Final Fantasy VII Remake: What We Learned from Square Enix’s E3 Showing

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Cloud and Tifa side by side in the new Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer at E3

Square Enix started off their E3 showing right where everyone wanted it: with the Final Fantasy VII Remake. 22 years after its release in 1997, producers Yoshinori Kitase and Testuya Nomura took the stage along with Senior Manager of Product Marketing, Neal Pabon. After years of almost no information on the title, attendees and those watching on stream got details on one of the most anticipated video games of all time.

Final Fantasy VII Remake: Details After Square Enix’s E3 Showing

Giving Fans What They Want

Coincidentally (or maybe it wasn’t), another Final Fantasy VII event went down in Los Angeles the day before Square Enix’s E3 spot. Here, a brand new trailer was unveiled for attendees At the end, it promised even more information just the day after. Right on cue, the Square Enix panel kicked off with a remastered version of the first scene from the original FFVII.

Kitase walked out immediately afterward, thanking the fans for their patience as the game is being worked on. He promised that the game would be well worth the wait in terms of content. This is because it will be two Blu-ray discs, and from what it looks like, both will be released at the same time. The first, will take the players through Midgar, which Kitase claimed is, “a solid stand-alone game in its own right.”

“Let’s Mosey”

Alluding to one of protagonist Cloud Strife’s most famous quotes, Pabon took the mic to demo the game’s combat system.

And it looks beautiful. Though the game takes place in real time, with the look of a modern action game, the developers were able to fit in the classic ATB (Active Time Battle) system. Just like in the original, the party member’s names and HP are in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, along with the familiar “ATB bar.”

The ATB bar builds up slowly on its own. But players can speed it up by landing regular attacks on enemies. Once the ATB bar is full, players can go into “tactical mode.” Basically, this is a modernized version of the classic RPG. A menu comes up with options to use magic and character-specific abilities, like Braver and Cross Slash.

An interesting addition is that characters will have different uses depending on their role. For example, Barret will specialize in ranged attacks and be able to hit enemies from a distance or on higher ground that Cloud cannot. Players will be able to switch between party members with the switch of a button, and even program in “shortcuts” to make actions easier to chose and combat more fast-paced.

Attack While Its Tail is Up

From there, Pabon introduced viewers to a familiar foe – the Scorpion Sentinel boss from the first Mako reactor. Here, viewers were treated to a dynamic battle with plenty of real-time adjustments needed. Instead of just (not) attacking while its tail was up, players had to adapt to different modes and stages.

The mechanical scorpion put up barriers to block attacks, jumped around the stage to be unreachable by Cloud, and forced players to take cover when its tail was up, or face a devastating laser attack. It seemed a lot more clear this time to NOT attack while its tail was up. The battle ended with Cloud unleashing his signature “Cross Slash.”

Another interesting addition to the boss fight was that there was plenty of dialogue between Cloud and Barret. This revealed a few things. First, that the original script will not be followed word-for-word. Second, the essence of the characters was still there. Many fans were worried about how the game would balance political-correctness. But, minds should at least be put at ease by Barret not only cussing, but it not even being censored this time.

It is Actually Happening

After the gameplay, Nomura was the final face to appear on stage, with Kitase gushing about how great it is to be working with Nomura again on FFVII after so many years. After again thanking everyone for their patience as they make sure to do the game right, he asked the mesmerized crowd, “Do you guys want to actually play the game?” With shocked faces, he announced playable demos at the Square Enix kiosk.

Finally, players were treated to a longer version of the trailer unveiled the day before during the Distant Worlds Concert. Players were treated to both cutscenes and more battle action. Earlier, Kitase teased that maybe they would get to see Tifa in action “soon.” Well, the wait wasn’t long as viewers were treated to both Tifa and Aerith in action. The trailer and demo concluded just where it should have: with Cloud confronting Sephiroth in a town engulfed by flames.

Last Word on Square Enix’s E3 Showcase of the Final Fantasy VII Remake

It still probably seems like a dream for FFVII fans, even after the E3 reveal. It has been years since the remake was originally announced, and there was little more than a peep from the company about how the game was going for years. Finally, fans were treated with a ton of visuals, battle action, and even a playable demo for attendees.

There are still a ton of questions, but finally, the game has a release date of March 3rd, 2020.

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Ryan is a lifelong Raider fan living in San Diego. His NFL fanaticism began when he somehow got a hold of an LA Raiders sweater. He started wearing when the sleeves were way too long and kept wearing until they barely passed his elbows. He is also a Final Fantasy Fanatic and basically dedicates all of his free time to playing Final Fantasy Brave Exvius. In addition to sports writing, he also loves reading and writing fiction. His favorite author is Anne Rice. Ryan is also very involved in education and works as a Tutor at Southwestern Community College in Chula Vista as his day job. He is currently attending JFKU for his MA in Sport Psychology Find him on Twitter @RyanWorldEater.

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