"OC ReMix has done it again! I'm always impressed with the amazing talent that comes from the OCR community. This album is a further testament to that quality and passion. It's an honor for video game composers around the world to have their material be a part of the OCR community. This album rocks!"
- Tommy Tallarico, Video Games Live, Tallarico.com
"It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to arrangement albums... brace yourselves for one of the most impressive and encompassing listening experiences in the world of video game music."
- Jayson Napolitano, Music 4 Games
"OC ReMix is the savior of videogame music. This is the website that single-handedly united the videogame music fan community and firmly established the power of our genre to the rest of the world. Voices of the Lifestream truly reflects the mission of OC ReMix by combining the talents of more than forty different musicians into one brilliant album. There are so many different styles represented here, so many incredibly talented people joining forces, this is without a doubt the most fantastic project to ever hit the videogame music scene."
- Piano Squall (Michael Gluck), www.pianosquall.com
Final Fantasy VII Remake
2020 video game
2020 video game
Final Fantasy VII Remake[a] is a 2020 action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix. It is the first in a planned series of games remaking the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII. Set in the dystopiancyberpunk metropolis of Midgar, players control mercenary Cloud Strife. He joins AVALANCHE, an eco-terrorist group trying to stop the powerful megacorporation Shinra from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. The gameplay combines real-timeaction with strategic and role-playing elements.
Remake was announced in 2015 following years of speculation. Several key staff members returned, including character designer Tetsuya Nomura as director, director Yoshinori Kitase as producer, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima as story and scenario writer, event planner Motomu Toriyama as a co-director, and composer Nobuo Uematsu who returned to write the game's main theme. The staff redesigned the characters to balance realism and stylization. While the veteran Japanese Final Fantasy VII voice cast returned, the English voices were recast.
The game was released for the PlayStation 4 in April 2020. It received positive reviews, with praise for its graphics, gameplay, narrative, and music. Critics applauded how faithful the story and lore was to the original game from 1997 while expanding on it. The updated battle system was praised for its strategic elements and visual flourishes. However, reception was more mixed toward the game's linearity and the repetitive nature of its sidequests. Final Fantasy VII Remake became one of the fastest-selling PlayStation 4 games, selling over 3.5 million copies within three days and five million by August. An enhanced version for the PlayStation 5, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade,[b] was released on June 10, 2021.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is the first in a planned series of games remaking the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII. It covers the first section of the original game, set in the metropolis Midgar;Tim Rogers of Action Button estimated that Remake covers approximately 30% of the original game's story.
Players control Cloud Strife, a former Shinra soldier turned mercenary who joins the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE to fight the Shinra Corporation, who have been draining the planet's life energy. Every element has been remade, using real-time polygonal graphics as opposed to the pre-rendered environments of the original. The story includes major expansions to character development and some notable plot additions.
Exploration and battle mechanics both take place in real-time, like Final Fantasy XV. The game features an altered Active Time Battle (ATB) system from the original, which gradually fills up slowly, or can fill faster with attacks. Once it is filled, the player can halt the action and use special abilities such as magic, items, and special moves. The player can assign these special abilities to shortcut buttons, allowing them to play in real-time without pausing. Each special ability uses up a segment of the ATB bar. The player can switch between party members at any time during battle. Each party member has their own individual skills, such as Cloud's close-quarters melee attacks and Barret's long-range distance attacks. Players are able to use magic and summons of large creatures, and a Limit Break gauge allows characters to perform more powerful attacks once charged. While the game has more real-time elements, strategic elements still remain, such as selecting weapons and magic for each character to wield.
See also: Characters of the Final Fantasy VII series
Cloud Strife (Cody Christian/Takahiro Sakurai) is a former member of SOLDIER, the elite warriors of the Shinra Electric Power Company. Shinra uses Mako, a refined form of the Planet's spiritual energy harvested by massive reactors, to power the metropolis of Midgar and develop cutting-edge technology. Disillusioned with Shinra, and at the request of his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart (Britt Baron/Ayumi Ito), Cloud takes a mercenary job for Avalanche, an eco-terrorist organization, led by Barret Wallace (John Eric Bentley/Masahiro Kobayashi). Barret believes excessive Mako harvesting harms the planet, leading a bombing attack on a Mako reactor. In the aftermath, Cloud is haunted by memories of Sephiroth (Tyler Hoechlin/Toshiyuki Morikawa), an enigmatic former SOLDIER member, and meets the florist Aerith Gainsborough (Briana White/Maaya Sakamoto). Strange ghost-like entities, who alternately help and hinder Cloud throughout the game, cause him to be recruited for another attack, in which he goes missing in action. Cloud meets Aerith again and protects her from Shinra forces. After they reunite with Tifa, the trio learns that Shinra plans to collapse a piece of the "plate" onto the Sector 7 slums. Avalanche fails to stop Shinra's plan, and the plate falls. Aerith helps most of the population and Barret's daughter Marlene evacuate in time, but is captured by Shinra.
Cloud, Tifa, and Barret infiltrate Shinra headquarters and rescue Aerith from being used as an experiment by Shinra scientist Hojo (James Sie/Shigeru Chiba). She reveals that she is the last descendant of the Cetra, a near-extinct precursor race who resided in a "Promised Land", which Shinra covets for its boundless Mako reserves. The group meets a talking wolf-like creature called Red XIII (Max Mittelman/Kappei Yamaguchi), who explains that the ghostly entities are called Whispers. They exist to ensure that the course of destiny is not altered, by correcting any deviations from this course. Meanwhile, Sephiroth infiltrates Shinra and steals a mysterious entity known as "Jenova", connected to the extinction of the Cetra.
In a confrontation at the top of Shinra headquarters, Sephiroth murders the president of Shinra. Shinra's son Rufus (Josh Bowman/Tōru Ōkawa) assumes control of the company and fights Cloud, but is defeated. Cloud and his allies flee the scene via the Midgar Expressway, but find Sephiroth waiting for them at the end. After defeating Whisper Harbinger, an entity formed by an amalgam of Whispers, Cloud's group battles Sephiroth. Sephiroth separates Cloud from the group, asking him to join him and defy fate. Cloud refuses and fights Sephiroth, but is defeated, although Sephiroth spares him and departs. Meanwhile, as Cloud's group leaves Midgar to stop Sephiroth, SOLDIER Zack Fair (Caleb Pierce/Kenichi Suzumura) defeats an army of Shinra forces, and departs with Cloud to Midgar.
Intergrade adds additional ending scenes showing Cloud and his group arriving at the village of Kalm after hitching a ride with Chocobo Bill, and Zack entering the Sector 5 church searching for Aerith.
Shortly after the bombing of Mako Reactor 5, Yuffie Kisaragi (Suzie Yeung/Yumi Kakazu), a ninja working for Wutai, arrives at Midgar and meets up with her partner Sonon Kusakabe (Aleks Le/Yoshimasa Hosoya) in order to steal Shinra's "Ultimate Materia". With the help of a local Avalanche cell, Yuffie and Sonon infiltrate the lab under Shinra headquarters and fight through Shinra's forces before discovering that the Ultimate Materia is not yet complete. As they try to escape, they are confronted by a Shinra supersoldier named Nero (Sean Chiplock/Ryōtarō Okiayu). Outmatched, Sonon sacrifices himself to ensure Yuffie can escape. She leaves Shinra headquarters just in time to see the Sector 7 plate fall. Some time later, Yuffie has left Midgar and muses that in order to achieve her desire to see Shinra's downfall, she will need a team to help her.
Final Fantasy VII was developed by Square for the PlayStation console and released in 1997. Its staff included producer and series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, director and co-writer Yoshinori Kitase, artist Yusuke Naora, character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and writer Kazushige Nojima. The game was a critical and commercial success, and established the Final Fantasy series as a major franchise. It was expanded through the multimedia project Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, comprising additional games, films, and other media.
In the early 2000s, Square announced a remake for PlayStation 2 alongside Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy IX, but nothing further was heard of the project. It was abandoned because of the increased challenge of developing on new hardware and would have necessitated cutting content. The staff were preoccupied with developing Final Fantasy XIII and its sequels, and Remake would have been an equally large or larger project hard to undertake at the same time. Once the XIII series ended, the team was free to pursue other projects. Kitase claims that since the XIII, he had been asked multiple times about developing this game. Co-director Naoki Hamaguchi was originally just a fan of the game so he was glad about his inclusion into the core development team.
Demand for a remake grew following a PlayStation 3 tech demo at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, showcasing the opening of Final Fantasy VII with Square's new Crystal Tools engine. Further demand came during the game's impending tenth anniversary in 2007. On both occasions, Square denied that any remake was in development, for reasons including their focus on new games, the necessity to cut elements to make a remake manageable, the difficulty of developing for modern hardware, and the amount of development time it would require.
The Remake project began when Final Fantasy producer Shinji Hashimoto broached the subject to Kitase, Nojima, and Nomura. All three were reaching a stage of life that they defined as "that age": all felt that if they waited much longer, they might not be alive to or would be too old to develop a remake, and passing the project on to a new generation did not feel right. Another reason for developing the remake was that Square Enix was creating a growing library of PlayStation 4 titles, and the team hoped to increase the console's popularity. Nomura was appointed as director much to his own surprise when it was decided to create the remake but he was busy with the making of the video game Kingdom Hearts III at that time.
The game entered full production by late 2015, led by Business Division 1, an internal production team within Square Enix. While Nomura was involved with the project from the start, he only discovered he was the director after seeing himself credited in an internal company presentation video, as he had expected Kitase to fill the role. Nomura filled the role director for both Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts III concurrently. Another project leader was Naoki Hamaguchi, who had previously served as a programmer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII and project lead for Mobius Final Fantasy. Square Enix approached developing Remake at the same level as a main numbered entry in the Final Fantasy series.
While the team had the option of simply remastering Final Fantasy VII with better graphics as many fans had requested, they noted that its graphics and many of its mechanics had become dated by modern standards. With this in mind, they decided to do a full remake, rebuilding the game systems to suit contemporary tastes and using current gaming technology to recreate the world. An overarching goal of the project was to make the game feel both "new and nostalgic" for players of the original game while exemplifying the idea of Final Fantasy VII for new players. This decision led to the creation of Remake's action-based battle system, which draws from that action-based style of Dissidia Final Fantasy. Teruki Endo, who had previously worked on Monster Hunter World, served as battle director. The team aimed to retain all of the gameplay mechanics popular in the original game, including Active Time Battle, while merging them with the action-based system.
Rather than using the character models and graphical style of Advent Children, which by that point had been developed using ten-year-old technology, the team decided to create new designs and models for characters: Nomura wished to balance the realism of Advent Children with cartoon stylization. Nomura was in charge of the revamped main character designs, while designer Roberto Ferrari was in charge of designs for secondary characters. Character modeling was supervised by Visual Works, Square Enix's CGI development branch. Cloud Strife's initial redesign for Final Fantasy VII Remake departed more dramatically from the original's, but was later altered to more closely resemble Nomura's original concept. Tifa Lockhart's original appearance was changed to make her look more realistic as members from the staff realized her design would not fit fight scenes.
Instead of creating a new engine, Square Enix licensed Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 to develop the game, with Square Enix and Epic Games Japan working together to optimize the engine for Remake. The team received technical assistance from the developers of Kingdom Hearts III, as the latter game was developed using the same engine. The game's lighting is augmented with the lighting engine Enlighten. To help with the action gameplay and video quality, Square Enix originally partnered with video game developer CyberConnect2, with the two companies keeping in close contact due to different development styles.
In 2017, the game's development focus shifted from being developed with external partners to being a primarily internal project. When the company first started the Remake project, the team had to decide the entire scope of the project. There were two directions possible: expand upon the original with multiple releases or include the entire scope of the original game in a single release. The team starts by investigating what were the essential parts of the original and what parts are what the fans absolutely had to see; they quickly decided that there were so many parts that are essential and the fans would be upset if the team had to cut out anything. A single release with more depth would not be possible without cutting out parts of the original story. In the end, the team decided the best option for the project was to go for the highest level possible (such as within the city of Midgar, which was mostly inaccessible in the original) with an expanded story in multiple releases. Each game is planned to be on a similar scale to Final Fantasy XIII. The first part focuses on the city of Midgar due to its iconic status among the Final Fantasy community.
Regarding the scope for the first part of the Remake, Nomura mentioned that many were worried about how the company would be able to make a whole game based solely on Midgar, but he didn't think it would be a problem. Nomura said it takes about 7 hours to go through the Midgar section in the original game. Going through the same gameplay in the Remake with 3D map in Midgar and new scenario, plus the time it takes to go from one point to another adds up. So the overall gameplay of the Remake would be well enough to cover a whole game. The story and scenario writer, Nojima, also added that stopping the game at the end of Midgar would also allow for an adequate amount of story scenarios to be put in as well. Nomura further added that level designs would have to change again after the party leaves Midgar. If the developers were to do that, they would also have to split up other scenarios and even if they add new gameplay, it would have to end in an abrupt point of the story. That’s why they felt that if they had everything focused in Midgar, they wouldn’t have to split up any of the story elements that happen there.
While developing the scenario, the team needed to work carefully, so the game did not appear too nostalgic. They needed to make decisions about what could be carried over from the original and what needed adjustment due to changes in social norms since the original's release. Despite there already being a story in place, which greatly simplified production on some fronts, Nojima was brought back in to create new story material. The scenario for the first part was completed in December 2015, covering the beginning of the game to the escape from Midgar. Kitase observed that despite 23 years passing since the original game was released, the themes of economic inequality, corporate monopoly, and environmentalism were still relevant to the current day. Nomura expressed regret that other areas of Midgar, such as the upper plate, were inaccessible in the original game and wanted to address that in Remake in order to give players a better sense of the city and its culture. The roles of previously minor characters were also expanded for this purpose.
Despite being marketed as a remake, the narrative has multiple changes from the original game, such as Barret being attacked by the antagonist Sephiroth and saved by a Whisper. Sephiroth appears during the Midgar scenario despite not being properly introduced until a flashback Cloud experiences. Vice noted that Cloud sees the future of Aerith in the original 1997 game, leaving her fate unknown to returning fans.Yoshinori Kitase refrained from explaining the reason for the changes from the narrative: "I want to let you know is that all of the lore from the works created after the original game, the [Compilation of Final Fantasy VII], that's all very much in the base of the canon for the remake, and going forward it will be too."
The main characters were adjusted in various ways for Remake. Rather than the "cool and collected" Cloud as seen in other games, Remake depicts his apathetic attitude as a façade to mask his insecurities. Nojima wanted to convey that his standoffishness could be seen as lame. Cloud's initial redesign for Remake departed more dramatically from the original's, but was later altered to more closely resemble Nomura's design. Tifa's desire for revenge against Shinra is complicated by her reluctance to enact violence. Barret's passion and charisma rallies other characters to follow his lead. Nojima worked hard to make the interactions between these three natural. It was important to Hamaguchi to include a scene wherein Cloud has an intimate conversation with one of his teammates based on the player's choices in homage to the "date" scene from the original game. The development team avoided playing favorites between Tifa and Aerith, treating them both as main heroes. In addition to returning characters, the team decided to expand the role of minor characters and write new characters. Cloud's interactions with AVALANCHE members Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie further his character development and deepen the world of the story. Sephiroth was initially intended to be a looming presence, inspired by the shark in Jaws, to mirror his role in this section of the original game. However, Kitase reasoned that the original's Jaws-like approach would be ineffective because even new players were too familiar with the character. Hamaguchi pitched an alternate ending in which Cloud faces off with Sephiroth, which led to him appearing more and more in the remake.
The game is fully voiced, with the original plan being for the voice actors from the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children to reprise their roles. Ultimately, the English characters were recast for Remake. According to Kitase, choosing a new generation of voices for the characters was part of the game's rebirth as Remake. The Japanese voice actors remained the same with Takahiro Sakurai being surprised by this younger take on Cloud, having not voiced in the original PlayStation video game. For the English dub, Cody Christian commented on replacing Steve Burton voicing Cloud, stating, "Steve, you paved the way. You made this character what it is and have contributed in shaping a legacy" and thus wanted to not let Burton down with his take on the character. John Eric Bentley voiced Barret, a character he admired when he played the 1997 game. He felt his familiarity with the original work improved his performance, aided by the translators who explained the context for his scenes. He wanted his portrayal of Barret to be multifaceted and serve as a positive example of Black representation in games. Briana White (Aerith) studied Maaya Sakamoto's acting in order to appeal to fans. Meanwhile, Britt Baron had little knowledge of Tifa when being cast but grew to like her character. Other prominent actors include Erica Lindbeck (Jessie), Gideon Emery (Biggs), and Matt Jones (Wedge). The game employs an algorithm to adjust characters' facial motions while speaking in order to automatically match lip syncing and emotion in every language.
See also: Music of the Final Fantasy VII series
The game's soundtrack consists primarily of arrangements of pieces Nobuo Uematsu wrote for the original Final Fantasy VII, with original tracks by several other series veterans, such as Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki. Uematsu contributed one new track: the theme song for the game, "Hollow". It was the first time Uematsu and Kitase had worked together since Final Fantasy X (2001), with Kitase initially believing Uematsu would refuse as he had long since left Square Enix and found success as an independent composer. Nomura intended "Hollow" to reflect Cloud's state of mind; he wanted it to be a rock song with male vocals and an image of "rain". It was performed by Yosh, the vocalist for Survive Said the Prophet. Hamauzu also expressed honor in doing the music alongside Uematsu, as the original game was his first exposure to the series. Suzuki stated that the themes for Wall Market, Honeybee Inn, and Midgar Highway were among his favorite contributions.
Remake employs adaptive music in its gameplay wherein multiple arrangements of a particular track are played simultaneously, which fade in and out with the player's actions, such as entering or exiting a battle. Arrangements also shift within a battle depending on the emotions the developers wanted players to experience from moment to moment. Because cutscenes in Remake have voiced dialogue, the sound team needed to rearrange some tracks to accommodate this change but they were careful to preserve the original melodies.
Following years of rumors and fan requests, Final Fantasy VII Remake was announced during Sony's conference at E3 2015.Visual Works created the announcement trailer. Square Enix's stock prices rose to their highest rating since November 2008, and the YouTube release of the reveal trailer garnered over 10 million views in the following two weeks. The game was next showcased at the 2015 PlayStation Experience, demonstrating cutscenes and gameplay from the opening sequence.
During the Final Fantasy 30th anniversary opening ceremony event hosted by Square Enix in Tokyo on January 31, 2017 – the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII — the game's first piece of CGI key art was unveiled, along with announcements for a collaboration event with Mobius Final Fantasy. On February 18, Nomura revealed two screenshots, showing off the updated HUD. Due to its lack of footage since 2015, switch to internal development, and other projects Nomura was involved in, there were concerns about the status of the project. Speaking following E3 2018, Nomura stated that the game was in development, with his full attention shifted to it when Kingdom Hearts III was completed.
After years without substantial footage, a teaser trailer was shown during PlayStation's May 2019 State of Play broadcast. Kitase announced that the team had wanted to "try something new" on the State of Play broadcast by showing the trailer. The release date, March 3, 2020, was revealed the following month in a second teaser trailer during an orchestral concert dedicated to the music of Final Fantasy VII in Los Angeles. Further release details were announced at the company's E3 2019 press conference, including different editions of Remake. Kitase later clarified at the event that Square Enix had yet to determine the number of games in the Remake series, adding that they were in the process of planning the second installment.
An extended gameplay showcase and demo was playable at E3 2019, demonstrating parts of the opening mission, including some of the exploration, combat system, and first boss battle. The playable demo received positive reception in early previews, with praise towards the graphics, gameplay and combat system. At E3 2019, it won three awards at the Game Critics Awards for Best of Show, Best Console Game, and Best Role-Playing Game, as well as the best looking Unreal Engine game at E3 2019. Extended footage of the demo, as well as an additional trailer, was featured at the 2019 Tokyo Game Show. In December 2019, it was announced that the game would be a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive until 2021, with no further details about its release on other platforms. In January 2020, the team decided to push the release date back from March 3 to April 10, 2020. A demo was released on the PlayStation Store on March 2, 2020, covering the first chapter.
On March 30, 2020, Square Enix announced that Europe and Australia would receive physical copies of Final Fantasy VII Remake early, due to growing concerns of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on distribution. This did not apply to downloads, as they were not directly affected by the global supply chain. Artwork of Cloud was used on buildings in Los Angeles to promote the game.
On February 25, 2021, as part of Sony's State of Play stream, Square Enix announced an upgraded version of Remake for the PlayStation 5 titled Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, including improved visuals and shorter load times, to be available at no additional cost to owners of the PS4 version. Also announced was a PS5-exclusive expansion titled Episode Intermission[c] featuring the playable character Yuffie Kisaragi, who does not appear in the Midgar segment of the original game. The expansion is included with the purchase of Intergrade, but must be purchased separately if using the free upgrade from the PS4 version.Intergrade adds the ability to use traditional turn-based controls while in the game's normal difficulty mode, a photo mode, and better overall performance in framerate and resolution; it was released on June 10, 2021.
In May 2021, news outlets reported that Square Enix was in the midst of making a Final Fantasy VIIanime series in partnership with Netflix. No release date was mentioned in the reports.
Final Fantasy VII Remake received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregatorMetacritic, with critics praising its faithfulness to the original game. Tamoor Hussain of GameSpot states that, while Remake is only the initial entry in a full reimagining of the original game, "It is rich in details that were previously unexplored, realizes new storytelling ambitions with confidence, and presents fresh perspectives that feel both meaningful and essential." To summarize, he says it "tells a smaller, more personal Final Fantasy 7 tale and marries it with a smart mashup of action and RPG gameplay to deliver a must-play experience." Tom Marks of IGN calls the game a "complete reinvention", praising the combat system. Nahila Bonfiglio of The Daily Dot regarded it as one of the best games of 2020 based on multiple aspects that would appeal to the audience.EGM claimed the game was captivating like the original.Eurogamer also highly regarded the remake, to the point of finding it superior to the original title.
The narrative was praised for the characters and their arcs.IGN called its "story fleshed out with real emotional arcs", praising its nostalgic feel, but criticized the game for having "filler" and sometimes convoluted new plot points and side missions. The reviewer stated that "Final Fantasy VII Remake's dull filler and convoluted additions can cause it to stumble, but it still breathes exciting new life into a classic while standing as a great RPG all its own."Shacknews stated the story in the remake is one of the strongest ever achieved by the company. Despite noting his antisocial attitudes in the remake, IGN and GameSpot commented that Cloud has the most notable arc in Remake, with Cody Christian's performance helping to improve his appeal. His interactions with the cast and the expansion of the minor characters in Avalanche was also well received by Easy Allies. The idea that there are four characters with Sephiroth's name led VG247 to note the remake still had its own mysteries that even players of the original would not know.Destructoid agreed about the cast, most notably Aerith, noting her fun characterization. The handling of the city of Midgar was praised by Game Informer due to the presence of the company of Shinra and the poor status of civilians, while expanding on the lore of the original game.EGMNOW praised the themes of ecoterrorism and war and the prominent role Midgar played in the storyline, while also exploring Avalanche's minor characters. The reviewer also felt the antagonist, Sephiroth, was more menacing in Remake, due to his constant threats towards Cloud.Eurogamer noted the new narrative elements of the title, but was uncertain whether these changes would be for better or worse.
Critical response to the combat has been positive, partly due to the strategy needed and the distinctive fighting style of each playable character, such as Cloud wielding a sword, in contrast to Barret's shooting from afar.Destructoid also praised the gameplay for using a new system, rather than relying on nostalgia mechanics.GameSpot praised the evolution of the gameplay features from the 1997 original by the addition of new elements.GamesRadar also praised the combat for the strategy required, due to each enemy having a weakness, and the variety among the characters thanks to their unique traits. RPGamer praised both the return of Materia used to provide magic attacks and the addition of upgradeable weapons in order to let players decide which equipment they want to use.RPGamer felt that Remake relied on "padding" to expand on the areas of the game, which they considered linear for the genre.Game Informer agreed, as although Cloud is initially the only playable character, Tifa can also be controlled and execute her own techniques. They also praised the balance between strategy and style.
GamesRadar criticized some of the sidequests in the game as lackluster. While noting the linearity of Midgar, Game Informer praised the fact that the players can interact with citizens.EGM claimed that some quests had too much padding, citing an example where the player has to constantly change the playable character to open multiple doors in the Shinra headquarters.Easy Allies said that despite the linear gameplay, the reviewers finished the game in 38 hours, and still had plenty of quests left to complete.Shacknews said that despite the linear nature of the game, he appreciated the warnings the game gives to the players when they are about to irrevocably move on with the main quest, allowing them to still complete sidequests instead.The Daily Dot praised "the exquisite level design with seamless mechanics, addicting gameplay and rousing battles".
Final Fantasy VII Remake sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide within three days. This made it one of the biggest launches for a PlayStation 4 game and the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive, surpassing the launch sales of Marvel's Spider-Man (3.3 million; 2018) and God of War (3.1 million; 2018). By August 2020, that figure had increased to over 5 million.
In Japan, Final Fantasy VII Remake sold over a million copies during its first week, with the game sold out in many stores.
In North America, Remake was the top-selling game of April 2020 and the third best-selling game of 2020, behind Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) and Animal Crossing: New Horizons (2020). It became the fastest-selling Final Fantasy title in the franchise's history, surpassing the launch record previously set by Final Fantasy XV (2016), and was the most downloaded PlayStation 4 game of April 2020 in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, the game debuted at the top of the weekly sales chart, selling an estimated 60,000 physical copies in its first weekend. German trade association GAME announced that it took Final Fantasy VII Remake only a few days to sell more than 100,000 units within Germany, for which it won a Gold Sales Award. It was the fourth most downloaded PlayStation 4 game of April 2020 in Europe.
Final Fantasy VII Remake won the overall "Game of Show award" from E3 2019. After its release, the game also won the Editors’ Choice awards from PlayStation. In the CEDEC Awards, the game won in the "Excellency Award for Sound" category. It was later nominated for six awards at The Game Awards, including Game of the Year. It won in the two categories "Best RPG" and "Best Score/Music". It also won IGN Japan's Game of the Year in 2020. Both Anime News Network and Siliconera and RPG Site also listed it as one of the best games from its year.Final Fantasy VII Remake also won the "Soundtrack Album of the Year" award at the 35th Japan Gold Disc Award, and the "Role-Playing Game of the Year" at the 24th Annual D.I.C.E. Awards.
- ^Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーVII リメイク, Hepburn: Fainaru Fantajī VII Rimeiku
- ^Japanese: ファイナルファンタジーVII リメイク インターグレード, Hepburn: Fainaru Fantajī VII Rimeiku Intāgurēdo
- ^Stylized as Episode INTERmission
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Final Fantasy 7 Remake Wiki Guide
Starting a new Final Fantasy 7 Remake game will prompt you to choose a difficulty and style between Easy, Normal, and Classic Mode. You can change this at will, so don't worry about it too much. Start with these helpful guides:
Chapter 1 - The Destruction of Mako Reactor 1
Cloud Strife, a mercenary, is hired by a group named Avalanche to help them blow up Mako Reactor 1. Their goal is to stop the Shinra Electric Power Company from destroying the planet.
Chapter 2 - Fateful Encounters
Avalanche flees through a passageway that leads to Sector 8. Shaken by the devastation wrought by the explosion, the group heads for the base in Sector 7
Chapter 2 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 3 - Home Sweet Slum
Their mission concluded, Cloud and the others disembark at the Sector 7 slums. Situated below the plate, no natural sunlight reaches the town, but despite its bleak appearance, this is where the members of Avalanche call home.
Chapter 3 Materia, weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Note: There are more weapons, accessories, and Materia in the Sector 7 shops.
Chapter 4 - Mad Dash
Cloud agrees to help Jessie with a secret job topside in Sector 7.
Chapter 4 Materia, weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 5 - Dogged Pursuit
Cloud joins the mission to blow up Mako Reactor 5. The team boards the train for Sector 4, nervous about the mission to come.
Chapter 5 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 6 - Light The Way
Barret, Cloud, and Tifa follow the secret passageway from the corkscreq tunnel until they reach the interior of the Sector 4 plate. Mako Reactor 5 is now closer than ever, but they still must make their way through the rusted maintenance area.
Chapter 6 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 7 - A Trap Is Sprung
Despite unforeseen obstacles forcing many changes to the plan, the three have made it inside Mako Reactor 5. Determined to make the second bombing operation a success, the group heads for the reactor's core.
Chapter 7 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 8 - Budding Bodyguard
Cloud wakes up on a bed of yellow flowers. There, inside the church, he reunites with someone...
Chapter 8 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 9 - The Town That Never Sleeps
Cloud must go to Wall Town for a rescue mission. Shenanigans ensue.
Chapter 9 Materia, Weapons, and Side Quest Checklist:
Chapter 10 - Rough Waters
Falling through Corneo's trapdoor, Cloud and the others find themselves in the sewers below Sector 6. If the plan to bring down part of the plate is true, then the Sector 7 slums are in grave danger. Scared and shaken, the party sets out into the underground sewer system.
Chapter 10 Materia, Weapons, and Equipment Checklist:
Chapter 11 - Haunted
When the group finally crawls out of the sewer system, they find themselves amidst the train graveyard in Sector 7. Not knowing who or what to believe, and uneasy about the uncertain future, they hurry toward what they believe to be the exit.
Chapter 11 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 12 - Fight for Survival
Avalanche has walked into a trap and are surrounded by Shinra forces. Now they are locked in a desperate fight for survival. Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith head for the support pillar, determined to help their friends and stop Shinra.
Chapter 12 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 13 - A Broken World
The Sector 7 section of the plate has collapsed, destroying that part of the undercity, and the screams of the victims can be heard amidst the rubble. For Barret and the others, the fight has been long, but they will continue to forge on.
Chapter 13 Materia, Weapons, and accessories Checklist:
Chapter 14 - In Search of Hope
After rescuing Wedge, the group returns to Sector 5, but there is still no sign of Aerith. Enough friends have already been lost, and each of them resolves to fight for Aerith’s safe return.
Chapter 14 Materia, Weapons, and Accessories Checklist:
Chapter 15 - The Day Midgar Stood Still
Cloud, Tifa, and Barret prepare to infiltrate the Shinra building. They proceed through a crumbling Sector 7, ready to settle the score with Shinra and save a beloved companion.
Chapter 15 Materia, Weapons, Armor, and Accessories Checklist:
Chapter 16 - The Belly of the Beast
Cloud, Tifa, and Barret stand before the Shinra building - the heart of Midgar. Somewhere in this towering structure, Aerith is being held captive. Refusing to balk, they cross behind enemy lines to save their friend.
Chapter 16 Materia, Weapons, Armor, and Accessories Checklist:
Chapter 17 - Deliverance from Chaos
With Aerith free from captivity, they must now escape the Shinra Building. Cloud wakes up to find himself and the others taking refuge in the room where Aerith and her mother were once held. They discuss the past, present, and a destiny they are trying to change.
Chapter 17 Materia, Weapons, Armor, and Accessories Checklist:
Chapter 18 - Destiny’s Crossroads
The party escapes the Shinra Building and races down the highway. Behind them, countless Whispers have engulfed Midgar. The team cuts through the obstacles and charges down the roadway that leads to the unknown.
Post Game Unlockables and New Game Plus
The Final Fantasy 7 post game unlockables include a Hard Mode and some other cool secrets covered here:
Does Final Fantasy VII Remake’s bizarro ending work?
The Final Fantasy VII remake does more than retell a familiar story from a classic roleplaying game. If you’re planning to play it, you shouldn’t read any further. But if you’ve finished the final chapter, you’ll know that its ending diverges pretty sharply from the original story — not only changing the game’s canon but turning the existence of canon into a plot point. It’s ambitious, confusing, and extremely weird, and here at The Verge, reactions have varied significantly.
How effective was Final Fantasy VII Remake’s big narrative swing? How well does it work for newcomers versus longtime fans of the series? And since the remake only covers the first section of the original game, how well does it set up future installments?
Final warning: spoilers for Final Fantasy VII Remake follow.
Andrew Webster, games editor: The thing that struck me most about the ending — which I struggle to really describe — is how unexpected it was. For most of FFVIIR’s runtime, it’s a fairly traditional remake; it expands on the original in significant ways, but it generally tells the same story, hitting the same major plot points. The new game only covers the Midgar section, which was essentially the opening from the original.
I had expected that subsequent episodes would do the same, exploring major sections of FF7 with added detail. Now, I don’t know what to expect. The game’s ending suggests an entirely new path for the story, one where the events of the original are malleable, and fate isn’t preordained but rather something that can be altered. I started playing for a dose of nostalgia — but now, I need to know how things will actually be different moving forward.
Nick Statt, news editor: Given the infamously convoluted plot of the original FFVII, I was pretty sure of two things going into the remake: the game couldn’t possibly end with Cloud and his ragtag crew just leaving Midgar before the credits roll. And I was sure they would have to start weaving in some elements of the Sephiroth storyline earlier if the game really was going to be a 30- to 40-hour adventure in what is realistically only a small fraction of the overall story.
The game delivered on both points simultaneously, and after ruminating on the ending for a bit, I consider myself in the pro-alternative universe / timeline camp. I loved having an epic final battle, even if it seemed out of left field. I’m personally not too warm on the idea that the stakes became so high so suddenly, as it feels like it would permanently alter all the characters’ attitudes if they know from the onset that this is all about saving the world from a man they barely know, instead of slowly accepting such a colossal responsibility as more of the overall plot is revealed.
But atmospherically, it was very Final Fantasy, and I will forgive Nomura and crew for delivering a bit of Advent Children-inspired fan service when the game needed it most.
Where this remake series goes from here is anyone’s guess, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly worried that part two might just be a rushed greatest hits compilation or some “it was just a Sephiroth-induced dream in the Lifestream” nonsense. Unlike most of the diehard “make it a scene-by-scene remake” crowd that’s very vocal on the internet right now, I’m not as concerned that they’re going to change everything and totally rewrite the script. But it’d be a real shame to let all the great work into making these characters feel so much more alive than they did 25 years ago go to waste by relying too much on the overly ambitious twisty elements we’re now contending with.
Michael Moore, reviews coordinator: I think what I found frustrating about the ending is it’s hard to tell what breaking from the original events means from here on out. They effectively showed throughout the rest of the game that they were willing to hit major moments in the same or similar ways, but add new material to help improve the storytelling and give characters more development compared to the original.
So to beat players over the head with how different things could be going forward feels like a lack of confidence what came before where they’d effectively shown players how things were going to deviate from the original FFVII. That, or what they are trying to get across is how different things will be from here on out, which is unknowable at this point without anything to go on.
Kevin Nguyen, features editor: I didn’t have the ending spoiled for me, but along the way, I kept getting texts from friends who’d finished to let me know when they got there. They wanted to discuss, and I assumed I was in for a big twist or reveal. After finishing a somewhat tedious fight with Sephiroth and watching a somewhat satisfying CG montage, I hit the credits and wondered what exactly I’d missed. There’s the reveal of Zack still being alive, which meant... what exactly?
It turns out, it doesn’t mean much at all. Sure, the Whispers are dead, which now means destiny is no longer predetermined. What it means to fans is that the remake has now written in a plot device that allows it to deviate from the original.
This is deeply bizarre to me! Why do the makers of the Final Fantasy VII Remake need to give themselves permission to change up the story? Actually, let me rephrase that: why does the entire plot of the game need to lead to a moment that declares “you are playing a remake”? Wait, let me try that one more time: hhrrngghh!!! [green flashback sound; Sephiroth appears to tell me “did you know remakes can be different than the original?”]
All in all, I had a ball blasting through 30-some hours of slightly elevated horned up hack ‘n slash. Mechanically, the game is leaps and bounds better than the original; I just wish the writing had taken even a step forward.
Sam Byford, Asia editor: Leading up to release, I thought the way that Square Enix literally titled this game “Final Fantasy VII Remake” was goofy fan service. After finishing it, though, the name makes much more sense. What I want and expect out of Final Fantasy games is outlandish plot twists, and it doesn’t get much more outlandish than the revelation that Final Fantasy VII Remake is not a straight remake of Final Fantasy VII, but an ultra-meta alternate-universe version that exists mostly to meditate on the concept of remaking Final Fantasy VII.
The twist is like an inversion of Metal Gear Solid 2, which, upon release, revealed itself to be as much a subversive, postmodern remix of the original as a straight sequel, with a previously unannounced protagonist playing through mysteriously familiar events. I didn’t think it would be possible to pull something like that off again in today’s clockwork video game hype cycle, but I love that Square Enix went for it.
Whether they’ll stick the landing is another matter entirely. It’s hard to call this a great idea without playing the next episode of the game, and who knows when that’ll show up. But the ending makes me far more excited for it than I would have been if they’d played it straight. I mostly really enjoyed what Final Fantasy VII Remake did with its characters, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them without knowing their fates in advance.
The ending gets a cautious thumbs-up from me for now. But I also think Tetsuya Nomura probably just wanted an excuse to contrive a Sephiroth boss fight set to “One Winged Angel” at the end of what is essentially a remake of the first 10 percent of Final Fantasy VII, so. Let’s just say I’m interested in what comes next without necessarily expecting it to be good or even coherent.
Megan Farokhmanesh, reporter: It is with the utmost humility and grace that I must inform you all that Final Fantasy VII Remake is a game made perfectly for me and no one else. I played the original as a tender pre-teen, fed on its fanfic for years, and gradually allowed my brain to melt into a puddle of jelly that spells out “I <3 Cloud Strife.”
(I’m kidding. Am I kidding? When Nick called the plot convoluted, I had the absolutely deranged gut reaction of “um excuse me what don’t you understand about a magical ancient people connected to a fantasy force stream that fuels the planet itself, yet can be commandeered by a guy with gravity-defying bangs and mommy issues on an Oedipal level? Makes perfect sense to me.” I’m intolerable!)
The reaction we’re all having — a mix between “is this allowed?” and “do I like it?” — speaks to the extremely overblown, overly precious canonization of beloved games. The fates of Final Fantasy VII’s cast is so set in my brain that the idea Aerith could survive, for example, turns me into a sputtering idiot. “But if she lives, that changes the very fabric of the game. How can any of the story exist without her death?” — as though any writer is not allowed to dream up some new, interesting path. That the game’s creators felt the need to fight so hard and weave the very idea of change in as metatextual flavor feels like they’re preemptively heading off fans like me: know-it-alls who would argue about what the game should be because we’ve spent the last 20 years building it up in our heads.
That’s a really long-winded lead-up to say that even though I think FFVIIR’s ending really flies off the rails in more ways than one, I’m in. I’m not sure Zack is actually still alive or if anything will really be different. I’ve fantasized about future episodes giving you a choice to either continue along the game’s original route or explore a new story, the ultimate way for fans to decide what really matters more: canon or creativity. But most of all, I love a good story troll. Just rip the walls down around me.
Adi Robertson, senior reporter: These last few responses really crystallize my ambivalence. On paper, I love Final Fantasy VII Remake doing an irreverent high-concept metatextual version of the classic “we have to go kill God” plot where God is the author of Final Fantasy VII. It’s the Grant Morrison Animal Man of JRPGs!
On the purely textual level, though, the ending doesn’t do anything. The characters know they’ve, like… murdered predestination. But as Nick says, that fight comes out of left field, and there’s no real sense of why it matters beyond averting some amorphously bad event. It ignores a lot of more interesting story threads, like Cloud’s origins (he isn’t a SOLDIER?), Sephiroth’s past, and anything establishing who Zack is and why I should care.
I know how the original game answers these questions, and the remake could have used them to demonstrate why the canon changes are compelling, instead of just declaring that they exist. As it stands, I feel like it offers revelations for people who like talking about Final Fantasy VII but no satisfying developments in the actual narrative.
I only played (part of) the original game last year, though, so I’m curious how people’s relationship with Final Fantasy VII shaped their reactions. How does the ending work if you’re not a huge fan, for example? Does it recontextualize the original game if you are?
Sam: I’m not a big Final Fantasy VII fan. The one I have the most nostalgia for is VIII, which is… less popular overall. I know the broad strokes of the VII story, and I played through the Midgar section of the game on Switch last year as homework, but that mostly just served to give me a better appreciation of Remake’s extremely good rearranged soundtrack.
I think I might be in the perfect space to appreciate this ending. I’m not close enough to the story to be all that interested in a straight retelling, but I’m familiar enough for the twist to resonate and for me to wonder what happens next. I was expecting Remake just to be VII’s Midgar with extra padding — and, to be clear, that’s exactly what it is for about 95 percent of its runtime — but I’m not sure that approach would have held my attention over who-knows-how-many episodes. Now, though, I’m at least on board for the next one.
Kevin: Sam, I’m definitely coming from the same place as you, but the ending left me feeling more in line with Adi. The Remake had a dozen gratuitous fetch quests. You’d think one of them could have involved rummaging around a slum to find a reasonable backstory for Zack instead of, like, three cats.
Michael: I’m not the biggest FFVII fan, but it has been my favorite Final Fantasy game until recently. (I still own the original PS1 copy I got on launch day.) And perhaps because I didn’t play FFVIIR and instead watched my roommate (who is a much much bigger fan) play instead I found that, at a certain point, I stopped thinking of the remake as FFVII and instead its own game.
While it was still hitting moments from the original, there is just so much added into it that it is something else entirely, which makes it feel less like a retelling of the original game and more like what the Rebuild of Evangelion films are to the original Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. While the first movie remains a fairly faithful remake of the early episodes of the show, the movie’s ending and the subsequent movies begin to deviate greatly from what the series did. Changing events and introducing completely new characters, making it clear that these movies aren’t a retelling of the series but something else new entirely.
The ending feels like this might be the model for the games going forward, and honestly, I’m actually a lot more curious about what that could mean then if it was just straight retelling the original game.
Megan: There’s something really special to me, the only Real Gamer on staff, about seeing how the remake brings FFVII’s world alive. I replayed the original a few months before Remake came out, and now, what I once loved earnestly as its own game feels little more than a bare-bones outline. Here are the beats, and here is a basic look at the world. I spent a lot of time staring up — at the plate, at the empty sky, at a really tall building here and there. The filler frustrated me, but most of the time, I felt giddy running around this world I kind of knew. That’s sort of how I feel about the entire game. It just feels big and crazy and exciting to find something new in this very old story.
Adi: We’re all talking around the elephant (chocobo? tonberry? hell house?) in the room: will the saga actually get completed? Given how long this game took and how massive Final Fantasy VII is, I’m not convinced that will happen. Does the ending still stand on its own if it doesn’t?
Megan: Maybe I’ve just watched and loved too many canceled TV shows, but I think this ending could stand on its own, if you played the original game and know it well. Hear me out: Remake built out the world, it brought in Sephiroth early, it — okay, well, it didn’t really explain a lot on its own. But it reexamined enough of the original to give fans an expanded view of that world. I’m not saying I’d like it if the series was never completed. But I think there is enough of a combination of the old game and this new, unknown idea to make it an open-ended… ending. Let the fanfic communities go wild.
Sam: Yeah, absolutely not. This ending only works if they follow through with a smart take on the storyline, but I have a feeling they’ll land on something like “omg Aerith lives.” While I don’t doubt that the saga will be completed eventually, I’m much more skeptical of how they go about it. For now, though, at least the possibility exists that it will be cool, and I’m here for the ride. In probably several years.
Michael: I think it would take a supernova destroying Square for them to not finish this series.
Nick: The only reasonable way for it to end — and I think it has to have a proper conclusion — is that the series introduces all the familiar story beats and ends as usual, but with the characters’ knowledge that they’re acting out a script and, in some cases, deviating from it where the writers see fit.
I can’t see them sparing Aerith or just forgoing a conclusion entirely, but I could see a situation in which she makes the choice herself knowing it will save her friends and the planet. Or perhaps there’s a timeline where she and Zack both live. Things like that could spice up the original plot while still keeping everything in check. God help the players who haven’t played the original, though, because hardly any of this makes sense even to the most diehard FFVII fan.
Megan: I still think Nick is wrong. What is so hard to understand about the original story, you guys!
.Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII [NEW REMIX] Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Soundtrack
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