Final Fantasy fans who are looking forward to the new batch of FF7 games coming out for the compilation will certainly get their fill of new information, as Final Fantasy 7 director Tetsuya Nomura had a lot of information
Speaking with Weekly Famitsu, Nomura talked about the updated Final Fantasy 7 Remake rerelease for PS5 called FF7R Intergrade, as well as the two new mobile games by Square Enix called FF7: The First Soldier and FF7: Ever Crisis. Here’s the entire interview below via press release.
■FFVII REMAKE INTERGRADE
– Please could you tell us about the design concepts for new character Sonon?
As mentioned in his introduction, Sonon comes from Wutai and is working with Avalanche, which is why his character design has an oriental appearance with military style clothing and an armoured motif. I also came up with the idea to have him fight with a style of martial arts using a quarterstaff to balance with Yuffie’s style, and so I made his outfit look like it was easy to move around in. Originally he was designed with finer features for a softer “pretty boy” look, but I thought that him being paired with Yuffie would add a new dynamic that differed from what you got with Cloud or Vincent, so I changed him to the more masculine character you see now.
– There has also been a small reveal of the new battle system, with Yuffie and Sonon fighting together as a pair. We saw some team combo style attacks from them, so I would like to ask more about the concept for these battles. Also, what does the small icon to the left of the gauge mean?
The player only controls Yuffie, so the system is set up to create an awareness of your ally fighting alongside you, as you manoeuvre around the battlefield, watching for combination opportunities with Sonon. You can also choose between two different control modes, one where Sonon acts independently and one where he follows Yuffie’s commands to act in unison with what she is doing. The little icon represents that you can push L2 to switch between combo modes.
– Are there any additional new materia and summons?
There are new materia and summons just for the episode featuring Yuffie.
– Are there any future DLC plans?
Due to the nature of the upgrade system, it resulted in us having to label the new Yuffie sections as “DLC”. However, the original intent was to create a PS5 version of FFVII REMAKE and not to produce DLC. Accordingly, we do not have any plans for DLC at this time. Sorting out the development environment on PS5 for FFVII REMAKE INTERGRADE, meant that moving on to developing the sequel was much smoother. We are now prioritizing the roadmap for completing the next game, so if we do need to think about more DLC then it will probably come after that is finished.
– FFVII FS is a battle royale style game and so somewhat of a surprising (?) entry in the FFVII series. I have a feeling that because of this it is designed to appeal not just to FFVII fans, but also to other types of player too. On the other hand, there are quite a few rivals out there in the battle royale genre, such as PUBG, Fortnite, Apex Legends and Knives Out, so what audience are you targeting for THE FIRST SOLDIER?
It is not unique to FFVII by any means, but the fan demographics for long running IP series do tend to become quite fixed, making it something of a challenge for us to appeal outside of that existing fan group. There is a strong belief that we should not be sitting on our laurels with the weight of the FFVII name behind us though, and so we set about developing FFVII FS with the gumption to compete as a new challenger in what is the hottest gaming genre right now. I think that many in the core audience for this genre will not know about FFVII or maybe even never have played a FINAL FANTASY game at all. I do want people to discover an interest in the world of FFVII from this game, but it goes without saying that if we are going to do it properly then there can be no half measures, and we are putting everything we have into getting the content of the game right too. It is a genre that we do not really have any experience in, but also one that a lot of FFVII fans might not have tried before, so I hope that we can all take on this new challenge together.
– Do the three “Basic Trooper” gauges at the top left of the screen represent your teammates? Also, I would imagine that the fist, sword and rod icons indicate their jobs, but can you change jobs for each battle?
The main FFVII game does not have a job system, but we have added a lot of classic FF elements to give FFVII FS its own strong individuality within the battle royal genre. As you have correctly inferred here, each player on a team can select a job-like play style called a “style” for a match and these icons represent the styles chosen. Each style has its own unique skills and abilities, and you can change the one you set for each battle. There are advantages to continuously using the same style, but we will reveal exactly what exactly those are at a later date.
– Are there any plans for a beta test or the like?
We do have plans for a closed beta test, so please watch out for more information on that in future.
– What are you personally focusing on and taking most care with for FFVII FS?
The majority of the player experience comes from the actual gameplay itself, so I am personally putting my emphasis on how the controls and gameplay actually feels. However, I think that the one aspect battle royal game fans are most concerned about is the balance. The game’s producer, Mr. Ichikawa, was also the one of those who proposed the original idea and he himself is a big battle royale player. He will really be the voice of the player base on the team and provide expert opinions on what needs focus and where the fine tuning needs to be. I am also giving my own, inexpert feedback, but Mr. Ichikawa is really knowledgeable, and he will always respond to my ideas in terms of how they would affect the balancing of a battle royal game, so I can safely make my reckless proposals, knowing that he is there to keep them in check. Also, with the game being for smartphone platforms, I am making sure that the team does not disappoint in terms of the graphics.
– In our previous interview, you described how FFVII EC would be divided into chapters. Will the new chapters be released for free? Also, what are the monetized elements, and will you be able to enjoy the story without paying?
You will be able to play the chapters released for free. The monetized element is basically loot boxes containing random weapons. Some of the special weapons also come as a set that includes new costumes that were not in the original games, adding in a new way to enjoy the story that you won’t have seen before.
– What volume of content will be in each chapter? For example, how many chapters do you envisage the original FFVII story covering?
We are trying to fit the story of the original FFVII into 10 chapters. To be a bit more specific, the team will escape from Midgar in chapter 3. I think that should give you an idea of how much the other titles will cover as well.
– Will there be completely new, original episodes in FFVII EC as well?
Yes, naturally we have created some of those too. The first one will be a new episode we are working on that covers the story behind FFVII FS that was announced at the same time. The events of FFVII FS take place around 30 years before the FFVII main story, and go into the founding of SOLDIER, so it goes without saying that you will see some of the legendary heroes in their younger days, as well as younger versions of the future Shinra executives and other characters who will appear in the REMAKE sequels. I think that it will really add depth to some of the characters who we do not have room to show fully in the main games.
– If the footage released showing the Scorpion Sentinel fight takes place in Mako Reactor 1, is the presence of Aerith and summons here because it is an introductory video or because story progression and battles are separate?
The game has a story mode where you will follow Cloud and the gang on their journeys, but also features special dungeons and battles that go outside of the timeline delineated by the various compilation titles. These will allow players to enjoy taking on the mightiest enemies from the series using their dream party, in ways that the story battles do not allow.
– For the music, will you be using arrangements of the original tracks from FFVII?
Yes, the music is all based on the originals, but has been newly arranged for FFVII EC.
– What have you focused on and taken most care with for FFVII EC?
I would say it is the visual presentation being aligned with the original FFVII, with the exploration sections done in a stylised, super deformed style and the proportions of the characters increased in battle. The compilation titles outside of the original FFVII were not structured with these rules and have completely different battle systems, but I wanted to unify them all in one format for FFVII EC, while not losing the individual character of the different games. Making the battles interesting was also something that we couldn’t overlook, so I was quite cutting in my feedback about them. We have also seen that people want to be able to play the various different series titles on the current console hardware, so the design concept behind FFVII EC is not intended to be a replacement for that, but a convenient and casual way to touch on these games.
– Please let us know if there is anything else that you want to mention that was not covered by the above questions?
It seems like I will be having a busy time for the foreseeable future, not just this year but next year and the year after that. This is only just the first announcement relating to FFVII and you can look forward to more information coming in the future. But first of all, look out for that release of FFVII REMAKE INTERGRADE on the 10th of June. At that time, we will also be unlocking a lot of the broadcast prohibited areas of FFVII REMAKE, with INTERGRADE made with as little as possible off-limits from the start. I personally like gameplay commentary videos myself, so I would be delighted for people to take this opportunity and share the fun with others again too.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade will be out for the PS5 on June 10.
Don’t forget,, Square Enix Digital Showcase event premieres this March 18.