Despite a lack of immediate first-party offerings this holiday season for the PS4, Sony arguable stole the show at E3 2015 thanks to the announcement of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Fans have been clamoring for a remake of the beloved JRPG for years, ever since Square Enix teased everyone with a gorgeous Final Fantasy 7 PS3 tech demo a decade ago, and the unparalleled excitement for the game when it was finally announced saw Square Enix’s stock rise to its highest point since 2008.
Considering how long fans have been waiting for a Final Fantasy 7 Remake, expectations are extraordinarily high, and Square Enix is going to be closely scrutinized as development on the project continues. Fans just want to see the game succeed, and so every little detail leading up to release will be analyzed to death.
One of the biggest concerns fans seem to have at this early stage revolves around the combat system, and whether it should evolve beyond the turn-based system of the original game. Tetsuya Nomura, the director of the game, suggested that there will be dramatic changes to the combat system, but it’s unclear what exactly he means at this point. Would it be best for Square Enix to rely on the tried and true turn-based combat, or should they do something bold and introduce completely new battle system?
The Argument for Turn-Based Combat
Besides the planned dramatic changes to the combat system, Square Enix is also apparently planning on making story changes to the game. However, if the developer makes too many changes then the game could feel too different from the original, which has potential to upset veteran Final Fantasy 7 players. It seems like the safest bet to keep the die-hard fans happy would be to stick to a turn-based battle system, not necessarily exactly the same as was in the original game, but one familiar enough to appease longtime fans.
Some may argue that it’s somewhat pointless to remake a game and copy every element from the original, except with updated graphics, and that’s true. However, Square Enix can make the game feel different in other ways without having to ditch the turn-based combat. While they have already said there will be no new characters in the game, they could offer new areas for players to explore or have multiple story paths to encourage replayability and give returning fans a few surprises.
The Argument for a New Battle System
Final Fantasy 7 Remake director Tetsuya Nomura definitely seems to prefer battle systems that focus on action, and therefore he would likely be more comfortable developing Final Fantasy 7 Remake as an action JRPG in the vein of Kingdom Hearts. This style has worked out for him in the past, and it could help to make the battles in the game feel more engaging, and look similar to the impressive fights in the FF7 sequel film, Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children.
Furthermore, if players want combat that is exactly like the original, then they can play the original. In fact, an enhanced version of the original Final Fantasy 7 is being ported to PS4 very soon, and is currently available on PC. Since fans have easy access to the original, it may behoove Square Enix to experiment a bit with the Final Fantasy 7 Remake combat system, perhaps to draw in gamers that may otherwise not bother with a JRPG like Final Fantasy 7.
For our part, the smartest route for Square Enix to take with Final Fantasy 7 Remake would be to feature an updated version of the turn-based combat that helped make the original game such a classic. The game’s primary audience will be returning players that have fond memories of the original game, and while they may welcome other changes, changing such a fundamental part of Final Fantasy 7 may not be worth the potential fan backlash. Unless Tetsuya Nomura and his team can dream up something extraordinary for the battle system in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, it’s probably best for Square Enix to use a version of turn-based combat in Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
Regardless, though, Square Enix has a really tough road ahead of them when it comes to Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Since it is a remake of one of the most adored video games of all time, the project has extra pressure to deliver. Some fans will want to see an updated version of the classic turn-based battle system from the original PlayStation classic, whereas others may want the game to forge a new path, whether that’s through an action JRPG like Kingdom Hearts or something else entirely. Hopefully the new details promised for later this year will shed more light on the combat system, new story elements, and any other changes coming to Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
In the meantime, which type of battle system would you like to see in Final Fantasy 7 Remake? Should the game use the turn-based combat that returning fans remember fondly, or should Square Enix implement something completely new? What other changes would you like to see in the game, and what do you want to stay the same?
Final Fantasy 7 Remake does not yet have a release date.