Air Buster!

Naoki Hamaguchi shows a new image of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and what appears to be the Air Buster boss you fight early in the game More »

Uematsu is Back!

Legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu is confirmed to be working on the upcoming remake More »

A New Look for Cloud

One of the attendees described Cloud\'s new look for the Final Fantasy VII Remake as a more natural one More »

Final Fantasy VII Special Exhibition: “The Words Aerith Left Behind”

Fans walk through the Sector 5 Church for the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Exhibition More »

Bringing Final Fantasy VII Remake In-house

CyberConnect2 will no longer be involved with the development More »

 

Air Buster in Remake

We’re still waiting to see more of Final Fantasy VII Remake ever since Square Enix said that they’ve revamped some of the designs, but we got a glimpse at a new screenshot from the job recruitment page for Business Division 1.

Development Leader Naoki Hamaguchi

The above image featuring development leader Naoki Hamaguchi shows a new image of Final Fantasy VII Remake, and what appears to be the Air Buster boss you fight early in the game.

Here’s a closer look:

Airbuster Closeup

 

Source: Siliconera

Confirmed: Nobuo Uematsu Returns to Compose Music

Nobuo Uematsu

Nobuo Uematsu

Final Fantasy VII Remake producer Yoshinori Kitase confirmed in a recent interview that legendary composer Nobuo Uematsu is in fact working on the upcoming remake.

 

Here’s what Kitase says in the above snippet:

Yoshinori Kitase, Producer: “I’ve worked on numerous titles with Uematsu-san, and while I’m currently working on the production of Final Fantasy VII Remake, it’s actually been since Final Fantasy X that I directly worked with Uematsu-san. So when I first went to ask Uematsu-san to come work on the music for the remake, I thought he would give me the cold shoulder since he had already left Square Enix and found success.”

Uematsu previously said back in 2015 that he was not working on the remake so either this has changed or Uematsu was being tight lipped like Square Enix is generally is.

It’s currently unknown how involved he is, but in the past he supervised the soundtracks in the remakes of Final Fantasy II, Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV along with the HD remaster of Final Fantasy X so it would seem the most likely. The song used for the latest trailer at PSX 2015 was composed by Uematsu’s Distant World team.

It’s also possible he might compose the theme song, something he has also done previously in the remakes of Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy IV along with the original Final Fantasy XII.

Source: Siliconera & Final Fantasy Union

 

Only a Few Members from Original Staff for Remake

Square Enix is currently recruiting planners and other members to help develop Final Fantasy VII Remake, and according to Art Director & VFX Director Shintaro Takai, it only has a few original staff. Here’s a part from his interview with CGWorld, where he shared a bit on the current team as well as the original staff behind the classic RPG.

CGWorld: About how many people are there working on Final Fantasy VII Remake that previously participated in the development of Final Fantasy VII, such as yourself, Takai-san?
Shintaro Takai, Art Director & VFX Director: There are only a very few. Starting with producer Yoshinori Kitase-san, director Tetsuya Nomura-san, and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima-san, there’s only very few of us. Most of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s developers are those with experience on the Final Fantasy series after Final Fantasy VII along with new people who joined. We have a lot of people apply saying “I played Final Fantasy VII when I was a child and I really liked it so I want to be a part of it.” It seems like Final Fantasy VII is a bit of a special title even among game developers.

About how many people worked on effects production for Final Fantasy VII?
Takai: About 5 to 6 designers. Add about 5 to 6 programmers to that, and it was a pretty high-scale team for it. The others and I were new to making games with 3DCG, so we went through a considerable amount of trial-and-error while working on it. After all, it was full of people who came from a world of 2D pixel-art, and there were many cases of people using Photoshop for the very first time, let alone 3DCG tools.

The addition of a Z-axis (depth) definitely left an impact to a world that only had the X-axis and Y-axis. The amount of information for a game suddenly increased and it left a big impression to many players.
Takai: The impact was huge as a developer. We all struggled together saying “What’s a Z-axis?” [laughs]. I, too, struggled to make a texture on Photoshop, and it was actually Hironobu Sakaguchi who passed by and said “You can do it like this,” and showed me how to use filters. He said “I often use this for processing photographs of my kids” as he walked away. Sakaguchi-san might not remember that, but it was a deeply impressive moment for me.

Now that sounds like an impactful and unexpected experience in its own right [laughs].
Takai: Even when I look back now, I still feel that Final Fantasy VII’s development had some amazing people. At the time I was pretty much a private rank of the effects team so I didn’t get to see its development as a whole, but the feeling of “I’ll make something amazing with the parts that have been entrusted to me” was certainly there. I was in charge of most of the Summoned Beast effects, but even when I look back confidently thinking “I made some great effects,” when I look at it together with the other parts it shows just how much great work all the teams put into it. “This title is going to be huge” was something I felt even back then.

Final Fantasy VII’s Summoned Beast scenes were very elaborate for those days. Especially Knights of the Round with its high attack power, its splendidly long scene was really amazing [laughs].
Takai: That one was long, in hindsight [laughs]. I think every team from modeling, animation, and effects put in some incredible work, to the point that it may have been a little too much.

*Knights of the Round is Final Fantasy VII’s most powerful summon that brings out 13 knights who perform individual moves, taking up close to a minute and 40 seconds for the whole scene.

Source: Siliconera

The Goal: Surpassing the Original

Square Enix recently put up a new job listing to recruit battle planners and level planners for Final Fantasy VII Remake, which they’re working on with the mindset of surpassing the original title.

Here are the two positions and what they require:

Battle Planner

  • Battle system planning and specifications that combines command and action elements.
  • Brainstorm ideas for enemies and bosses.
  • Construct an environment that includes setting parameters that fits player growth.

Level Planner

  • Workflow construction for location production.
  • Brainstorming level designs for each location.
  • Implementation of data using Unreal Engine 4.

Square Enix shared more details about the recruitment:

It’s been 20 years since the release of Final Fantasy VII in 1997, and since then it has shipped out over 11 million units and digital sales around the world, and it is widely considered a masterpiece title of the series that is loved by fans around the world.

With the announcement of a remake of said Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix says that because of its massive reaction, they’ve made it their goal for making a “new creation” and not just a simple remake.

The remake is being produced internally, and after 20 years since the original work, there are many top-ranking staff in the industry today who worked on Final Fantasy VII, and they’re gathering together for the project which has begun its full-scale production to become a “title that surpasses the original work.”

Together with top creators, those who are recruited will take on the challenge that is more difficult than simply creating a new title. And of course with this, the creators will grow and work on something that will impact the world.

While staying true to the existing concepts that fans hold dearly, they’ll create a new world as part of a project that can only be done at Square Enix, and it is waiting for you.

Final Fantasy VII was a big hit that changed the gaming scene around the world when it launched, it will be reborn as Final Fantasy VII Remake after 20 years since its release, and it’s a project that is being followed both inside and outside the industry. Square Enix’s goal is to “make a game with quality that surpasses the original,” and in order to do so, they’re recruiting to add to the company’s internal development staff.

Source: Siliconera

New Job Listed for Final Fantasy VII Remake

Square Enix recently put up a new job listing seeking level planners for Final Fantasy VII Remake. The recruitment message has info on its requirements and a progress update on the game’s development.

Here are the highlights for the job listing from Square Enix:

  • A major project of fully remaking Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation 4.
  • Can work in the best development environment!
  • Gain experience in a flat organization, use your talents to your heart’s content.
  • Recruiting core members for the project!
  • Work on a big title for a chance to help your career!
  • Enjoy flexibility with discretionary work system and good benefits.

As the level planner, you’ll organize the workflow of location development, brainstorm level designs for each location, and implement data using Unreal Engine 4.

 

Square Enix shared the current state of progress for the project:

While Final Fantasy VII Remake’s programs for  general functions and contents are being tested within the development team as required, the part about reproducing the original work in high-quality graphics is reaching a satisfactory standard, and we’ve come to the conclusion that in order to meet fan expectations we must increase its quality another step higher.

Therefore, in addition to the current members for the Final Fantasy VII Remake development, we must establish a core group that includes level planners, battle planners, designers, engineers, and various types of jobs to tackle on the production of the big title.

We expect those of you who apply for this position to become an active core member.

Square Enix is seeking those with game planning experience for console games, specifically those with experience in level design. The required skills need experience in level design and HD game development, with a big plus for those with experience in game development on Unreal Engine 4.

The company states that this job recruitment is by no means a request for a pinch hitter (a last-minute replacement) for dealing with work volume. They are currently in the thought process of creating a world of Final Fantasy VII that is being resurrected for the modern times. Square Enix hopes to add members that can work on various levels within the game and come up with ideas for what they’d like to do with the charming characters.

Lastly, Square Enix mentions that those who aren’t familiar with Final Fantasy VII are welcomed. Since it’s been over 20 years since the release of the original title, it isn’t strange to see developers today, including current employees at Square Enix, who know of characters such as Cloud and Sephiroth but never played Final Fantasy VII. That said, they hope the new recruits have an interest in the theme and can help create the game with fresh new ideas.

We learned during a Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary event last month that there have been some design changes for Cloud and other characters we’ve seen in past trailers, so it seems like Square Enix has been pretty busy shaping up Final Fantasy VII Remake the past few months. Unfortunately, they said that it’ll be a while until we get to see the new screenshots that were showcased during the event, so we might have to wait until E3 to see the progress for ourselves.

Source: Siliconera

New Design for Cloud?

Cloud Strife from E3 2015 TrailerThose who attended the Final Fantasy series’ 30th Anniversary Exhibition got a first look at new screenshots for Final Fantasy VII Remake along with a surprise appearance from director Tetsuya Nomura.

 

While there aren’t any images for us to look at, as the screenshots were shown exclusively for those who attended the event, fans were able to share some details from the talk event along with what they saw from the screenshots.

According to some of the fans in attendance, there’s been a change in Cloud’s design. According to development leader Naoki Hamaguchi, this new design was said to have finally got the go-ahead from director Tetsuya Nomura. While it’s been a struggle for the team, the hard work appears to have paid off as Tetsuya Nomura went as far as acknowledging it as “the closest one to the original [Cloud design] up until now.]

A fan attendance described Cloud’s new design as a more natural look. Nomura and Hamaguchi mentioned that “while Cloud may look this way, he was a dork. I believe those of you who played the original would understand what I mean by saying he’s a dorky character.” That said, we’ll see more of the youthful side of Cloud rather than the always-serious one we’ve seen more outside of the original game.

The four screenshots also showed other members of AVALANCHE, and one fan described Biggs as “super handsome,” Wege as “refreshingly chubby,” and Jessie as “cute!”

Unfortunately for the rest of us, since the images were shown only behind closed doors, those who attended mentioned that Square Enix won’t be sharing the screenshots to the public for a while.

Source: Siliconera

Final Fantasy VII Remake is Looking Pretty Hot in New Images

Development of the Final Fantasy VII Remake is going well, but aside from some concept art and blurry images, we haven’t really seen much of how the game will look.

Well, there’s now some much clearer images of the Final Fantasy VII Remake to gawp at! Courtesy of the Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Exhibition, we get a much closer look at some of the backgrounds in the game and the characters. It is being held at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo, Japan. And it will be available from January 22 to February 28, 2018.

Sector 1 Reactor and Aerith's Home Midgar and Concept Artwork of Jessie, Biggs, & Wedge Train Graveyard and Shinra HQ Aerith's Church and Sector 6 Slums

 
Titled: Final Fantasy VII Special Exhibition: “The Words Aerith Left Behind”

In this special exhibit, you will be able to walk around the iconic church from Midgar while listening to a monologue of Aerith’s memories specially recorded for this exhibition. Aerith will be voiced by Maaya Sakamoto which basically confirms she’s reprising her role in Final Fantasy VII Remake. The monologue is written by the remake’s scenario writer, Kazushige Nojima.

Aerith in Sector 5 Church

Aerith in Sector 5 Church

The Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming exclusively to PlayStation 4, although a release date has yet to be revealed. As a remake of the 1997 classic, the action role-playing game follows Cloud Strife and eco-terrorist group Avalanche as they battle against the corrupt Shinra corporation.

Source: Playstation Universe & Final Fantasy Union

Hajime Tabata Wants To Make Final Fantasy VII-2

Cloud Exploring in Midgar for Final Fantasy VII RemakeFinal Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata isn’t working on Final Fantasy VII Remake, but he was asked in a recent interview with Game Revolution at TGS 2017 if he’d take over the project if Square Enix were to offer the opportunity.

Here’s a snippet from the interview:

GameRevolution: Would you take over the Final Fantasy VII Remake if [Square Enix] offered that one to you?

Tabata: No.

GR: No, you wouldn’t!?

Tabata: No I wouldn’t.

GR: Can I ask why?

Tabata: It’s something I couldn’t make, myself. That’s about it.

GR: Would that be a lot of pressure?

Tabata: Final Fantasy VII is a special game.

GR: It’s the big one.

Tabata: It’s such a special numbered game that I don’t think I can remake that one. There’s so many fans out there, if I were asked to satisfy all those fans, I don’t think that’s something I could do, 100%. If [Square Enix] asked me to make a new Final Fantasy and take it in a new direction, I’d be happy to accept that one, but if they asked me to remake Final Fantasy VII — to release as if it were a modern game, just released today — no, I don’t think that’s something I can do. I think the only people who could do that are Mr. (Yoshinori) Kitase and Mr. (Tetsuya) Nomura.

GR: And you say that even though you did such a good job with Crisis Core?

Tabata: Well that wasn’t VII itself.

GR: A spinoff… a prequel.

Tabata: Yeah, it wasn’t the main game. Now, if they asked me to do Final Fantasy VII-2, that might be different.

GR: Which brings us back to your new project!

*Laughter in the room*

Tabata: We haven’t got that planned!

Source: Siliconera

Recruiting for Internal Development

Square Enix’s Business Division 1 that is in charge of developing Final Fantasy VII Remake posted core staff recruitment messages from Yoshinori Kitase, director Tetsuya Nomura, and development leader Naoki Hamaguchi on the company’s official website.

Yoshinori Kitase

Business Division 1 Executive

Business Division 1 is the section that is responsible for producing Mobius Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy VII Remake. In 1997 we completely changed the gaming scene at the time with the worldwide hit that is Final Fantasy VII. And the remake of said masterpiece is Final Fantasy VII Remake.

For this project, we aim to surpass the original work in terms of quality by increasing the number of staff to strengthen the core company development as we head into the development progress phase.

In addition to myself, we have director Nomura, scenario writer Nojima-san, and more from the original Final Fantasy VII staff lineup that continued working as staff on the production of past Final Fantasy titles, and they are now joining the team one after the other.

How would you like to join us, together, in the Remake of Final Fantasy VII?

We are looking forward to receiving your applications.

Tetsuya Nomura

Final Fantasy VII Remake Director

I believe that many of us developers share the same feeling that Final Fantasy VII is a special title.

Twenty years have gone by and the number of generations that aren’t familiar with Final Fantasy VII is increasing, so we must remake the game using today’s technology and systems in order to make it into a title that can last several more decades.

Reproducing the world of Final Fantasy VII in high-definition requires an extraordinary amount of time and resources, so we’ll need all the help we can get to shorten that.

As those of you concerned with the industry may already know, the number of domestic staff is significantly lower compared to that of foreign high-definition developers. Therefore, in order to further strengthen the development of this title, we must urgently recruit as much staff as possible.

By all means, please join us in delivering the world of Final Fantasy VII, once again.

Naoki Hamaguchi

Business Division 1

Final Fantasy VII Remake Development Leader

With the strong backing from producer Kitase and director Nomura’s thoughts of wanting to make Final Fantasy VII Remake into the best possible product for the fans, it’s been decided that I would step into the role of development leader in order to strengthen staff structure.

From the pursuit of a new Final Fantasy game experience that can only be made through this remaketo the graphical challenges that come from the possibilities of evolving technologies—yes, we have everything that a creator needs to create in this here environment.

I promise you that now is the best time for creators to display experience and abilities, for this title with high expectations from around the world.

The emotions I felt from playing Final Fantasy VII twenty years ago, that’s what I want to revive, as new emotions for the present generation.

I’m very much looking forward to receiving applications from those of you who feel the same way.


After posting a recruitment message for the development of Final Fantasy VII Remake, we were reminded that its development will still take a while, and Square Enix sent the extra reminder in a financial results outline.

According to Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda and Chief Financial Officer Kazuharu Watanabe who presented the company’s Financial Results Briefing Session, we can expect to see the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake and Kingdom Hearts III sometime in the fiscal year of March 2018 and beyond, as shown in the image below:

Square Enix Release Timeline

“This slide shows our release lineup for FY2017/3 as well as for FY2018/3 and beyond. We plan to launch each of these upcoming titles in the next three years or so.”

So unfortunately for those of you looking forward to playing either of those titles by the holiday season this year, you’re kind of out of luck with a window that is set for sometime in the next three years, or 2020 and beyond.

It isn’t rare to see Square Enix work with other developers for work on big titles as we’ve seen in Final Fantasy XV, but it’s been revealed that they’re shifting to an internal development focus for Final Fantasy VII Remake. 

The information comes from a recent two-year anniversary live stream event for Mobius Final Fantasy, where its project leader Naoki Hamaguchi, who was also recently revealed as the project lead for Final Fantasy VII Remake, shared the following comment:

“Information is already out there on the Internet, but it’s been decided that I’ll be in charge of the development side for Final Fantasy VII Remake. As for the process (it’s a sensitive topic), until now we’ve been going forward with the game’s development with help from the outside, but the company has decided to shift to an internal structure for mass production and quality. The reason we’re doing this is to have a stable schedule and to be in control of its quality.

In related news, Square Enix recently stated that it may take up to “three years or so” for the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Source: Recruitment on Siliconera and Internal Development

Battle System and Cloud’s Design

Final Fantasy VII Remake director Tetsuya Nomura shared in an interview in this week’s issue of Dengeki PlayStation that the upcoming game’s battle system won’t be command-based, but an action-based one.

According to Nomura, a previous on-site interview didn’t interpret the information the way he would’ve liked, so he wanted to take this occasion to clear something up.

That’s about the battle system, which won’t be a command-based one, but an action-based one.

Cloud sneaking passed guards in the reactor

The above is a look at a gameplay screenshot that was revealed at MAGIC 2017 last month. It shows Cloud taking cover from fire, but Nomura says while there may be some maps that allows you to take such actions, it won’t be a necessity. This screenshot was mostly to show that it is seamless and there are various actions you’ll get to take according to the areas.

047 bossfight

Again, the Guard Scorpion’s map will have parts that are destructible, and the battle will be a flashy one that consists of numerous attacks that weren’t in the original version. Nomura says that if you look closely, you can even see a bunch of missiles being launched in the Guard Scorpion fight.

As some of you may have noticed, the party menu certainly does indicate “ATB” under the health bars, so it’s safe to assume that it’ll be something quite different from the original version in Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Below is the full interview from Famitsu:

Famitsu: Previously, Hashimoto-san (Shinji Hashimoto) was able to make the trip, but this time Nomura-san, you made your first appearance. This would be your first time going to Monaco, correct?
Nomura: Yes. Due to my busy schedule, I don’t get much free time, and I didn’t get to go site seeing that much, but it’s certainly a beautiful country.

Famitsu: Other than Nomura-san there were many luxurious guests. Were you able to make any interactions?
Nomura: I’m a fan of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, so it made me happy to be able to stand on the same stage as him. I was able to meet him a few days before MAGIC. Actually, a few years ago I got his autograph on colored paper through an acquaintance, and he wrote “I hope we get to work together someday.” And this time we accompanied each other in such a way, so it meant a lot to me.

Famitsu: It looked like you got plenty of coverage from the foreign media.
Nomura: It seemed like a lot of people were asking about the Japanese games industry. We talked about how it seems that lately there isn’t enough personnel in Japan to develop HD titles and how we can sense that foreign titles are starting to take the edge because of that.

Famitsu: I see. So the local fans were very passionate. Nomura-san, you had a standing ovation during the talk event, and your autograph session had a long line.
Nomura: Since I don’t get to visit Europe that often, it feels like all the fans brought in their passion. This time we didn’t have an interpreter who specializes [in video games] so there’s a chance that there were some mistranslations, and even though I didn’t get to talk to the fans that much, there were many that brought all kinds of rare goods to the autograph session, so that made me happy.

Famitsu: Cloud’s designs were created through five stages, and the talk show had some inside story about how there was a mythical sixth stage to it among other talk during the talk event.
Nomura: Since it was a special occasion, I decided to talk about all kinds of things. Cloud’s mythical sixth stage was more on the realistic side, and his sword had more details that made it closer to a Western-style sword. His head and body was a little taller, and his physique was detailed with more muscles, so he was pretty buff [laughs]. Since I was short on time, I had to put together all the content from the talk show at midnight on the night before, and it went from not having any solid content to talk about to getting help with only images from the marketing team who helped working on the slide… preparations weren’t done until the morning, so it was quite the trouble [laughs].

Famitsu: For what it’s worth, it looked like everyone had a good time. Not only did you talk plenty about character designs, but you were able to present new screenshots.
Nomura: Perhaps it’s because I’m known for not talking much, but it was quite a surprise. I really wanted to make everyone happy, and I was able to talk about things that I wasn’t able to before, such as the making of the trailer.

Famitsu: I believe that you were asked by fans about Nomura-san’s secrets of making a trailer.
Nomura: When I work on trailers, I look at it from numerous patterns of feelings. The feelings of those who watch it for the first time, the feeling of the core fans, the feeling of those who are indifferent, with such state of feelings in mind, I watch them over and over. I especially watch it with the feeling of people who are watching it for the very first time. I believe that trailers and games are both parts of the product, so the way I think for them are just about the same.

Famitsu: Let’s talk a bit about Final Fantasy VII Remake. In the screenshot (above) we see Cloud using cover action.
Nomura: In the story, there are situations where you’ll be infiltrating, and you won’t always get to simply walk down the middle of a path. The original version had random encounters so we were able to leave that up to your imagination, but since this time it’s seamless the infiltrating progress will certainly catch some eyes, so it was decided that we needed to show some reality there. You’ll get to take cover in shaded areas until soldiers walk by, or blow up enemies using grenades, those are the kind of uses there will be. And of course, you can just dive in and take them on in battle instead.

Famitsu: Will Barret also get to use cover action?
Nomura: Yes he can. While I can’t say much in detail about this now, gunners will have elements that are characteristic to gunners.

Famitsu: Is that so? We felt some impact from the battle scene where we can see Barret fighting alongside Cloud against the Guard Scorpion.
Nomura: Rather than just settling with a scaffold, the battle will take advantage of its space and the map’s characteristics, where you’ll get to switch between Cloud and Barret in the fight. For example, when there are enemies that are in places that can’t be reached by Cloud’s sword, it’ll be more effective to switch to Barret, so there’s a bit of strategy at play there. The Guard Scorpion also changes its mode during battle, and it’ll also show some behavior that wasn’t in the original version. You might have gotten an idea for that by seeing missiles falling down in the screenshot. It’s shaping up to be a very flashy battle.

Famitsu: That’s right. It looks like now that the battle is changing to action, we’ll get to experience a whole new way of playing that is different from the original version.
Nomura: Maps and objects will be destructible, and there will be other destructible elements, for example, you’ll get to break some parts off like the Guard Scorpion’s legs.

Famitsu: We know that the UI isn’t complete, but we can see that there’s an ATB gauge with three stocks, and what appears to be a skill name with a level called Lv. 1 Fierce-Slash. We’re also curious about the “Materia” indicator…
Nomura: We’ll have to talk about the ATB and skill on another occasion. As for Materia, we can say that it’s something like a skill. It’s different from magic, and you can use it when a Materia that has effects that are usable in battle are set.

Famitsu: We can’t wait to hear more information from updates on Kingdom Hearts III and Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Nomura: This time we’ve prepared new materials to present at MAGIC. Since both titles have promotional plans being planned out, there’s only so much I can say about them now, but we’re enhancing the systems and progress is going smoothly, so please wait a little longer.
Source: Siliconera on Battle System and Cloud’s Design