Final Fantasy VII Remake Could Be a Financial Disaster

Square Enix might not have a lucrative Remake on their hands...quite the opposite, in fact.

Square Enix might not have a lucrative Remake on their hands…quite the opposite, in fact.

For years, fans of the iconic role-playing game Final Fantasy VII have begged Square Enix for a remake. Now, over 18 years after the legendary title first launched, the dream has become a reality.

Unfortunately, according to many ardent series followers, that reality is rapidly becoming a nightmare. After we got a peek at some gameplay during the recent PlayStation Experience event, a firestorm of discussion and debate erupted in the gaming community, and one could accurately characterize the clash as “old-school vs. new-school.” There are those who wish Square Enix would’ve retained the turn-based combat (which some argue is the soul of the game), while others say such a mechanic is outdated and inferior.

Will long-time fans pay a ton of cash for gameplay they don't recognize?

Will long-time fans pay a ton of cash for gameplay they don’t recognize?

As a quick side note, I will say both sides are partially correct. On the one hand, it’s absurd to think the developers would stick with turn-based. This is a complete remake, a new game for all intents and purposes, and a new generation of gamers will not respond to turn-based. That just won’t happen. One could argue that only those who love FFVII will buy the Remake but Square Enix obviously wants to attract a younger audience with this effort, and there are no big-budget turn-based productions anymore. It just doesn’t work in this marketplace; anybody under the age of 20 finds it laughable.

At the same time, while it’s true that turn-based existed because we simply didn’t have the technology we have now, it’s incorrect to claim the mechanic is inherently inferior. It’s just different. It put strategy and planning at the forefront, as opposed to flashy special effects and twitch reflexes. Furthermore, in my estimation, it offered a wealth of variety that we simply don’t see with real-time systems today. From the Judgment Ring in Shadow Hearts to the many different styles we saw in Final Fantasy as it progressed through the hybrid system of FFXII, those who know the history of JRPGs know the huge amount of diversity found within turn-based mechanics. It’s not inferior. It’s merely different.

That being said, it does appear that despite modernizing the game (which is indeed a necessity), Square Enix is cruisin’ for a bruisin’. The idea of an episodic-like roll-out isn’t going over well with some people and if the rumors prove true – if the company actually attempts to charge $60 for each segment – that could spell absolute disaster. Even if the segments are “only” $30 or $40 apiece, that’s basically unheard of in the realm of episodic games. Perhaps the company believes that the fiercely loyal and admittedly gigantic fan base will respond and pay whatever is necessary, but given the reaction of that fan base, that could be a terrible assumption.

For my part, FFVII is my favorite RPG of all time. Now, if this Remake actually seemed like FFVII to me, I would pay a lot to experience it. If it had the option of turn-based combat, or if it at least boasted an updated role-playing system that was RPG first and action second (like Dragon Age, for instance), and if it wasn’t broken up into pieces, yeah, I’d be pretty excited. But it doesn’t look like we’re getting this, and that’s where Square Enix might go horribly wrong: The die-hard fans would shell out big time but not for a game they don’t recognize. And if you think younger gamers, who constantly whine about pricing in this industry, are going to pay a lot for a remake of a game they’ve never played, you’re out of your mind.

Toss in the fact that Square Enix is investing a ton of resources (time, money, manpower) in this project, and the amount of money they’d probably have to make in order to turn a profit, and their misread of the fan base (they’ve been misreading us for a decade and more)…well, the result could severely hurt the company’s bottom line. One of my colleagues said before that if you love FFVII, you’ll hate the remake and I’m afraid that for many, truer words have never been spoken.

5 thoughts on “Final Fantasy VII Remake Could Be a Financial Disaster”

They’ve bungled so many things over the years, I have no idea why anyone is surprised. Square Enix sux. Done.

I agree but I’m not ready to write off the Remake just yet. We don’t know enough.

If each segment is like 20-30 hours long, it’d be well worth it to me to pay a premium, especially if the gameplay is what I want. I can’t really tell from what we saw in that trailer; I’m not sure anyone can.

They’d have to add a LOT to make each part 20-30 hours. Hell, you can finish the entire original game in that amount of time.

Personally, I’m worried. I’m a huge fan of FFVII and I’m not sure this is going to retain the spirit of that greatness.

I can tell a lot from what I saw in that trailer. It’s not FFVII, period.

There’s no question they’re going to lose money on this title. They are consistently plowing the Final Fantasy name into the ground. Either change the title so as not to completely alienate your original fan base (which, at this point, it’s too late anyway) or stay true to your roots.

Leave a Reply