For twenty years, gamers have been waiting for a remake of Final Fantasy VII. During that time, we've gotten a prequels, a handful of novels, and a couple of sequels (one movie, and one garbage 3rd-person shooter). Most of the multimedia was exponentially more convoluted than their originator, and none of them were things we asked for. But finally, one of Square Enix's main flagship bestsellers is getting its remake.
Admittedly, we don't know much about the game. But there are a few things we do know. Rather than be split up into discs, it will be split up into 'episodes.' How well this will split up the dramatic tension and storyline remains to be seen, however. We also know that the game will do away with its turn-based battles, and take a note from some of the other Action-Adventure-based Final Fantasy games in recent years.
But, what should be cut from this FF7 Remake? Nothing! The original FF7 was nearly the perfect game, right? Wrong! Not only are there many old facets that wouldn't translate well into a modernized version of a completely revamped system; but the original game was chock full of unnecessary complications and poorly executed gameplay. And that excludes the things that were fine at the time, but just didn't age well. Read on for some of the biggest things we hope we don't see in the new FF7. And expect spoilers ahead!
15 Out-Of-Place Silliness
Well, it's possible that players will be in uproar in they don't get to make Cloud cross-dress. Will Square Enix make cuts to it for being offensive, or is there the culture barrier to think of? Don't get me wrong, I chuckled at the odd moments in FF7, like watching Red XIII stuffed into a Shinra uniform and trying to walk on two legs. This light humor allowed it to be all the more horrific when soon afterward Sephiroth slaughters everyone on the ship.
So, contrast is cool for emphasis, and a few laughs don't hurt the game. But considering the infamous slap fight, there has to be a time and place for everything. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that thought it was too soon to have a Cloud flipping around on a snowboard right after Aerith dies. Similar minigame silliness made more sense in FF9, but would have been out of place in FF8. Judging from its aesthetics, FF7's Remake is likely going to be on the serious side, so some of these comical moments won't fit the graphics.
14 The Poor Ending
Despite its marked success, Final Fantasy VII didn't end well. It was one of those games where many players had to find the ending explained to them online. To summarize, the bad guy gets taken down, and the party gets away in an airship. Meteor is still wrecking things, but the planet's life force (probably controlled by Aerith in the Lifestream) is free to defend the world. But players would have preferred to see the events that transpired next. Where would the party go, and who would they reunite with?
What we see afterward is, centuries later, Red XIII runs through the land and looks on over the destroyed Midgar with his cubs. That's nice and all, but it says little about the fate of the party. What we do know is that the team helps citizens evacuate. Shinra was destroyed, but Rufus survived. Cid marries his assistant. Cloud sets up a delivery service, and Tifa takes in orphans. Maybe all of that would have been overkill, but we could have done with anything more than 'glad the planet's not destroyed.'
13 Overdone Personal Angst
This might seem counter to the previous point, but it's really not. A game can be taken seriously and have well-placed laughs at the same time. And, a game can be serious, without excessive melodrama. Vincent sleeps in a damn coffin for decades. It's so angsty that it ends up being comical. And there are too many times in the original where the text is merely ellipses, to be deliberately sobering. That's not very good writing.
Loyal fans recall that with Cloud's rewritten memories, he'd also adopted Zack's personality for the first half of the game. He's supposed to be a cocky hotshot, and even a little flirtatious. Also, recall that from the ages of sixteen to twenty, Cloud was confined in a test tube, so he should be noticeably immature and clueless. Thus, he isn't supposed to be emo Cloud just yet, the way he already seems to be portrayed as, in the trailers for the remake.
12 The Cryptic Text
Yeah, yeah. We get it; there's supposed to be information we don't know. There's supposed to be weird disparities in what seems to be, and what is. But damn the cryptic messages were more confusing than mysterious. Luckily, with the advent of voice actors, the whole 'Cloud hears voices' subplot will be clearer. That and the leaps and bounds in the graphics department will make scenes where Cloud is losing control cool or spooky, rather than just weird.
Because all of the spoilers from the game have already been known for twenty years, perhaps the messages themselves can also be rewritten for a more discerning audience. Every time Cloud's memories flash in and out, perhaps camera angles and soundtrack can put proper emphasis on the disparities. Can't Square Enix pull a Tyler Durden and make it subtle until it all avalanches into place?
11 Unnecessary Climbing Puzzles
When I think of Final Fantasy 7, what I want to remember is the story, the characters, and the battles. What I don't want to remember is all the damn climbing puzzles. Off the top of my head, there's the Wall of Midgar's Plate, the ravines of Corel Valley, the icy mountains of Gaea's Cliff, the Northern Crater... That's simply too much climbing for a game that's not even a platformer.
It wasn't even realistic. Put in a battery to climb onto a propeller, then jump onto a pendulum... It was annoying, certainly, but what was worse was trying to navigate the climbs while also ensuring not to miss any items.
10 The Endless Wandering
It's not just climbing that gets tedious, but the very act of exploring is made dull in Final Fantasy VII. And really, that's supposed to be one of the best parts about a role-playing game! Many of the dungeons are pointlessly made to be labyrinths; natural rock formations are against you in the game! Exploring caves becomes a daunting task, rife with areas that would require save points. Even man-made structures and paths just didn't seem to have had proper planning.
This would be fine on its own; no one likes games that are too easy, with dungeons that are too straightforward, and progression that's too linear (i.e Final Fantasy XIII). And yet, FF7 might overdo this.
9 Weak Character Development
If I were to rate which characters got the most fleshing out throughout the story, it might be Barret, Red XIII, and then Sephiroth (solely during the flashback). In case it wasn't clear, this is not a singing praise; they're development was somewhat shallow. And all of the characters had the potential to be expanded upon and have real character growth, but it was far and in-between, often exclusively within the character's hometown.
Even Cloud barely gets a pass, as the audience role-plays as him; his story is heavily based on him remembering himself and forgiving himself. Cait Sith's story could have had more redemption for his role as a spy, or have him become more endearing and valuable. Cid too, could have had a lot more cathartic moments. But worst of all were the female characters; particularly Tifa. Is anyone else hoping she'll actually have any relevance or depth in the game other than entering Cloud's psyche?
8 Anything And Everything Underwater
I can't be the only one that hated all submarine parts of the game. Allowing for underwater travel was already a huge new world in previous Final Fantasy games, so I felt it needed some kind of improvement to be relevant in FF7. But I despised the corresponding submarine minigame that would go on to appear in the Golden Saucer.
There wasn't any reason why going underwater was out-of-place per se (possibly making more sense in this modern world than in FF1 and FF5). But the areas accessible only underwater felt unnecessary to the plot. Worst of all was the Emerald Weapon super-boss. It boasted the highest health pool of any opponent in the game, and somehow the party is able to hold their breath for a full twenty minutes maximum to fight him — that is, unless you seek out the 'Underwater' Materia.
7 The Long Battle Animations
In FF7, the creators may have wanted to make summons flashier from previous iterations, and allowed for extended animations for these legendary creatures. The problem arose, however, that no matter how powerful these summons were, the player begins to forego using them solely to make battles swifter. Some of the most animations that were most guilty of this were Bahamut ZERO and the Knights of the Round.
This didn't only apply to summons. Although rarer, there were still ability animations that could have been expedited. Hopefully, the remake will allow animations to be skipped or keep them in the background of the gameplay.
6 Optional Characters
My personal opinions on their characters aside, there's no reason to leave Yuffie and Vincent as optional party members anymore. Both of them appear in the various related games or sequels in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Sure they might not be the most useful party members, but canonically both of them really were helping Cloud's party during the events of FF7.
The quests to find Yuffie and Vincent were actually fairly annoying too, so maybe they can be recruited more naturally, and this way they can be better integrated into the story. And the two will finally appear in cutscenes. If this is changed, perhaps it would allow for their circumstances to be expanded upon in-game.
5 Unnecessary Monsters
The encounter rate in Final Fantasy VII is unnecessarily high. And unluckily for the player, the unchanged ATB system was boring and repetitive. Well, these turn-based fights have been taken away, and it's also likely that this will remove the incessant random battles (or at least make it more fluid to run past them). It would get to the point where you would forget where you were going in the middle of a dungeon because of all the battles.
Also, many enemies seemed fantastical and out-of-place considering the themes of the game. Either give the dragons and fairies better reasons for their placements, or only stick to robots, soldiers, and mutants.
4 The Weak Romance Subplot
Cloud's love triangle is pretty well-known, and this is noticeable in his other appearances. But hints at a relationship in FF7 are pretty poor. Cloud does flirt with Aerith, but there aren't many notable scenes that push the two together. As for Tifa, Cloud had a childhood crush on her, but he mostly scorns her for the entirety of the franchise. There is a scene where they hook up, but most of it was cut from the game for being too suggestive.
There are hidden points that build up leading to Cloud going on a date with one party member, which explains why the game doesn't push Cloud in any direction. On the date Tifa chickens out, Aerith is hung up on her ex, Yuffie kisses Cloud on the cheek, and Barret accuses you of being a pedophile. Sigh. Perhaps they may need to either scrap the whole thing entirely, or work on making the circumstances surrounding it a little more romantic.
3 The Excessive Flashbacks
It's quite a surprise when you first leave Midgar and reach the Overworld Map. You're excited to have finished the prologue of the game, but what happens? You immediately sit down in the village of Kalm to watch a long flashback. Sure, there's a lot of story that's revealed in the past, but if the remake includes it too, it's going to be grating to sit through (especially if you've watched these events four times between FF7, Crisis Core: FF7, and the anime rendition in Last Order: FF7).
The battles don't count, the villager conversations don't matter, and the items are irrelevant (including stealing Tifa's Underwear). Replacing this with a droning cinematic or too-much-text would still drastically cut down how much time you're unable to actually advance in the game.
2 Everyone's Hair (Among Other Things)
We can see from screenshots that Cloud's hair has notably tamed from its original Super Saiyan levels. But Tifa and Aerith might still have ridiculously long hair. Perhaps letting your hair go lower than your waist is some outdated sign of feminine beauty in the original, and that's why Yuffie contrasts this so much. But Vincent and Sephiroth are male examples of this, where modernized versions might expect a haircut.
Of course, a lot of this has to do with the cartoony graphics of the game. So, I don't just mean 'give the characters shorter hair,' but reduce all of the other exaggerated features. Like all of Cloud's swords other than his first one have no canonical reason to be oversized, the fact that they are takes away from what's supposed to be the Buster Sword's main quality. Sephiroth's Masamune is still ludicrous as well. Even toned down versions of Tifa's 'assets' still miss the mark from realistic proportions.
1 The Materia System
Now, I know they can't do away with the Materia system completely. Materia was too relevant to the game's plot and the characters' motivations. But outside of the story, looking solely from a gameplay perspective, the Materia system was awkward and boring. Admittedly, it was reasonably innovative twenty years ago, particularly with linking Materia to each other, but otherwise, this is one of those parts of the game that just didn't age well.
In the original game, no one felt unique unless the player had a good idea of how differently they wanted to build their team. Many Materia had stat deficits attached to them. Leveling up Materia was tedious and unrewarding, spawning only an unleveled copy itself. I'm hoping that to match the revamped gameplay, so too will Materia be given an interesting overhaul. This wasn't done spectacularly in Dirge of Cerberus or Crisis Core either (though Materia fusion wasn't so bad), but maybe the fourth time's the charm.