A series of important announcements regarding the future of the Final Fantasy VII Remake project was made by Square Enix.
A new episode focusing on an unlockable character from the original title Yuffie Kisaragi plus two brand new games for portable devices (Ever Crisis and The First Soldier) were among the most important things that the company unveiled. Of course, fans had already caught wind of Square Enix’s plans long ago after they had trademarked the names of both handheld titles in most major regions.
I’m going to look into how these announcements, but also the reveal of some old rivals, will affect the future of FFVII. I’ll also try to answer some of the biggest questions fans may have regarding all of these changes.
WEISS AND THE APPEARANCE OF DEEPGROUND
One of the major things to stand out from the Final Fantasy VII Intergrade trailer was the appearance of Weiss the Immaculate and the Deepground soldiers. For those who don’t know, Weiss is a character that never made an appearance in the official Final Fantasy VII game but was a rather big deal in the overall Compilation of Final Fantasy VII project.
According to the story, apart from SOLDIER, Shinra was conducting experiments on other types of modified, mako-infused superhuman warriors in a project called “Deepground”. They kept their laboratories hidden underneath the slums of Midgar. In fact, one of them can be found in Chapter 13 of Remake (titled “A Broken World”).
Weiss and his brother Nero were a part of this project. Both Weiss and Deepground were originally introduced in the 2006 PlayStation 2 title Dirge of Cerberus, yet he also made an appearance at the end of Crisis Core, the highly popular PSP-exclusive RPG.
During an interview with Japanese publication Famitsu, the game’s director Tetsuya Nomura pointed out that he actually wanted Weiss to be in the main game.
Since the strongest character, Sephiroth, is already in the game, we wanted to have another formidable boss aside from Sephiroth, so we chose Weiss. I personally am curious as to how a battle would play out for the first time with Cloud versus Weiss. In fact, I even asked the team to add Weiss as a secret boss ever since the PS4 version.
This, of course, along with the appearance of Zack Fair at the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake, open up a series of possibilities for the future of FFVII and shows that Square Enix has every intention of making full use of the Compilation to flesh out the story of the original game as much as possible.
ARE THEY CHANGING IT TOO MUCH?
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is this: is the Final Fantasy VII Remake project straying too far from the path of the original, a game that many came to fall in love with during their childhood? The answer is this: it depends on how you look at it.
While it may be true that Cloud and co. never even met with Sephiroth until they departed Junon and we didn’t see Yuffie until getting out of the Mythril Mines (at the earliest), it still makes sense that some bizarre, mako-infused image of the ultimate SOLDIER was shown to the protagonists and Yuffie was in Midgar at the same time as the main group.
None of these plot points “threaten” the overall progression of the story, which, all things considered, should proceed as planned with part two as the group heads over to Kalm for Cloud to tell his story about Nibleheim. If anything, Yuffie may be introduced even sooner, but that’s a plus in my book.
As for the Weiss-Deepground introduction, they may also come to play a greater part in the future of FFVII as Shinra becomes an even greater threat. And for Crisis Core players, there’s another theater-loving ex-SOLDIER that might also be making his long-awaited return. There have already been a few subtle hints. (Banora apples, anyone?)
ARE THE MOBILE GAMES RELEVANT?
Usually, games that are ported to handheld devices aren’t deemed all that important for a series of a franchise. But, in the whole Final Fantasy VII Remake project, we’d have to change that outlook. Ever Crisis will provide significant insight to the overall Compilation, with key events from games like Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus and even the CGI film Advent Children.
But it will also be the first time that western players have the opportunity to get their hands on Before Crisis. This game was only ever released in Japan and focused on the Turks and the original AVALANCHE resistance group that started off from Wutai, Yuffie’s hometown.
Furthermore, according to Nomura, the game will also contain an additional chapter that will focus on Sephiroth’s younger days at SOLDIER, written by the game’s main scenario writer Kazushige Nojima. As for The First Soldier, this will now be the first game in chronological order of the entire series, depicting exactly how the SOLDIER unit came to exist.
WILL NOMURA’S DEPARTURE AFFECT THE SERIES?
Another important announcement that came out of Nomura’s interview from Famitsu is that he will be stepping back as part two’s director in order to focus on the new Kingdom Hearts title. He will be replaced by Naoki Hamaguchi. Hamaguchi has been working with Square Enix for a long time now, ever since the development of Final Fantasy XII. In fact, he was one of the main developers of the whole FF XIII trilogy, while he also helped in the creation of the first part of Final Fantasy VII Remake as a co-director.
If Nomura is stepping down, it means he has complete faith putting the future of FFVII in Hamaguchi’s capable hands. Besides, it’s not like Nomura has been completely removed from the Final Fantasy VII Remake project. He is still there as creative director, just on a less day-to-day basis.
The Final Fantasy VII Remake project is heading into brand new territory. Using the events of the original story as their foundation, the developers plan on branching out as much as possible to give us a more complete and fleshed-out version of the game as possible. Ever Crisis will play a great role in helping newcomers to the series understand what this is all about, as Remake could be planning on telling its own unique version of events. Whether that sits well with players or not remains to be seen. But at the very least, the future of FFVII sounds quite promising.