Summons, Gold Saucer mini-games, side quests, and more discussed in exclusive Q&A as game's release date confirmed for February 29.
Today’s State of Play included a brand-new look at Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. The trailer surely will delight both long-term FFVII fans as well as players eager to know what happens after the conclusion of Final Fantasy VII Remake, as Cloud and company embark on a journey that takes them to the world outside Midgar. In the trailer we caught glimpses of new party members, sprawling open areas to explore and the reimagining of some iconic moments from the original game.
Rather than leave you speculating, key staff on the game joined us to share not only more insight into the trailer, but also additional gameplay details about the game. That roundtable includes Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Producer Yoshinori Kitase, Creative Director Tetsuya Nomura, Director Naoki Hamaguchi and Music Supervisor Keiji Kawamori.
Can you explain what we’re seeing of the combat system here? Has it remained untouched since Final Fantasy VII Remake or have you altered anything for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?
Hamaguchi: I want to highlight the new synergy moves most from the battle system. This new mechanic allows the player to use synergy commands and abilities freely at any time by using up a gauge charge in a similar manner to Limit Breaks. So through the battles, players will feel the relationships and bonds that have developed between the characters even more so than in the previous game. We’ve also added skill trees as a new element of character growth. You can unlock synergy abilities through the skill trees, too. Many new Materia with new abilities not seen in the first game are available as well, so players will have even more options to customize and build character loadouts to their own taste.
Viewers got a glimpse of Red XIII in combat as part of the new trailer. Players are now able to control him directly, what can they expect in terms of his abilities that makes him distinct (and a great party member) in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s battles?
Hamaguchi: The development team challenged themselves to give Red XIII a new play style that felt different from the other characters. Red XIII doesn’t just have an ATB gauge but also uses his own unique “revenge gauge” mechanic. His revenge gauge charges when he guards against enemy attacks, and he can spend that charge to use various abilities once the gauge is filled. We’ve designed Red XIII as a new type of character that requires the player to strike a balance between offensive strategy using the ATB gauge and defensive strategy using the revenge gauge.
We have seen Red XIII and Cait Sith shown as playable characters and the footage released also shows another character who looks like Vincent, so will he be playable as well? Will the party expand further too?
Nomura: The original party members are all present in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. In the previous title, Final Fantasy VII Remake, Red XIII became an accompanying member in the second half of the game, but he will become an official, playable party member starting from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Similarly, there are characters who are accompanying members in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, that will become official party members in the next title.
And viewers caught a glimpse of Alexander and Odin! Can we expect more returning summons from FFVII for Rebirth and will any summons from Remake return?
Hamaguchi: There will be many other summons in the game, in addition to those that have already been revealed in our previous videos, with some also returning from Final Fantasy VII Remake. In fact, the lineup of summons has actually been fleshed out over and above the previous game, with new, extended side content based on a summon who did not feature in the original Final Fantasy VII and even more besides.
Sneaking into the original Junon saw players partake in another unique minigame. We saw the parade and many other mini-games in the newly revealed trailer, so will the same mini-game from the original Final Fantasy VII still be playable?
Hamaguchi: Yes, the same mini-game will be playable, but we’ve greatly increased its scope compared to what was in the original Final Fantasy VII. In the original, Cloud sneaks into one of the units participating in the parade and joins in on the performance, but in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, he becomes the leader of that unit and can customize the composition of the soldiers participating in the parade. The chosen unit composition will alter the performance and, it goes without saying, that this also affects how the mini-game is played. The parade to celebrate the inauguration of Rufus as the new president of Shinra is the climax of the first half of the original game, so the development team was really enthused about making all the details for it. It’s one of the moments I hope players enjoy the most.
And speaking of mini-games, we got a fun glimpse of Gold Saucer and its own mini-games. How do the FFVII Rebirth versions of these differ from the original’s?
Hamaguchi: I think there are a lot of fans who point to the number and variety of mini games as one of the draws of the original Final Fantasy VII, but for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth we have gone all-out and created a huge number of mini games on a scale that surpasses even the original! Many of these mini games can be experienced in the main story, but we also have lots of unique games and challenges that appear as part of the side stories you can find as you explore the world map. There might well be players who get so caught up in all the fun mini games that they find they aren’t making progress in the main story…
Gold Saucer is another iconic locale that players will be eager to visit. How have you approached redesigning this amusement park?
Hamaguchi: Players will first visit the Gold Saucer in the middle section of the game but are then free to come back to it at any time they like. In order to create that motivation to make them want to come back, we designed the park to provide a changing and ever more wonderful experience with each visit, so new mini games are added, and harder difficulty modes are unlocked as the main story progresses, giving you even more to do there. It is not just the mini games either, and the parts of the Gold Saucer seen in the main story have also been fully remade and upgraded too, so you can expect great things from it.
The trailer also shows moments of the party exploring lush exterior open areas. How do those larger areas work within the context of gameplay and story?
Hamaguchi: Once the team leaves Midgar, Cloud and the team’s major objective Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is to follow and track down Sephiroth across the expansive world they find themselves in. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on exploration-focused game design with this title as we wanted to create that feeling of going on a journey while traveling around the world in pursuit of evidence of Sephiroth’s movements.
Now you’re several years into remaking iconic locations of Final Fantasy VII and with Final Fantasy VII Remake being so successful, do you feel less pressure to match fan expectations when reimagining beloved areas and moments?
Hamaguchi: As Final Fantasy VII Rebirth will take players to various locations across the whole world, we needed to re-create the massive Final Fantasy VII world map that would also incorporate places such as towns and dungeons within itself. To do this, we dug deeply into the feeling of each different region and reflected that in the graphics, creating areas that look and feel quite diverse. On top of that, we designed chocobos unique to each region that have their own abilities (e.g. mountain chocobos that can climb sheer cliffs and sky chocobos that can fly etc.), so players will need to utilize their chocobos to fully explore each area. I hope players have a lot of fun with this aspect of the exploration!
Final Fantasy VII Remake offered new interpretations of classic locations and moments, as well as entirely new ones that enriched the game. Is there a similar balance for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?
Kitase: As with the previous game, we have strived for the right balance between old and new scenes in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, but we also tried to take on more new challenges than we did in Final Fantasy VII Remake with some of the new scenes. I am confident these new scenes will be wildly enjoyable for fans and newcomers alike.
What is the function of the world map in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?
Hamaguchi: The world map is vast and expansive, so not all of the locations on it will be used in the main story alone. In fact, volume wise, the amount of side content in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is nearly double that of the main quest content. Players who want to enjoy Final Fantasy VII setting on an even deeper level can explore all the corners of the world, discovering many different and exciting experiences such as new stories, battles, and mini-games to play. It will also be possible to return to any of the regions in the world even after the main quest moves on from that area, so you don’t have to worry about leaving things behind or unfinished.
Given this is a direct continuation Final Fantasy VII Remake, can players port over their save file and their character builds to continue their journey into Final Fantasy VII VII Rebirth?
Hamaguchi: We have announced that the Final Fantasy VII remake project will be a trilogy and that each entry will be a standalone game in its own right. Because of this, each game’s balancing is done independently and a player’s levels and abilities will not carry over from one game to the next. However, we have created some special bonuses for fans who played the previous game, allowing them to start with a little something extra.
What can you tell us about the soundtrack and music Final Fantasy VII VII Rebirth?
Kawamori: The world Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is much larger Final Fantasy VII Remake. Because of this, the team has created a variety of new music to go alongside that. We’ve also expanded the variety of musical genres this time around, so I think there will be plenty to enjoy. Of course, we also have many re-arrangements of classic tracks from the original Final Fantasy VII, too, so I hope fans will enjoy comparing both iterations of the same song to see what has changed. For example, the music in the newly released trailer is a re-arrangement of Final Fantasy VII main theme as a battle music track and gives you a taste of the direction the team has decided to take in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
What was the concept behind the new trailer?
Nomura: Every trailer has a specific purpose. Since this is the second installment in the Final Fantasy VII VII remake project, there are people who have played the previous game or enthusiastic fans who follow the built-in mysteries, but for newcomers or those who are or simply interested in the Final Fantasy VII series, we wanted to include a full overview of what kind of experience they will have with this remake project. So, there is less of a mysterious pretense to the story this time, but you can look forward to the next trailer.
There was a scene with Cloud and Sephiroth fighting together, but will the player get to control Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth?
Nomura: If you played the original Final Fantasy VII, I’m sure you can guess which scene I’m talking about. You will be able to control Sephiroth in the same scene in this title as you did in the original.
The Gold Saucer appears in the newly released trailer, but will players be able to enjoy the much-anticipated date scene on the Ferris wheel too?
Nomura: Naturally, this is one of the major highlights of Gold Saucer, so it is included in the game. Please look forward to how it will appear in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, with its high-resolution visuals.
Final Fantasy VII Remake showed the story up until the escape from Midgar, but what point does Final Fantasy VII Rebirth take us up to?
Nomura: We have mentioned this a few times before, but the order in which you can explore the locations is not the same as the original Final Fantasy VII, and there are some shifts in the order. For example, Wutai, one of the major locations, is not part of the route in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and will be visited in the next one. Although there are some changes in the order of the locations, the locations depicted in this title extend up to “The Forgotten Capital,” where the greatest fate of Final Fantasy VII awaits you.