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Returning to Midgar 23 Years Later

Final Fantasy VII Remake’s debut is momentous for gamers everywhere

Alex Anyfantis
Mar 7 · 7 min read
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Midgar memories

The way players experience games can be influenced, at least in part, by the time and place they first played it. Final Fantasy VII debuted on the PlayStation in 1997 — a time when most conversation about the game occurred in person among friends. At the time of its release, it’s fair to say that among PlayStation owners, there were those who owned Final Fantasy VII and…those who coveted it. The launch was accompanied by a then-unprecedented global marketing effort that emphasised the then-revolutionary approach to full-motion video as well as its enormous scale (it took up three CD-ROMs!) A game of this scale — and filled with secrets (and plenty of conspiracy theories) — became a natural focal point for gamers’ conversations. Friendships formed, bonds were forged, and players found something to share with one another for many years beyond launch.

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Lucky seven

As a fan of Final Fantasy VII, you may think me biased when I speak of the ideal recipe. But there’s ample evidence — accumulated over many years — that fans did generally regard Final Fantasy VII as a standout title in the famous franchise. To a large degree, this became evident with the birth (well after the game’s launch) of online community forums and comment sections; whenever a new Final Fantasy product (any kind of product) was mentioned or discussed, there were always at least a couple of people chiming in with comments like “…they will never reach the levels of success they had with VII,” or “after VII, it all went downhill,” or “why don’t they just remake VII instead of releasing all of this?”

VII adjacent

Rather than remake the original game, Square Enix took a different path. They decided to dramatically expand the Final Fantasy VII experience by telling various stories from the game’s narrative universe. These stories were presented under the broad banner known as Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, a series of games, movies, and other forms of media that Square Enix regarded as a ‘thank you’ to longtime fans (and a nice way to cash in on all that pent up fan fervour, no doubt — Ed).

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Building a dream

E3 2015 was the moment of truth: Final Fantasy VII Remake was officially announced to the world. I know it’s a cliché, but this was a moment that broke the internet. Thousands of fans the world over cheered, yelled, and cried, as the three very familiar notes echoed gently in their ears. They held their faces in disbelief as Barret’s gun arm — and an equally-familiar figure with his trademark Buster Sword — emerged on their screens. Even then, they wouldn’t allow themselves to believe the tantalising possibility — at least, not until they saw the confirmation on their screen. This was, indeed, a full-on remake.

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Love of the game

It may have been a long wait, but eventually this team made up of veteran developers and veteran fans would be able to show the fruits of their labor. As every new trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake dropped, it became clearer and clearer that this project is not only ambitious on its own terms, but that it’s the kind of love letter to the original that longtime fans have been looking for all these years. It’s plainly obvious that the people on the remake’s development team were there with us, back in 1997, when we so excitedly took up the battle to save the planet from some of the most iconic video game villains of all time.

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SUPERJUMP

Celebrating video games and their creators

Alex Anyfantis

Written by

Media graduate, former co-host of the “All About A-League” TV show, interests (and die-hard passions) include gaming and sports (mainly football).

SUPERJUMP

SUPERJUMP

Celebrating video games and their creators

Alex Anyfantis

Written by

Media graduate, former co-host of the “All About A-League” TV show, interests (and die-hard passions) include gaming and sports (mainly football).

SUPERJUMP

SUPERJUMP

Celebrating video games and their creators

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