Cloud StrifeSource: Square Enix

I still remember when the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer debuted on Sony's stage at E3 2015. I remember the disbelief at its existence; the utter awe of its cinematics; the complete euphoria of the crowd when the word "remake" appeared at the end of the trailer, squashing all thoughts that what they had just watched was for a movie or half-hearted remaster. It's a complete remake, and Final Fantasy 7 deserves nothing less. (Hello Final Fantasy 7 PS4 port! At a time when the remake was kept under wraps, you were the last thing that people wanted.)

Whether you're a new fan to the legendary JRPG franchise or returning to Midgar, here's everything you need to know about the remake.

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Complete remake

Final Fantasy 7

Midgar never looked so good

One of the greatest games of all time is finally getting the treatment it deserves. Join Cloud on his quest to stop the evil Shinra corporation and save the planet. Also try not to cry at that one scene. You know the one.

What is Final Fantasy 7?

I'm sure for many that this title needs little introduction. Final Fantasy is one of the most iconic series in gaming, and Final Fantasy 7 is arguably its crown jewel, defining the childhoods of fans around the world when it first released over twenty years ago in 1997. The attention surrounding it is probably why it was such a notable absence at E3 2018. The FF7 Remake is very much an evolution. In fact, it looks similar to what Capcom is doing with Resident Evil 2.

The story so far

Reno in the Final Fantasy 7 remakeSource: Square Enix

Seeing the number 7 in its name may be intimidating, especially in a series that just released its 15th main installment, but don't let that deter you. Final Fantasy 7 is very much its own independent, standalone story. Following mercenary Cloud Strife, Final Fantasy 7 features a battle of epic proportions between the rebel eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE and the corrupt Shinra corporation, hell-bent on destroying the planet for its own gain.

The developers have hinted at slight story alterations or just adding more depth to its narrative in certain spots, but the main story beats will stay the same.

I don't want the remake to end as something solely nostalgic. I want to get the fans of the original version excited. We'll be making adjustments to the story with this thought in mind.

Though these weren't explained thoroughly, I'd imagine these adjustments may be some added dialogue or filler cutscenes to flesh out the world and characters more. They want it to surprise players while still retaining what made it so special to begin with. So yes, you'll still get one of the most shocking deaths in gaming history at the hands of Sephiroth.

Visuals: Midgar never looked so good

Aerith flinging a fireballSource: Square Enix

The graphics are being completely remade from the ground up using Unreal Engine 4. You won't just be getting a slight bump in resolution or better texture quality. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake will look and feel like it was originally designed in the present, not over two decades ago. A far cry from its pixelated 1997 counterpart. This is a high-definition remake, meaning the visuals will be more realistic than ever. Still, Square Enix is working hard not to sacrifice some of its stylized nature. If you need a comparison, think closer to what Final Fantasy 15 looks like.

Every location and character will look just how you'd imagine them to be. No more polygonal messes. When you think of what Midgar would look like today if Square Enix had designed it in 2018, that's what you're getting.

A lot of us tend to remember our favorite childhood games through rose-colored glasses, conveniently forgetting how rough they looked and how janky they played. Our imagination is clouded by our nostalgia, but it soon it'll be crystal clear.

Gameplay: A controversial evolution

Cloud in combat in the Final Fantasy 7 remakeSource: Square Enix

Final Fantasy 7 originally featured an evolution of the turn-based combat system called Active Time Battle (ATB), which was similar to turn-based but with a few tweaks accounting for the timing of your actions. While turn-based combat was a staple of JRPGs, this is controversially changing in Final Fantasy 7's remake. It will feature real-time action, though the "ATB gauge and Limit Breaks will appear with new ways to be used," according to Producer Yoshinori Kitase.

Save for cutscenes and battles, the original gameplay was a mix of top-down/isometric viewpoints. Gameplay of the remake shows it will be more modern with a 3rd-person over-the-shoulder camera angle that is used in many action-adventure games today.

Wait, the game's being split up?

Tifa stares into the starsSource: Square Enix

As it turns out, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake won't release all at once. In an interview with Dengeki Online, Producer Yoshinori Kitase said "The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning. We still can't share more information about its multiple parts, but please look forward to future announcements."

The interview is originally in Japanese, but Gematsu has provided the proper translations.

Series creator Tetsuya Nomura further went on to explain that fitting everything into a single release and dedicating the appropriate time to do that would mean condensing certain aspects of the game and cutting out parts entirely. To mitigate this as much as possible, the decision was made to release in multiple parts. Nomura even refers to these sections as "episodes."

Nomura confirmed that work has already begun on the next installment of the game.

Demo now available

A demo for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake is now available on the PlayStation Store free for everyone. It only includes the iconic Mako Reactor 1 bombing mission, so it's a tad on the short side, but it gives us a good feel for the game's new combat system and graphics.

When can you play it?

Its reveal trailer interestingly noted that people would be able to "play it first on PlayStation 4," with this specific wording calling into question whether it was merely a timed exclusive on Sony's platform. Right now it's only been confirmed for PlayStation 4, but a potential Xbox One release has not been ruled out.

You can pre-order the Final Fantasy 7 Remake for $59.99. It releases on April 10, 2020.

Complete remake

Final Fantasy 7

Midgar never looked so good

One of the greatest games of all time is finally getting the treatment it deserves. Join Cloud on his quest to stop the evil Shinra corporation and save the planet. Also try not to cry at that one scene. You know the one.

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