No matter how good something is, theres always a part of us that wants to make it better. If Final Fantasy VII was amazing when it released in 1997, imagine how fun it would be to play a modern remake on a next-gen system today. The mere thought of a proper Final Fantasy VII sends us into fangasmic fits, filling our heads with fleeting visions of taking down Shinra and saving the world from Sephiroth once more. Only this time, itll all be in 1080p.
Its no secret that fans (ourselves included) would love to see Final Fantasy VII remade, but rumors of an official remake have been circulating for nearly a decade. The first rumblings surfaced in the spring of 2000. According to the rumors, Square Enix wanted to capitalize on the graphical power of the PlayStation 2 to remake Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VIII, and Final Fantasy IX. That rumor may have died since then, but there are still reasons for fans to keep hope alive for the Final Fantasy remake weve all been waiting for.
The first rumors started in 2003...
The first real hint that Square Enix intended to remake their most popular game came during the Tokyo Game Show in 2003. It was there that the company announced their upcoming CG movie, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The announcement of the movie would have been enough to re-ignite rumors of a Final Fantasy VII remake. However news of Compilation of Final Fantasy, a series of games and anime set in the world of Final Fantasy VII, worked like gasoline on a tire fire.
...and continued when more VII-centric games released
When Square Enix announced Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, a Japan-only cell phone game, and Dirge of Cerebus: Final Fantasy VII for the PS2, anticipation for a remake of Final Fantasy VII increased again. The rumor was alive and no amount of official statements from Square Enix denying the existence or plans for a Final Fantasy VII remake could stop the spread of speculation amongst fans and the enthusiast press.
But it was quickly denied
Square Enix stayed silent on the remake for the next few years, choosing instead to focus on Compilation. Then in 2006, in an interview with Computer and Video Games, Final Fantasy III producer, Hiromichi Tanaka, raised the possibility of a remake by claiming that Square Enix would do it, if we have time. But just one month later, when it seemed like a remake was still in the cards, Final Fantasy XIII and Kingdom Heart producer Tetsuya Nomura categorically denied the possibility of any remake in an interview with Japanese monthly magazine Dorimaga.
Fan-made games/bootlegs show up
After the interview, Square Enix once again went silent for over a year, and in the meantime Final Fantasy VII was finally remade... for the NES. In early 2008 Derrick Sobodash, a blogger based in Beijing, discovered an NES ROM based on FFVII. The game used sprites from earlier Final Fantasies and managed to include most of the story from the PlayStation original, but the Chinese bootleggers sacrificed Yuffie and Vincent to accommodate the storage limitations of the NES. Fans have also attempted to remake the game in HD, but it usually ends with a cease and desist letter.
Rumors, again, begin to appear
During an interview with 1UP shortly after the release of Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core producer Yoshinori Kitase claimed that the game was not the end of Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. The Compilation's finale will take some other form, said Kitase. After another year of relative silence, Nomura once again broached the topic during an interview with Famitsu regarding the release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete. The famous director said that he had some ideas for the next entry into the Compilation. The vague comment was seized upon by fans as proof that Square Enix was working on a remake. Around the same time that Advent Children Complete was released in Japan, Square Enix released Final Fantasy VII on the Japanese PSN. Two months later, Square Enix wound up releasing it in America during E3.
Square explains why it might never happen
Once again rumors about a remake were addressed in January of 2010. In an interview with Ultimania magazine, Final Fantasy XIII director Motomu Toriyama explained that building towns with the same fidelity as those in FFVII would be too difficult to do given how expensive modern development is. Kitase echoed those sentiments two weeks later in an interview with Tech Digest. If we were to recreate final Fantasy VII with the same level of graphical detail as you see in Final Fantasy XIII, we'd imagine that that would take as much as three or four times longer than the three and a half years it has taken to put this Final Fantasy together! So it's looking pretty unrealistic, he explained.
That shouldve been the final nail in the Final Fantasy VII remakes coffin. The game is prohibitively expensive to make, and with Square Enix occupied trying to reshape themselves into a tier one publisher of titles that appeal to western gamers, like Supreme Commander 2, a remake sounds more unrealistic than ever.
One more reason to say "no"
Square was silent for a while, but CEO Yoichi Wada did comment on the status of the remake in 2012, commenting that it wouldn't happen until Square surpassed FFVII's quality. Wada said that, if the team were to remake Final Fantasy VII now, then the Final Fantasy franchise "would be done with," hinting that we may not see a remake for some time to come. "The new Final Fantasy must overcome the Final Fantasy of the past, he explained. Things... looked sort of hopeless.
Keeping hope alive
Or is it? At a Final Fantasy XIII release party, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada contradicted everything his company had been saying. After all the official statements suggesting that a proper Final Fantasy VII remake will never happen, Wada said that the Square Enix is going to explore the possibility of a remake. So, in other words, it's not off the table. Honestly? That's better than nothing, but it still leaves us without a remake.
Another reason to remain optimistic
There's even more of a reason to remain optimistic: Square has taken to remaking more and more games recently. Final Fantasy X, for instance, is getting an HD remake, with shiny new visuals that put it on par with many Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games. It appears as though Sony might be rethinking its strategy, and if FFX does well, maybe it'll eye up VII again.
Also, Square sort of needs something big right now
Another reason to remain positive? Square... sort of needs something like FFVII right now. Final Fantasy XIII hasn't done great for the company, and Final Fantasy XIV was an unmitigated disaster. What better way to reestablish good will than to remake the most popular Final Fantasy game? New gamers would get a chance to experience one of the most popular RPGs of all time, and fans would be given another reminder of why they loved the game so much in the first place. Overnight (well, over three years of development), Square could put FF back on top, and set the stage for a big, fancy game in FFXV.
There aren't enough nails in this coffin
So after ten years of rumor and speculation, denials and dodges, we at GamesRadar can unequivocally say, without a shadow of a doubt or fear of contradiction that a Final Fantasy VII remake will possibly happen sometime in the near or distant future. That is to say, we are now right back where we started ten years ago when rumors of a remake first surfaced. Still, when it comes to a Final Fantasy VII remake, well take a suggestive maybe over a clear cut no any day. So heres to keeping hope alive as Square Enix explores the possibility of developing the game weve all been waiting for this past decade.