Square Enix Is the Ultimate Corporate Troll
The Final Fantasy VII Remake [‘Remake’ is officially part of the game’s title FYI] was only announced six months ago, and already it has exceeded all of Lusipurr.com’s most pessimistic predictions. It was announced this week that the game has been broken into multiple episodic releases, no doubt looking to channel the winning formula of Tim Schafer. The game has been broken into several pieces, let that sink in. According to a Kitase/Nomura Famitsu interview this week, it was necessary to break the game into multiple parts because the original release of Final Fantasy VII had too great a volume to be faithfully replicated with today’s technology without making cuts to content, so rather than cutting content the team has decided to break the remake into multiple parts. But not to worry Final Fantasy fans, as the project being broken into multiple parts will allow the team to add much more volume to each part, so that each release will be the size of a full game. Unfortunately however, this added volume will mean that some parts of the original game will have to be cut. One is not even kidding. Square Enix will be cutting content and then filling the holes with Square Enix bloat – the Final Fantasy VII Remake team sound as though they have borrowed liberally from the design philosophy that Peter Jackson employed in making The Hobbit film trilogy.
“If we were to try to fit everything from the original into one remake installment, we would have to cut various parts and create a condensed version of FINAL FANTASY VII. We knew none of you would have wanted that.” ~ Kitase
“For example, you’ll get to explore various parts of Midgar that you weren’t able to in the original version; however, in order to do that, it would need to be pretty dense. Of course, that also means that some parts will be cut from the game, but overall they’re adding much more to it.” ~ Nomura
So Square Enix will be cutting old content and adding new content, which they plan on over-encumbering the project with to such a degree as to make each episodic installment the length of a full game [each episode confirmed for full price BTW] – but beyond any subjective feelings that one might have towards the balance between old and new content, it has to be wondered whether anyone involved with the project ever stopped to ask themselves whether adjusting the game’s balance of content is actually a good thing, even if all of the added content is uniformly excellent. Less is often more. The reason that so many of us fell in love with Final Fantasy VII back in 1997 was due to the breathless pacing of the many strands of its plot. The game never bogged itself down in any one place for too long, and there seemed to be a new substantive event scene around every corner. Square Enix are proposing to take this game structure and bog it down with endless reams of sidequests, ensuring that the game’s events slow to a crawl and its locations overstay their welcome. Literally nobody asked for this shit because it is not a shit worth taking.
[Real Talk]: Modern Square Enix is a company that loves to split their high profile games into multiple releases in order to maximise profits. They did it with Fabula Nova Crystallis, they did it with the Final Fantasy VII Polymorphic Content (TM), They did it with Kingdom Hearts, and they even did it to a lesser degree with Final Fantasy X, Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy: Type-0. Now they are announcing their intention to do exactly the same thing with Final Fantasy VII Remake, splitting it into multiple parts and selling them at full price. So which Square Enix game is the odd one out here? It is Final Fantasy XV, right? Square Enix have already promised that there are not going to be any sequels to that game – why? When Square Enix first announced that Final Fantasy XV would be a stand alone title, many gamers interpreted it as a good faith move on their part in trying to provide a single satisfying experience, yet in the wake of this Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement it is beginning to look like a tacit acknowledgement that they have produced a turd. Why else announce multiple Final Fantasy VII Remake projects a full year [or more] before Final Fantasy XV releases, and then compound it with the release of substantial in-game footage? Square Enix wants the investors to know that Final Fantasy XV is not the future of the company.
It is probably a good thing that the characters of Final Fantasy VII tend to have hair that is short, spikey, or otherwise clumped together, as Square Enix has confirmed this week that Final Fantasy VII Remake will use the Unreal Engine 4, and we all know how Unreal Engine 3 handled hair follicles [which is to say that it did not]. As if Final Fantasy XV was not looking like enough of a developmental dead end, Nomura has decided to forego the custom-built Lumious Engine in favour of off-the-shelf middleware. One has not actually played a game developed on Unreal Engine 4 as of yet, and at this point it is more or less unknown whether the large-scale use of it will result in an entire generation of games looking horribly samey, the way it did with Unreal Engine 3. Square Enix are also using the Unreal Engine 4 middleware to create Kingdom Hearts III and Dragon Quest XI, so it is possible that their experiences with the engine thus far have proved to be very positive. That being said, one cannot help but recall Square Enix’s disastrous experience developing The Last Remnant on Unreal Engine 3.
“We realize how special Final Fantasy VII is to fans, and we place our trust in Unreal Engine 4 technology and tools to help deliver this long-awaited remake, crafted for modern platforms. Working with the team at Epic and having their support throughout this process was invaluable and we’re excited to bring the product of that collaboration to long-time fans and newcomers to the series.”
And so at long last we finally see an end to the era of top-tier Final Fantasy games being made using bespoke game engines. One has no idea how robust the Unreal Engine 4 will ultimately prove to be, but the reason that some development studios have traditionally opted to build their own engines is because middleware has to cater to everyone, which means that it is software that is not designed with a specific purpose in mind. Unreal Engine 3 was an extremely flexible seventh generation game engine, but it could not render character hair to save its life and its suitability for creating RPGs was dubious at best.
More Tragic than Magic
Finally, with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake gameplay footage last weekend came the worst news of all – the game’s battle system has been completely butchered, and it is almost a worst case scenario. One says almost because at the very least it is not Final Fantasy XV. Rather, the battle system is pretty much a direct transplant from Kingdom Hearts, and this is not to say one of the later Kingdom Hearts games where the battle system has been fixed so that players could cycle between magic with L and R and then execute spells with a dedicated button. No, this looks pretty much like a direct transplant from the original Kingdom Hearts title, where players would have to rummage through menus in order to select spells to cast even as the fast paced action gameplay continued around them in earnest. The magic system was so cumbersome and unintuitive as to be effectively useless – everyone who played Kingdom Hearts was presented with a choice; either rely on melee combat or fail miserably, and Final Fantasy VII Remaster looks to be much the same. The only apparent difference between the Final Fantasy VII Remaster and Kingdom Hearts battle systems is that the remaster will have an ATB bar. The ATB bar will not actually determine when players are able to attack, so it will probably just serve as a stamina bar like in the Final Fantasy XIII games. The Kingdom Hearts battle system is extremely barebones so any added complexity is very welcome, but as additional strategy goes a tacked on ATB status bar is extremely marginal.
“It might not be as much of an action title as say Dissidia Final Fantasy on arcade or the Kingdom Hearts series, but it leans more towards there.
There is an ATB gauge, but it won’t be like the original version where you get to attack when the gauge fills up, but an action-based system that can only be done through the Final Fantasy VII Remake.”
Materia was absolutely central to the narrative of Final Fantasy VII, which is why it was only proper that the use of magic was integral to the core gameplay. One of the joys of that game was selecting all the right combinations of materia in order to maximise the attack stat of some characters while maximising the magic stat of others. It was a supremely flexible system where any character could serve any role, and, along with Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy VII can probably be said to have the most malleable and adaptable character progression system of the entire series. Square Enix have taken this strong foundation and thrown it unceremoniously out of the window. Unless Final Fantasy VII Remaster has a mechanic to slow in-game time while players select spells then the game’s entire magic system will be completely useless and largely go unused. Sure, it may still be worth a player’s time to summon an Ifrit or cast a cure, but it will likely be much more intuitive to just wail on enemies with Cloud’s Buster Sword than to exploit an enemy’s elemental weakness with magic. Nomura had one job, and he has fucked it.
Anime Assblast: Garo – Guren no Tsuki
In the Imperial capitol evil has swept the land. Every night when dusk falls dark spirits [called horrors] roam the towns and streets, while the citizens cower in their abodes – lucky for them these lands are under the protection of that gold plated dog-monster from Power Rangers and some faggot with a lute. This is the general gist of the plot as best as one can figure it, though coherent writing is not exactly Garo‘s strong suit – nor is entertainment for that matter. Being a bit shit is Garo – Guren no Tsuki‘s strong suit. As the current anime season marches on, reserves of untapped anime goodness are beginning to dwindle, leaving behind dreck in their wake, and boy is Garo – Guren no Tsuki ever dreck.
This 26 episode run of Garo – Guren no Tsuki follows on from the 24 episode run of Garo – Honō no Kokuin in 2014. Inexplicably there has been two large-scale seasons of anime produced from this horrible slop. Garo began its run on October the ninth, and there is currently ten episodes available on Funimation where it is simulcast. Check out Garo – Guren no Tsuki if you enjoy being bored.