Why will we replay Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII Remake comes out in two weeks and I‘ve been wrestling with this question for a while. It deals with the way we revisit video games, what gets re-released, and what’s perceived as a classic in the medium.

For the most part, I've replayed the game every two-or-so years since my first playthrough. Square Enix has done a pretty good job keeping FFVII playable. It's basically on every modern platform and has never really been out of print. So whenever I feel the urge to play it, there's been next-to-no obstruction stopping me.

But with the remake coming out, I've realized that I'll now be asking if I want to play the original 7, or just play the new hotness. This regular ritual has shifted to what's fundamentally a different game with the same title. I don't do this when revisiting other remakes because they're still the same general experience. Sure, I'll play Panzer Dragoon on Switch because it's easier to set up, but it still generally /counts/ as playing Panzer Dragoon. The same can't be said about VIIR. I'm not sure if the games (or other media) have a parallel to this.

I can't help but feel like my relationship with this game is going to fundamentally change in two weeks.

Assuming 7R is great (I played the demos. It'll be a good time for sure), why will we return to the OG Final Fantasy VII? Is it just to revisit what once was? Will we be playing it to uncover hot takes about the remake sequels? Does that narrowed lens affect the way we appreciate the game?

This sort of splits the topic but I thought about this when playing Crisis Core on PSP. Crisis Core, as you all may know, deals with the events before Final Fantasy VII, and sort of also surrounding them, in a way? Now, when I played Crisis Core the game was new, and I hadn't played FFVII itself since the 90s, when I got to somewhere mid-disc 2 and stopped.

I was surprised, though, how much I remembered, just by playing Crisis Core. In a way it's because the game did a good job leading me to memory, and hinting at the events that had happened in FFVII, but I found myself thinking, "oh, this is related to that thing in FFVII" without having a fresh prior memory of that thing ever happening.

I thought about this while playing the FFVII demo, realizing that the way it fleshes out or dances around the events of the original might have a similar kind of feeling. And at least for me, playing through (part of) the original a few years after Crisis Core made me appreciate the pace, vibe, and simplicity of it.

And from an economic standpoint, Square Enix wants to keep selling OG FFVII on every platform they can. So it's in their best interest to think about this in something of a Crisis Core manner, and make the remake complementary to the original, not wholly supplant it.

We'll see how it plays out, but that's how I am feeling about it right now! That said, I have never managed to finish FFVII in any form, in any year. I always kind of lose track of it and don't return, at a certain point. but I haven't finished a lot of RPGs for the same reason! Once I realize I'm not that interested in the story, and I'm doing too much grinding, it gets into "well, I'll just come back to this later" territory, and uh... I almost never return.

Nostalgia aside, I'll be interested to eventually play the remake and contrast its changes with what 1997-era Squaresoft aimed for and achieve with the original.

@exodus I can mirror this in one particular way: despite loving FFVI, I've never finished it. I run out of steam every time I get to Kefka's Tower, knowing that's kind of a slog and having already been spoiled on the ending.

As I've never finished FFVII, only knowing it from when my sister played through the game during childhood, it's currently in my library, waiting for some TLC.

Something really fascinating about this remake is that unlike other remakes, which are generally glammed up recreations of the source with a handful of concessions to contemporary design trends, this one will indeed be a fundamentally different game. This is a videogame that‘s been adapted from another videogame, not unlike how a movie is adapted from a book, or a movie adapted from a game, or a game adapted from a movie. While it’s not quite a transmedial adaptation, it is a transgeneric one (as far as gameplay genres go–I‘m sure (hope) it’ll feel more or less similar in terms of narrative genre). The gap between a more or less conventional 90s JRPG and a 2020 ARPG on almost every systems level is pretty wide.

It's a fairly new sort of question. Unlike a videogame adaptation of a noninteractive media source that has to find a place within a game's narrative to locate mechanics and systems, Final Fantasy VIIR will be adapting not just the stuff and characters, world, and story/plot, but game systems like limit breaks and materia and the motorcycle chase are going to be adapted/discarded in deliberate and considered ways. It's wild.

As for why we'll replay FFVII? I just played it again last year, partly because it was time and partly because I thought I might (or might not) play the remake and wanted to remember what it really was. The thing is it _will_ be a fundamentally different game. Will it feel like, say, _True Grit?_ Why watch the John Wayne vehicle when the Coens remade it (or readapted the novel--that's semantics)? Because it will be a fundamentally different text and the experience of watching it will be different!

It'll be interesting to see if FFVIIR, if well received, will supplant the original in the popular imagination long-term. I expect it probably will, since VII is already decried as not having aged well in a lot of spaces. But both games will continue to exist. And I'd imagine if I want to go through that story* again after the remakes, the way I want to play it is going to have a big impact.

*I expect there'll be significant departures in the story. I wonder if it'll be like a Rebuild of Evangelion where the first one hews pretty close to the original, but each installment takes it a bit farther away. They probably won't go that far. (The canon bickering would be tedious, but it could be really interesting!)

I‘ve played through 7 a handful of times (though I’ve only finished it once - I usually burn out at the slog that is the final area), and I‘m a bit torn about this remake. One of the reasons I’m so excited about the Panzer Dragoon Remake is that it‘s genuinely difficult to make it possible for folks to play the original. That is sure not the case with FF7.

This will be a different experience from the original, and while it will doubtless be something cool in its own right, it won’t actually help folks experience the original. I wonder if it will get more folks going back “just to see” or if it will result in people on the fence just sticking with the new version and never bothering…

It‘s cool that they’re transforming it into a new game, and I adored the dialogue in the demo, but i was really unimpressed with the gameplay. To be fair, it‘s right at the start of the game, and it’s not like the original had a ton of combat options right from the go, so I'm reserving judgement until the full thing is out.

No matter what happens with the new version, the original 7 will always have a lot of nostalgia and fond memories for me, and will be such a different thing that I'll be replaying it now and again for years to come.

For me, I‘m not so impressed by the gameplay (or feel) of the original. It’s been so mimicked and aped for so long that it doesn't have any particular freshness to it, and was itself a minor evolution of an established genre style.

For me, what the original does have is a unique vibe, pacing, and general outlook that I suspect will remain unique to it even in the face of this remake. The remake will be by turns darker and sillier, more "adult" and more childish (I mean, Nomura's character designs are all firmly rooted in shibuya 2k3), and ultimately they'll feel quite different.

Canon bickering might happen, but with my crisis core experience I kind of trust square enix to change things around the original rather than from the original - I don't think they'll intentionally make contradictions and will likely try their hardest to avoid them, though the way they flesh out some things may cause Canon disruption.

I feel like they're gonna be distinct experiences, but I can't really be sure... And I'm coming from the place of someone who liked fetching beans for merchants in ffxv but tuned out whenever the main "story" kicked in, whatever that was about, so your experience may vary :3

@jdm0079 I really like the True Grit comparison, because I think it‘ll exist in a similar space. You’ll watch one or the other, but the conversation will be rooted in “which do you prefer.”

Crisis Core, The Compilation of FFVII and 2k3 Square fascinates me, which is probably why I'm so interested in the VII Remake. Square's had several attempts at expanding the world and mythology of VII, to varying success. None of these have really stained VII for me. I might turn on Advent Children after finishing a playthrough, but it's played for a laugh more than an experience I genuinely enjoy.

When the project got announced, I'd talk about how this is sort of like adapting Shakespeare. As Brandon said, the canon of FFVII is almost treated biblically. The story is so important, that fans complained about the FFVII anime OVA. So Square knows that they can't make drastic changes (although the trailers have shown a number of "new" things to expand the script several times over).