Final Fantasy VII remake is using Unreal Engine and will be released in Episodic form

First of all, the Final Fantasy VII remake is so far only slated to arrive on the PS4 but given that every other Final Fantasy game seems to be transitioning to PC I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that FFVII will as well and that the PS4 exclusivity is most likely a temporary thing.

With that said, Final Fantasy VII was confirmed during the recent PSX to be using the Unreal Engine 4 (to great effect if the trailer is any judge) and in a subsequent interview stated that it will be released in an episodic format.

 

What really surprises me is that its using Unreal Engine rather than Square Enixes own Luminous Engine. Given that a company as big as Square Enix opts to go with an outside engine rather than their own speaks volumes on how easy it must be to work with the latest Unreal Engine. But, the results are there, the graphics in the trailer look stellar when you compare it to those from the original FFVII.

The episodic format reveal didn't happen during PSX, instead it was first talked about in interviews right after. I can't speak Japanese so its a good thing Gematsu went ahead and translated them in to English. Here are the relevant quotes:

"A proper HD remake that maintains the same feeling of density of the original wouldn’t fit into a single installment. Nomura adds that in the case of a single installment, content would have to be cut and the result would be a condensed version of the game. But with this method, players will be able to explore many different areas of Midgar that they couldn’t access in the original. While parts may also be cut from the original, Nomura promises that overall, the amount of content is only going to increase."

"If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become condensed. We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts."

While I've seen some people complain about how they're trying to milk money I feel that's a bit unfair to say right now without even seeing how the release will work and what the price will be. They haven't actually said this, not directly anyway, but I feel its a budget issue with the remake team only being given a certain amount to do it, only to realize that they will need far more. In any case, I don't actually mind episodic releases as long as they are timely and appropriately priced.

The second thing I noticed from these interviews is how much care is being put in to the remake. I don't mean stuff like the developers saying "oh I love this game" but rather the things they choose to focus on and how they explain their decisions. Re-read the interviews, especially the first one, you'll get what I mean. It certainly feels like its in good hands.

When I first heard that FFVII is getting a remake I just expected the original FFVII with better graphics but it would appear we are getting far more than that, including additional content (and story) as well as a somewhat reworked combat system.

"The battle system is Active Time Battle. However, the ATB gauge doesn’t indicate the order of attacks, but rather is its own system unique to . Nomura says you should pay particular attention to when the gauge turns red.

A party consists of three characters, and players can switch freely between them at any time. You don’t have to switch characters if you don’t want to.

The battle tempo will be similar to Dissidia Final Fantasy Arcade. This time, we’re only getting a look at the base part of the battle system, but you can switch characters and apply strategies. Nomura says it’s not just aimlessly striking enemies."

The combat system, from what I'm gathering, is based on Final Fantasy XVII's combat but rather than simply being a copy its taking it in a different direction all together. Can't say I really mind the idea, the only thing that remains now is to see how good the execution ends up being. And finally, the story changes:

"In addition to delving into these episodes more deeply, we’re preparing a number of mechanisms and such. To those who played the original version will know the important parts and understand the story from the beginning to the end. Also for these people, I hope that they can be surprised once again.”

“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.”

If you're going to make a remake for a game that's as old and as well remembered as FFXII this is probably the way to go because if they just rehashed the same story I have a feeling people would get bored before all of the episodes are even released. If you know exactly what's coming what is there to excite you?

And that is it as far as the remake information goes. Once again, thanks to Gematsu for translating the interviews and if any more details pop up, especially about a PC release, I'll keep you updated.

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