At ACGHK 2019, Siliconera sat in on a game introduction session for Final Fantasy VII Remake with producer Yoshinori Kitase. During the introduction session, we were able to get a full look at the entire Bombing Mission opening sequence right up to before the boss shown off at E3 via a prerecorded gameplay video.
Kitase first started off wit an introduction to the game, mentioning that the game, despite being a remake, still follows the Final Fantasy series tenets of innovation, challenging the limits of what they can make, and giving the player a fun experience. He also emphasized that the game is being developed by a mixture of original staff and new blood who grew up on the original game. Lots of international staff are also involved in the game.
While we’ve seen snippets of the opening section of the game here and there, yesterday was the first time we’ve seen the thing in full. While the general structure of the area has been faithfully recreated, there are new areas that are original to the remake, as the team has taken care to create new architecture to flesh out the Mako reactor area in between where loading screens would be in the original game. During the first area, Cloud also showed off his moves in the new ARP-style combat, which consists of action combat, and Wait Mode where everything is immensely slowed down so the player can use abilities and magic. The sword abilities are also able to be activated via a shortcut with L1 for those good with action games, said Kitase. Meanwhile, Cloud had two modes of combat to switch between – Operator and Punisher mode. Operator Mode focuses on quick slashes, while Punisher mode heavily slows down Cloud as he takes a different stance, in exchange for higher damage.
One thing that really did pop to me was how the remake has expanded on the early cast of Cloud, Barrett, Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie. When they first get off the train, Barrett is much more hostile and distrusting of Cloud than in the original, saying that one misstep and he’ll shoot Cloud down. Meanwhile, Jessie is much more exasperated at how loud and distrusting Barrett is being. While Cloud splits from the rest of the crew mid-way to not get caught, he rejoins them when they begin opening the doors to reach the reactor, and the game went into a cutscene. While Biggs is skeptical of Cloud’s abilities, Wedge is more friendly and shoots Cloud a thumbs-up that Cloud clearly has no idea how to respond to. These parts really help flesh out the relationships between the crew in ways that weren’t achieved in the original.
The elevator sequence with Cloud, Barrett, and Jessie is also expanded upon. While waiting for the elevator to arrive, Jessie notes that Tifa was adamant on recommending Cloud for the job, and asks what Cloud’s relationship with Tifa is. Cloud is clearly struggling to come up with an appropriate reply, but is saved by the arrival of the elevator. Inside, Barrett gives his spiel about the world dying from Mako overconsumption, but goes full ham and mentions that he can hear the world crying for help, to which Cloud snarks that Barrett should go see a doctor. These moments of levity help lighten the tense mood, and also harkens back to Cloud’s depiction in the original game, where he wasn’t without a sense of humor.
Leaving the elevator, Barrett finally joins the party, and Kitase explained how his long-range gatling is easily used by holding down Square, and suitable for long-range enemies Cloud can’t reach. Conveniently, there were a couple of cameras Barrett could use as target practice, and we watched as the video showed off character swapping and commanding other characters to take actions. Finally, Cloud and Barrett reached the ladders leading to the bottom of the reactor, which leads to the scorpion boss we’ve seen since E3.
While undoubtedly this first chapter is only a small part of the full game, I could appreciate how it expanded upon the cast established in the original. With the first game completely set in Midgar, I’m looking forward to seeing what other nuances will be added to the interactions between the cast.
Final Fantasy VII Remake will come to the PlayStation 4 on March 3, 2020.