I can't help but draw comparisons between the Final Fantasy 7 remake and Mars One's mission to colonise the red planet by 2027. Two projects with an exciting end goal, and yet apparently unsure how to get there.
In a recent interview with Famitsu, Final Fantasy 7 remake director Tetsuya Nomura said that the visuals are starting to come together, but when it comes to the battle system - a substantial part of the game - it's still a case of trial and error.
"We're starting to see the visual direction. On the other hand, we're currently working out the battle system and such through trial-and-error," he said. "Since there's a possibility that the command battle system of the old days might not work today, we're thinking hard about what kind of direction we can take."
In sum, it all sounds pretty uncertain in the development department - not necessarily a bad thing, but I think we all need to temper our expectations accordingly. This screams of a project that's working backwards from fan service rather than starting from a great new idea.
Yes, I was just as excited by the E3 teaser as the rest of you, but the world of gaming has moved on, and the harsh truth is that bringing Final Fantasy 7 in line with that might not be such a good thing.
Still, I'm not convinced the command system is as redundant as Nomura suggests it might be, though I'm open to the idea of something fresh. In fact, I have a great idea for a Just Dance-style motion control system (Tetsuya, call me).
But joking aside, I'm thinking of this more as a "reimagining" than a "remake" with each passing day, and I think you should too. Choosing to remake such a beloved game means meeting expectations so ridiculously high that the developers just won't be able to please everyone - I think they're starting to realise that now.
The difference between FF7 and Mars One is that the former didn't pledge an overly optimistic launch date; there's no word on when we'll see the new Final Fantasy 7, but I wouldn't expect it any time before 2017, and even that's probably ambitious. "Please don't ask about how far into development we are and such," said Nomura.
I think Square fired too early with the announcement, and now it has the unenviable task of keeping expectations high over the years to come. When it does arrive, we should be prepared to leave nostalgia at the door and treat the new Final Fantasy 7 as an entirely different beast.
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