It's real. Now please let it be good.
I spent a whopping 200 hours on my very first Final Fantasy VII playthrough.
Granted, half of that time was due in part to my leaving the game on when being called away for chores, vital human functions like sleeping or eating, or trying to figure out a certain sidequest. Annoyingly, life got in the way.
The world of Final Fantasy VII, with its memorable characters, quotable villains, and enough angst to fuel my adolescence, sucked me in completely. Up until the seventh entry in the series, I'd never even played a Final Fantasy. All that changed after the credits rolled on my first playthrough, and I sought out the rest of the series to fuel my addiction. And then, with the subsequent releases of Final Fantasy VIII, IX, and so on, I only fell more deeply in love.
I was so enamored, in fact, that on my 18th birthday I left a local tattoo parlor with a moogle tattooed on my left calf, with a few yellow stars surrounding its furry face. It's a testament to the years I had spent growing up with Final Fantasy, the impact it had on my life, and its status as one of my most beloved games of all time.
Now I'm going to have a chance to see my favorite world remade on a current-gen console.
The Final Fantasy VII remake is real. It's happening. There's even a trailer to prove it. While I'm excited beyond belief, however, I'm also hoping that several of my biggest wishes regarding the game happen to come true. There are some very specific things I'd love to see from a remake from the ground-up, speaking as a longtime fan of the series and devotee to this particular installment.
A mature yet modernized translation consistent with current Square Enix quality.
The original release, while memorable in several ways, was plagued by several translation snafus and other bizarre instances where the Japanese script just didn't translate well into English. There's the matter of the original game's translation of "Aerith" to "Aeris," for example. The original Final Fantasy VII translation transliterated the waiflike flower girl's name as "Aeris" from its Japanese origins, and it was later on officially changed to "Aerith." It's caused plenty of scuffles among fans of the game as far as the definitive spelling, so a new translation could decide the answer once and for all.
Even I would love feeling as though I'm playing a new and improved vision of a classic, complete with expanded content
In addition to a slick-looking visual makeover, there should also be a comparable script that tidily overhauls the narrative as a whole, giving it a more consistent voice like the one we hear in newer Final Fantasy games. It could silence the naysayers who are still quick to denounce Final Fantasy VII's story as "weak" or "full of holes" if done correctly. Furthermore, this timeless tale deserves much better treatment than it got originally. Let's just leave out needless melodrama when we could inject humor in places instead.
Reworked Limit Break quests and expanded character recruitment.
This is such an iconic game that some players already know where to find Tifa's Limit Break manual and know exactly how to ensure she eventually uses it in battle. Leaving quests like those the same ensures at least some percentage of the audience, believe it or not, may balk at not enough change being present. So changing things up a little, such as where to find specific items, characters, or other key pieces of the inventory would be appreciated, even if it's just to add some variety. I'm excited beyond belief to play a new version of a game that punctuated my childhood, but even I would love feeling as though I'm playing a new and improved vision of a classic, complete with expanded content.
Faithful character designs that don't follow in the vein of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.
While Advent Children was an interesting look at a post-Final Fantasy VII world, I wasn't exactly enamored with the spikier-haired heroes and the more realistic look they were given. True, we can't keep the game mired in polygons, but we can give characters a more nuanced look that remains faithful to the low-res models of yesteryear. It looks like, at the very least from what I can tell from the trailer, like Barret and Cloud are similar to their models in Advent Children, but I'd like to see the same costumes, expressions, and nuances of the original game reflected in the remake. Any changes that would be made should come in the form of content alterations beyond the aesthetics.
An improved save system.
Some may take issue with placing more save points in a game that's already riddled with them, but Final Fantasy VII is a sprawling game with side quests and missions that require an impressive amount of work, especially chocobo breeding. Opening up the save system and allowing quick saves, more frequent saves, and files transferable between PlayStation 4 and PS Vita would be an admirable move, especially considering how many hours one can put into this game. And with extra content for the Gold Saucer included in the remake itself? Forget about it.
More Gold Saucer and More Leisure Activities
Snowboarding as Cloud Strife was a hoot and a half, and so were some of the mini-games available in the gigantic wonderland that was the Gold Saucer. They were a much-needed break from the drama of the rest of the game, and in many instances, the heartbreak. But there simply weren't enough of them. I'd like to see a larger Gold Saucer with quicker, more varied mini-games. In a time where mobile games are dominating the industry (and Square Enix creating several Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts apps) it would make sense to create new bite-sized games to populate the Gold Saucer.
Of course, these are all the wishes of a woman who's spent nearly half her life besting enemies in random battles, collecting materia, and chasing the next narrative that could make her feel as alive as Final Fantasy VII did. But they're all quite viable, realistic, and relatively minimal orders considering what the gaming ecosystem is capable of these days.
Regardless of what happens, though, I'll still be thankful that I lived to see the cycle repeat itself. I'll be here to enjoy the same game I did in my childhood once more in stunning HD. And I'm hoping that it'll rekindle something in me that I haven't felt in a long time.