Nomura and the crew for delivering a bit of Advent Children's-inspired fan service when the game needed it the most.
Where this remake series goes from here is hard to guess, and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't worried that part two might just be a rash compilation of the biggest hits or "it was just." a Sephiroth-induced dream in the life stream “nonsense. Unlike most die-hard "make it scene-by-scene remake" people who are currently very vocal on the Internet, I'm not so worried that they will change everything and rewrite the script completely. But it would be a real shame to waste all the great work that helps these characters feel so much more alive than they did 25 years ago, if you rely too much on the overly ambitious, curvy elements that we rely on grapple now.
Michael Moore, Evaluation Coordinator: I think what I found frustrating in the end is that it's hard to say what it means to break away from the original events from now on. They effectively showed during the rest of the game that they were ready to hit important moments in the same or similar way, but added new material to improve storytelling and give characters more development compared to the original.
Hitting players over the head of how different things could be feels like a lack of self-confidence that came before, where they had effectively shown players how things would differ from the original FFVII. The or what they are trying to convey is how different things will be from here on, which is not recognizable at this point in time, without anything going on.
Kevin Nguyen, Feature Editor: I hadn't spoiled the end for myself, but on the way I kept getting texts from friends who were ready to inform me when they got there. They wanted to discuss, and I assumed I was going to see a big change or revelation. After finishing a somewhat lengthy fight with Sephiroth and seeing a somewhat satisfactory CG montage, I hit the credits and wondered what exactly I had missed. There's the revelation that Zack is still alive, which meant … what exactly?
It turns out that it doesn't mean much at all. Sure, the whisper is dead, which means that fate is no longer predetermined. For fans, this means that the remake is now written in a plotter that allows him to deviate from the original.
This is deeply bizarre for me! Why do the Final Fantasy VII remake creators have to give themselves permission to change history? Let me reword this: why does the entire plot of the game lead to a moment when it is explained that you are playing a remake? Wait, let me try again: hhrrngghh !!! (green flashback sound; Sephiroth seems to be saying to me: "Did you know that remakes can be different from the original?")
All in all, I had a ball that shot through horned hack & # 39; n & # 39; slash slightly raised for 30 hours. Mechanically, the game is leaps and bounds better than the original; I just wish writing had even taken a step forward.
Sam Byford, Asia publisher: Before launch, I thought the way Square Enix literally called this game the “Final Fantasy VII Remake” was a stupid fan service. After completion, however, the name makes a lot more sense. What I want and expect from Final Fantasy games are quirky twists and turns, and it doesn't get much fancy than the revelation that Final Fantasy VII Remake is not a direct remake of Final Fantasy VII, but an ultra-meta alternative universe version that mainly exists to meditate on the concept of the remake of Final Fantasy VII.
The twist is like a reversal of Metal Gear Solid 2, which, when released, turned out to be as subversive, postmodern remix of the original as a direct sequel, in which a previously unannounced protagonist went through mysteriously familiar events. I never thought it would be possible to do something like that again in today's clockwork video game hype cycle, but I think it's great that Square Enix chose it.
Whether they hold the landing is another matter entirely. It's hard to call this a great idea without playing the next episode of the game, and who knows when that happens. But the end makes me much more excited than I would have been if they played it directly. I mostly enjoyed what Final Fantasy VII Remake did to its characters, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with them without knowing their fate beforehand.
The end gets a careful thumbs up from me for the time being. But I also think that Tetsuya Nomura probably just wanted an excuse to invent a Sephiroth boss fight set to "One Winged Angel" at the end of a remake of the first 10 percent of Final Fantasy VII. Let's just say I'm interested in what's next without necessarily expecting it to be good or even coherent.
Megan Farokhmanesh, reporter: With extreme humility and grace, I have to tell you that Final Fantasy VII Remake is a game that was made perfectly for me and no one else. I played the original as a tender teenager, lived on his fanfic for years and gradually let my brain melt into a puddle of jelly that says "I <3 Cloud Strife".
(I'm kidding. I'm kidding? When Nick described the conspiracy as confused, I had the absolutely crazy gut reaction: "Excuse me, what don't you understand about a magical old people associated with a fantasy power stream that is the planet drives itself, but can be commanded by a man with anti-gravity pony and mom problems on an oedipal level? It makes perfect sense to me. "I am unbearable!)
The reaction we all have – a mixture of "is this allowed?" and "do I like it?" – speaks of the extremely exaggerated, overly precious canonization of loved games. The fate of the cast of Final Fantasy VII is so firmly anchored in my brain that the idea that Aerith could survive, for example, makes me a stuttering idiot. “But when she lives, it changes the structure of the game. How can one of the stories exist without it? “- as if no writer can think of a new, interesting way. That the game's creators felt the need to fight so hard and to weave the idea of change into meta-textual taste feels like they are a preventative deterrent to fans like me: know-it-alls who would argue about what the game should be because we have spent the past 20 years building it up in our heads.
This is a very lengthy preparation to say that although I think the end of FFVIIR is really going off the rails in more ways than one, I'm here. I'm not sure if Zack is actually still alive or if something will really be different. I imagined future episodes where you have the choice of either continuing the game's original route or exploring a new story. In this way, fans can decide what really matters: canon or creativity. Most of all, I love a good story troll. Just tear the walls around me.
Adi Robertson, lead reporter: These last few answers really crystallize my ambivalence. On paper, I love Final Fantasy VII Remake, which makes a disrespectful metatextual version of the classic "We Must Kill God" in which God is the author of Final Fantasy VII. It's Grant Morrison Animal Man from JRPGs!
On the purely textual level, however, the end doesn't matter. The characters know they're like … murdered predestination. But as Nick says, this fight comes from the left field and there is no real reason why it is important to avert an amorphous bad event. It ignores many more interesting story threads, such as Cloud's origins (he's not a SOLDIER?), Sephiroth's past, and anything that determines who Zack is and why I should care.
I know how the original game answers these questions, and the remake could have been used to demonstrate why the Canon changes are mandatory rather than just explaining that they exist. It looks like it offers revelations for people who like to talk about Final Fantasy VII, but no satisfactory developments in the actual narrative.
However, I only played part of the original game last year, so I'm excited to see how people's relationship with Final Fantasy VII affected their reactions. How does the end work if you are not a big fan, for example? Does the original game re-contextualize when you are?
Sam: I'm not a big Final Fantasy VII fan. The one I have the most nostalgia for is VIII, which is overall … less popular. I know the basics of the VII story and did the Midgar section of the game on Switch as homework last year, but that mostly only helped me better understand Remake's extremely good rearranged soundtrack.
I think I could be in the perfect place to honor this ending. I am not close enough to history to be interested in direct retelling, but I am familiar enough that the twist resonates and I wonder what happens next. I was expecting Remake to be just VIIs Midgar with extra padding – and to be precise, that's exactly what it is for about 95 percent of its life – but I'm not sure if this approach gets my attention on who-knows- would have held. how many episodes. Now I'm at least on board for the next one.
Kevin: Sam, I definitely come from the same place as you, but in the end I felt more in tune with Adi. The remake had a dozen free queries. You'd think one of them could have been browsing a slum to find a reasonable backstory for Zack, rather than like three cats.
Maybe we could get a side quest about Zack instead of lost cats?
Michael: I'm not the biggest FFVII fan, but until recently it was my favorite Final Fantasy game. (I still have the original PS1 copy that I received on launch day.) And maybe because I didn't play FFVIIR and instead watched my roommate (who is a much bigger fan) playing, I found that I did it at some point stopped thinking about the remake as FFVII and instead of his own game.
While it still hit moments from the original, so much was added that it is something completely different, making it feel less like a retelling of the original game, and more like what the films from Rebuild of Evangelion to the original are, Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. While the first film remains a fairly faithful remake of the show's early episodes, the end of the film and subsequent films are very different from what the series did. Changing events and introducing completely new characters to make it clear that these films are not a retelling of the series, but something completely new.
The end seems to be the model for future games, and frankly I'm much more curious as to what that could mean if it just retells the original game.
Megan: For me, the only real gamer in the team, it is very special to see how Remake brings the world of FFVII to life. I replayed the original a few months before the release of Remake, and now what I once really loved as a game of my own feels little more than an outline. Here are the beats and here is a basic look at the world. I spent a lot of time staring – at the plate, at the empty sky, at a really tall building here and there. The filler frustrated me, but most of the time I felt dizzy as I ran through this world I somehow knew. That's how I feel about the whole game. It just feels big and crazy and exciting to find something new in this very old story.
Adi: We are all talking about the elephant (Chocobo? Tonberry? Hell house?) In the room: Will the saga actually be completed? Given the length of this game and the size of Final Fantasy VII, I'm not convinced this will happen. Is the end still on its own if it isn't?
Megan: Maybe I just saw and loved too many canceled TV shows, but I think this ending could stand alone if you played the original game and you know it well. Listen to me: Remake expanded the world, it brought Sephiroth early, it – okay, well, it didn't really explain much for itself. But enough of the original has been checked to give fans an expanded look at this world. I'm not saying I would like it if the series never ended. But I think there is enough of a combination of the old game and this new, unknown idea to make it an open end. Let the fanfic communities go wild.
Sam: Yes, absolutely not. This ending only works if you tackle the plot wisely, but I have a feeling that you will end up on something like "omg Aerith lives". Although I have no doubt that the saga will be finished someday, I'm much more skeptical of how they do it. At the moment, however, there is at least a chance that it will be cool, and I'm here for the ride. In probably several years.
Michael: I think it would take a supernova to destroy Square, so as not to end this series.
Nick: The only sensible way to end – and I think a correct conclusion needs to be drawn – is that the series introduces all the known beats and ends of the story as usual, but with the characters' knowledge that they are playing a script and in some cases deviate from where the authors think it is right.
I cannot see that they are sparing Aerith or simply refrain from reaching a conclusion, but I could see a situation in which she makes the choice herself and knows that this will save her friends and the planet. Or maybe there is a timeline in which she and Zack both live. Such things could spice up the original plot while keeping everything in check. God help the players who haven't played the original yet, because even the die-hard FFVII fan doesn't make much sense.
Megan: I still think Nick is wrong. What is so difficult to understand about the original story, folks!