I honestly don't know why I'm posting this blog since, owing to the fact that it's Indie Month here on N4G, this blog will get buried; doomed to be lost to obscurity amidst the 5 blogs per game featured. I guess I just feel like this needs to be discussed given the heat surrounding the game.
As anyone should know by now, Final Fantasy VII is being remade and this means all kinds of articles about it speculating on every bit of development detail imaginable. What will the changes, if any, be to the story? Will the mini-games still remain in the game? Will the combat be Action based or Turn based? All of these questions and more are going to continue to be asked until we get more information.
I want to focus on two aspects. Combat, and just who the remake is actually for. Now I say I'm going to focus on combat, but really it's not as much as you might think. See, gamers have shown a clear divide on this issue. In my opinion, those gamers who've never played Final Fantasy VII are the ones shouting at the top of their lungs that combat has to be Action based. They only know modern western RPGs or have only played some Action based JRPGs and are adamant that Turn based is boring, an outdated system, and should be scrapped. Obviously I can't say that ALL of these people are gamers that haven't played FFVII, but I would wager that most of them are.
Then there's the group that I'm a part of. The people who actually did play FFVII, the people who were screaming the loudest for this remake, the people whom Square-Enix trolled the hardest with each tease of its existence prior to the official announcement of the remake. Call us purists, call us traditionalists, call us old fogies, I don't care. We're the ones who know what FFVII is about and know what the current SE are like and don't want the remake FUBAR'ed because they like how FFXIII worked, wanted Lightning to be the new Cloud and it didn't work, so they'll just redo FFVII in FFXIII's image (obvious exaggeration there folks). We want turn based to stay because it's part of the games charm and depth. We like the idea of being able to decide the actions of all 3 characters, rather than have two of them controlled by A.I. WE basically just want FFVII as it was thematically, and mechanically, but with the updated graphics shown in the trailer, trophy support, and if necessary we'll be cool with story additions and the removal of stuff no one ever paid attention to anyway.
And this is where we get to the "who is the remake for" part of the discussion.
Those people who want Action based combat, and in a semi-related way Nomura as well, seem to think that if we wanted the Final Fantasy VII that I described as being completely the same but with updated visuals, we should just buy the PC version and mod the visuals. There's also those people who seem not to realize just how successful FFVII was when it first released so they spout off things like "SE have to appeal to the majority, not the "core" minority" or "new gamers want flashy, twitch gameplay" and other such nonsense. The following are reasons I personally think that those opinions are at best ignorant and at worst utterly stupid.
Let's start with the "you should just buy the PC version and mod it" argument.
Do you honestly think that you can take the PC version of Final Fantasy VII and, without any kind of similar Kit to Skyrim's Creation Kit, simply mod the visuals to look the same as in the announcement trailer or, if we toned it down a bit, similar to Final Fantasy 15? Don't you think that if people could actually do that, in the 17 years that Final Fantasy VII has been out on PC they'd have done it by now? Before this announcement happened, SE used to say that an FFVII remake would take at least 10 years to do. Add on another 7 and you really think NO ONE would have done it by now?
There's also the fact that no one, anywhere, ever, actually wanted SE to re-release FFVII for Steam so that it could eventually be ported to PS4. SE trolled everyone with that at E3 2014 and no one was happy about it. Telling us to go buy a version of the game that was specifically meant to troll us, a version we never asked for, a version that sucked out all of the excitement from the room when it was announced instead of getting Final Fantasy VII from 1997 with Advent Children graphics is wrong, stupid, and makes me question whether or not people who say it are actually fans of Final Fantasy VII.
We now move on to the "new gamers" argument. A big problem with this argument is that the game is a remake of a game that's nearly 20 years old. New gamers do not know anything about Final Fantasy VII unless they are related to, or know, older gamers who have actually played it and/or still own it to allow the new gamers the chance to try it out. New gamers are not the demographic for this game, even if they may always be the target for any game. New gamers didn't do the kind of actual begging the core audience did for this remake. This game does not register on the radar of new gamers. I'd wager that any new gamers who found out about E3 and watched it couldn't even begin to grasp the magnitude of the remake's announcement. The reactions from fans the world all over litter youtube such as this one.
New gamers did not have that kind of reaction.
Another thing the new gamers argument ignores is the success of the original release. Final Fantasy VII's original release totaled over 9 million units sold. That's BEFORE the re-release on PSN and then the next re-release on Steam. That's just the original console launch and the PC version from 1997/98. The amount of games released today to "new gamers" that even sell 6 million units can probably be counted on 1 hand, and that's multiplatform releases. If the core audience that wants this remake, that is to say if the over 9 million people that bought it originally, buy the remake; that means that before any "new gamers" even lay a hand on it the remake will have sold over 9 million units. That's pure speculation on my part of course but it's still a very real possibility. Does anyone seriously believe that SE would balk at 9 million units sold just from the core audience alone? Obviously any company would love more sales, but the idea that the remake can't survive without new gamers that don't know anything about the game, don't have the same love for it, don't know its history, and were not the ones to constantly hope against hope that it would arrive is just absurd.
Regardless of what I want for this remake, to think that SE should cater to an audience that doesn't have the same kind of love for this game that the already established audience does have makes absolutely no business sense. It would definitely ruin the game, further taint SE's reputation in the minds of their core fanbase who already had reason to doubt them after the FFXIII trilogy, and likely ensure that SE never make a remake of any other FF game again in my opinion.
So anyway, for the 5 seconds this blog will be visible, feel free to leave your opinions in the comment section and tell me who you think the remake is for.