Well, now that we can officially write off any Kingdom Hearts 3 speculation, we’ll jump right to the biggest rumor mill churner. Final Fantasy!
Square-Enix first unveiled Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 in 2015. Since then, the public has been given very little information. We know that they intend to release it in three installments and it’s being directed by Tetsuya Nomura and produced by Yoshinori Kitase (the director of the original). Otherwise, we’re in the dark.
From active to action
Much like what was mentioned in our article on RE2make, the gameplay is where fans will likely be most critical. Considering the trailers we’ve seen, we can rest assured it will be a thing of beauty, but how it plays will determine everything. Will purists get to revisit the classic active-time battle system? I have my doubts. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though! We’re in a new age of gaming, which means a new “golden standard.” I may miss the turn-based format, but FFXV made it clear that the series can evolve successfully. Employing a battle system akin to Kingdom Hearts, FFXV gave players something at the corner of strategy and action. More importantly, it worked! (At least for the most part.) Square-Enix seems to believe turn-based combat is a thing of the past (or reserved for smaller titles), and though I may disagree, I’m excited to see an old favorite in a new light.
Back to the future
It’s no secret — critics and fans agree that FFVII is one of the most beloved games in the genre. Years later, it’s still applauded for its unique story and cast of characters. It’s a game that reflected the experimentation of the 16-bit JRPG-era in terms of setting and “weirdness,” while providing an experience that was modern and cinematic — almost a perfect meld of what was and what was to come. I don’t need to say it, but FFVII was a cultural phenomenon upon release. It took an otherwise niche genre and brought it to a wider public. I actually can’t think of another JRPG that has had such a widespread impact, especially considering games as a medium at the time of its release.
As of now, I feel confident we’ll see something from FFVIIR. Disappointing would be an understatement if the game doesn’t show up. Actually, it would be quite concerning from a development standpoint. Square-Enix has a sizable burden to deal with after the 10+ years of development time for FFXV. Who wants to wait that long again? Don’t quote me on it, but I’m thinking we get a more in-depth trailer that unveils at least a few more characters. We’ve got Cloud and Barret, so Tifa, Aerith, and Sephiroth seem like pretty likely candidates. I’d love to see the whole cast in action, though!
Descending a bit further into the realm of speculation, I’d be ecstatic to see a surprise announcement for Final Fantasy XVI. This is, of course, based on absolutely nothing, but just knowing another mainline title was in development would be really exciting. As far as the content of this game, who knows? I’m imagining we’ll see a wholly original world (though I wouldn’t mind a return to Ivalice…), but perhaps based in something familiar.
The first possibility would be fleshing out the Agni’s Philosophy tech demo. The released video just screams Final Fantasy, mixing magic and modernity, and the pseudo-witchy vibes of the proposed protagonist hit a lot of aesthetic notes for me. Plus, a new FF game with a female MC would be really exciting! After the totally bromantic road trip of FFXV, it would be a welcome change. Final Fantasy has handled female protagonists quite well in past entries (Terra and Lightning are really great, for starters) and I love this character’s design.
On the opposite end of speculation, I think Square-Enix could pull some semi-familiar faces from their mobile game, Brave Exvius. “XVI” is right in the game’s title, after all! It hosts a few purely original characters, so it wouldn’t shock me to see them show up in a bigger game. It’d be amusing to see Square-Enix actually engage this level of “playfulness,” basically pulling something from right under the fans’ noses.
In a perfect world…
For one final note of pure wishful thinking, I would love to see an FF game headed by Yoko Taro. I positively adore his quirky and existential brand of storytelling and I think it would breathe a ton of life into the FF series. A little hint of that “16-bit era” experimentation I miss so much.
All of that in mind, we’ve only got mere hours before it’s all unveiled. I can’t wait to see what we’ll have to look forward to!
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