The Final Fantasy VII Remake and What It Means to Me
I have to say, I didn’t think it would ever happen. While they’ve remade all the FF’s between 1-6 as well as X and Tactics, they mostly seem to be content skipping over what is the series’ arguably most popular era. I wonder what finally clicked to make them decide to go ahead with this undertaking? All I can think is that Sony might have made a big push for it, considering how competitive the console race has been lately. But then again, it’s not a Playstation exclusive, so that can’t be the only reason.
This game means a lot to me, and I always forget that it means a lot to me until I happen to see it in action. This was an insanely popular game back in the day, and I think that was because it hit at the right time, and it introduced a generation of young gamers at the edge of adolescence to a type of “mature” game that would ignite their developing interests and propel them to continue playing games beyond their childhood years. I know that’s how it was for me at least. The game’s story centers on themes of fighting against a world that has tacitly come to accept oppression and corruption, and I think that resonates with youths of a certain age who are achieving new levels of moral awareness for the messy way our world actually works. Furthermore, most games cast you in the role of a lone hero, like Mario or Sonic. But RPGs like these focus on being a part of a team, and what those team members mean to each other is a major part of the story. At an age of social awakening when a person is trying to find their place in the world and amongst their peers, these themes can be very powerful.
I think these reasons made FF7 very popular in its time, but the insane popularity came with a very strong backlash. The thing about FF7 is that while it’s a good Final Fantasy game, if you take it out of the context of its time, it’s not really an exceptional one. There are a lot of good Final Fantasy games after all, and the disproportionate popularity of FF7 is where I think the backlash against it has originated. Even in the wake of FF7’s release, it quickly became the “cool kid” thing to say that you preferred FF6 as the series’ high point. I think the backlash was, of course, somewhat deserved when FF7 was hogging so much of the spotlight, but I think now when nearly every title in the series has seen multiple rereleases, fretting over the inordinate popularity of this one entry is obsessing a bit too much over the past.
The running feeling I got through E3 this year was excitement tempered with heavy skepticism, and FF7 was no exception. I will probably write more on that topic later. The rational part of my brain is quick to dismiss this remake since Square has had (for a while now) a huge amount of trouble getting Final Fantasy games out the door. Between FFXV taking soooo very long, FFXIV’s catastrophic false start, and the protracted Lightning trilogy that not even hardcore fans asked for, it’s really hard to have faith in Square as a developer to achieve greatness in their games as they once did. But while I consider myself a pretty rational person and want to dismiss the game for these reasons, I can’t help but get excited when I see Barrett and Cloud walking through the slums. Like I said, the game means a lot to me. So while I have a heavy amount of skepticism, I still really want this game. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t turn into another console-generation spanning debacle like Versus XIII.