New news on the Final Fantasy VII remake front. According to several gaming news sites (here’s an article from Kotaku), remake director Testuya Nomura stated that Final Fantasy’s combat system will change dramatically from what we were used to in 1997. He went on to say that it’s not going to become a shooter or anything, but don’t expect it to play like it did in the heyday of turn-based roleplaying games.
This is likely going to infuriate some fans, or at the very least bum them out. I was admittedly a little let down, personally. While Square-Enix has made minute improvements on their battle systems on each new iteration in the Final Fantasy franchise, they’ve never really made something more satisfying than the classic turn-based strategy last seen way back in FFX.
I can’t say I’m surprised, though. There’s a good chance that the younger audience may not know what the hell to do with turn-based style combat, or they may even be bored by it. As the action intensifies and explosions reach Michael-Bay proportions in this industry, something that requires time and concentration may be too much for young gamers. Square-Enix is attempting to tap into as many consumers as they can with this remake, which is very reasonable. Fans of the original are getting older and older, and the younger generations are quickly becoming the majority when it comes to purchasing games, so logically they want to try and appeal more to that crowd.
I guess my main concern is that Final Fantasy VII will end up being too similar to XIII or XV. I wasn’t a fan of XV’s demo (what I played of it). It was just too all over the place. If Advent Children is what they’re using for inspiration, then it’s safe to assume that we’re going to see a lot of people flipping and jumping all over the map. That may sound cool to some, but sometimes it’s best to keep things simple.
I’m not remotely surprised by any of this, and my disappointment isn’t close to what others’ might be. I played FFVII much more recently than 1997, so I know that there was a lot to the game that simply won’t work now. Random encounters can be infuriating if you have a set goal in mind, which is a problem I’m currently experiencing with my first playthrough of Parasite Eve (expect a Let’s Play video up here soon).
I think we need to be realistic about our expectations for this game. It’s not going to be the ultimate game to end all games. I’m not even sure that it will really re-invigorate the Final Fantasy franchise like Square-Enix is hoping. Final Fantasy has long been struggling to reach the height of their glory days, but I think those days are past. I’ll still play the game, I just don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.
Personally, I’d like to see developers try new things and begin pushing boundaries with this new console hardware. The prospect of new IP is what makes video games so exciting. They are allowed to take more creative chances than film makers. That’s why making re-makes is so tricky. Some would argue that developers are wasting their talents on rekindling success, rather than trying to tell new and exciting stories that could be the next big thing.
Time will tell if Final Fantasy will become the giant it once was. If anything can bring it back to relevance in the west, it surely must be VII. I know there are plenty of people excited for XV, but I’d personally like to see Square-Enix try on some new, less familiar pants.
How do you feel about FFVII’s different combat system? Do you think turn-based combat is dead, or do you wish they would’ve kept the game faithful to the original? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!