It’s weird to realize I’m just 2 years older than one of the most influential video games ever created. The original Final Fantasy VII was launched on the first Sony PlayStation 25 years ago. I do believe it does deserve a really big celebration as it was a landmark title which brought JRPGs to the forefront of video games and was one of the reasons Sony became a huge player in the video game industry. I haven’t played the original game myself but I did love the heck out of Final Fantasy VII Remake so I was eagerly awaiting what Square Enix had in store with its 25th Anniversary Celebration. I can say I was as giddy as a schoolgirl for most of the program. Unfortunately, there was one major announcement that was made which did spoil my joyous celebration of everything Final Fantasy VII.
The show started our very strong with a montage of all of the previous Final Fantasy VII material which was released all those year ago. They not only showed off the original PlayStation Final Fantasy VII but also inserted other stuff like clips from the Advent Children movie, the Japan only mobile game Before Crisis featuring the Turks, the PSP only Crisis Core featuring Zack and the dreaded Dirge of Cerberus. I do wish I had nostalgic love for most of these titles but, as I wasn’t into gaming back then, I honestly don’t. I did get to experience Advent Children, which I did get to watch years and years later, but things like Before Crisis, Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus? Well, I hadn’t been able to… for now. Still, seeing this opening crawl with the Opening – Bombing Mission theme blaring in the background swelling to a crescendo was just spine-tingling.
It then transitioned to Final Fantasy VII Remake Integrade gameplay, a game I’ve been dying to play but I’m simply unable to because it’s still virtually impossible to get a PlayStation 5 without having to pay through the nose to get one. It’s nice to see it’s coming out on Steam and not blocked behind the Epic Games Store anymore. They then had Yoshinori Kitase, the executive producer of everything Final Fantasy VII related come out and state he and Square Enix has a ton of stuff to check out so we should stick around… before transitioning to selling us more stuff. I honestly am interested with the Buster Sword digital clock because it does look cool but the rest of the merchandise, like the the statues, clothing accessories and the vinyl soundtrack, I can generally pass on them. Still, nothing to really be upset about.
We then got to the first part of the meat and potatoes of the Final Fantasy VII 25th Anniversary Celebration video: the actual games. It was smart of them to go with The First Soldier right out of the gate because it’s probably the game most fans are the least interested in. I’m sure it’s a fine game and all but it’s a mobile battle royale game. It’s fine for what it is. I do have to congratulate Square Enix for sticking with the game as it’s apparently lasted for an entire 3 seasons already.
I actually wouldn’t be against playing The First Solder as it’s free-to-play with DLC purchases. My main issue is it’s an action game you’re supposed to play on your mobile phone. I’ve tried playing shooters and the like on my phone and I just cant get a handle on them for the simple reason I’m not actually holding a controller in my hand. Maybe I just have to get accustomed to touch controls or something like that but I like the tactile feel of pushing a button or turning an analog stick. It just feel so limiting to play on a touch screen.
The next game Square Enix showed, however, may just make me reconsider this as they showed off Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis. This looks like the kind of mobile game for me because, from what I understand, the game will also be free-to-play but will be released in chunks. I also have heard it’s not only going to be a remake of the original Final Fantasy VII but will also rework content from Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus. That’s a lot of gameplay right there!
As someone who’s never played any of those games, I’m really excited to experience them for the first time, despite a lot of the gameplay being redone to fit the same engine. I do love the mix of the more chibi artstyle for the exploration of the worlds and a part of me seriously is disappointed they didn’t do this for the battle scenes. It also looks less action oriented and more concentrated on battle strategy, which makes much more sense for playing on a phone as you don’t really need to jog a controller around vigorously to perform moves. I also can see how Square Enix is going to monetize the game as they did show off Cloud, Tifa and Aerith with fancy new outfits. I’m kind of weirded out by their outfit choice for Tifa as blue is definitely doesn’t work for her. Princess Ballgown Aerith, though? Well, I know what outfit I’m buying on day 1!
They then got to probably the announcement which excited me the most out of the entire show. Square Enix is remaking the entire Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core Reunion game for modern systems! While I might be able to experience an abbreviated story if I do play Ever Crisis, I’ll be able to get the full experience with this new remake of that old PSP game!
The graphics don’t look as good as the actual Final Fantasy VII Remake but that’s to be expected as the Crisis Core remake is going to be ported to practically all gaming systems, even the relatively underpowered Nintendo Switch. However, this announcement truly makes me happy for a lot of reasons. For one thing, while I know who Zack is, I don’t have any connection with him. He shows up briefly at the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake but, unless you know the game’s original history, you have no idea who this guy is supposed to be and how big a connection he has to the story at that point. I also think not many people have played Crisis Core since it was only out on the PSP. So remaking it for modern system would make it possible for more people to actually get to know this spiky black haired protagonist for the first time.
The combat also seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun. It does look a lot like the combat in Final Fantasy VII Remake but a little less intricate. There isn’t a Stagger meter so it doesn’t look like you can Pressure enemies. There’s also this weird slot machine thingie always running in the top left of the screen, which seems to indicate luck will be a factor here. I’m not really down with RNG mechanics but maybe Crisis Core can change my mind if it’s done right. The best thing about the Crisis Core announcement is it’s coming out sometime in “Winter.” That does mean it can still come out in March of next year but that’s close enough!
Square Enix saved the biggest game for last, of course, it was the next installment of Final Fantasy VII Remake, which now has an official subtitle: Rebirth. They didn’t show a lot as all they did show was Cloud walking along a rocky path with Sephiroth while characters like Zack, Aerith and Tifa talking in the background, giving hints at how the original story has changed.
Yoshinori Kitase then outlined one very important detail about the Final Fantasy VII Remake games. It will be a trilogy. That does make sense as the original PlayStation game came on 3 discs, making it feel just right. However, it does make it seem like the entire Final Fantasy VII Remake trilogy will have a protracted story, which also makes sense since this isn’t exactly a “remake” anymore but its own thing. I still hope they cover most of the key moments, like the flashback at Cloud and Tifa’s hometown, the Gold Saucer date sequence, finding Cid’s airship and maybe the possible death of a certain you-know-who to really rip out gamer’s hearts. Some of these moments will probably be reworked but will still appear in one form or another. That’s my bet anyways.
However, this trailer was incredibly bittersweet for me as the trailer clearly shows Final Fantasy VII Rebirth will only be available on PlayStation 5 when it launches next winter! That’s just so incredibly disappointing to me and it’s actually something I did see coming ways back. I really hoped Square Enix would take pity on us poor PlayStation 4 owners and make the next entry available on the system the first Remake launched on. I’m really bummed out about this fact because, as much as I would love to play it the day it comes out, I probably won’t be able to. I just don’t see prices for the PlayStation 5 dropping to realistic prices within the year. I do see prices dropping off ever so slightly but I don’t really see it getting to a point in the near future where I can see it being sold for a decent price.
I did think the Final Fantasy VII 25th Anniversary Celebration was a thing to celebrate. However, despite a lot of really good announcements, the only thing weighing on my mind right now is how I probably won’t be able to play Final Fantasy VII Rebirth when it comes out. It feels like a stab in the heart and it may just be the shock and an overreaction on my part. Still, it hurts to think I can’t play one of my most anticipated games because it’s not coming out on a system I can play it on. It’s a good celebration, Square Enix… so good it hurts.
What did you think of the Final Fantasy VII 25th Anniversary Celebration? What game are you looking forward to the most? Let me know in the comments section below!