The Final Fantasy 7 remake might be utterly brilliant, but it won't be the same

Final Fantasy 7 is being remade and I can’t help but be excited. This game is a cultural touchstone for PlayStation gamers, and I have so many abiding memories of the hundreds of hours I ploughed into it in the late ’90s. Remember Red XII’s petrified dad crying a single tear during a sojourn in Cosmo Canyon? I do. Scarlet and Tifa having an actual slapping match on top of Junon cannon? That’s been etched into my long-term memory. I can hum the whole J.E.N.O.V.A. boss fight theme right now. You can’t hear me but I’m doing it. Promise.

These are just a few of the hundreds of memories which I recall through a nostalgic haze. I finished FF7 five times before I played any other game. That’s something only a 13-year-old high on his first snort of actual polygons could do. I’m now 32 and the thought of loving a game, any game, as much as I adored FF7 back in the day is... Well, it just won’t happen.

(Image: © Square-Enix)

Which is why I’m terrified of the incoming remake. I love the original game far too much to just walk past a PS4-powered redo. The moment it hits shelves I’ll have no option but to leap upon it. I will play it. It might be utterly brilliant. But it won’t be the same.

FF7 was not a game which aimed to please everyone. It was brave, abrasive, and made primarily for a Japanese audience. Look at FF15. You might really like it, and that’s fine, but it’s a JRPG that’s been filtered through the modern, Western RPG machine. It’s an open world. It’s got streamlined everything. Every potential complexity has been planed away into a mass-market pleasing smoothness. It’s almost Ubisoft-ian.

Argue all you like about FF15’s merits, and I know there are many, but I literally played it yesterday and I can’t remember what I did or why. FF7’s remake will be made off the back of the same tech, with a similar real-time combat system, and it’ll be designed to appeal to as many players as possible rather than doubling down on quirk. I’m convinced I’ll play it and be disappointed...

And yet... and yet...

This article originally appeared in Official PlayStation Magazine. For more great PlayStation coverage, you can subscribe here.