Should Final Fantasy VII be Remade?

Go to any Final Fantasy message board or every comments section of a new Final Fantasy announcement in the past six years and you will see two things: people disparaging Square Enix, and people clamouring for a Final Fantasy VII remake. People have wanted this remake since Square Enix, probably regretfully at this point, used the opening of Final Fantasy VII as a tech demo for the PS3 back around its release. Since then every Final Fantasy announcement has been met with a certain level of disappointment that a remake has not been announced. Even when it is clear that Final Fantasy VII will not be part of the announcement, such as the Lightning Saga announcement, there are a certain number of fans, who always expect it, and are getting more and more angry every second Square refuses to remake the game. Of course the question remains: should Square Enix actually remake this game, or should they move forward with the series? Many fans feel that Square is stuck in a funk, and are focusing too much on XIII and should move on. Would going backwards be a good idea? Remaking such a classic game is full of peril and few games have such an invested fanbase. Today we are going to be looking at Final Fantasy VII and try to see if it would be a good idea to remake it. 

If this doesn’t excite you, you are some kind of soulless monster .
Accurate translation. Not a remake.
Firstly, let’s look what is actually entailed in remaking a game. Square has remade two of its Final Fantasy games. Final Fantasy III and IV were both remade on the Nintendo DS. A remake is a game built from the ground up with a slew of new content that expands the game in a meaningful way. Square has a propensity for enhanced ports and all of their early Final Fantasy games have been given the enhanced port treatment, but only III and IV were truly remade. It is not enough to improve the graphics like they did with Final Fantasy I and II for the PSP, or retool the gameplay like the various international versions of games, or even release a new translation such as what they did with Final Fantasy IV-VI. A remake must be more than that. The go to for how to make a good remake is Resident Evil’s Gamecube Remake (REmake), which took the basic game, added a ton of new content and new ideas, and managed to fully execute the creator’s vision, which was impossible at the time. So anyone who simply wants a graphical update or a challenge dungeon, does not want a Final Fantasy VII remake, and do not understand the effort that must go into truly doing this remake justice. 
Pretty graphics. Not a remake.
I’d kill for an VIII remake, but that doesn’t mean I’m right.
So why should Final Fantasy VII in particular be remade? Forum dwellers often cite VI or IX as their personal favourite game in the series, so why should VII be given the honour? Final Fantasy VII is the second most influential game in the series, only following Final Fantasy IV. There is a reason that Final Fantasy VII has such a huge, and occasionally obnoxious, fanbase. That reason is that Final Fantasy VII pretty much singlehandedly brought JRPGs to mainstream gaming, and was many people’s first experience with the genre. While VI may be widely considered the best Final Fantasy, it is very far from the most popular when you leave the Final Fantasy forums. The relative merits of a game do not matter as much as popularity and Final Fantasy VII is definitely popular enough. That is why the argument of “Final Fantasy ___ is better so they should remake that instead”, is a terrible one.
However, there is a much better reason to remake this game that even disparagers can agree with: it has aged terribly. All other Final Fantasy games actually look pretty good now, in part because Square was, and still is to an extent, at the forefront of pushing console graphics. Final Fantasy VI uses beautiful 2D graphics, and Final Fantasy VIII is the first 3D Final Fantasy game with characters that actually look human even if they look like very blurry humans. Final Fantasy VII on the other hand relied far too much on some really bad looking blocky graphics outside of battles, which looked even more foolish with the beautiful pre-rendered backgrounds. The battle scenes were fine, but outside of battle, characters and items look terrible. Secondly, Final Fantasy VII is the last classic Final Fantasy that is desperately in need of a new translation. Like IV, and VI before it, VII was really poorly translated with many, many mistakes such as calling moogles mogs, or going in an out of calling ethers tinctures. As the last Final Fantasy with such a poor translation and the only one left that has not been redone, Final Fantasy VII could certainly use help. 
The best part of this remake for Square is that it was cheap.
But just because Final Fantasy VII could benefit from being remade doesn’t mean it should be. Firstly, let’s face it that Final Fantasy VII fans would not be satisfied with a portable remake like Square did with Final Fantasy III and IV. This means making the game for consoles, which would be extremely expensive and time consuming. Money isn’t a huge concern as VII would clearly make it back, but time is a concern. People are angry as XIII is taking time away from XV and the much desired Versus XIII. If work on a VII remake actually got underway, these games or other future games would be definitely delayed as I don’t think anyone would be prepared to half-ass a remake of this game. Also, remember that the colourful polygon style was played for laughs quite a bit, such as with some extreme jumping and twirling. This would not translate to realistic graphics, so it really isn’t enough to simply put on a fresh coat of paint, as many suggest. It would also require bringing in a lot of the old talent to oversee the game to make sure that it stays true to the classic, and many of these individuals have moved on.
Then there is the biggest concern. How much do you really trust Square Enix at this point? Many gamers have lost total faith in the company. Do you really trust this company to not butcher the game that you love so much? Even if you still think Square is still a great company, such as myself, the threat of butchering the classic is very real. Tiny changes can result in a “Han shoots first” situation that gamers will never forgive. An example of a danger is replacing the cool and often cheerful Cloud with the mopey and angst-filled Cloud we have seen in Advent Children or Dirge of Cerberus. It may not happen, but the risk is there. Demeaning events or changing character personalities are a major concern with such a huge game, and, let’s face it, a game this big in scope and story has never been remade before. And just what is correct? Nostalgia glasses blind even the most well meaning fanboy, and the poor translation could have meant that characters aren’t even supposed to be as we remember them.  
If this image angers you, do you really want these people remaking your childhood.
Then again, should we let fear of change prevent a remake? It isn’t like with George Lucas, who has refused to release the original forms of Star Wars. Those who prefer the original could always download the original in its purest form on the PSN. Square could totally screw it up, but the original would live on in digital form, easy to obtain and play for all, and if Square actually pulled it off, all would rejoice in festive celebration. On the other hand, should Square as a company stop moving forward in order to revel in its past successes? Wouldn’t doing so be similar to giving up? If Square simply focused on remaking games from its glory days and stopped trying to improve itself, would that be a good thing. XIII may not be popular, and XIV was a trainwreck, but should that mean that Square should stop trying to get better? Even if you hate the company, should a company ever stop moving forward and trying to better itself? Square is clearly aware of its mistakes and is trying to improve as can be seen with XIII-2’s about face, and the total reworking of XIV. It may be in a funk right now, but that hardly means that it should just die because some gamers on the internet would rather live in nostalgia that try something new. 
This may not be a good game and may never be, but it shows that Square is trying, which is far more than most companies.
In the end, it is hard to actually say whether or not it is a smart idea to remake the game. People on forums and comments sections always say that it would allow Square to print money, which is true to an extent. However, things aren’t as simple as that. The risk of royally screwing up the game, and the time cost required, makes remaking the game very dangerous. Sure a perfectly executed game full of new content and great ideas would be one of the biggest releases in recent years. However, a badly executed game would send the already pissed off fanbase into a frenzy, one that it would likely never get over. Don’t get me wrong, I would gladly kill a puppy to get my hands on a Final Fantasy VII remake, but it is naive to think that remaking a game such is this is easy to do, or even necessarily a good idea for a company to do.
– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer

One thought on “Should Final Fantasy VII be Remade?

  1. I honestly don't want one. I'm fine with the game as it is, and a remake would/could just tarnish that. I'm not sure how much of it would translate well into the new graphical style square has adopted. I'd rather a FF8 remake, it looked more realistic, so I think it could be upgraded rather easily. It's tough, because I love the remake of IV, I think they did a wonderful job on that. So, if they did remake 7, I wouldn't complain, I just rather they wouldn't/

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