When it comes to video games, it’s hard to find one that has had more of an impact than Final Fantasy VII. Squaresoft’s iconic 1997 RPG introduced the Final Fantasy games to a whole generation of gamers, was the first of the series to be available in Europe and widely available in the US, and has sold more than 12 million units since its release. To say it was a cultural phenomenon feels an awful lot like the understatement of the year. FF7 is simply one of the most iconic games ever made, as evidenced by the fact that its protagonist Cloud Strife is as recognizable today as Lara Croft or Sonic the Hedgehog.
Obviously, Square Enix is well aware of this fact. After years of begging by fans, the Japanese game developer is finally releasing Part One of the somewhat awkwardly named Final Fantasy VII Remake on April 10. The decision to split the game up into multiple releases is something the company has talked about at length…but also been decidedly close-mouthed about at the same time. We know that FF7 Remake is arriving in parts, but have no official info about what those parts will entail, or even how many there will be. Apparently, not even Square Enix knows for sure.
Which makes it a topic ripe for discussion! Be warned that there are major SPOILERS below for a 20 year old game.
Let’s start with what we know or can reasonably assume about Part One. The first game in the Final Fantasy VII Remake will only cover the opening section of the story set in Midgar. This was confirmed by producer Yoshinori Kitase at E3 last year, where he claimed that the dystopian metropolis “really is the most iconic location in Final Fantasy VII’s world.” This will allow Square Enix to vastly expand the setting, add new quests and plotlines, and all the other things a rabid fan could hope for.
The choice to set Part One solely in Midgar seems to have been made early on. The real question is: where do we go from there?
The original FF7 was comprised of three discs. Disc One ends with the death of Aerith (or Aeris, as she was known in the US release) at the hands of Sephiroth (er…Jenova-in-the-form-of-Sephiroth?). That moment is one of the most iconic in Final Fantasy history, and the game takes a definite pivot after it. It’s an obvious place for one of the remake games to end.
If Square Enix decides to stick with that end point, the second game of Final Fantasy VII Remake would be a world-hopping adventure that sees our party of heroes trailing Sephiroth and attempting to keep him from getting the Black Materia, an item he eventually uses to summon a meteor which slowly descends toward the planet throughout the back half of the story.
If things play out like this, Part Two could be a really compelling game, with an Empire Strikes Back-style gut punch of an ending. The only snag might be the sheer amount of locations that Square Enix would have to incorporate into the game, as there are quite a few the player encounters between the time you leave Midgar and when Sephiroth kills Aerith. If the developer can pull it off, however, there’s little doubt that it would be epic.
It would also open the door for the third installment to cover the fallout of that fateful encounter through to the ending of the game. Disc Two of the original game sets Cloud and company on a path to a crater in the north, which leads to the summoning of the meteor mentioned above. This sets off all sorts of crazy events, including the awakening of a handful of gigantic creatures called Weapons that roam the planet, serving as both important story elements and the biggest, baddest optional bosses in the game.
This section also sees the party traversing the world quite a bit, which includes a brief return to Midgar. So if the games were split up this way, the third installment could incorporate all the elements the previous two had established, making it feel pretty climactic.
The last disc of the original game basically just holds the final dungeon: the heroes’ return to the northern crater for the final showdown with Sephiroth. While Square Enix could certainly expand that location to make it huge and awesome, it stands to reason that they probably won’t want to release an entire game just for one dungeon. Incorporating it into the preceding release would make sense both logistically and in terms of the story arcs. Part three could begin with the heroes going to the crater and being defeated, and end with their triumphant return to face down the best villain in Final Fantasy history.
So that’s my prediction. Three parts, although four also feels like a definite possibility considering the sheer scale of the reimagining of Midgar.
What’s your take? Three parts? Four? Seven? Let’s speculate in the comments!