Expanding the universe of ‘Final Fantasy VII’

Danial Norjidi

Critically acclaimed and award-winning title Final Fantasy VII Remake was one of the biggest games of 2020.

Released by Square Enix on the PlayStation 4 (PS4) on April 10, 2020, Remake is the re-imagining of the classic 1997 role-playing game from the first PlayStation console, Final Fantasy VII.

As is described on the official game page, “The world is under the control of Shinra, a corporation controlling the planet’s life force as mako energy.

“In the city of Midgar, Cloud Strife, former member of Shinra’s elite SOLDIER unit now turned mercenary lends his aid to the Avalanche resistance group, unaware of the epic consequences that await him.”

Remake was in the spotlight once again during Sony Interactive Entertainment’s State of Play digital showcase on February 25, where it was announced that the game will be making its way to the PlayStation 5 (PS5) on June 10 this year with an enhanced and expanded version called Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade.

A scene from Final Fantasy VII Remake. PHOTO: GAMER ESCAPE

According to Square Enix, Intergrade “takes advantage of the latest generation hardware and includes a wealth of graphical, gameplay and system enhancements for the PS5”.

This includes improved textures, lighting and backgrounds environments. Players will be able to switch between two game modes, namely: ‘Graphics Mode’, which prioritises 4K high-resolution graphics; and ‘Performance Mode’ to prioritise smooth action at 60 frames per second. A fully customisable ‘Photo Mode’ has also been added, through which players can capture and share memorable moments from the game.

Square Enix has also shared that players will get to “enjoy immersive battles by using the DualSense wireless controller, with its haptic feedback integration, and enjoy dynamic bike racing with its adaptive triggers”. New difficulty settings for ‘Classic Mode’ have also been added to provide new ways to play, while the game will also have optimised load times.

“As a thank you to those who have purchased Final Fantasy VII Remake for the PS4 console, Square Enix are providing these players a free PS5 enhancement update that will include all next-gen visual and gameplay enhancements detailed above at no extra cost when playing on a PS5 console.”

It was further explained that players who already own Final Fantasy VII Remake for the PS4 (physical or digital version) and own a PS5 can download the free PS5 enhancement update for the game. It also notes, however, that PS4 version of Remake that was made available to PlayStation Plus members is not eligible for the PS5 digital version upgrade.

Another significant announcement is that Intergrade includes a brand-new episode featuring ninja Yuffie Kisaragie as the main character. This new adventure sees you play as Yuffie as she infiltrates the shadowy Shinra Corporation to steal a powerful materia and restore glory to her homeland. “Play alongside new characters and enjoy an expanded gameplay experience featuring multiple new combat and gameplay additions, bringing a new perspective to the Final Fantasy VII Remake story.

It was shared that players who purchased Final Fantasy VII Remake on PS4 and upgrade to PS5 can purchase the new episode featuring Yuffie as a standalone download from the PlayStation Store. Owners of the disc version of Remake on PS4 will require a PS5 console with disc drive to take advantage of this digital upgrade.

Additionally, Square Enix has announced two new mobile games that are set in the world of Final Fantasy VII.

One of these mobile titles is Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier, a battle royale action game set in Midgar 30 years before the events of Final Fantasy VII. According to the game’s teaser trailer, “To supplement their military prowess, Shinra forms SOLDIER – an experimental corps of enhanced fighters. Join the fray, lay waste to your foes, and climb the ranks”. As a SOLDIER candidate, the player will make full use of magic and abilities in a battle for their survival.

The second mobile game announced is Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis, which Square Enix describes as “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, penned by Final Fantasy VII Remake story and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima, surrounding the origins of SOLDIER”.

Final Fantasy VII The First Soldier is slated for release in 2021, while Final Fantasy VII Ever Crisis, is expected to release in 2022. The games will be available as free downloads with in-app purchases for iOS and Android devices.