Fans have been demanding a remake of the iconic Final Fantasy VII since the days of the PlayStation 2, but nothing official ever came together until 2015, when game publisher Square Enix and the original creative team announced the Final Fantasy VII Remake for Playstation 4.
The first footage of the game was released in 2017; a full teaser followed in 2019. And today, Square Enix has revealed the full opening cinematic, which gives us an immersive idea of what we can expect from this next-gen take on a beloved classic.
For comparison’s sake, you can see the new opening and the old one play out side-by-side here.
Watching them together reveals just how faithful the new version is to the original; it’s a bit longer and features slicker camera work, more worldbuilding, and a few extra character moments, but for the most part, this is very much the FFVII we’ve known and loved for more than two decades.
Things I noticed:
- The area surrounding Midgar isn’t lush anymore, it’s a drained, barren, and topographically perilous desert, more in keeping with the environmental consequences of the city’s massive Mako Reactors.
- There don’t even seem to be any roads leading out of Midgar, which is an ominous touch.
- Class divisions are conveyed in nearly every detail. Workers use first-gen cars, live in rundown pre-war (or in this case, pre-Shinra?) buildings, and are clustered in neighborhoods closer to the ground. Late 20th century architecture conveys white collar workplaces and neighborhoods, and the elite get futuristic chrome towers that soar above it all.
- Aerith’s connection to the Lifestream is much more vividly communicated. It’s not just that she’s a flower girl, she’s probably one of the few people who can even get flowers to grow in Midgar.
In the 22 years and counting since it was first released in the U. S. for the original PlayStation—Final Fantasy VII has sparked a pop culture boom for a genre that had theretofore been the domain of die-hard gamers in the States—it has been ported over to PCs, handhelds, phones, and streaming services, and sequel-ized and prequel-ized into an animated movie and various short films and mobile games. Its characters have become iconic; its most dramatic moments, memed into the ground. But it appears this story and these characters will never truly go away.
And really, we wouldn’t have it any other way. (Cloud = Still dramatic.) Final Fantasy VII: Remake will be released in installments, the first of which arrives April 10.
Joel Cunningham was the founding editor of the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog (RIP), where he got to explore the galaxy for 5 years and picked up a Hugo Award (well, tangentially) along the way. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children, despite the fact that this is a thing no sane person would choose to do. He tweets @joelevard.