Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Graphics May Actually Suck
Well, ‘suck’ may be a bit too strong a word, but it is beginning to sound as though Square Enix have been misrepresent the game’s graphics. When the curtains were finally drawn back on Final Fantasy VII Remake earlier this year it was a carefully managed event. Square Enix released some official footage of the demo which really looked too good to be true, causing one to even ask whether it was even running on PS4 Pro hardware.
More recently Square Enix have been bringing the demo to a lot of smaller events, which evidently seem to be much less stage managed, and things are not sounding quite so rosy. The Final Fantasy hair tech has been fucked for a while now. The Final Fantasy visual identity has always had elaborate hairstyles front and centre in the visual make-up of each game. This was all fine up to and including Final Fantasy XII, which still looks amazing. Starting with Final Fantasy XIII and continuing with Final Fantasy XV Square Enix’s hair tech went fucked though, as follicles would be all dithered and broken up, which just looked terrible.
This was kind of excusable during the PS360 generation, because those consoles really did not handle transparent alpha textures at all well, yet it seems ridiculous as the second mainline Final Fantasy title on the PS4. So, yes, hair dithering looks set to continue with Final Fantasy VII Remake. Dithering looked quite minimal on the footage that Square Enix released for use, yet according to one report Cloud’s hair looks like a ball of fuzz that is full of holes. Apparently the game’s textures are also much blurrier than they appeared in Square Enix’s released footage.
Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Gameplay Has Problems
It is not just the game’s graphics which appear to be in trouble, as the gameplay is sounding pretty rough too. Final Fantasy VII Remake was first revealed with a hybrid battle system, where players would engage in a bunch of realtime hack and slash, which would then enable them to slow time in order to input a strategic command. People were then somewhat surprised several months later when Square Enix first revealed a Classic Mode, and then floated the idea of a pure action mode.
One account of the hybrid battle system described it as combining the worst aspects of command based and action based combat systems. They speculate that it is because of this failure that Classic Mode and Action Mode have come to exist, but really, how good could any of these battle systems be when the team’s attention is being divided between them? It sounds like a mess. And it gets worse. Much worse.
Summon Materia in the game has been confirmed as being fucked. Summoning in Final Fantasy VII Remake has been confirmed to operate in a similar way to Summoning in Final Fantasy XV, where a bunch of seemingly random conditions must be satisfied before the player will be allowed to cast a summon. This makes summon Materia a complete waste of a Materia slot, as it would be better to fill the slot with a Materia that can be reliably used. This is also an apt demonstration that the Final Fantasy VII Remake team, and particularly Tetsuya Nomura, do not understand the concept underpinning the Materia System. You slot the Materia into the weapon, and then you can use the Materia. Otherwise what is the point of even having Materia. If you are not going to allow people to use Summon Materia, then why not just have Summons as random occurrences that automatically occur, like Odin in Final Fantasy VIII? That would at least be somewhat worthwhile. Wasting a Materia slot in the hopes of triggering random summon attacks is much less useful.
Shuhei Yoshida Demoted In Sony Japanese Purge
There are two major scandals that have rocked Sony this year. The first has been the increasing marginalisation of Japanese interests within the company, as Jim Ryan has increasingly centralised power and control around himself in California, USA. The second has been the string of political corpses that Ryan has left behind him on his ascent to the throne. This week’s news seems like a little from column A and a little from column B tbh.
So, over the course of the last year almost all power and authority have been leeched away from Sony of Japan, at least insofar as the Playstation brand is concerned. This has meant that a huge amount of Japanese content has been banned and censored on the PS4 platform in line with delicate Californian sensibilities, even as Western games with similar content is given the green light to release on Playstation. Think of this as the anime tax. This is all pretty depressing for what is ostensibly a Japanese brand, but the last vestige of Sony’s DNA that has brought some modicum of solace to this author has been Shuhei Yoshida, the (now) former President of Worldwide Studios – a position overseeing first party development. Now no longer!
Shuhei Yoshida has been demoted to the role of Indy developer liaison. Meanwhile Hermen Hulst, formerly of Guerilla Games, has moved in to take over Shuhei Yoshida’s job – ensuring that PlayStation’s slate of first party games, already widely biased against Japanese content, now become even more so. Sony, as we knew it, was already dead at the start of the year, but this really was the final stake in its heart. With this humbling of the final symbolic vestige of Sony of Japan’s stewardship it becomes bitterly real that the brand we have loved is gone, and is never coming back.