While other strong RPG titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn and NieR: Automata have shifted the spotlight away from the Final Fantasy series in recent months, the shadow of Final Fantasy 7 Remake looms large over the genre. Information regarding the title, which will be a completely rebuilt version of the iconic Final Fantasy 7, has been difficult to obtain, but game director Tetsuya Nomura recently shared some interesting news during an interview with Famitsu:
"Regarding Materia, what I can say is that it's something like a skill. Different from magic, you can use it when you've set a Materia that has an effect that can be used in battle."
While fans got a look at Final Fantasy 7 Remake's first boss battle recently, the game's combat has still gone relatively unexplored since the title was first announced. Nomura's quote, coupled with the fact that Square Enix already has the game engine for Final Fantasy 15 ready to go on PS4, strongly indicates that the development team is heading in a certain direction - with the combat of Final Fantasy 7 Remake closely mirroring that of Noctis and friends.
The fact that Materia is being described as "something like a skill" rather than as magic makes the feature sound much more like the combat within Final Fantasy 15. There, magic was a powerful but simplistic combat element, while active skills, like Warp Strike, played a much more significant role. Materia sounds like it will be much closer to the latter, although it stands to reason that the system will be much more nuanced than Final Fantasy 15's, given the large number of Materia available in the original Final Fantasy 7.
There's certainly evidence to suggest this is the case, even beyond Nomura's quote and Square Enix's Luminous Studio game engine. Nomura recently revealed a screenshot that featured Cloud crouching behind some boxes to hide from enemy line of sight, a feature that has been entirely absent from Final Fantasy - except in Final Fantasy 15, which saw Noctis sneak through enemy bases on several occasions. The Final Fantasy 7 Remake team is clearly taking a lot of cues from Final Fantasy 15, which makes sense given how widely praised that game was.
While it remains to be seen just what the development team has in store for Final Fantasy 7 Remake, there exists a very strong argument to be made that it will be closely related to Final Fantasy 15. That's good news for Final Fantasy fans, although so much of Final Fantasy 7's original charm was found within its deep turn-based combat and block graphics - Nomura and Square will still need to find a way to preserve that feeling if they are going to have another hit on their hands.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is currently in development exclusively for PS4.