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25 years later, the story of ‘Final Fantasy VII’ goes on

Danial Norjidi

Fans of the Final Fantasy franchise were treated to significant announcements and reveals during the Final Fantasy VII 25th anniversary celebration broadcast, with highlights including the unveiling of the second game in the Final Fantasy VII Remake trilogy, as well as a re-master of a prequel previously released on the PlayStation Portable.

Streamed live around the world on June 16, the broadcast marked 25 years since the highly acclaimed and multiple award-winning role-playing game Final Fantasy VII released on the first PlayStation console back in 1997.

According to publisher Square Enix, “The original title received high praise for its epic storyline, unique characters, and movie sequences that utilised the most cutting-edge technology of the time. Since then, the game has sold over 13.9 million copies worldwide and continues to receive widespread acclaim from critics and fans around the world. The popular game has even expanded into spin-offs, films, and merchandise.”

A re-imagining of the classic title, Final Fantasy VII Remake, was released in April 2020, also to critical acclaim, while an enhanced and expanded version called Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade made its way to PS5 consoles in June last year, before releasing on PC via the Epic Games Store in December.

Intergrade was in the spotlight once again in the celebratory broadcast, which opened with a trailer announcing that the game is now available on the Steam platform with full Steam Deck compatibility.

A scene from the ‘Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’. PHOTOS: SQUARE ENIX
A scene from ‘Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion’

Also announced was some upcoming merchandise, as well as a new “arrangement CD” and “25th Anniversary Playlists” planned for release on August 11.

The focus then shifted to news on mobile games, beginning with a trailer showing content updates for the third season of Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier, a battle royale action game set 30 years before the events of Final Fantasy VII.

Also shown was a new trailer announcing that upcoming mobile role-playing game Final Fantasy Ever Crisis is scheduled for a closed beta test later this year. According to Square Enix, Ever Crisis is “a chapter-structured single player experience which will cover the whole of the Final Fantasy VII timeline, including the events of the original game along with all the Final Fantasy VII compilation titles, as well as new story elements”.

The penultimate trailer to be shown on the broadcast announced that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, a re-master of the PlayStation Portable exclusive from 2007, will be launching this winter on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles, PC and Nintendo Switch.

Square Enix has explained that Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion “is a true remaster that follows the original story of Soldier 1st Class Zack Fair on his mission to find missing Soldier Genesis Rhapsodos, unravelling the stories of Cloud, Sephiroth, Aerith, Tifa and more”.

To close out the presentation, Square Enix revealed Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the second title in the Final Fantasy VII Remake series, alongside the announcement of a launch next winter for PS5.

In a statement, Final Fantasy VII Remake series Creative Director Tetsuya Nomura explained that Rebirth is being designed so that people can enjoy the game whether they know the original or not.

“In fact, new players might even enjoy starting their Final Fantasy VII journey with Final Fantasy VII Rebirth,” he said. “Cloud and his friends embark on a new journey in this game, and I believe that the scenes that they witness after leaving Midgar will give players a fresh, new experience. I can’t wait to share the intention behind naming the first title, Remake, and the second title, Rebirth. In time, I hope to reveal what the third title will be called, and where this journey will ultimately lead.

“The development of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has been progressing rapidly since we adopted a new development structure. A title of this scale in which everything is interconnected even before production began is truly rare. In fact, some development has already begun on the third title. I myself have started on the development and am working towards the completion of the series.

“We will work to deliver this title to fans with the same amount of enthusiasm from now until we reach the finish line,” Nomura added.

Meanwhile, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Director Naoki Hamaguchi said, “The Final Fantasy VII remake project will be a three-part trilogy, but Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is much more than just one installment in the series. We are developing it with all of the passion and dedication needed to create an original game and plan to deliver the ultimate gameplay and world building experience.”