FINAL FANTASY VII Remake

6 more Square Enix friendships that will warm your heart

It’s International Friendship Day, so let’s celebrate some of the greatest friendships in Square Enix history, from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, Tomb Raider and beyond!
By Duncan Heaney

Forget things like Summons or Limit Breaks - friendship is the most powerful force in the universe. It lifts our spirits when we’re down, fills us with laughter and happiness, and makes us all feel like better people. We’re grateful to have it.

Good friendships are a wonderful thing to witness in games too - as we’ve talked about before. So in the spirit of International Friendship Day, we wanted to celebrate some of the most memorable BFFs of all.

Only the sternest-hearted could fail to be uplifted by the likes of…


Hawkeye and Niccolo - Trials of Mana

There’s friendship and then there’s ‘break you out of prison’ friendship.

We should all be so lucky to have someone like Niccolo in our lives. He’s loyal, reliable and affectionate. He’s also a cat - which makes those traits all the more surprising.

He and Hawkeye live together in the desert fortress of Nevarl, where they operate as skilled members of the thieves guild. Between the two of them, no item is safe and no chest goes unplundered. At least until the sinister Belladonna arrives.

Thanks to her manipulative machinations, Hawkeye is locked in the dungeons for a crime he didn’t commit - and his adoptive sister Jessica is placed in mortal danger. All looks bleak for the hero… so thank goodness for Niccolo.

The feline friend breaks through the walls of Hawkeye’s cage, and gives the young rogue a way to escape. Not only that, he promises to stay behind and watch over his family - a decision that doesn’t work out all that well, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.


Wei Shen and Jackie Ma - Sleeping Dogs

Infiltrating the underworld is hard enough, but it’s so much worse when you have to lie to someone you care about.

That’s the awkward situation for undercover cop Wei Shen in Sleeping Dogs. Tasked with working his way into the Hong Kong Triad, he uses his childhood friendship with Jackie Ma to get the job done.

The two have a long history together, and their friendship only grows when they reunite. Thanks to Wei’s influence, Jackie grows in confidence and eventually even get accepted into the organization.

And despite his deceit, Wei Shen feels genuine affection for his comrade, even using his influence to get him released from prison and encouraging him to leave his life as a criminal behind.

Sadly, Jackie’s story doesn’t have a happy ending, but Wei sticks with him until the end - and beyond. Because while their relationship was partly built on lies, the friendship was very real.


The Warrior of Light and Haurchefant - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

As the Warrior of Light, you’ll make many friends in your adventures across Hydaelyn and beyond. But Lord Haurchefant Greystone has earned a special place in many players’ hearts for one simple reason: he’s awesome.

Unlike a number of his peers, this noble Elezen is friendly and welcoming towards adventurers. He’s always ready with a smile, will do whatever he can to help his friends. Haurchefant forms a close bond with the Warrior of Light, who finds an encouraging and reliable companion in him.

You first meet in FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn, where Haurchefant enlists your aid to unravel a conspiracy and help him save an innocent man from execution. That early quest shows you what type of man he is and provides a firm foundation for your friendship.

But that relationship really blossoms in Heavensward, the game’s first expansion. You’ll get much more insight into Haurchefant’s unique family situation and discover what he’s willing to do to aid those he believes in.

He’s as steadfast a friend as a hero could ever meet and one that no Warrior of Light will ever forget.


Jonah and Uchu - Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft may be unmatched when it comes to death-defying acts of derring do, but her steadfast companion Jonah brings a very particular - and useful - trait to their partnership: he’s irresistibly likeable.

The brave adventurer has the ability to make friends with almost anybody he meets. This is particularly apparent in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and his budding bromance with the warrior Uchu.

When Lara and Jonah first discover the lost city of Paititi, they are treated with degree of suspicion - that sort of thing will happen when your city’s under the control of a murderous cult. Although the rebels give Lara is permission to run off and hunt for an important artefact, Jonah’s forced to stay behind as a captive, under the watchful gaze of the warrior Uchu.

Uchu’s initially maintains a professional distance, standing guard and preventing his prisoner from speaking. But anyone who knows Jonah is aware that won’t last - and sure enough, by the time Lara returns from her expedition the two have become friends and allies.

It just goes to show, if there’s one thing that transcends nations and borders, it’s that ol’ Jonah charm. How appropriate for International Friendship Day.


Sora and Riku - KINGDOM HEARTS series

Of course, when it comes to making friends with… well, basically anyone, Sora’s the true master.

This big-hearted hero travels to many Disney and Pixar worlds, becoming best buds with almost everyone he meets, from street rats like Aladdin to heroes like Hercules. But few of his many, many pals mean as much to him - and vice versa - as Riku.

As friends and rivals living together on the Destiny Islands, the two dreamed off setting off to search for new lands. That wish comes true in the most traumatic way, when the Heartless attack their home and tear the young buddies apart.

A stranded Sora sets out on a search for Riku, while his friend takes… a darker path. But despite everything, Sora never gives up on their bond - and helps bring his buddy back to the light.

Since then, the two friends have fought together, laughed together and saved each other time and time again. As Sora says, his friends are his power and thanks to Riku, he’s very powerful indeed.


Biggs, Wedge and Jessie - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Biggs, Wedge and Jessie: three very different personalities united by their opposition to the Shinra Electric Power Company. Also a love for Jessie’s Mom’s pizza.

Together, they’re core members of the anti-Shira group Avalanche, and their skills complement each other to form a pillar of strength that will never crumble. Biggs is the brains of the cell, with keen strategic insight that helps keeps plans on track even when they’re violently derailed.

Jessie is the tech specialist, building bombs and fake IDs to get the group through Shinra’s security and take down their Mako reactors, and Wedge is the organization’s heart - and stomach. His strong resolve and unwavering commitment to his friends pulls them out of trouble more than once.

But they’re so much more than colleagues, they’re also close friends. You can see this in their mission to the upper plate in Chapter 4, where you get to spend an extended period of time just hanging out with the trio.

You learn how intimately they know each other - and their foibles. You get insight into how much they care about each other and support them unquestioningly. Most importantly, you get the sense that they genuinely love being around each other - and that sense of joy is infectious.


Those were just some of the friendships that warmed our hearts in Square Enix games, but do you agree? Can you think of other examples? Let us know on social media:

What games other than FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has Cloud Strife appeared in?

The hero of FINAL FANTASY VII has had a very successful career as a cameo and guest star in other games. We take a tour through his greatest moments.
By Duncan Heaney

Cloud Strife, the spiky-haired hero of FINAL FANTASY VII and FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, has had quite the career.

The original 1997 RPG may have given him his big (Limit) break, but the spiky haired Buster Sword-wielder has gone on to appear in all sorts of other titles in the last 23 years - fighting games, RPGs… and even a racing game.

With FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE bringing a host of new Cloud fans into the fold (One of us! One of us!) we thought it would be fun to take a very quick tour through the diverse history of the iconic character.


Let the disclaimers begin!

But first let’s get some quick disclaimers out of the way. We’ll only be looking at a selection of games, and only those by Square Enix. So if you’re expecting a certain big-name fighting game on here, sorry to disappoint. Even if it is rather smashing.

What’s more, to keep this article from becoming longer than War and Peace, we’ll only focus on titles where Cloud appears as a character - costumes and references don’t count.

And now we’ve (hopefully) covered our rears, on with the list!

Compilation of FINAL FANTASY VII

This series of projects expanded the world of the original FINAL FANTASY VII, offering prequels and sequels that offered new insight into the game’s incredible world.

Unlike the original game, Cloud stepped out of the spotlight to let other heroes (and villains) take center stage. That said, he was still a significant presence in most of them in some way.


Before Crisis: FINAL FANTASY VII

In this Japan-exclusive mobile game, set before the events of the original FINAL FANTASY VII, players took the role of one of Shinra’s special ops unit the Turks. Cloud played a small supporting role, encountering the player character on a few occasions.

Crisis Core: FINAL FANTASY VII

This acclaimed action RPG prequel, released for the PlayStation Portable, focused on a SOLDIER: Zack Fair. While Cloud wasn’t playable, he had a very important role in the story. …look, I’m dancing round some serious spoilers here, so let’s just move on.


Dirge of Cerberus: FINAL FANTASY VII

Vincent Valentine - one of the party in the original FINAL FANTASY VII - stepped into the shoes of main hero in this RPG shooter for PlayStation 2. While primarily Vincent’s story, Cloud steps up to help his pal out at key points in the adventure.

Cloud on consoles

In addition to those titles directly related to FINAL FANTASY VII, Cloud has made appearances in plenty of other games over the years. Not just a SOLDIER - he’s a cameo First Class too.

Here are some of the highlights:


FINAL FANTASY TACTICS

This tactical RPG takes place in the world of Ivalice, but a little dimensional difference can’t hold back Cloud Strife. He’s in the game as an optional character, and can be recruited to take to the field in battle.


Chocobo Racing

Cloud took to the track in this super-cute racing game. Released in 1999 for the original PlayStation, characters and creatures from across the FINAL FANTASY series jumped into vehicles to race and battle across multiple tracks. Cloud was an unlockable character, and rode his famous Hardy Daytona motorcycle.


EHRGEIZ: God Bless the Ring

Originally released in arcades, and later on PlayStation, Ehrgeiz was Cloud’s first foray into the fighting genre. It wouldn’t be his last. The game featured original characters, but also included a selection of fighters from FINAL FANTASY VII.

KINGDOM HEARTS / KINGDOM HEARTS 1.5

KINGDOM HEARTS’ ever-upbeat hero Sora encounters Cloud in the Olympus Coliseum. This Cloud is a darker figure than you might expect, even willing to make a bargain with Hades in order to find what he seeks.

Excitingly, the first KINGDOM HEARTS lets you face off against Cloud in battle - and it’s a challenging bout that demands both focus and attention. Mind you, it’s a walk in the park compared to Sephiroth.

This is one game you can actually play right now - KINGDOM HEARTS 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX is out now on PS4 and Xbox One.


KINGDOM HEARTS Chain of Memories / KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories

Cloud appears in KINGDOM HEARTS Chain of Memories, again working with Hades. Events play out a little differently in this card battling adventure, but the hero’s appearance remains just as effective.

The game was originally released for the Gameboy Advance and later remade in full 3D as KINGDOM HEARTS Re:Chain of Memories. That version is included in KINGDOM HEARTS 1.5 + 2.5 ReMIX.


KINGDOM HEARTS II / KINGDOM HEARTS II.5

Sora, Donald and Goofy encounter Cloud again in KINGDOM HEARTS II. The young warrior seeks to destroy his own darkness, and asks Sora for his help.

You don’t fight Cloud in this entry in the series. Instead, he fights alongside the heroes, helping them defend the world of Hollow Bastion from the encroaching Heartless.

DISSIDA FINAL FANTASY NT

The most recent entry in the DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY series features thrilling 3-v-3 battles, with FINAL FANTASY characters, including Cloud, facing off in iconic locations from across the series. Rest assured that Midgar is one of them.

If you want to give it a go, a free version is available to try now. The available characters cycle, so you may not get Cloud straight away, but you will get a chance to see if the game’s for you.


WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY

This fantastic RPG is a love letter to the FINAL FANTASY series, as well as a richly rewarding game in its own right.

That love is on full display when it comes to the Champions - classic FINAL FANTASY heroes that you can bring into battle to help you out.

There’s a twist though. These are super-adorable chibi versions of the characters - we feel fairly confident in saying this is probably the cutest version of Cloud you’ll see in any game.

Cloud on handhelds

Cloud Strife can’t be constrained to the big screen - he’s had quite a few outings for portable consoles too.


DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY

Take some of the greatest FINAL FANTASY characters of all time, make them battle each other in fast-paced, and surprisingly tactical combat, and slather on a generous helping of spectacle, and you have DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY.

The first entry in this fan-favorite fighting series released for PSP in 2008, and naturally Cloud was available as a playable fighter.


DISSIDA 012 FINAL FANTASY

Cloud returned in the sequel DISSIDIA 012 FINAL FANTASY, also released for the PSP. This follow-up expanded on the single player, added new characters, and included new mechanics that allowed for even more exciting and tactical battles.


THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY CURTAIN CALL

This fantastic rhythm game for 3DS - like it’s predecessor THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY - lets you run, ride and battle your way across different music tracks from all over the series.

To do so, you must create a party comprised of super-adorable versions of FINAL FANTASY characters, including Cloud. You remember when we said World of FINAL FANTASY Cloud was the cutest? This version could definitely give him a run for his money.


FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS

How’d you fancy joining your friends to hunt and battle some of FINAL FANTASY’s greatest monsters? This 3DS game delivered exactly that - and lots of fan service to boot!

Not only can you dress as your favorite characters, you can even become them with the trance command. Under the right conditions, you can literally turn your character into Cloud Strife himself.

Not only that, you get access to some of his signature moves, including the flashily effective Omnistrike!

Cloud on Mobile

FINAL FANTASY has a rich history of mobile titles, and Cloud has appeared in quite a few of them. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but some of the highlights of Mr Strife’s mobile career include:


FINAL FANTASY VII: Snowboarding

If you played the original FINAL FANTASY VII, you’ll no doubt remember the snowboarding minigame near Icicle Inn. In 2005, an expanded version of that game was released for mobile phones, letting Cloud shred the slopes on the go.


FINAL FANTASY RECORD KEEPER

FINAL FANTASY RECORD KEEPER lets you experience memories of previous FINAL FANTASY games on mobile. The gameplay revolves around exploring classic FINAL FANTASY moments, collecting characters from those games, and using them in battle.

Cloud’s present and correct of course - considering the premise it would be weird if he wasn’t!


FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS

FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS is a mobile RPG in which you recruit and summon FINAL FANTASY characters from all over the series - and in some cases beyond it.

A few versions of Cloud have appeared in this mobile RPG as optional characters and summonable ‘visions’.


DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY OPERA OMNIA

You can recruit Cloud quite early on in this excellent mobile adventure. Players explore various maps, building a fighting team of FINAL FANTASY characters, collecting materials to upgrade gear and engaging in excitingly strategic battles.

That was a whistle-stop tour of Cloud Strife’s life of guest spots and cameos.

If you’ve finished FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and are eager for more Cloud-y action, I’d heartily recommend World of FINAL FANTASY or DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT - both are easily available both digitally and physically and feature the character in a fairly prominent way.

And if you haven’t played FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE yet, what are you waiting for? It’s arguably the best way to see this iconic hero in his native habitat.

To stay up to date with news about Cloud Strife - and FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE as a whole - make sure you follow us on social media:

5 enemies in Square Enix games that we’ve learned to fear

From FINAL FANTASY's tonberries to Tomb Raider's Stormguard, here are five fiendish foes that make us break out into a cold sweat.
By Duncan Heaney

We recently showcased some of the lovable parts of Square Enix games that make us grin from ear to ear - but what about the other side of the coin? The things we fear.

There are some enemies in Square Enix games that make us feel more than a little nervous. Some are ruthlessly difficult, others are just kinda unpleasant, and a few are a heady combination of the two.

Here are just five examples:


PLEASE NOTE: Mild spoilers for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered, Tomb Raider, and Life is Strange


X-ATM092 - FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered

Here’s the horrifying thing about the mechanical X-ATM092. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

…oh wait no, that’s Terminator. Still, the X-ATM092 is equally persistent. Also known as Black Widow, this massive spider-shaped robot pursues Squall and his fellow mercenary trainees around the town of Dollet during their very hands-on exam.

Making things worse is the ticking timer - you only have a few minutes to get back to your transport and escape. That’s not easy when you’re constantly being drawn into battles with this powerful mech. Even if you can win those fights, X-ATM092 will bounce back in seconds and you’re back to square one.

Stay on the run, and you’ll eventually lead it to the beach, where instructor Quistis will blast it apart with a mounted machine gun. It’s a blessed relief.

Experienced players may know a few coping strategies for this boss, as well as a few tips and tricks to avoid it - but the first time you play, it’s pure panic.


The Stormguard - Tomb Raider (2013

The first entry in the recent Tomb Raider trilogy takes Lara Croft from terrified survivor to a capable hero that can overcome any challenge.

Trapped on the island of Yamatai, Lara’s besieged by vicious beasts, deadly traps and a horde of murderous cultists. We help her take on the odds, build her skills and ultimately turn her hunters into the hunted.

So as we enter the latter stages of the game, we’re feeling pretty confident about our ability to deal with any situation. Enter the Stormguard.

Also known as the Oni, these ancient warriors have guarded Yamatai for centuries - and they look it. Not only are these new threats unsettling to look at, they’re faster, stronger and far more resilient than anything Lara’s run into so far.

Suddenly, she (and us) are on the back foot once again. The old tactics aren’t going to work - we have to dig deeper than ever into Lara’s skill set, make creative use of the environment and stay on the move if we don’t want the fledgling Tomb Raider’s career to be suddenly cut short.

All said, the Stormguard deliver an entertaining challenge, but it’s an intimidating one too. Whenever we think of these fearsome guardians, we definitely start to feel a little nervous.


Malboros - the FINAL FANTASY series

A giant plant with a serious halitosis problem, malboros have been ruining people’s day since 1988’s FINAL FANTASY II.

Whenever you run into one of these big mouthed monsters, you know you’re in trouble. They’re often very tough, high level foes that can dish out massive damage on a whim - but that’s not what makes them such a sweat-inducer.

No, undoubtedly the scariest thing about malboros is their signature ‘Bad Breath’ attack. This rancid cloud inflicts pretty much every debilitating status ailment in the FINAL FANTASY handbook onto your party.

The exact combination of Bad Breath effects differs depending on the game, but you can expect the likes of Poison, Silence and Slow at a minimum. Plus you have to assume it smells really bad.

A special shout out for the Great Malboros in FINAL FANTASY X-2 and their particularly noxious (and obnoxious) Really Bad Breath attack. Trust me - it ain’t that great.


Nathan Prescott - Life is Strange

Nathan Prescott is not a nice person.

He’s cruel, aggressive, condescending… and dangerous. We see that in the very first moments of the game, when student Max Caulfield witnesses him lose control and accidentally kill her former (and future) BFF Chloe Price.

She’s able to reverse time with her newly manifested powers, but subsequent interactions with Nathan are knuckle-whitening. He’ll shout, he’ll insult and even resort to violence - and the worst thing is that Max, as a fundamentally decent person, doesn’t really have a good way to deal with that unpredictability.

Nathan also treats Blackwell Academy as if he owns it - which in a way his does. His wealthy family is a major financial donor to the school, and the powers that be seem willing to overlook much of his behavior for the sake of that cash.

Of course. Nathan’s as much a victim as he is a villain. He struggles with drugs and mental illness, and his family situation is dysfunctional to say the least. But that doesn’t stop Max and Chloe’s interactions with him from feeling deeply unnerving. He puts them on edge - and us too.


Tonberries - the FINAL FANTASY series

They say that good things come in small packages. Well, bloomin’ terrifying things do too, as tonberries demonstrate.

Anyone who encounters one of these knife-wielding nightmares likely goes through a phenomenon I like to call ‘The 5 Stages of Tonberry’.

1. Delight - Aw, that’s adorable. Look at its diddy widdle legs and cute hoodie.

2. Suspicion - Wh… why’s it moving so slowly? Why’s it not really doing anything? Something feels… off.

3. Dread - Um… it’s getting closer. What’s it doing? Why is it not dead yet? I’m scared.

4. Despair - AAAAARGH - help me! It’s killing EVERYONE.

5. Resolve - …well that went very badly. Next time will be different (NARRATOR: It wasn’t).

Tonberries appear throughout the FINAL FANTASY series, and though their characteristics vary from title to title, they typically have a few things in common - slow speed, high HP, and a ruthless compulsion to stab your party into oblivion.

From the majestic Tonberry King in FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered to its memorable appearance in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, every version of this gaming icon commands both respect and pants-wetting terror.

Well, all except these plushie versions perhaps. Just look at them - d’aww sooo cute!


Those were just five things that make us nervous in Square Enix games, but what do you think? Do you agree with our choices? Which enemies make you clench up? Let us know on social media:

Let's explore the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE OST

Join us as we take an audio tour through the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE soundtrack, and examine how it supports and enhances the RPG.
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has a sublime soundtrack.

Okay, as statements go, that one’s up there with ‘water’s a bit wet’ - it goes without saying.

But we want to say it anyway, because the tracks don’t just hold up as memorable music, they also tell us a huge amount about the game itself.

You can see - or hear - what we mean for yourselves - the original FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE soundtrack is available for preorder on the Square Enix Store and can be purchased digitally now on services including iTunes, Google Play and Amazon.

The standard edition soundtrack features seven discs-worth of music, that span the entirety of the game. To celebrate the release, we thought it would be interesting to take a tour through each, and highlight a couple of the tracks that stand out to us - and why.


Disc 1

It’s impossible to talk about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE without referencing composer Nobuo Uematsu’s soundtrack for the original game. The new game has quite a legacy to live up to, and fortunately, it more than delivers.


2 - Midgar - City of Mako

From the moment the opening cinematic of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE was released, many fans felt excited - and yes, relieved - that the game’s music was in good hands.

In many ways, this track feels like a statement of intent for the entire FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE experience. It’s faithful to the original, but layered with new elements that give it a distinct feel of its own.

The addition of choral elements add tension and mystery, and make the swell to the now-iconic opening theme feel genuinely epic. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a teensy bit emotional the first time I heard it - and I know I’m not alone.


20 - Main Theme of FFVII - Sector 7 Undercity

The music of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is lovely to listen to, even if you never played or heard the original tracks.

That said, if you have heard the originals, it’s fascinating to see how they’ve been incorporated into the newer game.

In the case of the Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII, which plays while Cloud explores the Sector 7 slums, it’s a remarkably faithful interpretation, evoking similar feelings of both peace and tension.

It was a stand-out piece of music in the original game, and it’s every bit as effective here.


Disc 2

As well as tracks inspired by the original game, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE features a tremendous amount of completely original music - and there are some great examples on Disc 2.


3 - Johnny’s theme

I’ve talked before about my love for Johnny - a hilariously self-defeating resident of Sector 7 that someone here at Square Enix HQ perfectly described as a ‘brash and bumbling himbo’ (a phrase I will keep stealing until they notice and tell me to stop).

Yoshinori Nakamura has written an original theme for the character and it’s a fantastically funky piece that perfectly captures the character’s unearned bravado and complete lack of self-awareness.


18 - Ignition Flame

Things get more serious with this incredibly exciting boss theme. In this part of the game, Cloud faces off against the speed-freak SOLDIER Roche, and this track masterfully heightens that drama and intensity.

It’s utterly unique among the rest of the soundtrack, but the way it incorporates familiar musical themes makes it fit in perfectly. Definitely one of the most purely exhilarating tracks in the entire game.


Disc 3

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s soundtrack is not merely accompaniment - it’s an integral part of the storytelling, just like the action and dialogue. Without it, the game wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective - and the following two tracks provide a perfect example of this.


14 - The Airbuster

Not only is this a blood pumping banger of a track, it also perfectly captures the sense of excitement and escalation of the fight it accompanies. It also provides a perfect example of how the composers tell a story with the music.

As the name implies, the track plays over the team’s battle with the Airbuster - the pinnacle of Shinra’s robotic weaponry. The music alone tells you everything you need to know about the structure and flow of the battle.

As the track progresses through the phases, it increases in intensity, as the bot becomes increasingly belligerent. The sound gets fuller and fuller, adding in strings and choral elements - the sense of epic scale in vividly apparent.

Finally, it takes a turn for the triumphant, as the team fights back against the metallic menace before culminating in a loud, violent climax. It just works absolutely brilliantly.


18 - Flowers Blooming in the Church

Aerith’s theme is one of the most iconic tracks in the entire FINAL FANTASY series, and the new game does it justice.

This track plays during Cloud’s unplanned visit to the Sector 5 church, and provides a full introduction to everyone’s favorite local florist.

But this track has another purpose. It appears after a sustained period of action, full of tension, dramatic plot developments and high-energy battles. It provides both Cloud and the player with a much needed sense of peace and reprieve.


Disc 4

One of the most impressive things about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s soundtrack is how varied it is. The tracks encompass a myriad of musical styles - even the same basic track can be presented in wildly different ways to great effect. The following two tracks illustrate this perfectly.


4 - The Oppressed - Beck’s Badasses

I bet you weren’t expecting FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE to include any ska. And yet here we are - and somehow it works!

Beck’s Badasses are a collection of minor nuisances that you’ll encounter throughout the game. What they lack in brains, they make up for in enthusiasm and that off-beat style is reflected through this equally off-beat track.


5 - Due Recompense

This track uses the same melody, but it couldn’t be more different stylistically.

Making an electronica version of ‘The Oppressed’ from the original FINAL FANTASY VII is another unconventional decision - on paper it sounds like unhinged madness.

Yet again though, it works brilliantly creating a fantastically fun and upbeat atmosphere as Cloud and Aerith navigate some of the scummier parts of Midgar’s slums. It also reinforces just how varied and surprising this new game’s soundtrack really is.


Disc 5

Let’s talk about tone. The story of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE goes to some pretty wild places, and takes the player through the full gamut of emotions - excitement, anger, fear, stress, sadness… the list goes on. The following two pieces of tracks are perfect examples of how the music helps create very different feelings for the player.


6 - Train Graveyard

People don’t come around the Train Graveyard often. And not just because of the monsters, but… because of the stories. Everyone seems to think that the train graveyard is haunted.

This area is dark, and spooky and the music reflects that superbly. The simple repeating melody is contrasted by a deeply ominous, discordant background to create deep unease among players.


14 - Fight for Survival

In contrast, this track is all about stress and panic. Things are looking bad for our heroes, as they desperately race to avoid tragedy.

The stakes have never been higher, and those feelings of desperation and urgency come through strongly through the music.

It’s another powerful piece in a soundtrack full of them.


Disc 6

The composers clearly had a lot of fun making some of these tracks - and it shows. There’s real imagination and creativity across the whole soundtrack. To illustrate what we mean, the next two tracks feel like the composers having a particularly good time.


5 - Wild de Chocobo

We can’t talk about FINAL FANTASY music and not mention at least one chocobo theme. I mean, that would be kweh-zy.

This is a great one though. So high energy! It warks… er, we mean works brilliantly!


10 - Scarlet’s Theme

A rare vocal track, Scarlet’s Theme is a genuinely great song. It’s easy to imagine reclining in a velvet chair, drinking a glass of something strong and cold (maybe a Cosmo Canyon), and just letting the sultry melody wash over you.

And then you look at the name, and remember who it’s about - Scarlet, a dangerously ambitious Shinra executive who uses employees as footrests and cares more about results than health and safety. When you think about that, how could it not raise a smile?


Disc 7

The final collection of tracks takes us through to the story’s climax. The obvious highlight here would be One Winged Angel - it’s one of the most famous tracks from the original game after all. But that seems a bit obvious, so let’s choose some other tracks that are worth highlighting.


5 - Midgar Expressway

This amazing 10 minute track really goes places.

It accompanies a thrilling multi-stage chase scene as Cloud and his compatriots race down a Midgar highway, Shinra in hot pursuit. The shredding guitars and pounding drums drive home (pun shamelessly intended) that sense of motion.

It’s also worth highlighting for the clever way it incorporates the game’s previous themes from the reactor theme from the opening of the game, to battle and boss themes, directly into the track. It’s like a recap of the game’s major musical moments - all done at 90 miles an hour!


12 - Hollow

FINAL FANTASY VII’s original composer Nobuo Uematsu has written a new theme song for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - and it shows that he hasn’t skipped a beat.

Performed by Yosh from Survive Said the Prophet, it’s a powerful song that really speaks to the themes of the game. It’s a rousing and emotional way to complete this exploration of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and it’s music - but we should let the artists have the final word:

We hope you enjoyed this tour through FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE by way of its music. The soundtrack’s available to buy now digitally on music services, including iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, and can preordered physically through the Square Enix Store.

Of course, you can also experience all these tracks in the game itself. FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now for PS4:

And here’s another great way to listen to the music from the game: live! The FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Orchestra World Tour is coming to cities in the USA, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Thailand and more!

To see a full list of concerts, please visit: https://ffvii-remakeconcerts.com/.

Finally, what are your favorite music tracks in the game? Which pieces of music perfect say ‘FINAL FANTASY VII’ to you? Let us know on social media:

Best Bits: FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - Mako Reactor 5

We take a in-depth look at one of the most memorable sections of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - the mission to Mako Reactor 5 and the epic battle that follows (spoilers).
By Duncan Heaney

In Best Bits, the Square Enix Blog team looks at some of our favorite moments from Square Enix games, and why we think they stand out. To be clear, we’re not declaring them to be the pinnacle of the game, merely one of many moments that we love. So don’t get upset with us if you disagree, okay?


When we think about Best Bits, our decision often comes down to one question: if you could show a new player one section of the game to really sell them on it, which would it be?

For FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, perhaps it would be the opening bombing mission, which gets the game underway in spectacular style. Or maybe Cloud’s early trip to the upper plate residential area - a fascinating look at the lives of the wealthier citizens of Midgar.

Or I could just say the words ‘Wall Market’ and those of you who’ve played the game will nod sagely in agreement while trying to keep a straight face about what’s to come.

But for me, there’s a particular sequence that shows the game firing on all cylinders - the team’s assault on Mako Reactor 5 in Chapter 7.


BEWARE: Story details for Chapter 7 of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE follow. Scroll beneath the spoiler-Barret at your own peril

What happens in Mako Reactor 5?

Mercenary Cloud Strife has joined Barret Wallace and Tifa Lockhart on a mission to sabotage an energy reactor that’s sucking the life out of the planet. Things haven’t gone particularly smoothly so far, but they’ve finally made it in.

Everything is ominously quiet. Security is unnervingly light - a few fire-flinging bioweapons and sawblade-swinging security mechs, but nothing that gives the team much trouble. They do pass one particularly buff bot - Barret comments that it would be very bad if it were to wake up (foreshadowing!).

Before long, the team reach the reactor pump and sets their bomb. And that’s when the villainous Shinra Electric Power Company springs its trap. Not only do the executives know that our heroes are there, they’re also broadcasting the assault live on television.

Rather than freedom fighters, the team will be portrayed as terrorists working for a foreign power, and the broadcast will culminate with their messy execution by the terrifying robot they saw earlier - the Airbuster.

Fortunately, the team has other ideas. They resolve to humiliate their foe by taking down the bot, and making their daring escape.

Charting a path through the reactor, they move carefully from room to room, battling Shinra’s elite security forces and knowing that every step takes them closer to an encounter with the pinnacle of Shinra’s military hardware.

So why is this section so effective? Well, let’s start with the team itself.

It strengthens the characters

To say that Cloud and Barret get off on the wrong foot would be an understatement. The two heroes constantly butt heads - to the point where early in the story Barret tries to cut ties with the former SOLDIER completely.

So one of the great joys of the mission to Mako Reactor 5 is watching the icy relationship between Cloud and Barret thaw, and a mutual respect start to emerge. This is made clear as the dialogue moves from snippy and insulting to familiar and friendly. Cloud even makes a joke!

But aside from his developing friendships, the section also works as a showcase for Barret in general. We see him demonstrate exactly why he’s able to lead his AVALANCHE cell - his passion for the planet, his unbridled rage at Shinra and his concern for his comrades are all on full display.

He’s also hysterical. When he finds out he’s on TV his attempts to turn opinion against Shinra don’t exactly go according to plan.

Your choices in Mako Reactor 5 matter

A few weeks ago, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi talked to us about the importance of giving players options.

“That’s not just important for battles, but also for all kinds of gaming mechanics,” he told us. “But what’s really important for players is that feeling that they’ve made a decision on how to play, and get the feedback that they’ve done well because of it.”

That philosophy permeates throughout FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Some choices are subtle - for example, you must constantly evaluate your actions and battle strategy. What move is right for this situation? Should you heal or go on the attack? Which character is the best fit to take on which enemy?

Some are more formal like choosing how Cloud responds to certain characters, or what materia to equip for each party member. The choices you’re asked to make in Chapter 7 are some of the most obvious in the game - but no less meaningful.

As you escape the reactor, Shinra’s harried technicians are scrambling to get the Air Buster battle-ready for the inevitable confrontation. It’s nearly ready to go, but a few components still need to be added - and that gives our heroes an opportunity for a little industrial sabotage.

In each room are between one and four terminals. If Cloud and co can find a single-use keycard, they can use these terminals to remove modules from their incoming enemy. The problem is that there are more terminals than there are cards, and this forces you to make some difficult decisions.

For example, do you remove some of the Big Bomber shells, negating one of the enemy’s strongest attacks? Do you remove the AI cores to slow it down and reduce stun attacks? Or do you go for an M-Unit which doesn’t affect the battle, but does give you access to useful items if you can find them.

You’ll never be able to completely nullify the Airbuster entirely, but it still gives a degree of control over the battle - before it even starts. It’s such a cool idea.

The Airbuster is a battle for the ages

Finally it’s time to take on the Airbuster, and it’s more than a simple boss battle. It’s an event.

This mechanical monstrosity has been carefully built up over the course of a whole chapter. Every step, every decision has been leading to this point - and it has a lot to live up to.

Boy, does it deliver!


Read more:


In the fantastic Inside FINAL FANTASY VII video documentary series (which you can watch here), Lead Battle Designer Tomotaka Shiroichi explained how the boss battles were inspired by four frame manga. Essentially, the boss battles tell a ‘story’ over four phases. He explains:

Encounter the enemy and start the battle in phase 1. Show each other’s hand and the boss takes the lead in phase 2.

In phase 3, the boss shows you the signature attacks, and the players start fighting back. That’s when bosses start revealing their weaknesses. Phase 4 is the climax and introduces the next part of the storyline.

That structure is on full display with Airbuster and it works brilliantly. The opening phase mimics the original game with the party split up on a narrow gangway. You get a sample of what the boss can do, but it’s when you step into phase two that things really shift into gear.

Now the boss unleashes its terrifying Tankbuster attack - a solid beam of energy that will devastate anyone careless enough to stand in its path. After a beating, the boss detaches its hands so they can harass you independently. It’s all very stressful - in the best possible way.

When you do enough damage, the boss enters its final phase, and things go into overdrive. A blast from the Airbuster tears apart the walkway, creating a new environment in which to fight. It also takes to the sky, using its impressive mobility to pepper the team from long range, only flying in to unleash an even more dangerous assault.

In short, the sense of escalation is palpable and it makes for a hugely exciting and cinematic encounter. It’s also one that brilliantly plays to the strengths of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s combat system.

You’ll have to constantly switch characters for different scenarios - Barret to deal damage at range, and Cloud or Tifa to deliver a beating up close. You’ll likely needs someone available for healing too.

You also really need to watch your positioning - if you’re in the way of some of the more dangerous attacks, you’re going to regret it. And the constantly shifting conditions of the fight mean you must be ready to find new strategies on the fly - there are those options again.

In short, it’s a boss fight for the history books - I can’t imagine many gaming moments in 2020 will be quite this exhilarating.

Oh, and the battle music? chef’s kiss.


In case you can’t tell, I really like Chapter 7 of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. The trip to Mako Reactor 5 definitely stands as one of my favorite parts of the adventure.

If you haven’t played it the game yet, it would be worth picking up just for this section. Fortunately, the whole game is full of similarly memorable moments - you’d probably find your own Best Bit fairly soon.

Also, I’ll just drop this here:

For those of you who have played the game, you can share your own Best Bits with the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE team on social media:

More FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE merch revealed!

We take a look at some new statuettes, models and more!
By Duncan Heaney

Last week, we took a look at the upcoming range of Play Arts KAI action figures, inspired by the cast of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Today, we turn our attention to some merchandise that’s considerably less flexible… but no less awesome.

From amazingly detailed statuettes, to collectable models, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has inspired some truly impressive pieces of merchandise, and we wanted to highlight just a few of the coolest or most desirable - both available now and upcoming.

What’s more, if you’re in the mood for something a little more old-school, we have a couple of treats from the original FINAL FANTASY VII making their way to the Square Enix Store too.

Let’s take a look:


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE STATUETTE: Cloud Strife

This is Cloud Strife. You’ve probably heard of him.

This insanely detailed statuette has been meticulously painted to properly convey every aspect of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s protagonist, from his determined expression to his battle-marked Buster Sword.

It depicts him standing with his hand on his iconic weapon, ready to leap into action.

Available: August 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE STATUETTE: Sephiroth

Now here’s the villain of the piece.

He may be a threat to the planet, but it’s impossible to deny that Sephiroth makes for an amazingly dynamic statuette.

This piece depicts the legendary SOLDIER standing strong with his famous Masamune sword. As with Cloud, the attention to detail is stunning despite its static nature - just look at that flowing hair!

Available: August 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE STATUETTE – Aerith

Aerith’s personality really shines through in this particular statuette.

It depicts the local florist in her now famous outfit, and wielding her Guard Stick. From the detailing on that weapon, to the folds in her dress and ribbon in her hair, every effort has been taken to capture an accurate image of the figure from the game.

She, and all the statuettes, also come equipped with a display stand, so you can easily display in on your desk, shelf… any flat surface really.

Available: August 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE TRADING ARTS - SET OF 5

One of the questions you may be asking yourself so far is ‘which FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE character should I get?’

That’s one of the reasons that this TRADING arts series is so cool - you can get the five central characters all in one set.

Cloud, Barret, Tifa, Aerith and Sephiroth are included, and all are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. What’s more, despite their compact size, each is wonderfully detailed right down to the texture on their clothes.

They’re available now - take a look:


FINAL FANTASY VII POLYGON FIGURE - (Blind box of 8)

Here’s a little bonus item. We’ve talked a lot about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but perhaps you’re a fan of the classics.

If the original FINAL FANTASY VII is close to your heart, you should take a look at these recent Polygon Figures. They recreate the characters of the game in their original polygon forms, expressive eyes and all.

It’s sold as a pack of eight, and each figure comes in a blind box, so you won’t know what you’re going to get. If you’re lucky, you might receive a special ‘Chaser’ figure!


That was just another small sample of the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE merchandise available now, or in the next few months.

If you loved the game, and want to celebrate these amazing characters outside of the adventure, there’s a lot of items to choose from.

And the pieces we’ve shown are just the tip of the iceberg - there’s loads more FINAL FANTASY VII merchandise on the Square Enix Store - from wallets and watches, to posters and jigsaws.

Go take a look - and for news and information about merchandise from your favorite games, makes sure you follow on social media:

Go to Square Enix Store

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE: Tifa Lockhart dynamic theme now available for PS4

Here’s how you get it - and other FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE themes
By Duncan Heaney

Tifa Lockhart is a woman of many talents: hard-hitting martial artist, pull-up specialist and owner of the best bar in Midgar to name but a few. Now she can add one more accomplishment to the list - subject of a PS4 theme.

The FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE TiIfa Dynamic Theme is now available for free for all PS4 users. It features Tifa sitting atop a familiar Nibelheim water tower, staring up at the starry night sky.

One particularly nice touch is that the hero sits in front of the PS4’s icons, creating a real sense of depth as they scroll behind her. Another is that it also features Tifa’s theme from the new game - an absolutely beautiful piece of music.

The free theme’s available right now - so go get it.

Tifa’s theme joins the others already available on PS4. For example, if you want something a bit more pulse-pounding, you should take a look at the Cloud Theme.

Exclusively available to PS Plus members, this features the iconic image of Cloud facing the Shinra Building, hand on Buster Sword. The background music for this theme is the battle track: Let the Battles Begin.

If you have digital versions of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, you can also get access to the catchily-named FFVII REMAKE & FFXIV Purchase Bonus Theme - Prelude.

This awesome theme combines both games, switching between the stunning cityscape of Midgar and the smouldering Warrior of Darkness from the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers trailers.

It also features FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s Prelude music.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now on PS4.

To stay up to date with all the relevant news and information about the game, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

Preview some upcoming FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE action figures

From Cloud and Sephiroth, to Rude and Reno, we take a look at some incredible FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI figures - due for release later this year!
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE contains some of the best - and most beloved - characters in all of gaming. It’s a cast worth celebrating - and what better way than to bring them out of the virtual world into the real one?

A number of brand new FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI action figures are due for release in 2020 and 2021.

These beautifully made and fully articulated pieces, capture the game’s heroes and villains with an astonishing attention to detail - to the point where they look like they just stepped out of Midgar itself.

Ahead of their release, we wanted to highlight these figures and give you a quick glimpse at what to expect.

So let’s do that.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI - Cloud Strife ver.2

Let’s start with the main man himself - Cloud Strife.

This new figure features an updated face sculpt based on the in-game 3D model. In fact, it's extremely detailed in all aspects, from Cloud’s confident expression to his shiny earring. And just look at those eyes - those are mako eyes!

As you’d expect, the SOLDIER - sorry, ex-SOLDIER - comes with upgraded iconic Buster Sword. As in the game, its covered with nicks and rust, giving the impression that the weapon has seen its fair share of combat.

It’s intensely poseable too, allowing you to contort Cloud into lots of different positions too. Want him relaxed, with his sword on his back? Not a problem. Or maybe have him hold his blade in two hands ready to bring it down - if you’re feeling braver.

Available: August 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI - Tifa Lockhart

As a skilled martial artist, Tifa needs to be flexible and this action figure more than delivers in that respect!

The figure has multiple points of articulation, including updated joints in her arms and knees, so whether you want her punching, kicking or just relaxing at Seventh Heaven, you can make her look just right.

For added drama, you can switch heads and hands. You can have Tifa with open or closed fists, and even switch her hair for a wind-swept look to emphasize a feeling of movement.

Available: November 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI – Barret Wallace Ver. 2

This passionate leader of AVALANCHE cuts an imposing figure in the game - and this action figure is no different.

All the details have been taken directly from the in-game model, from his striking tattoos to the expression of resolve on his face. To get a sense of just how detailed the model is, take a look at how intricate his signature gun arm.

The figure features different hand options to allow for different poses and removable sunglasses, which are made from translucent material so you can see his eyes.

Available: October 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI - Aerith Gainsborough

This strong-willed flower seller from the Sector 5 slums makes for a striking action figure.

An enormous amount of care has been taken to accurately recreate the texture of Aerith’s clothes and skin, and properly represent her character in physical form. It’s paid off because she looks like she stepped right out of the game.

This action figure comes with multiple accessories, including Aerith’s Guard Stick weapon, multiple hands to allow for different poses and even a flower basket - just in case any former SOLDIERS come wandering past.

Available: December 2020


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI – Reno

Reno is one of the most skilled - and most eccentric - of Shinra’s Turks. He’s easily identifiable by his slim silhouette, distinctive red hair and slick sense of style - all of which have been perfectly captured in this action figure.

He comes equipped with his baton, multiple interchangeable hands and two head pieces that showcase his quirky personality.

Add an impressive range of articulation, and you have a figure as fun and freewheeling as the man himself.

Available: January 2021


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI - Rude

Cool, composed and competent, Rude is the consummate professional. So he naturally also makes for the consummate action figure.

The fine details of the fan-favorite Turk have been painstakingly recreated from the game - his buff physique, the texture of his gloves and even the more subtle decorations like his earrings and chains.

Of course, his sunglasses are present and correct. We use translucent pieces that allow you to see his expression underneath the lens. If you want a rare glimpse at Rude without his signature shades you can have that too, with interchangeable heads!

Available: February 2021


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Play Arts KAI - Sephiroth

Sephiroth, the legendary SOLDIER, war hero and Cloud-botherer makes for an impressively expressive action figure.

That’s partly due to the detailing on his face and clothes, but also due to his multiple points of articulation. Even his hair can be posed!

Accessories include Sephiroth’s famous - and lengthy! - Masamune sword, as well as interchangeable hands to allow for different positions and poses. There’s even an additional head piece with his eyes closed for when you want the figure to be particularly enigmatic.

Available: March 2021


That was just a brief look at the amazing range of Play Arts KAI action figures that are on their way in the coming months.

For more information about these figures - and to see more awesome FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE merchandise - check out the Square Enix Store.

And finally, to stay up to date with news and information about the most exciting products from Square Enix, make sure you follow us on social media:

6 Square Enix characters who can’t help but raise a smile

These hilarious characters may not be the heroes of their games, but we love them all the same.
By Duncan Heaney

WARNING: Contains mild spoilers for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, the Deus Ex series, OCTOPATH TRAVELER, and FINAL FANTASY VI


As gamers, we spend a lot of time with the fate of the world in our hands.

But while being the hero is an important job, it doesn’t have to be a grim one. In fact, too much self-seriousness can be exhausting - sometimes you just need something that lightens the mood.

Fortunately, Square Enix games are full of rich characters who do just that. They may not be the heroes, but they entertain and amuse us and we love them for it just the same.

With that in mind, here are just a few of those characters that put a big grin on our faces:


Johnny - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

In most respects, Johnny is the polar opposite of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s main man Cloud Strife. While the merc is typically cool, collected and competent, Johnny is none of those things.

He appears throughout the game, but his shining moment takes place in Chapter 9. As you explore the many memorable sights and sounds of Wall Market, you’ll constantly run into Johnny.

The brash and bumbling himbo is on a parallel path to the heroes. He visits the same spots and shares the same goals, but without the benefit of common sense it doesn’t work out well for him.

He’s thrown out of the hand massage parlor for being a deadbeat, forcibly ejected from the Honeybee Inn, and his attempts to compete at the Corneo Coliseum leave him with more than a bruised ego.

Yet for all his incompetence, there’s something endearing about his sheer bone-headed enthusiasm. When he hears that his beloved Tifa’s in trouble, he throws himself whole-heartedly into a quest to save her.

it fails miserably of course, because… Johnny, but it’s hard not to like the poor sap. He may be short of brains, but he at least has heart.


Z’aanta - OCTOPATH TRAVELER

The master hunter Z’aanta is an interesting case because although he’s not in OCTOPATH TRAVELLER for long, he makes an impression.

He lives deep in the woodlands, in the town of S'warkii, where he mentors the playable character H’aanit in the ways of the hunt. From that description (and the fact that his name sounds a bit like Santa), you might assume that Z’aanta is a wise and dependable role model, but you would be wrong.

Actually, he’s a little bit unsavoury. He gambles heavily - and usually loses, and has a carefree attitude that belies his age and experience. Rather than providing H’aanit with sage advice, it’s usually his student who has to look after him.

And although H’aanit does do her best to keep her surrogate father on the straight and narrow, it’s a losing battle. Still, there’s a clear love and respect between the two all the same.


Ultros - FINAL FANTASY VI

This recurring boss from FINAL FANTASY VI is petty, belligerent… oh and a giant purple octopus. Should have probably led with that.

You first meet the tentacled terror during a raft ride - he pops up out of the water, eager to chow down on some delicious human flesh. He’s promptly defeated and flees into the depths - a resounding victory for the team (at least until Sabin decides it’s a good idea to attack a river and gets washed away).

Each subsequent encounter gets more and more ridiculous. Ultros pops up again during the famous opera scene, bitter and seeking revenge. He doesn’t succeed in disrupting proceedings - the heroes just work his appearance into the plot. After getting beaten up in front of a paying audience, Ultros is forced to flee again.

Things don’t get better for him from there. He gets distracted mid-fight by having his portrait done by a child, his friend literally sneezes him off of an airship and late into the game, he faces the ultimate humiliation - he has to get a job.

FINAL FANTASY VI can be a dark, dramatic game, but it never loses its sense of fun. ‘Uncle Ulty’ is a perfect example of that - he’s silly, crazy, and completely hilarious.


Bonanzo - DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2

This green-thumbed resident in DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 has a big beard and a bigger dream: to be mayor of an island.

Unfortunately for him, nobody else shares that dream.

You first encounter Bonanzo on Furrowfield - one of the first islands you’ll visit in the story. Like many in the game’s world, he lives in fear of the destructive Children of Hargon, and resists your quest to bring life and creativity back to the land.

But he can only hold out so long before the spirit of farming awakens within him, and he becomes one of your staunchest allies - and self-appointed father figure, whether you like it or not.

He’s a useful chap to have around, willing to chip in with building projects and even battles, but that compliment is nothing compared to his opinion of himself. He’s haughty and self-aggrandizing and assumes that his candidacy for mayor is a given.

But it’s not - particularly because his big bushy facial features make many who meet him instantly wary. Even your BFF Malroth says that he doesn’t trust anyone with a beard.

He may not achieve his dream, and he may not be loved by the other residents, but he’s won our hearts. That’s why we built a lavish private bedroom just for him.

On top of a cliff, away from the other residents though. It’s probably for the best.


Frank Pritchard - Deux Ex: Human Revolution / Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Sarif Industries’ head of cyber-security Frank Pritchard has an… interesting relationship with augmented agent Adam Jensen. At first he’s not a fan - and Frank’s not one to hide his feelings.

Throughout the game, poor Adam - and by extension you - have to deal with amusingly snarky comments from the prickly Pritchard.

Get trigger happy during a mission, and he’ll show his disdain with a quip about Atilla the Hun. Proud of yourself for doing that perfect no-kill run of a mission? Frank’s there to burst your bubble with some bruisingly sarcastic remarks about your humanitarian approach.

And woe betide you if you go into the women’s toilet.

But over time, Frank and Adam develop an understanding. A respect starts to grow, and by the time of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the two have become allies - if not exactly friends.

His comments don’t get any less snippy though. And why would we want them to?


Hildibrand Manderville - FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

As the Warrior of Light, you spend a lot of time in FINAL FANTASY XIV Online with the fate of the world on your shoulders. You’ll battle powerful creatures, explore vast dungeons, stand between warring nations... being the hero is a serious business.

At least it is until you run into Hildibrand Manderville. This… erm… unique detective calls himself an inspector extraordinaire, and in a way that’s accurate. He’s definitely not ordinary.

As a member of the affluent Manderville family, he’s noble in more ways than one. He wants to use his wealth to protect those less fortunate - he’s just not very good at it.

He lacks even basic deductive skills, his disguise skills are… misguided, he’s terrible at shadowing suspects, and he has a weird compunction to pose dramatically at every opportunity.

His naïve assistant Nashu isn’t much better - between the two of them, there’s not a case they can’t bungle. It’s a good thing you’re around to help him out.


Those were just six characters who bring us mirth and merriment, but what do you think? Which NPCs brighten your day? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter:

So you’ve finished FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE… what now?

One adventure is over… time to start some new ones.
By Duncan Heaney

I don’t know about you, but when I finish a game I really like, I’m sometimes left with a weird feeling of loss.

It’s a complex combination of satisfaction and sadness - you’ve adored this game enough to invest tons of time and emotion into it, and now that it’s all over… what next?

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has been one of those games for me. For weeks I’ve all but lived in Midgar - I’ve finished the story multiple times, mastered the combat system and found most of the secrets. I’ve loved every second, and now that my journey is reaching a natural end, I don’t really know what to do with myself.

And if I feel like that, I’m willing to bet that a lot of you do too. With that in mind, I’ve put together some suggestions for some titles that I think will act as a perfect follow-up for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.


FINAL FANTASY XV ROYAL EDITION

If you liked one FINAL FANTASY game, it makes sense to move onto another. The 15th mainline game in the series is a sensible choice, as it also has a real-time battle system.

This adventure follows Prince Noctis Lucis Caelum and his friends Gladiolus, Ignis and Prompto, on a road trip towards Altissia - where the prince will be married. But when tragedy strikes, Noctis is forced to step up and accept new responsibilities.

In truth, it’s a very different game to FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but it shares many of the same elements that make that game so great. The characters, for example, are equally memorable. The bond and banter between the four friends is hugely enjoyable - and surprisingly affecting.

And while the combat system feels quite different - there are no menu-based commands and Noctis is more manoeuvrable than Cloud and co - it’s equally flashy and satisfying. The villain is terrific too, albeit in a very different way to the big S…. but we’ll let you discover that for yourselves.


Trials of Mana

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE wasn’t the only remake we released in April. Trials of Mana is a complete reimagining of a classic 1995 action RPG - Seiken Densetsu 3 as it was known in Japan.

You choose three characters from a choice of six, and take them on a globe-trotting adventure filled with interesting characters, secrets to find and some truly superb boss battles. What’s more, the story will play out differently depending on who you choose for your main protagonist and two companions.

The game’s another logical next step for anyone who likes real time battle systems. Trials of Mana’s combat is brisk and exciting, with a real sense of weight and power to your attacks. The other pillars of a great RPG are there too - a rewarding upgrade system and a killer soundtrack.

Perhaps the best thing of all is that you can try it for free. A demo is available on PS4, Steam and Switch that lets you play a hefty portion of the opening sections - and your progress will even carry over to the full game if you decide to buy!


DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Much like FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is a critically acclaimed RPG set in a beautiful world full of incredible characters, satisfying combat, and surprising stories.

This game is a genuine epic that positively overflows with charm. All the things you’d want out of an RPG are present and correct: the story is exciting and goes to unexpected places, it has one of the most likeable casts of characters you’ll ever see, and the combat - turn-based in this case - is fast-paced and strategic.

In short, it’s the complete package. Heavily recommended.


Shadow of the Tomb Raider

If you haven’t played a Tomb Raider game, you may be surprised to learn that Lara Croft’s most recent adventures have a fair amount in common with FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

Take Shadow of the Tomb Raider for example. Like that game it also features beautiful, cutting-edge visuals, a focus on story and exciting set piece moments. It also features RPG elements, such as experience points which you can use to upgrade Lara’s skills and weapon upgrades.

There’s a greater emphasis on platforming and puzzles than FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, and combat is fully real-time and mostly firearm-focused, but if you want another game that delivers tons of flash and sizzle without sacrificing substance, this is well worth playing.

There’s a free trial available for PS4, Xbox One and Steam too - so give it a go!


FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

One of the best things about Midgar is how well realized the city is - and how lived-in it feels.

If getting completely absorbed in a fantasy world is what you want, few are as expansive and immersive as FINAL FANTASY XIV Online’s. Not only is overflowing with amazing sights and sounds, it’s home to some of the most compelling stories in FINAL FANTASY history.

The game is specifically designed to be welcoming to new players and suit all types of people. For example, if you want to buddy up with friends, there’s plenty of scope to do so, but it you want to stay as a mostly solo adventurer, that’s viable too.

Most quests can be completed on your own, and for group activities like dungeons, you can be automatically matched with other players or you can fight alongside NPCS instead with the recently introduced Trust system.

But perhaps the best thing about FINAL FANTASY XIV Online is that there’s always something new to do. New quests and features are released regularly throughout the year, so you’re unlikely to experience the feelings we talked about at the top of the article.


WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY MAXIMA / DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT

Want to see more of Cloud and co? The heroes of FINAL FANTASY VII have stepped into many other games over years.

For example, Cloud, Tifa and Sephiroth are all playable in DISSIDIA FINAL FANTASY NT. This fast-paced 3v3 fighting game lets you pit characters from across the FINAL FANTASY series against each other in explosive, visually stunning brawls.

If you want to give it a go, there’s a Free Edition available on Steam and PS4. It won’t give you access to every character, but it will let you see if you like the game without spending a single gil.

Alternatively, you could check out WORLD OF FINAL FANTASY MAXIMA. It’s an adorable RPG that acts as a love letter to the FINAL FANTASY series, and features appearances from super-cute versions of popular characters - including a certain spiky-haired former SOLDIER.


The original FINAL FANTASY VII

If you want more of the world of FINAL FANTASY VII, there’s an obvious next step: play more FINAL FANTASY VII.

The original game is available on most platforms - PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Steam and even mobile phones! However you play, it’s a chance to spend more time with the characters you know and love from REMAKE.

You’ll also see familiar scenes, enemies, weapons and more in their original form and see just how painstakingly the team has reimagined them for the new game.

What’s more, FINAL FANTASY VII still stands up as a superb RPG in its own right. If you’ve never played this true icon of gaming, it’s a perfect opportunity to see why people still love it so much. And for those who have played time and time again… well, you don’t need us to give you an excuse for one more playthrough, right?


Those were just a few picks for what to play after you’re done with FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - but we’re sure you have some ideas of your own too!

Why not share your suggestions on social media, and let us know what you’re playing next!

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE sweepstake winners revealed!

Four lucky people have won chronographs worth £1,777.77 / €1,999.99
By Duncan Heaney

Did you enter the big FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE sweepstake?

In the run-up to the launch, the Square Enix Store gave anyone who pre-ordered the game in North America or Europe the chance to win one of these amazing FINAL FANTASY VII-themed chronographs.

These stainless steel timepieces are as beautiful as they are impressive. Every piece is handcrafted, from the all-glass back to the Mako-inspired mother-of-pearl central disk, and they’re finished with details that refer back to FINAL FANTASY VII.

Two versions are available - one inspired by Cloud Strife and another by Sephiroth - and only a limited number have been made. Long story short, each one’s a premium item in every sense.

Now that the game’s released, we’re excited to announce the winners of the sweepstake.


North America

First Place: FINAL FANTASY VII Chronograph: Cloud Strife (approximate retail value $2,499.99 USD)

  • Winner: Alberto C (USA)

Second Place: FINAL FANTASY VII Chronograph: Sephiroth (approximate retail value of $2,499.99 USD)

  • Winner: Ricky P. (USA)

Europe

First Place: FINAL FANTASY VII Chronograph: Cloud Strife (approximate retail value £1,777.77 / €1,999.99)

  • Winner: Gaëtan (France)

Second Place: FINAL FANTASY VII Chronograph: Sephiroth (approximate retail value £1,777.77 / €1,999.99)

  • Winner: David (UK)

All the winners have been contacted and should be receiving their prizes soon.

For everyone else, bad luck. But hey - at least you got FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. That’s pretty good right?

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, make sure you follow the team on social media:

6 Square Enix characters that we’d recruit for a heist

We’d need a burglar, a safe-cracker, a grifter, some muscle, a driver and a planner. But who to pick…
By Duncan Heaney

Warning: spoilers for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 and OCTOPATH TRAVELER.


The other day I caught the tail end of a heist movie on TV. Inevitably it got me thinking – if we were going to put together a crew, which Square Enix characters would we recruit?

What follows is a dramatisation of how this little thought experiment went.

I love a good heist.

Oh yeah - me too!

Movies, TV shows, books… it always makes for great fiction.

…fiction, right. (Quietly puts crowbar back in bag)

You know the story – a group of noble-hearted misfits team up to put a wrongdoer in his or her place, typically through means of a needlessly elaborate plan that requires their oddly specialised skillsets.

Ah, you mean some sort of hustle…

Shh! I don’t know if we’re legally allowed to use brand names!

Anyway, if we were going to do a good ol’-fashioned movie heist, who would recruit for our team? After all, there are Oceans-worth of Square Enix characters whose skills we could Leverage.

From what I understand, you really need six roles to pull it off: a cat burglar, some muscle, a safe-cracker, a grifter, a wheelman and finally a big brain to create the plan.

So with that in mind, here are the Square Enix characters I’d pick to pull off a heist.

I dunno… is this really the most productive use of your time? I mean, you haven’t even clearly articulated who you’re talking to? Am I a voice in your head, another member of the team or what?

Hey look friend – as I write this, the power’s gone out in my house and I have nothing else to do. So let me have this, okay?

Fine. Let’s hear it.


The Cat Burglar – Erik from DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Every team needs a burglar – the kind of rascal that can slip in and out of a room without anyone noticing.

Do you mean a thief? Because there’s literally a game called… Thief.

Well yes – fair point. Garrett would be a great choice, but I’d rather utilise his skills for a more specialised role.

Instead, I’d recruit Erik from DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age to do the job. This spiky-haired hero has fast hands, a quick wit and an unerring ability to get in and out of places he shouldn’t be.

Hmm… sounds a little untrustworthy.

You’d think that, but Erik as a firm a friend as you could ever hope to find.

He’s reliable, loyal and sure he can get a bit carried away when presented with valuable treasure, but he’ll always do the right thing in the end. He’s the quintessential rogue with a heart of gold. In more ways than one actually.

Any other skills?

Like many thieves, he’d prefer to run from a fight rather than stand his ground. But if it does come to fisticuffs, he can more than hold his own. Not only is he incredibly evasive, his Critical Claim attack is one of the strongest of all the DRAGON QUEST XI crew.

Be warned though – he’ll insist on waiting for his turn to use it.


The Muscle – Tifa from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

All heist teams need some muscle – someone tough to take care of any unexpected trouble. And there’s no shortage of options here.

Ooh – like Zell from FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered!

Strong, but far too excitable. Think about it – one overexcited whoop and the whole gig’s blown.

Ok, what about Barret from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE?

See above.

No, if we’re talking FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, there’s a much more obvious choice: Tifa Lockhart.

This awesome martial artist is fast, strong and incredibly skilled. I mean, she can literally punch robots into scrap - even ex-SOLDIER Cloud has to use a Buster Sword.

And talk about upper body strength - have you seen how many pull-ups she can do?

Does she have any experience though?

Yes - as a member of Avalanche, Tifa has played a vital role in missions to sneak into dangerous reactors, infiltrate high security offices and more. She may have misgivings about some of these jobs, but she ultimately always steps up to protect her friends and teammates.

And you know there’s one more thing that she can supply to the team: her own bar!

Seventh Heaven has everything you need for a good hideout: a jukebox, plenty of cocktails (mine’s a Cosmo Canyon!) and even a secret room underneath the pinball table.

Brilliant - so after the heist, we can go back there and celebrate with a plate of something.

…yes. I can definitely guarantee you’ll get a plate.


The Safe-cracker – Garrett from Thief

If movies have taught me anything (and clearly they have not), it’s that every good heist crew needs a safe-cracker. From looked doors, to lockboxes, these nimble-fingered artisans of are capable of opening anything and everything.

In other words, it takes a skilled touch, and Garrett – the Master Thief himself - is very, very skilled indeed. When it comes to picking locks, there’s no-one better.

I’ve heard that there are some safes that are completely impregnable though. I imagine that even Garrett would have trouble with those bad boys?

And you’d be right – which is where his extensive collection of other skills comes into effect.

For example, Garrett a master of stealth - a true shadow. He could be standing right next to you and you’d never know.

Also consider that he’s incredibly thorough. He’ll scan a room carefully, look into every nook and cranny with a practiced eye. If the combination’s written somewhere he’ll find it.

But what if it’s not written down?

Look, if you’re a videogame character with a safe, you have to write down the combination. It’s, like, the rules.

Seems awfully convenient, but I’ll go with it.


The Grifter – Primrose from OCTOPATH TRAVELER

Next, we need a people person – a slick smooth-talker who can manipulate people to get exactly what they want. Primrose from OCTOPATH TRAVELER fits the bill perfectly.

Once a noble, she’s embarked on a life of subterfuge and revenge after the death of her father. As part of her quest, she assumes guises – such as taking on the guise of a dancer as she lies in wait for her target.

So she’s willing to play the long-con then?

Oh boy is she! But that’s not the only reason she’s the perfect person for this role. Primrose has the special ability to sweet-talk… well, pretty much anyone she meets.

It doesn’t matter how who they are, how old they are, or what they’re doing – a few words from Primrose and they’ll follow her to the ends of the earth.

Wow – that’s persuasive.

I know, right? They’ll even throw themselves into mortal danger if she asks them to. If we get into a fight, anyone following our silver-tongued recruit will jump into the fray – even if they seem wholly unequipped for battle.

Now that’s what I call a grifter.


The Wheelman – Ignis from FINAL FANTASY XV

The plan’s underway – now we need an escape. A good driver’s essential for a slick extraction, but who to choose…

Lots of options here. Cloud Strife from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, for example….

I think Cloud’s more of a bike person. We need someone who’s comfortable with four wheels, not just two.

In fact, if we’re talking FINAL FANTASY, there’s one obvious choice… Ignis Scientia from FINAL FANTASY XV.

This refined gentleman takes care of the bulk of the driving in FINAL FANTASY XV – set him a destination, and he’ll get you there regardless of traffic or weather conditions.

Just don’t ask him to drive at night – he’s very against that.

Ok so we have a wheelman… but still no wheels.

But that’s another great thing about Ignis - he could supply his own car! Sure, the Regalia’s only made to accommodate four people, but I reckon a few more could squidge in if necessary.

It’s not the fastest ride, but Iggy handles it with skill and grace – he won’t put a wheel wrong.

And best of all, when you get back to Seventh Heaven, he can cook the team a delicious meal. He might even have come up with a new recipe!


The Mastermind – Caius Ballad from FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

Finally, we need someone to plan the heist – a mastermind who can see all the angles, make a plan, and execute it successfully.

And here’s where things get a little tricky, because most of the master planners in Square Enix games aren’t on the side of the angels…

Wait – you want to recruit a villain?

What can I say – that’s where the talent is. There are lots of examples of villains carrying out largely successful plans in games.

For example, Garland from the original FINAL FANTASY, Kefka from FINAL FANTASY VI or Ardyn from FINAL FANTASY XV – each of them essentially completed their goals.

So why not one of them?

Well let’s be honest – anyone who’s played FINAL FANTASY VI knows that Kefka’s not exactly stable. What’s more, each was ultimately thwarted – after the fact in some cases, but all their hard work was undone.

That’s exactly why Caius Ballad from FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 is the perfect choice here. Not only is he an incredibly smart fellow, who uses time and space itself as a chessboard, he actually won. There’s nothing that can be done to stop the events he sets in motion – only adapt to them.

In other words, he’s a mastermind whose plans actually work. Exactly the type of person we’d want to plan our heist.


Perfect! Looks like we have a team.

And with this group, our unnecessarily convoluted schemes are sure to succeed.

…but hold on a sec. Now that I think about it, isn’t there already a team of RPG heroes who perform heists?

I don’t know what you mean.

Yeah, stealing heads or hearts… something like that.

I SAID I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN.

Ahem. Anyway, those were our picks – but what about yours? Which characters would you recruit for your heist crew?

Share your thoughts in the comments and social media. And check back on the Square Enix Blog regularly for news and articles that weren’t written because I was at a loose end.

7 things we learned from Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Why is Cloud Strife sometimes uncool? How did manga inspire the boss fights? We highlight some of the most interesting tidbits from the video documentary series.
By Duncan Heaney

Have you watched the Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE video documentary series yet? It features interviews from many of the game’s developers, who talk about everything from how they developed the characters, to how they created the thrilling combat system.

The series is overflowing with fascinating facts and amusing anecdotes about the creation of the game. Here are just seven of the coolest things we learned:

1. The game was designed to be both new and nostalgic at the same time

The developers of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE didn’t want to create something purely for fans, or entirely for new players - they wanted both groups to be able to enjoy the game.

In fact, this was a fundamental design principle for Director Tetsuya Nomura:

I felt that there would be many fans who had played the original game, and with over 20 years having passed, there would be lots of new ones too,” he explains.

I really felt that I had to get the balance right and make something that could be enjoyed by both groups. That is what I took the most care with.

That philosophy is echoed by the rest of the team. Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi recalls that the game couldn’t rely on nostalgia - it had to appeal to everyone, from those who played the original to those who were only vaguely aware of the likes of Cloud and Sephiroth.

As Producer Yoshinori Kitase told the team: “It should feel both new and nostalgic”.

2. The main character is intentionally uncool (sometimes)

Cloud Strife, the lead character of FINAL FANTASY VII, has undergone a few subtle changes for the remake. While his original personality remains intact, the main story and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima wanted to get much deeper into his inner psychology.

In the original, he wrote the aspiring mercenary as a composed and stylish character, but for this game, he depicted him as being more obviously fallible… and less cool.

Mr Nojima says: “This time, he can miss the mark and be a little cringe-worthy at times. Because he wants people to accept him and respect him, he puts on a front. So when he doesn’t know something, he just goes ‘Not interested.’

I have written him in a way that makes you think that ‘Not interested’ might not be a cool thing to say, but can sometimes be a bit lame.

This reason for this change? Mr Nojima explains that modern technology means that the characters look much better than back in 1997, so the characterization has to be more realistic to match that detail.

3. Boss battles were inspired by four frame manga

The spectacular boss battles in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE have multiple phases, with the behavior of the boss and even the setting changing over the course of the battle.

But did you know that the concept for this battle system was inspired by 4-frame manga in Japan. These comics carry a basic story structure in just four panels: introduction, middle part, development and conclusion.

In Episode 4, Lead Battle Designer Tomotaka Shiroichi explains how the team applied this to the boss battles in game:

Encounter the enemy and start the battle in phase 1, and show each other’s hand and the boss takes the lead in phase 2.

In phase 3, the boss shows you the signature attacks, and the players start fighting back. That’s when bosses start revealing their weaknesses. Phase 4 is the climax and introduces the next part of the storyline.

4. The composers approached each track as if it was a new piece of music

The original FINAL FANTASY VII has one of the most beloved soundtracks of any game. Recreating the legendary Nobuo Uematsu’s compositions for a new game is no easy feat.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s sound team wanted to respect the original music, and they made sure to capture the melodies that people love so much and update them with new arrangements and technology.

At the same time, however, the composers weren’t beholden to the original game.

I made multiple arrangements of many of the iconic FINAL FANTASY VII music tracks,” recalls composer Mitsuto Suzuki

Some of them are very faithful to the originals, and there are other arrangements that only sound reminiscent in passing. But if you pay too much attention to the originals, then it is quite difficult to try and make something even better. For that reason, I try to be as natural as possible and approach them as if I was writing a completely new piece.

Those sentiments are shared by composer Masashi Hamauzu, who was recommended for the project by Mr. Uematsu. As he says:

I felt that the best way to honor that recommendation, was to make music as it comes to me, rather than trying to copy what Mr. Uematsu did.


Composer Masashi Hamauzu has a cool connection to the original game

Not only is Mr. Hamauzu one of the composers for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, he was also involved in the original game - in a particularly cool way at that.

I sang in the Sephiroth chorus,” he laughs. “I think that was my first job helping out Mr. Uematsu”.

We have to say, as initial tasks go, that’s a pretty good one.

6. Cloud’s physique was inspired by ballet dancers

Ever wondered how Cloud’s able to wave around the Buster Sword so freely? That’s just one of the things the character designers had to take into account when recreating the iconic hero.

Naturally, the team used Nomura’s original illustrations as reference, but they also took reference shots from real life people to see how bone structure and muscles should work together.

Of course, there are some aspects of the game that aren’t what you’d call realistic, and to make sure that the character looked right, the team had to make sure they found the right referencing material.

Masaaki Kazeno, Character Modelling Director, explains: “Cloud wields the Buster Sword, which is a massive and very heavy weapon, and if you design the muscle structure which realistically would be needed to wield that size of weapon, he would end up becoming a much larger, more of a body builder kind of guy.

That’s completely different from the image of Cloud. Therefore, we used a lot of reference from male ballet dancers, who may often be slim but have a lot of muscle tone.


7. Translating FINAL FANTASY VII’s odder elements took some work

If you’ve played the original FINAL FANTASY VII, you’ll know that it can be a somewhat unusual game at times. For example, when running around the Shinra Building, you may encounter an enemy that looks… well, like a big blue fish.

Which should raise questions really. As Mr. Kitase himself asks in Episode 5: “Why would you have a fish shaped monster appearing in a building?

In the original, some of those more eccentric elements of the game got a pass due to the stylized presentation, but the move to more realistic visuals meant that there was a risk that they could look odd or out of place.

At the same time, these exaggerated elements are part of what give FINAL FANTASY VII its unique identity. As a result, the team spent a lot of time and effort adapting the original monster and enemy designs so that they’d fit into the new game’s style, but remain recognizable for fans of the original.

If that sounds like a challenge, apparently it was. Or as Mr. Kitase put it: “that was hard, but also great fun to do.

That was just a sliver of the fascinating facts revealed in the Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE documentary series. There’s loads more to discover and it’s a must watch for anyone who’s interested in the new game.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now on PS4:

To keep up to date with all the important information about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, make sure you also follow on social media:

More than 3.5 million copies of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE shipped and sold digitally

Hit RPG gets strong digital sales in the first three days since release - and a positive critical reception too.
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out, and a lot of you have spent many hours now exploring Midgar and taking the fight to Shinra.

And when we say ‘a lot’, we mean it. More than 3.5 million copies of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE have been shipped or sold digitally in the first three days following its April 10 release. Digital sales in particular have been very strong, and continue to grow.

That’s quite the figure, and it’s not the only big number the game’s seen. The game also received a terrific critical reception, with journalists around the world scoring it highly and singing its praises.

Here’s just a sample of what they’re saying:

Gamespot’s Tamoor Hussain rated the game 10/10, stating that: “this remake takes one of the most beloved games of all time and elevates it higher.”

Gamesradar+ echoed those sentiments, awarding the game a 4.5/5. Heather Wald called it ”a spectacularly entertaining introduction to the world of Final Fantasy 7 for modern audiences.”

Techradar’s Bill Thomas scored the RPG a 5/5, stating: “This game is so good that it should be considered the standard by which modern Final Fantasy games are measured, and for that it will probably stay installed on our PS4 hard drive for a very long time.”

Easy Allies Bradley Ellis gave the game 9/10, and described it as “an excellent reimagining of a beloved classic.”

Twinfinite’s Ed McGlone handed out a 4.5/5, praising "a gorgeous, well-made, and fun RPG that successfully retells one of the best video game stories ever told with a few twists."

Empire published another 5/5 review. Matt Kamen wrote that the release was: “one of the most breathtakingly realised and staggeringly beautiful games in years.”

The Verge doesn’t do review scores, but Andrew Webster complimented FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, calling it: a "thrilling, thoughtful take on a classic".

And the list goes on, but we won’t - except to say congratulations to the entire FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE development team for this well-earned achievement.

And also a heartfelt thank you to everyone who’s picked up the game. We hope you continue to have a great time with it.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now for PS4.

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, make sure you bookmark the Square Enix Blog, subscribe to the FINAL FANTASY YouTube channel or follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

The making of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Update: Episode 5 of our Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE documentary is out now. Watch the full series here!
By Duncan Heaney

Here’s a question you may have had after playing the recent FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo: how did they do all this?

Now you can find out directly from the creators themselves in a video documentary series: Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. The multi-part series features interviews with many of the key figures behind FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, including:

  • Yoshinori Kitase (Producer)
  • Tetsuya Nomura (Director & Concept Design)
  • Kazushige Nojima (Story & Scenario)
  • Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director – Game Design / Programming)
  • Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director – Scenario Design)

Over the course of each episode, they’ll reveal a treasure trove of behind the scenes information about the game, including the development of the story, characters, combat, action, music and much more.


Episode 1 - Introduction

Here's the first episode - watch it here:

Episode 2: Story and Characters

In the second episode, the creators of the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE talk about how they adapted the story and characters of the original RPG for this new game. Watch it here:

Episode 3: Combat and Action

The third episode looks at the exciting combat in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Watch it now:

Episode 4: Music and Sound Effects

In this episode, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE developers and composers talk about how they made the game such an incredible audio experience:

Episode 5: Graphics and Visual Effects

In the fifth and final episode, the developers talk about how they created the distinctive look of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

We hope you enjoyed this insight into development - to stay up to date with news and information about the game, make sure you bookmark the Square Enix Blog, subscribe to the FINAL FANTASY YouTube channel or follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now on PS4.

The FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE team discuss story, Sephiroth and more

The creators of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE explain their philosophy for the game, the challenge of balancing old and new, what makes a good RPG battle system and much more.
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now - we’re sure lots of you had a lovely weekend exploring the richly detailed city of Midgar.

With the game now on shelves, it seemed like the perfect time to catch up with Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi and Producer Yoshinori Kitase to talk about their memories of developing the game.

Interestingly, Hamaguchi-san grew up a big fan of the series - that seemed a logical place to start our discussion:

Hello again Hamaguchi-san. As a fan, what’s it like to work on the thing you grew up loving?


Hamaguchi-san: (laughs) I’ve said this to Kitase-san before as well, but I strongly remember playing FINAL FANTASY VII as a child. I really love that game and was really touched by it.

It became an inspiration for me to join the games industry. I wanted to be able to make something like that - to create something that has that kind of effect on people and could get that emotional reaction.

So as an adult, I get to be involved in creating entertainment that sticks with people and touches them in some way, and that’s an amazing thing.

It makes me want to keep trying to get better and better - and get closer and closer to making that ‘ultimate’ game that changes someone’s life, as FINAL FANTASY VII did mine!

With FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, I really have put everything I have as a games creator into the project - everything I have learned up to this point. I really hope that the fans love the game, and I’m looking forward to seeing their reaction.

How did you gather the right team to work on FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE?


Hamaguchi-san: There are quite a few people like Kitase-san, who were on the original FINAL FANTASY VII development team, as well as developers within Square Enix who have worked on other FINAL FANTASY games - including some of the FINAL FANTASY VII spin-off projects.

The team is also partly made up of people who were inspired by FINAL FANTASY when they were younger - like myself obviously. It’s fitting because the series is one of the reasons a lot of us wanted to get into making games.

So we all came together to build a team that has a lot of experience - and a lot of love - for FINAL FANTASY VII.

And it’s not just Japanese developers either. We’ve had a lot of people from all around the world help too - when they heard we were making a remake of FINAL FANTASY VII, they really wanted to come and join us on this project.

It genuinely feels great to be involved with people with such a passion for the original game and this project - we wanted to make this the definitive version of FINAL FANTASY VII - and something people remember for another 20 plus years!

How difficult was it to balance old and new elements in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE?


Hamaguchi-san: To explain our philosophy, it really was a case of being respectful to the original game, and then what were the elements of the original that we had to reimagine to create a more immersive experience?

Most of the additions to the story come from us trying to fill in the gaps from the original game - content that wasn’t included in the original because we couldn’t show it fully with the technology available.

Kitase-san: For example, some of the transitions and the gaps between story beats in the original FINAL FANTASY VII felt a little uneven or didn’t flow all that smoothly. To overcome that in the remake, we put new elements in to make the story feel more continuous.

So you can’t really make a clear distinction between what’s new and what’s from the original in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. It’s all blended together to make a self-contained story for this first game in the project.

How much did the story and structure of the game change over development?


Hamaguchi-san: Quite a bit actually. We worked closely with FINAL FANTAY VII scenario writer Nojima-san - but it wasn’t like he just wrote the story and handed it over to us to base the game on!

Obviously, as game designers we have to create a nice balance, a nice rhythm throughout the game - find the tensions, the highs, the lows and take it to a good climax at the end. There are certain parts where you want to ramp up the excitement and they become focal points of the story.

When we started mapping the game out, if the scenario wasn’t supporting that as well as it could, or something just wasn’t adding up, we’d gather all the information we could and send it back to Nojima-san.

He’d then tweak and adjust the scenario, so it works really well within our envisaged framework as a game.

Through this iteration, we were able to effectively combine the story Nojima-san wanted to tell, with the structure of a really exciting, satisfying game.

Sephiroth appears in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE much earlier than he does in the original game. Why did you make the decision to introduce him here?


Kitase-san: There are two main reasons. Firstly, the way we handled Sephiroth in the original FINAL FANTASY VII was to hide him - hold him back.

You may not know this, but I was inspired by the movie Jaws which took a similar approach of teasing this powerful presence, but never fully showing you the shark until later in the story. We wanted to build him up as this really big, powerful character in people’s minds. By only referring to him indirectly, it created this feeling of fear and oppression - so when he makes his first appearance, it’s a big deal.

But for the remake, that doesn’t work so well - partly because everybody knows who Sephiroth is (laughs)! We didn’t think it would be as effective to have him held back until later on in the story.

Secondly, Sephiroth is this massively overarching presence that looms over the whole FINAL FANTASY VII saga. We wanted to make sure that aspect of him was present in this first game in the project - that’s why we have introduced him much earlier in the story now.

We’ve talked about the game’s fantastic combat system before, but as an RPG fan, what do you think makes for a good RPG battle system? What elements are important?


Hamaguchi-san: (thinks) Hmm… I think it’s about giving players options.

That’s not just important for battles, but also for all kinds of gaming mechanics - but what’s really important for players is that feeling that they’ve made a decision on how to play, and get the feedback that they’ve done well because of it.

If you only give the player one method of doing something, they don’t really get the impression that they’re playing, right? They’re just doing what they’re told.

Having multiple options available, and multiple things that a player can do, is very important. It means that when they pick the right one, they feel clever and skilful as a result.

That feedback cycle is very important. RPG combat provides lots of opportunities to make decisions - from the different abilities, to how they use them on different enemies. When you make the right one, it makes you feel good - I think that’s always important to think about when designing battles.

Now that the game's out, what’s your favorite memory of working on this project?


Hamaguchi-san: Honestly, for me it’s really just being involved in it.

I wasn’t in the games industry when the original game was released - I was just a player like so many other people. The original game - and the FINAL FANTASY series as a whole - is what made me want to get into game development.

So to work with so many of the original development team, and so many other fans and developers from around the world on this game has been very special.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now and available to buy on PS4:

To stay up to date with news and information about the game, make sure you follow on social media:

Tips for playing FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Turn yourself into a 1st Class SOLDIER with these helpful hints.
By Duncan Heaney

The combat system in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is entirely new to the series. The combination of classic menu-based commands, with real-time action makes it feel exciting, unique… and unfamiliar.

The game’s no pushover either - even on Normal difficulty, there’s a lot to think about - and enemies play for keeps. Cloud, Barret and the rest of Avalanche have their work cut out for them if they want to defend the planet.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. We’ve put together some handy hints to help you get to grips with the game - follow this advice, and you’ll be sticking it to Shinra in no time.

ATB is the key to success

Abilities and spells are the most effective way to deal damage to enemies by far. Being over-reliant on standard attacks will get you nowhere - their primary purpose is to fill your ATB bars faster so that you to use your abilities and spells more often.

While you may be able to beat the first few Shinra troopers by spamming the square button, that’s not going to last. Tougher enemies will easily withstand these attacks, and hit back much harder.

Get into the habit of using combos to fill your ATB, and relying on abilities and spells to cause damage and stagger states. Characters under your direct control will generate ATB more effectively, so also get comfortable switching between party members mid-fight.


Make sure you block

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, offence isn’t always the best defense. Sometimes the best defense is… y’know, defense.

If you press R1, your controlled character will block and take less damage from enemy attacks. They can also roll out of the way to avoid taking a hit completely with a tap of the circle button.

You might think it’s better to focus on evasion over blocking - why take a bit of damage when you can take none, right? But blocking is a more reliable way to mitigate damage - a mistimed roll can leave you very vulnerable. Not only that, it’s more useful in some situations.

For example, blocking attacks fills ATB, allowing you to launch powerful attacks more quickly than if you’d avoided the attack.

What’s more, many enemies have area of effect (AOE) attacks that knock characters off their feet - the Scorpion Sentinel’s EM Field in the opening mission, for example. If you block these, you’ll take a little bit of damage, but you won’t be knocked down, leaving you close to your foe for the counter-attack.

Take advantage of enemy weaknesses whenever possible

Many enemies are weak against different types of magic. For example, Shinra’s troops tend to dislike being hit with Fire (which, in fairness, we would too), while its machinery is susceptible to electrical attacks like Thunder.

As you explore the slums and streets of Midgar, you’ll encounter foes that have lots of other weaknesses, such as ice or wind, and you should take advantage of those Achilles heels as much as you can.

Of course, it’s not always easy to know what an enemy is weak to, which brings us to our next point...


The Assess Materia is your best friend

Early on in the game, you’ll receive the Assess Materia. This is one of the most useful tools you’ll get in the game.

When equipped, you’ll be able to spend a bar of ATB to assess enemies and reveal their weaknesses and resistances. Not only that, it will often provide battle tips to help you interrupt their attacks or build their stagger gauge.

Assess everything you encounter. To make things easier, the upgraded Assess Materia will analyze every enemy in an encounter at once. Once scanned, you can check an enemy’s information at any time in the menu, or by pressing the touchpad while highlighting that enemy.

In short, it’s a game-changer and we strongly recommend always having at least one character with Assess equipped at all times.

Try to complete Battle Intel missions

Early on in the game, you’ll encounter Chadley - a young man who works for Shinra’s science division. He’ll ask Cloud to complete various tasks in battle - for example using Assess a certain number of times, or attacking staggered enemies in different ways.

It is well worth your time to complete these requests because they unlock new types of Materia - some of which are extremely powerful. The First Strike Materia, for example, lets you start fights with a chunk of ATB already filled - that’s indescribably useful in some tougher areas.

Check your battle intel regularly, and consider their completion requirements when in a fight to see if you can work them into the encounter. Because not only are the rewards worth it, they may also help you discover new battle techniques and strategies.


Heal between fights

Enemies can dish out some serious damage in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, so you need to make sure you keep your HP topped up.

You can use healing magic and potions mid-combat, but it uses a bar of ATB. But in-between battles, you can use as many items as you like as often as you like.

So it’s sensible to take the time to heal your party when you have a moment of downtime - that way, they’ll be ready for the next round and you won’t have to sacrifice a chance to dish out damage.

Also look out for benches. These are usually situated next to vending machines - if you sit and take a load off, you’ll refill your HP and MP completely.

Browse at every shop and vending machine

Whenever you pass a shop, go in and have a look at their stock. Different vendors hold different items, so you may be able to buy some new materia, a useful accessory or even a new music track to play on the jukebox.

Similarly, make sure you check vending machines whenever you can. They often offer sales on items, so you’ll be able to get a hi-potion or a tuft of phoenix down at a fraction of the usual asking price.


Add materia slots to weapons when you can

As you level up in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, you’ll be able to upgrade your weapons too. You’ll be able to improve their attack power, increase defense, make magic more potent and more.

It’s entirely up to you what you prioritize, but we found it useful to add more materia slots whenever we could. This upgrade lets you equip more spells and commands onto a character - and the more they can do, the more prepared you’ll be for the tougher fights.

Plan ahead for future battles

It’s not just the heroes and their weapons that improve over time - equipped materia does too. Many will unlock new spells or abilities, or their effects will become more pronounced.

You can see the upgrade path of your materia when equipping them, and we advise you take a look. Don’t just think about what you need now, consider what might be useful in the future - and if you have a spare materia slot, equip it.

For example, the Steadfast Block materia fills ATB faster when characters block attacks. Initially you’ll get just a small boost - handy, but not exactly game-changing. But if that materia grows a few times, that effect will become much more pronounced and useful.

That’s not to say you need to invest in that particular materia - different people will find different playstyles and strategies so find what works for you. The point is that even if a piece of materia doesn’t seem particularly useful now, it probably will be later.


Take your time and explore

You may be on a mission to save the planet, but that doesn’t mean you have to rush. Take your time and look around.

The areas in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE are full of things to find - and they’re all incredibly useful. Keep your eyes open for chests because they contain recovery items, new equipment and more.

Midgar is also strewn with Shinra crates. If you see that familiar logo on a pile of boxes, smash them up because there may be something good inside. For example, you may find an MP-restoring mako shard or a potion - it’s worth taking the time to find out. Even if you come up empty, smashing up crates with a giant sword is endlessly satisfying.

Finally, as per the unofficial rules of all videogames, if the objective marker is sending you one way, go another direction and poke around. You just might find something.


There you have it - some top tips to help turn you into a true SOLDIER (1st Class). Hopefully they prove useful - but have you discovered any tips and tricks of your own? Share the knowledge with the team on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now on PS4:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out now on PS4

Step up to the plate and get ready to explore Midgar in this epic RPG.
By Square Enix Team

Sometimes we write a blog post that we know is largely superfluous. We can’t imagine that there are many of you who don’t know that FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out today.

But just in case… hey everyone - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out today on PS4!

This epic new RPG reimagines the iconic original FINAL FANTASY VII for the modern era. This first game in the project is a full standalone title set in Midgar - a sprawling steel metropolis that’s under the control of the sinister Shinra Electric Power Company.

Cloud Strife, a mercenary and former member of the elite SOLDIER unit, lends his aid to the underground resistance group Avalanche, unaware that the consequences will change his life forever.

The game features beautiful visuals and a thrilling hybrid battle system that combines real-time action with command-based combat. It makes for fast-paced and strategic battles that really get the blood pumping - you can find out more about it here.

If you want to know more about the game, we’ve shared a lot of interesting information about game over the last few weeks, including hands-on previews, screenshot showcases, and more.

One of the true highlights has been the ongoing video documentary series Inside FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

It gives you unprecedented access behind the scenes of development, and features interviews with the creators of the game themselves, including Producer Yoshinori Kitase, Director and Concept Designer Tetsuya Nomura and many more.

Watch part one below:

To see all the episodes released so far, click here:


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is available to buy now on PS4.

To stay up to date with all the latest news and information about the game, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE: meet Rufus Shinra and the Executive Board

New screenshots and information highlight the upper echelons of the Shinra Electric Power Company. Plus… what are Moogle Medals?
By Duncan Heaney

We’re just mere days away from the official release of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - the game launches on PS4 on April 10, 2020.

Before that though, we wanted to share one last preview at some of the people that you’ll encounter in your adventures across Midgar.

Also, if you’ve played the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo, you may be wondering: what exactly are Moogle Medals? Read on, and we’ll explain:


Rufus Shinra

President Shinra's son and the current Vice President of the Shinra Electric Power Company. He’s recently been away from Midgar on an extended business trip.

He is an immensely prideful man, with a strong rebellious streak towards his father. Despite being vice president, he sometimes enters the battlefield himself, armed with a custom-made shotgun and protected by Darkstar, a military canine.


Palmer

The Director of Shinra's Space and Aeronautics Division. Palmer is the eldest of the company’s executives but has no real power or influence - his division, originally founded with the latest technology at Shinra’s disposal, has all but folded since it failed to launch a rocket.

Because division activities have been suspended indefinitely, Palmer finds himself with lots of time on his hands. He’s fond of butter in his tea and chortles in a distinctive manner.


Scarlet

Shinra's Director of Advanced Weaponry. During the war, her innovative, high-end armaments brought in a sizable chunk of change for the company.

Her wartime efforts, and the resulting profits, saw Scarlet quickly promoted to executive officer. She is highly capable, as one would expect from someone placed in charge of Shinra’s weapons development.


Kyrie Canaan

A girl from the Sector 5 slums who makes a living by pulling off scams on unsuspecting victims. Although fearless, she often finds herself in trouble.


Moogle Medals

A new item that didn’t appear in the original FINAL FANTASY VII. Moogle Medals can be found inside treasure boxes and Shinra Company crates - you’ll have to search high and low to get your hands on them.

There seems to be someone in Midgar who collects Moogle Medals - and if you have some, you may be rewarded…


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is out April 10, 2020 for PS4.

To stay up to date with news and updates about the game, make sure you follow on social media:

Free FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Zoom backgrounds available here

Make your video conferencing a bit more interesting with these custom backgrounds of iconic characters and Midgar locations.
By Square Enix Team

Like us, many of you may be working or studying from home at the moment. Also like us, you may have found yourself reliant on video conferencing tools like Zoom.

Unfortunately, some homes make for boring backdrops - we’re talking a lot of white walls and beige bedrooms. So why not add a bit of flair to your video calls with a custom background?

We’ve created some free backgrounds to use on Zoom, based on the upcoming FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. They cover many of the iconic locations from the game, such the glitzy Wall Market or Tifa’s bar Seventh Heaven (sadly you can’t nip in there for a quick game of darts).

Alternatively, you could pay respect to your favourite characters with backgrounds featuring the likes of Cloud, Barret and Aerith.

Or, if you want to be a dutiful corporate employee, set your background as the inside of the Shinra Building. There are a few interior shots available - personally, I favour the area around the cafeteria.

There’s plenty more to choose from and the choice is yours - you can view and save all the images below (Please note that the images on page are compressed, so click the download link beneath each for a higher quality version).

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We hope these backgrounds add a bit of Midgar charm to your video conferencing. Sure, you’ll still be trapped in a meeting, but at least your friends or co-workers will have something interesting to look at!

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches April 10, 2020. To stay up to date with the latest news, images and more, check the Square Enix Blog regularly, and follow the game on social media:

The FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE team have worked extremely hard to make this game and we are incredibly proud of what you are about to play. Our biggest motivator during the development was that so many of you were willing us on, and we felt your enthusiasm and passion every step of the way.

We had some hard decisions to make during the final few weeks before launch due to disruption to distribution channels caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These unique circumstances have made it very difficult to align timing of our global shipping. Our highest priority is that all of you, including those who live in countries currently facing the biggest disruption, can play the game at launch, so we made the decision to ship the game far earlier than usual to Europe and Australia.

As a result, there is a greater chance that some of you in these regions will now get a copy of the game prior to the worldwide release date of April 10. For other western regions, including the Americas, copies will be shipped this week and we feel optimistic that most of you will receive the game for launch day. However, due to the challenging situation we cannot provide delivery dates for each country and each retailer.

We really want all of you looking forward to FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE to play the game on April 10 and experience everything we have been working on, together.

To everyone we would like to ask one big favour.

If you get the game early, please think of others and don’t spoil it for them. We know there are potential spoilers that have been out there for over two decades as the original FINAL FANTASY VII was released in 1997. But FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is a new game that still has many surprises for everyone. All our fans and players deserve to experience the game for themselves, and we ask for the support of our dedicated community around the world to ensure that.

On behalf of the entire development team, and everyone around the world that has worked on getting FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE to you all, thanks again for your support, and most importantly, please stay safe.


Yoshinori Kitase (Producer) and Tetsuya Nomura (Director)

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

New FINAL FANTASY TRADING CARD GAME sets out now, featuring FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and more

FINAL FANTASY VII-themed starter set, and FFTCG Tin Gift Set also available. Here’s everything you need to know.
By Duncan Heaney

Whether you’re a fan of the FINAL FANTASY TRADING CARD GAME (FFTCG) - or if you want to dip your toes into the game for the first time - we have some good news.

For existing players, the latest card set is available now. Opus XI: Soldier’s Return features all-new cards, including stunning art from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

It also features completely original illustrations from some of the best artists in the videogames industry, including:

  • Ryoma Ito (FINAL FANTASY TACTICS ADVANCE)
  • Yasuhisa Izumisawa (FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES MY LIFE AS A DARKLORD)
  • Akira Oguro (FINAL FANTASY IV COMPLETE COLLECTION)
  • Kumiko Koike (FFTCG Original)
  • Toshitaka Matsuda (FINAL FANTASY I, FINAL FANTASY VI)

This set also features a new ‘counter’ mechanic, which opens up all kinds of new strategic possibilities if used wisely.


Sets for new players available

If you’ve yet to try the game, then now’s the perfect time - we recently released a brand new two-player starter set to celebrate the upcoming FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

The Cloud vs Sephiroth Two Player Starter Set can be used by both beginners and seasoned players and includes two decks. That means you can share with a friend or a family member and get playing straight away - you have everything you need!

Alternatively, you can pick up the new, first ever FFTCG Tin Gift Set. This beautiful collection features gorgeous artwork of Tifa, as she appears in FINAL FANTASY VII: ADVENT CHILDREN, on the tin. It even features three exclusive promo cards and additional booster packs.

Here’s what’s included:

  • (3) OPUS I Boosters
  • (3) OPUS II Boosters
  • (3) OPUS III Boosters
  • OPUS X Booster
  • Tifa Alternate Art Full Art Card
  • Y’shtola Full Art Card
  • Hraesvelgr Full Art Card

For more information on FFTCG, organized play and stores please check out the official website:

March 27 update on FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

By FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE team

As we prepare for the release of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on April 10, we wanted to keep you updated on how the proactive measures being taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus are likely to affect the distribution and retail landscape in western regions at launch.

As you will be aware, many countries are limiting entry or closing their national and state borders and restricting the distribution and delivery of non-essential items. Understandably these restrictions are being implemented so that essential items can reach their destination as fast as possible.

This does not mean that box copies of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will not be dispatched, it just means that we cannot control the date the game may arrive.

In many countries and states, retail stores are closing to help with social distancing measures. If you placed a pre-order with one of these retailers, we advise you to check their websites for the latest information about the status of pre-orders, as well as pick-up and/or delivery information. Please ensure your mailing address and contact details are up to date, as some retailers have begun contacting customers with delivery updates.

Finally, we are currently making arrangements to ensure that pre-orders from the SQUARE ENIX STORE reach you by April 10.

We are working hard to ensure as many of you as possible can play the game on April 10 and will update further when we have more information.

Thank you for your continued support and most importantly, stay safe.

Meet the English voice cast for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

An Avalanche of talent is bringing some of the most iconic characters in videogames to life. Find out who’s voicing your favorite here.
By Square Enix Team

Did you catch the recent FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE trailer?

It showcases a lot of characters from the upcoming game - a complete reimagining of the classic RPG that debuted on the original PlayStation in 1997.

That game didn’t have any voice acting, so, excitingly, this is the first time that many of these characters have had a voice.

If you’ve watched the trailer - or any of the others - you may think to yourself: "I recognize that voice!"

You’re probably right - here’s the full list of voice actors for all the characters you’ve heard in our trailers so far, and where you might have seen or heard them in the past:

  • Cloud Strife: Cody Christian (All American, Teen Wolf)
  • Barret Wallace: John Eric Bentley (Hart of Dixie, Lab Rats, Fear of the Walking Dead)
  • Aerith Gainsborough: Briana White (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Occupants)
  • Tifa Lockhart: Britt Baron (GLOW, The Thing About Harry, My Valentine)
  • Red XIII: Max Mittelman (Persona 5, One-Punch Man)
  • Jessie: Erica Lindbeck (Spider-Man PS4, Mortal Kombat 11)
  • Biggs: Gideon Emery (Dash & Lily, Teen Wolf, Dragon Age II)
  • Wedge: Matt Jones (Bob Hearts Abishola, Breaking Bad)
  • Sephiroth: Tyler Hoechlin
  • Reno: Arnie Pantoja (Konosuba, Trolls, Sydney White)
  • Rude: William Christopher Stephens (The Avengers, Spies in Disguise, Mortal Kombat 11)
  • Tseng: Vic Chao (Seis Manos, Mortal Kombat X, Ben 10)
  • President Shinra: James Horan (Metal Gear Solid V, Fallout: New Vegas, Love, Death & Robots)
  • Heidegger: John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time)
  • Scarlet: Erin Cottrell (Love’s Long Journey, The Identical)
  • Palmer: William Salyers (Regular Show, Spider-Man PS4, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders)
  • Reeve: Jon Root (Call of Duty: Ghosts, Fallout 76)
  • Professor Hojo: James Sie (Jackie Chan Adventures, Uncharted)
  • Marlene Wallace: Brielle Milla (The Ellen Show, T.O.T.S.)
  • Roche: Austin Lee Matthews (Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon, Trails of Cold Steel III)
  • Don Corneo: Fred Tatasciore (Overwatch, Fortnite, Gears of War)

It’s an impressive list of actors - we first announced some of the cast during E3 2019, and a few of them got to meet up at our E3 live event:

Fans also got a chance to meet some of the stars at PAX EAST, including Britt Baron (Tifa), John Eric Bentley (Barret), Briana White (Aerith), Erica Lindbeck (Jessie) and Gideon Emery (Biggs).

About FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

You’ll be able to hear them bring the story of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE to life, when it releases April 10, 2020 for PS4.

The game reimagines the iconic RPG for a modern age. It’s set in Midgar - a city that has fallen under the thumb of the Shinra Electric Power Company, which controls the planet's life force as mako energy.

Cloud Strife, a mercenary and former member of Shinra's elite SOLDIER unit, lends his aid to anti-Shinra group Avalanche, unaware of the consequences that await him.

Whether you’re brand new to the series or a long-time fan, there’s lots to enjoy in this epic adventure. It features beautifully detailed visuals, an exciting hybrid battle system that combines real-time action with strategic command-based combat, and - yes - one supremely talented voice cast.

It’s available to preorder now:

To find out more about the game - or share your thoughts on the cast - make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE developers talk Midgar, Red XIII and more

How exactly does Red XIII work in the game? What endgame content can people expect? Producer Yoshinori Kitase and Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi answer our burning questions
By Duncan Heaney

The developers of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE faced a daunting task: how do you reimagine a game as famous - and beloved - as the original FINAL FANTASY VII?

Ahead of the game’s April 10 release, we sat down with two of its creators - Producer Yoshinori Kitase and Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi - to discuss how they approached this unique challenge.


SPOILER WARNING: Please be aware that this interview contains mild spoilers for the game. Scroll below the image to continue


Why did you feel that now was a good time to return to the world of FINAL FANTASY VII?


Kitase-san: Ever since FINAL FANTASY VII came out in 1997, fans and the media have repeatedly called for a remake like this.

Unfortunately, we haven’t really had a chance to get a team together to work on it during the last 23 years. I’ve always felt that for such a big, important project we had to have our best developers on it. It had to be a team that had a lot of experience of working on FINAL FANTASY games too.

But we finally managed to find a point where everybody’s schedules aligned - that’s when we started the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE project.

The biggest reason though, is how much time has passed and how technology and the world has changed since the original was released. Modern players may have seen the characters Cloud and Sephiroth over the years as they have appeared in other games, but they may not have played the game where the characters originated from.

I felt that if we want to show people where these characters came from then, truthfully, if the original game was the only way to experience it, new players - especially anyone that wasn’t playing games in the original’s era - probably wouldn’t be so impressed with the original game compared to the latest titles they could be playing.

So that felt like an exciting challenge and opportunity - let’s take everything great from the original, and create something new and surprising for both the original fans, and those that never played FINAL FANTASY VII before.

Hello Hamaguchi-san. In comments you made for the Square Enix Blog, you stated one of the guiding ethos for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE was ‘new but familiar’ - what exactly did you mean by that?


Hamaguchi-san: When we started this project, I had to think very, very hard about what form we wanted any new experiences in this remake to take.

From the start, I felt that FINAL FANTASY VII’s characters, world and story are so beloved that we couldn’t start playing with those or changing them in a reckless manner. But the style and presentation - the way they’re shown - that we can work with.

Obviously, the capabilities of technology are much better now than they were 23 years ago. What we can show, and what we can do as a piece of entertainment, has become so much wider.

So taking all those core aspects and elements that people loved from the original FINAL FANTASY VII, and translating those into a new, modern style of game, can bring it to a new audience of players

Even if they’ve never seen FINAL FANTASY VII before, it has that same goodness in its heart - but it’s shown in a way that will resonate with a new audience.

For people who have played the original game, that’s where this whole idea of feeling of nostalgic but also fresh at the same time comes in.

They’ll see the stuff they know and love from the original but presented in a new and exciting way.

Why did you make the decision to set this game entirely in the city of Midgar?


Kitase-san: When we first started the Remake project we had to make a decision on what elements from the original we absolutely had to keep in order for it to still be considered FINAL FANTASY VII.

In other words, what were the essential parts of the original, what were the parts that we knew fans absolutely had to see and therefore we needed to retain?

We quickly decided that there were so many essential parts that fans would be upset if we had to cut out anything from the original.

At the beginning of the project we had two directions we could go. The first was to make the project with the highest possible level of graphics, visual quality and detail, and not remove anything that fans wanted to see. Instead, it would expand upon the original game, to make it something even more immersive.

The other option was to include the entire scope of the original game in a single release. But in order to make that work as a modern game, we wouldn’t be able to go for the highest visual quality and we’d also have to cut back on areas and scenes from the original.

Essentially, to make a single release viable the resulting game would have ended up being a digest of the original story, and we didn’t think that fans would be pleased with that.

Ultimately, we decided the best option for the project was to go for the highest level possible, with an expanded story. Having more than one game in the project allowed us to focus on keeping everything people loved from the original, but go into greater detail and more story depth than before.

Midgar is iconic to FINAL FANTASY VII, so we had to start the game here, and follow the story up to the main party’s escape from the city.

As you say, Midgar is one of the most recognisable and iconic settings in videogame history. Why do you think that is? What have you done to make sure you capture that essence in this new game?


Hamaguchi-san: When creating the city we broke the concepts of the original down to three key words. Those were: Dark, Modern Steampunk and Eclectic.

I think those elements all really shine through and make the city both believable and memorable. It’s a location full of variety, with different zones, and different groups of characters inhabiting each of them.

It’s a very imaginative setting, full of different influences and surprises. I think this is why people remember it, because while being a fantasy world, it feels like it could be real.

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, we have paid very close attention to every single part of it and tried to make it feel really alive for players.

How have you expanded the city? Can fans expect to see new areas of Midgar?


Kitase-san: In the original game there were a lot of breaks in the game, where the screen went black, and then the game continues in a different location.

In other words, there were a lot of parts in between sections of Midgar that were implied, but never seen. That was something that we wanted to address with remake - to fill in all those gaps, show how the different parts of the city are connected, and make it a continuous experience.

Hamaguchi-san: We focused on giving each section of Midgar its own feel, complete with its own culture and community. There is a large amount of variety within the city, and you really get a sense who people are and how they live in this place.

Some fans have expressed disappointment that Red XIII is not a playable character. Can you specify the role of Red XIII in the game?


Hamaguchi-san: I answered a question about Red XIII while we were going around Europe talking to media, but there was a bigger response from fans than I had expected! I got a renewed sense of how much love there is out there for the characters in FINAL FANTASY VII.

To explain more about why we did not make Red XIII a playable character in this game, we felt that because he only joins the team during the latter stages, having him as a playable ally with full character growth potential would not be a satisfying experience for the player. So we decided to have him join for now, as a guest character instead.

However, the development team feel the same way that the fans do when it comes to seeing Red XIII as an important character, and we designed his gameplay in a special way to offset him not being playable in battle.

I won’t reveal exactly what that entails, because I want people to enjoy it when they actually play the game, but I will say that FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has added a new upper floor to the Shinra Building to present a climax that was not in the original.

The key to navigating this floor lies in using Red XIII’s unique physical abilities to overcome environmental obstacles. Letting the player experience his heroics in this way is something that I’m confident will please the fans.

I hope everyone enjoys seeing Red XIII in action in the build-up to the climax of the story.

How did you approach the design of the combat system in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE? How much inspiration did you take from the original game?


Hamaguchi-san: At its heart, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has the same battle system as the original game: you wait for your ATB bar to fill up and choose what to do from your list of commands.

But action elements are also layered on top - by skilfully using these mechanics, you can open up the enemy, knock them down, and create a chance to do big damage. You can also much more efficiently charge your ATB gauge.

The combat system was intentionally designed to bring those two things together - I think it’s a really effective hybrid of action and turn-based combat, and I hope players will enjoy it.

You also created Classic Mode - what was the intention behind that?


Hamaguchi-san: We’re aware that there are some people who are not so keen on action games. From our point of view, we would be very sad if people avoided our game because of that - especially if they already love the world of FINAL FANTASY VII, and its characters.

We want to show everyone this amazing world and all the effort that’s gone into creating its depth, so we created Classic Mode. This lets you automate the action elements and just focus purely on issuing commands in the style of the original game.

So if you think: “I really love the look of that game, but I’m put off by the action,” don’t worry. We made Classic Mode specifically so you can enjoy the game in just the way you want to!

This will be many people’s first time playing FINAL FANTASY VII - perhaps even FINAL FANTASY. What have you done to make sure the game is welcoming to new players?


Kitase-san: We made FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE not just for fans of the original, but specifically for new players too.

Something that we repeated to ourselves throughout the development was “what are the essential parts of the original” and “why did people respond to the original the way they did?”

Our goal was to capture everything that made the original game so special, but bring it up to date with the latest technology so that new players could be just as excited as players of the original game were when that released.

For new players, this is where the story of FINAL FANTASY VII begins. If you’ve seen characters such as Cloud or Sephiroth in other games, and wondered where their story began, this is the game.

We’ve also intentionally designed the game to be welcoming to all players - if you’re a fan of action games, or prefer something more tactical, there are different control modes that allow the game to be played to your preference.

Fans expect a lot from FINAL FANTASY, such as secrets or hidden bosses. Is this the case in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE?


Hamaguchi-san: We can’t say exactly how much there is - we want to keep some surprises for players!

I will say, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has been designed as if it were a standalone game, and comparable in size to other mainline FINAL FANTASY games.

The content you mentioned from other FINAL FANTASY games… I don’t want to say precisely what’s in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but if you’re expecting endgame content, you won’t be disappointed.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches April 10, 2020 for PS4.

If you want a taste of what to expect from the game, the demo is now available on the PlayStation Store:

To stay up to date with all the important news about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, follow the team on social media:

10 things you may have missed in the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo

Easter Eggs, secret endings and more. How many of these have you discovered?
By Duncan Heaney

The FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo’s been out for a few days now - hopefully you’re all enjoying it.

Now that many of you have gone hands-on with this exciting new RPG, we wanted to dive in and point out some of the things you may not have noticed.

Truth be told, we were going to do seven of these because… ha ha FINAL FANTASY VII, but even this relatively brief section of the game overflows with small details, Easter Eggs and more.

So here are 10 cool things you may have missed in the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo. How many did you spot?


1. You can see materia in weapon slots

Look closely at Cloud’s sword and Barret’s gun arm and you’ll notice the green materia embedded into it.

For those new to FINAL FANTASY VII’s world, characters equip these glowing orbs to gain spells and special abilities. Unlike the original game, in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE each character’s materia setup is accurately reflected in their appearance.

You can see this in the demo - Cloud only has access to Fire materia, so only has a single orb visible on his sword. Barret has both Thunder and Cure magic - and both materia can be seen on his weapon.


2. Posters contain some refreshing Easter Eggs

When Cloud and co first enter the train station at the start of the demo, you’ll notice a few posters stuck to walls. Take a moment to look closely at them, because you’ll spot some fun Easter Eggs.

For example, a couple of posters promote Banora White Apple Juice. Banora White is a type of fruit that’s referenced throughout classic PSP game Crisis Core: FINAL FANTASY VII.


3. Jessie has a lot to say about Cloud’s laser-dodging abilities

At one point in the demo, Cloud has to dodge lasers, cutting through the beams when they cycle off.

If he gets zapped, Jessie has something to say about it - you may have heard a few comments yourself if you mistimed the section. But if you keep getting hit, Jessie will continue to comment on your performance - and she has a fair amount to say.

Her attitude also changes, from initial concern, to admiration for Cloud’s resilience, to a growing suspicion that he’s doing it on purpose.

Which, in fairness, he probably is if it gets to that point.


4. Stamp the Shinra dog

Throughout the demo, Barrett calls Cloud “Stamp”, and asks if “Stamp can bite the hand that feeds him”.

His intention is clearly to suggest that the former SOLDIER still has loyalty to his former employer, Shinra - but did you notice that he’s referring to a specific dog?

If you look around you’ll see a few posters of the Shinra mascot Stamp. Don’t worry though - he’s still a good dog. Because they’re all good dogs, right?


5. You can toggle between radar, mini-map or neither with L2

The demo doesn’t really make this clear, so consider this more of a PSA: you can toggle a radar or mini-map with a press of L2.

The mini-map is useful for exploration - a trail shows where you’ve recently been, helping you remember which corners of the facility you’ve peered into.

Alternatively, you can toggle to a radar, which is helpful for keeping track of your objective. Or if you prefer a clear HUD, you can also turn them off entirely.


6. You can press the touchpad for more information about your foes

Have you tried pressing the PS4’s touchpad while in a fight? It’ll open up an information panel that tells you a little about your current target.

In the full game, you’ll need to equip Assess materia and use the associated ability to see more detailed data. It’s almost always worth it though - knowing enemy weaknesses is crucial for some tougher fights.

Plus it gives you a brief description of the foe - those are always fun to read.


7. The clock outside the train station matches the train arrival boards inside

If you’re looking for an example of just how much attention to detail there is in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, look no further than the clock outside the train station.

If you compare the time to the boards inside the station, you’ll notice that it’s around the same time. It’s these little touches that add up and help create something special.


8. Barret sings the FINAL FANTASY victory fanfare

No new FINAL FANTASY game would be complete without the famous victory fanfare, and this one is no different.

Combat and exploration are seamlessly integrated in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but don’t worry - Barret’s still got you covered.

After a successful battle, he may sing the fanfare in his own inimitable style. Listen out for it!


9. The music changes dynamically

If you’ve played the demo, you don’t need us to tell you that the music in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is incredible. But did you know that it changes dynamically depending on what’s going on in the game?

For example, when you enter combat inside the reactor, the soundtrack will subtly switch to a faster-paced, more action-oriented version of that theme. When combat’s done, it returns to the more sedate, menacing piece.

Or when you’re dodging lasers (or not - see #3) there’s an additional layer added onto the track just for this small section.

If you want a good way to hear the dynamic soundtrack, try temporarily turning the volume for voice and sound effects to zero. You’ll quickly hear how elegantly the music shifts and builds throughout the bombing mission.


10. There’s a secret ending scene

Cloud and Barret are out to bomb Shinra’s planet-harming reactor - but how long did you set the timer on the explosives?

You get a choice of a risky 20 minute countdown, or a more relaxed 30 minute escape window. Whichever you pick, you’ll get a tantalising bit of footage at the end of the game, but if you go for the shorter option, you’ll see a bit extra, featuring a glimpse at an iconic character…


Those were just a few noteworthy things tucked away in the demo - but it’s far from all of them.

Did you notice anything worth pointing out to fellow fans? Let us know on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE releases on PS4 April 10, 2020, and you can preorder it now:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE screenshots: Wall Market, Honeybee Inn and more

Meet old and new residents of Midgar, the Leviathan Summon and much more
By Duncan Heaney

We have some new FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE screenshots to show you. We think you’re going to like them - they’re pretty glamorous.

Read on and we’ll show you how fan-favorite locations like Wall Market and the Honeybee Inn have been reimagined, showcase Barret in Battle and highlight some very special materia.

First though, we’ll take a look at some characters in the game, starting with one that fans of the original game will know very well…


Tseng

This is Tseng - the leader of the Turks.

The Turks are a small, elite organization with Shinra that does everything the company needs it to - be it scouting out candidates for SOLDIER, protecting VIPs, or even assassination.

Their cool-headed leader has a knack for managing his eccentric subordinates. He’s an old acquaintance of Aerith's, and has been keeping watch over her since she moved to the slums.


Don Corneo

This lecherous scumbag is the true ruler of Wall Market. He hosts nightly auditions for the "next Mrs. Corneo" and although his mouth is as foul as his face, he has an uncanny way with people - even the dregs of society are securely under his thumb.


Andrea Rhodea

The owner of - and dancer at - the Honeybee Inn is a man of influence within the quarter, with the authority to approve women for Corneo's auditions. Each night, he dazzles his crowd with performances that defy description. Always seeking perfection, he rigorously trains both his mind and body.


Leslie Kyle

Don Corneo's lackey may look young, but he has the heart of an old curmudgeon. His dead-eyed stare and general apathy have earned him pride of place among the don's men.


Madam M

Madam M is the proprietress of a hand-massage parlor in Wall Market. Like Andrea, she has a great deal of influence within the quarter - that includes the authority to approve women for Corneo's auditions. Be warned that she’s a prideful sort, and only as courteous as her customers are deep-pocketed.


Chocobo Sam

A Chocobo handler in Wall Market, Chocobo Sam is another prominent figure with the authority to approve women for Corneo's auditions. He runs a delivery service called Sam's Delivery. He also happens to be an avid gambler - though he’s hooked more on the rush than any money he may win.


Barret in Battle

Next up, let’s take a look at one of the core party members - and how he works in battle.

If you’ve played the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo, you’ll have experienced how Barret fights.

His gun arm makes him an ideal long-ranged fighter. Push the square button, and Barret will fire a volley from his machine gun. You can also hold down the button for an extended salvo.

If you press the triangle button, you can use Barret’s “Overcharge” attack. Not only is it more powerful than standard shots, it fills a large portion of his ATB gauge.

Bear in mind that once used, it takes a long time to recharge this attack - but you can speed up the reload process by pressing triangle again.

Barret’s battle abilities

When Barret fills his ATB gauge, he can use one of his special abilities. Here are just a couple of the things he can do.

Focused Shot: this ability uses up all available ATB charges to deliver a powerful attack. Not only does it do good damage, it also fills up an enemy’s stagger gauge - get that to max and they’ll be susceptible to even more damage!

Lifesaver: This ability definitely lives up to its name! After activating it, Barret will share some of his HP with allies when they take damage.


Command Materia - Enemy Skill

Materia is vitally important in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - equipping these orbs allows your characters to use magic, special abilities and more.

The next screenshot shows you the Enemy Skill materia:

When a party member has this equipped, they have a chance to learn certain enemy attacks that are used on them. Note that the character can only use these skills while the materia is equipped.


Wall Market

Built on the ruins of the collapsed Sector 6 plate, Wall Market is Midgar’s biggest - and most infamous - entertainment quarter.

It’s run by Don Corneo (see above) and is almost entirely free of Shinra’s influence.

It’s an incredibly lively area that offers plenty of… let’s say ‘intriguing’ ways to pass the lonely nights.

Corneo Colosseum

Located beneath the bustling streets of Wall Market, the Corneo Colosseum gives brave fighters the chance to engage in brutal battles against both man and monster.

Winners of a colosseum bout receive glory, fame, and a substantial reward.


The Honeybee Inn

Situated in Wall Market, the Honeybee Inn is the area’s premier nightclub, and offers nights few will ever forget- as its staff frequently remind its patrons.

Every night, audiences are dazzled by the Honeybee Inn’s gorgeous cast of honeygirls and boys.

This unique venue also provides private rooms for its more discerning customers, allowing them to enjoy time in private with the performers of their choice.

At one point in the story, Tifa and Aerith glam themselves up to infiltrate Don Corneo’s mansion. Cloud is left with no choice but to dress to impress as well.

Each character has multiple costumes too!


Beginner’s Hall

This is Beginner’s Hall - a location where you can learn the basics of weapon enhancement.

There’s a weapon shop on the ground floor.

The second floor is used as the base of operations for the neighborhood watch.


New feature: Jukebox

While you wander around town, you may come across areas playing special music. You can get these songs as music discs from shops or citizens.

When you can acquire a disc, an icon will appear in the top left of the screen.

Once collected, you can play a disc on any jukebox. This one can be found in Tifa’s bar - Seventh Heaven.


Summon: Leviathan

Summons are a particularly powerful type of Materia. Equip one to a character, and they’ll be able to bring a powerful ally into battle.

Today we’re introducing a summon that will make quite a splash - Leviathan.

Worshipped as a deity in the Wutai region, this non-elemental summon takes the form of a water serpent.

Leviathan evokes a savage beauty as it rises from the briny depths, generating tidal waves that wash foes away.


We hope you enjoyed this latest look at FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. The game releases for PS4 on April 10, 2020 - it’s mere weeks away!

To stay up to date with all the latest news about the game, make sure you follow on social media:

Take a look at these new FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE PS4 dynamic themes

See the new themes in action - and find out how to get them!
By Duncan Heaney

If you read the Square Enix Blog regularly, you’ll notice we often urge you to follow the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE social media accounts. Today is a great example of why.

The game’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts have just previewed a number of dynamic themes for PS4. These beautiful backgrounds feature sights and sounds from the highly-anticipated RPG - out April 10, 2020.

You can take a look at these fantastic themes below. More are on the way, so make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE to see them first.


You can get the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo on the PlayStation Store. And why not check out our top tips to help you become a better SOLDIER?

You should expect more themes and information about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE as we get ever-closer to the game’s release on April 10.

So once again, here’s the PSA: make sure you follow on social media to keep up to date with the news.

How FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE expands and adds to the original story

Warning: this article contains story spoilers for the game.
By Duncan Heaney

Previously we looked at the combat of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - today we’re going to talk about the story.

So consider this your warning: here be spoilers.

One of the most fascinating things about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is how it takes familiar scenes from the original game, but expands and reinterprets them to add richness and depth to the story. It also smartly sprinkles in new elements that keeps things surprising.

To illustrate how it does this, I’m going to discuss a very specific sequence from very early in the game - the aftermath of the opening bombing mission.

So if you want to go into the game as blind as possible, now’s the time to tap out. Go read this article about FINAL FANTASY love stories or something instead.


Final spoiler warning: Story details start below Barret:

After the bombing

If you want to know about the dramatic events of the game’s opening bombing mission, you can experience it for yourself in the demo (cough - download link - cough).

For the most part though, that opening part skews close to what fans will expect - Cloud and company get in, fight their way to the reactor, beat the bolts off a giant robot scorpion and get out in the nick of time, as the reactor explodes around them.

But what happens after that? Well, as in the original game, the team splits up to reunite later, and Cloud wanders alone through the Upper Plate streets of Midgar.

And what streets they are - this area drives home just how richly-reimagined this iconic location really is. The streets are densely-packed with detail - buildings tower around you, streetlights illuminate the scene with vivid color, every NPC is unique, and most have something to say as you get near. Despite the devastation around you, the place feels alive.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably take this section very slow, taking the time to really soak in the scale and atmosphere of the place.

But then Cloud has an unexpected reunion with a figure that fans of the original FINAL FANTASY VII will instantly recognize…

Suddenly, we’re in exciting territory - this is new! And there’s no dawdling now, as a startled Cloud pursues the elusive figure through the streets and alleys. Although he loses sight of his target, he does eventually encounter a very familiar flower-seller: Aerith.

But she has problems of her own - she’s surrounded by black wisps of… something, which cause her to stumble and fall. Cloud’s presence seems to drive them away, and they strike up a conversation - much as it did in the original game.

Rest assured that, yes, Cloud can still has an option whether or not to buy a flower - and here’s a fun fact: a grateful Aerith will now give it to him for free, rather than charge him a gil!

Unfortunately, the interaction is cut short by a double-whammy of interruptions. First Shinra forces identify Cloud, and Aeirth’s mysterious harassers return. And while she flees, Cloud… well, let’s just say he resists arrest.

Here’s yet another example of how the game redefines a classic moment. In the original game, Cloud is confronted by Shinra security but very quickly escapes onto a moving train. It all takes place in the same area, and lasts only a few minutes at most.

But in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, the confrontation sparks an exhilarating chase up, over and around the streets of Midgar. The scene still ends with Cloud jumping for the train, but how he gets there is much more intense.


Story Spoilers end here

The game’s co-director Naoki Hamaguchi recently described their team’s approach to the story of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE:

“I’ve considered the following phrase important: respect for the original,” he said. "FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE takes on the challenge of creating something… that matches the current generation, while treating the captivating elements of the original game with respect.”

That’s apparent from what we played - all the major events of the game are there just as you’d hope. But there’s another important element too - as Hamaguchi-san himself says:

“For those who’ve played it: new but familiar.”

Ultimately, I think that’s the perfect way to describe it. After extended time with the game, I suspect that fans will be very happy with how they’ve adapted the key beats of the story. But they’ll also be surprised too.

And as a fan myself, that’s very exciting indeed.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE releases for PS4 on April 10, 2020. It’s available to preorder now from most retailers, including the Square Enix Store:

To stay up to date with all the news about the game, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE preview: a closer look at combat

We go beyond the demo to look at the battle system in the full version of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is now just a few weeks away. Many of you will already be digging into the recently-released demo. If not, what are you waiting for: go download it now!

But the demo, while exciting, is just a small sample from the very beginning of the game. Some of you may be wondering - how does the combat expand from there?

The Square Enix Blog team recently played through more of the game - I experienced three meaty sections: the opening bombing mission and subsequent escape; the assault on Reactor #5, and a boss battle in the Midgar sewers.

With many hours of gameplay under my belt, I wanted to share some of my own impressions of how combat’s shaping up.

Combat beyond the demo

I’ve seen a lot of fans ponder about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s combat system - how does it feel to play?

Honestly, it feels completely unique - to the point where I can’t really think of a reference point to compare it to. What I can say for sure is that it’s enormously satisfying.

It all revolves around ‘ATB’. As you battle, two ATB bars underneath the character’s HP indicator will fill. When one is complete, you can spend it to use a special attack, spell or item.

We’ve written about this before, and you can experience this for yourself in the demo, but having played much further into the game, combat opens up dramatically. Your options get deeper, battle strategy becomes even more important, and fights feel fantastically rewarding as a result.

To try to explain what I mean, here are some observations:

Each party member is unique

Every playable character in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE feels distinct. While they all share the same basic controls, the way they fight is markedly different.

You can switch between party members in battle, or just give them orders via the Command Menu. Either way, understanding how best to leverage their strengths will give you a massive edge in battle.

Here’s a brief summation of the core party:

  • Cloud - an effective fighter in almost all combat scenarios. His abilities are wide-ranging, from stagger-filling assaults to flurries of attacks that increase in power with subsequent hits. His Punisher stance (activated by pressing triangle), lets him counter foes after a block - not only useful, but so, so satisfying to pull off.

  • Barret - his signature gun-arm makes him a logical choice to take out enemies that are high up or far away, but he has far more utility than that. For example, his Steelskin ability means that he can’t be interrupted by foes when using magic or abilities - that saved my life more than once!

  • Tifa - capable of delivering astonishing amounts of damage and doing so very quickly - though she’s in serious trouble if she gets overwhelmed. Her speed and ability to pressure enemies means that I found her to be something of a wrecking ball against Shinra’s various minions.

  • Aerith - when it comes to magic there is no equal. She casts noticeably more potent spells than her allies, and many of her abilities play into that strength. For example, she can steal MP from opponents or drop a Holy Circle that allows the party to multi-cast (amazingly useful in the battle against Abzu). You’ll want to keep her far away from the center of the action though.

ATB is essential

Standard attacks exist primarily to add to the ATB gauge - they only inflict minor damage. So if you expect to win a battle by spamming the square button, you will die. Probably very quickly.

True, the standard Shinra security forces you face at the start of the game can be put down without much trouble, but for most enemies and bosses you’ll have to rely on abilities and spells.

I tested this out against a Riot Trooper. These shield-wielding foes shrugged off Cloud’s basic combos, and responded with brutal attacks of their own. Before long, SOLDIER-boy was down for the count.

But by spending ATB on fire magic, I was able to take these foes out in mere seconds.


Combat requires thought

Combat may be real-time in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but I’d argue that the scraps are as much a test of the mind as they are of reflexes.

The game constantly mixes up its encounters - just when you think you’ve developed a foolproof plan, a new enemy type or composition of foes turns up to completely wrong-foot you.

I found that I constantly had to adjust my strategy on the fly - should I use attacks like Cloud’s Braver to inflict maximum damage? Should I focus on abilities to stagger the enemy so it’ll take more damage? Would it be more efficient to focus purely on elemental weaknesses?

A good strategy and a thorough understanding of your various options makes a significant difference to your effectiveness in combat, and it makes every encounter feel meaningful - and fun!

Bosses are brilliant - but they’re no pushovers

That depth carries over to the bosses, which are fantastic.

We fought against three overpowered foes: the Scorpion Sentinel, Air Buster and Abzu - every single one presented a unique battle that required different strategies to overcome.

And strategy is important because if you approach these fights without proper consideration, it’s likely you won’t make it out. These guys are tough!

You meet the Scorpion Sentinel during the opening bombing mission. Since it’s in the demo, we won’t dwell much on it, except to say electricity is your friend. Also, attack while its tail is up.

No wait - don’t do that!

The Air Buster is encountered during the game’s second bombing mission and it steps things up a notch. In this battle positioning is everything - the mechanized menace is surprisingly fast, and has vicious attacks that should be avoided at all costs.

For example, at points in the fight it can detach its hands, so they can attack independently. In you’re in the path of these flying fists (which I was far too often), you’d best be ready to whip out a Hi-Potion or Phoenix Down.

Fortunately, these attacks tend to follow a predictable path - if you’re paying attention, you can maneuver to a safe space on the battlefield. Not only have you negated the attack, you’re well-positioned to follow up with a coordinated counter-assault.

Finally, we faced off against Abzu in the sewers beneath Midgar. The slobbering beast tests everything you’ve learned so far. It charges quickly, it’s incredibly strong and it can use the environment itself against you - getting smothered by sludge from a sewer pipe is probably not how Cloud imagined he’d go out.

It’s a tricky fight but fortunately Cloud’s equipped with the Assess Materia, which provides valuable information about Abzu’s primary weakness (which I won’t reveal so you can work it out for yourselves in the full game).

This provides the first piece of the puzzle - but it’s actually Abzu’s reactions to these attacks that let you see the full picture. Using this knowledge, it’s possible to execute a plan that keeps the monster on the back-foot, and your party conscious.


That was just a brief look at the combat in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. It’s a genuinely enjoyable system that captures the essence of the original game, while still feeling fresh and unique in its own right.

But now that the demo’s out, what do you think? Let us know in the comments, and on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches April 10, 2020 for PS4, and is available to preorder right now:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo now available

Experience an epic bombing mission and battle the Scorpion Sentinel… right now!
By Duncan Heaney

Let’s dispense with the usual preamble - the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo is out now on PS4.

Go play it.

That’s it. That’s the blog post - what else are you waiting for?

Okay, maybe we could actually give you a little information about what to expect from this exciting sample of the game. Got to do something while it downloads, right?

What’s in the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE demo?

The new demo lets you play through the opening section of the game - the bombing of Mako Reactor 1.

You’ll initially control Cloud Strife, a mercenary who has been hired to infiltrate and destroy a facility owned by the Shinra Electric Power Company - a sinister organization that is draining the planet’s lifeforce as mako energy.

You’ll help the team make their way through the vast complex, battling hordes of Shinra security forces along the way - rest assured, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get to grips with the game’s uniquely satisfying combat system.

Later on in the demo, Barret Wallace will join the party as a playable character. The leader of the anti-Shinra group Avalanche, Barret comes equipped with his signature gun arm - perfect for taking out enemies that Cloud’s Buster Sword can’t reach.

Eventually, you’ll make your way to your target, and face off against the game’s first boss: the Scorpion Sentinel. Don’t expect it to go easy on you - this mechanised menace has a real sting in the tail.

If you manage to beat it, the demo’s not over yet. You still have to escape from the rapidly collapsing structure. If you successfully escape… well, okay then the demo is over. But you can always play it again. And again. And again.

If you like what you play - and we’re pretty sure you will - you won’t have to wait long to play more. FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PS4 on April 10, 2020.

To stay up to date with the latest news and information about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE as we get closer to release, make sure you follow us on social media:

Here’s what Square Enix is bringing to PAX EAST 2020

Play FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, battle Ruby Weapon in FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers and learn all about Outriders.
By Square Enix Team

PAX EAST 2020 starts this week (February 27 - March 1) and we’re excited to reveal what we’re bringing to the show. Demo tickets will be distributed daily to PAX East attendees upon show opening.

Fans travelling to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center will be able to play some highly-anticipated games (including FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE), watch fascinating developer panels, take advantage of exclusive promotions and much more.

Here’s what to expect:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE (Booth #12011)

  • Playable gameplay demo - try FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE for yourself at the Square Enix booth. Demo tickets will be distributed daily to PAX East attendees upon show opening.

  • Signing Session - meet voice actors Britt Baron (Tifa), John Eric Bentley (Barret), Briana White (Aerith), Erica Lindbeck (Jessie) and Gideon Emery (Biggs). They’ll sign for players at these times: Saturday, February 29: 11:00am– 12:00 pm and 2:30pm –4:00pm, Sunday, March 1: 11:00 am–12:00 pm and 3:00pm – 4:30pm EST. A limited number of tickets for the signing session will be available at 10:30 am (EST) each morning in the signing session area of Booth #12011.

  • Photo opportunity - get your picture taken with Cloud’s awesome Hardy Daytona motorcycle.

  • Giveaways: Visit the booth and you can get one of these amazing double-sided posters, featuring artwork of Cloud, Aerith, Tifa, Barret and Red XIII (while supplies last)!

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online (Booth #15010)

  • Ruby Weapon Battle Challenge - this famous foe from the FINAL FANTASY series was added to FINAL FANTASY XIV Online in Patch 5.2. You’ll be able to take it on at the show - if you manage to beat it, you’ll get an ‘I BEAT RUBY WEAPON’ t-shirt!

  • Photo Opportunity – get a photo in front of our themed backdrop while posing with a selection of weapons from Shadowbringers.

  • Developer LivestreamFINAL FANTASY XIV Online Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida and Lead Character Concept Artist Yusuke Mogi will host a special livestream titled “The Artwork of FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Look Behind the Screen.” The stream will be hosted on the official FINAL FANTASY XIV Twitch channel on Saturday, February 29 at 8:00pm EST.

  • Giveaways – visit the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online booth to get a variety of goodies throughout the show; including a themed scarf and double-sided poster featuring artwork drawn by Lead Character Concept Artist Yusuke Mogi (while supplies last). Attendees can also grab FINAL FANTASY XIV Online-themed lanyards for their PAX badges from around the convention show floor.
  • Collaboration Postcard Giveaway – Get a free postcard for the upcoming tactical mobile RPG, WAR OF THE VISIONS FINAL FANTASY BRAVE EXVIUS, that features artwork of Y’shtola in her FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers attire. What’s more, if you’ve pre-registered for the game, you’ll be able to get a double-sided art card. Both items will be available at the FINAL FANTASY XIV Online booth, while supplies last.

To find out more about FINAL FANTASY XIV Online’s PAX activities, check out The Lodestone:

Outriders

  • People Can Fly Developer panel - “A New Flavor of Sci-Fi: Creating the Universe of Outriders,” will take place on Saturday, February 29 from 12:30-1:30 pm EST at the Albatross Theatre. Lead Writer Joshua Rubin and key members of the Outriders team will discuss the process of creating a dark and brutal sci-fi universe from scratch.

To find out more about this exciting new RPG shooter from People Can Fly, check out our coverage:


Games and merchandise (Booth #12011)

Come by the booth to see and buy the latest Square Enix merchandise. We have products from BRING ARTS and PLAY ARTS KAI, plush toys, FINAL FANTASY Trading Card Game (FFTCG), tabletop games and more.

For example you can:

  • See new t-shirts - FINAL FANTASY XI: Mithkabob, FINAL FANTASY XIV – THE SUNDERING: HYDAELYN KICK and FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE: CLOUD.
  • Buy FINAL FANTASY XIV: Shadowbringers acrylic stands of favorite characters - before they’re released on the Square Enix Store.

  • Purchase cards and learn to play the FINAL FANTASY Trading Card Game. You can also earn promotional cards and get tips on how best to use the newly released Cloud vs. Sephiroth 2-player deck.

As you can see, it’s going to be a great PAX EAST for Square Enix fans. The event takes place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center between February 27 and March 1, 2020 - we’ll see you there!

Follow Square Enix on social media:

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. Even the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE crew’s getting into the spirit of things.

Some beautiful new Valentine’s Day cards have been released on the game’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Take a look:

Pretty heart-warming. Although personally speaking, I’m not sure whether I love or hate ‘You mean Aerith-ing to me’. I think I hate myself for loving it.

But what do you think? Share the love on social media, and follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE for news, screenshots, and other fun stuff from the game:

Watch the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE opening movie here

Get a glimpse at the introduction ahead of the April 10 release of the game.
By Duncan Heaney

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here’s something you’ll really love: the opening movie to FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE!

The soaring introduction combines both new and familiar visuals, incredible graphics, amazing music… okay, you don’t need us describe it - just watch it for yourself:

Look good, right? If you’re hungry for more, yesterday we shared a host of new screenshots and information about the reimagined classic - take a look:


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PS4 on April 10, 2020, and is available to preorder now:

To stay up to date with all the news from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, make sure you follow on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE screenshots: Red XIII, Hojo and more

Also find out about Tifa’s battle abilities, new summons and meet a new character - Chadley.
By Square Enix Team

We’ve just released a host of new screenshots for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, due for release on April 10, 2020.

We’ll start with a look at two characters who fans of the original game will know very well. For anyone new to the game, let’s just say that both of these figures is a big deal…


Red XIII

He has red fur, sharp claws and a flaming tail - but Red XIII is no mindless beast. In fact, he’s as intelligent and well-spoken as any human.

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE he’s in… well, let’s just call it a tough spot. He’s been captured and used as a test subject by Shinra scientist Hojo.


Hojo

The Director of Shinra’s Research and Development Division is not a man bound by common ethics or morality. If his experiments require him to take a life, he will do so without hesitation.

His scientific acumen is undeniably impressive - in a previous collaborative role, he performed special surgery on soldiers to increase their physical strength. In doing so, he helped birth Shinra’s elite SOLDIER unit.


Tifa enters the fight!

Tifa Lockhart - she’s a brave member of the anti-Shinra group Avalanche, a loyal friend and the owner of the best bar in the Sector 7 slums (just ask Wedge).

She’s also a powerful warrior who takes down opponents with fast strikes with just her fists and feet. In battle, Tifa is a swift fighter - repeated presses of the square button will let her perform quick combos.

She also has a powerful unique ability - press the Triangle button after a combo, and she’ll release some powerful moves.

Whirling Uppercut: A powerful upwards strike that will send a foe soaring

Omnistrike: Tifa slams into the enemy with a brutal shoulder barge.

Rise and Fall: After waves of kicks, Tifa finishes with a powerful blow from her fist.


Tifa’s Battle Abilities

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, attacking enemies will fill your ATB bar. When it is full, you can use it to launch a special ability.

We’ve previously seen some of Aerith's moves, but what does Tifa bring to the party?

Tifa’s True Strike hits an enemy directly in front of her.

She can then finish them off with a devastating dive kick!


Materia and Weapons

These next screenshots reveal some of the Materia and weapons in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

Healing Materia lets you use healing spells like Cure and Cura. In the shot above, Aerith’s using Regen - a spell that gradually heals a target for a set time.

Deadly Dodge Materia lets you turn any attack after evading into a powerful melee strike. We can see Cloud using it above - although any character can equip it too.

NAIL BAT! One of the most fondly-remembered weapons from the original game is reimagined in glorious style. As the screenshot shows, when you equip a new weapon, your character’s appearance will change in and out of battle.


Mercenary Quests

Citizens and merchants across Midgar will ask Cloud for help. As a jack of all trades, Cloud will help them with these quests, which could be anything from taking down some troublesome monsters to helping find lost cats.

This quest tasks Cloud with taking care of some Drakes. If he completes it, he’ll be well rewarded.


Battle Report

This young chap is Chadley - a 15 year-old research trainee who works under Professor Hojo. You’ll find him in the Sector 7 slums, where he researches new types of Materia - if Cloud helps out, he’ll develop and sell Materia for the team.

Battle Report quests are available from Chadley. He’ll request that you complete various requirements, such as using Assess Materia a certain number of times, or defeating enemies in a specific way. Complete these tasks, and he’ll develop more Materia that you can purchase.


Summons

Summons are a powerful type of Materia. Equip one to a character, and they’ll be able to bring a powerful ally into battle.

Here’s a new look at some of these Summons:

This is Chocobo Chick. We know what you’re thinking: d’awww, adorable, right? How could something so cute and fluffy be dangerous?

Don’t be fooled - Chocobo Chick is plenty powerful, and will assault your foes with powerful attacks. It’s included when you preorder any edition of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

Carbuncle is a mystical creature with a ruby attached to its forehead. It gives power to allies with the shining gem. This summon is included with preorders of the Digital Deluxe Edition from the PlayStation Store.

Cactuar is a true icon of the FINAL FANTASY series. In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, this summon uses incredibly powerful needle attacks while always keeping that trademark vacant expression. You’ll get Cactuar when you preorder the Deluxe Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, or 1st Class Editions of the game.


Environments

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE reimagines iconic Midgar locations, but also expands them to feature brand new areas that weren’t in the original game.

Let’s take a look at a couple:

This Mako Reactor sucks out Mako from the core of the planet. The Shinra Electric Power Company turns it into electricity or liquid gas for cities, to produce Materia and for other scientific research.

Shinra has a total monopoly on the resource, and has built several reactors around the world. That said, the safety of these structures has been questioned, as there have been confirmed accidents in remote locations.

The Corkscrew Tunnel connects the streets of the slums beneath Midgar’s plate, to the living areas on top.

The tunnel coils upwards in a giant corkscrew through the centre of Midgar, and anyone who rides the train are is ID checked.

If an unauthorised intruder is discovered, they are dealt with harshly and quickly.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE releases for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020.

To stay up to date with more FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE news, make sure you follow on social media:

The heroes gather in new FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE key art

A beautiful group shot, and an iconic Midgar location too!
By Duncan Heaney

Want a little something for the weekend? How about some brand new FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE art?

This stunning piece features the game’s iconic cast standing side by side at the edge of a stretch of Midgar highway - from left to right we have Red XIII, Aerith Gainsborough, Cloud Strife, Barret Wallace and Tifa Lockhart.

Take a look (and click the image if you want to expand):

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PS4 on April 10, 2020, and is available to preorder now.

What’s more, anyone who preorders FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE from the Square Enix Store will be entered into the sweepstakes to win one of two beautiful Chronograph watches, inspired by Cloud and Sephiroth from the game. Find more information about that here.

To stay up to date with the latest FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE news, see more images, or just share your thoughts with fellow fans, make sure you follow on social media:

The music of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - comments from the composers

Music maestros Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki discuss their work on the upcoming RPG’s soundtrack
By FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Team

Music plays a big role in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE – just as it did in the original game.

Fortunately, it features an immensely talented team of composers, including Masashi Hamauzu and Mitsuto Suzuki, who have developed a soundtrack that will surprise and delight both fans, both old and new.

What’s more, FINAL FANTASY VII’s original composer, Nobuo Uematsu, has created an original theme song for the game. It’s called ‘Hollow’ and you can listen to it here.

The three composers have shared their thoughts about working on FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Read them here:

Nobuo Uematsu

Whichever game you pick from the FINAL FANTASY series, they all have many powerful memories for me. However, if you limit things to just the music, then you could say that VII left the biggest impression on me in the sense that it represents the point at which I was able to start challenging the boundaries and being more experimental.

Nobody has seen music like this in the FINAL FANTASY series before, whether you look at the symphonic “Opening - Bombing Mission”, the numerous different vistas evoked within a single track in “Main Theme of FINAL FANTASY VII” or “One-Winged Angel”, that was made by arranging different sequences of phrases every few bars.

I think that perhaps it was the perfect time to take on these new challenges, what with changing platforms after the previous game, FINAL FANTASY VI, and with the expressive power of the hardware increasing dramatically.

However, looking back in hindsight, I think that it was not simply a case of the hardware evolving, but that the changing times also demanded a revolution in game music. That was the moment when video games, a medium that started out as a plaything for children, were making the transformation into a form of entertainment that adults could enjoy too. But even though things were changing around us, we had no idea what to do or which direction we should be heading in.

Nobody could have possibly known what the right answers were back then. I just sat alone in my room each day and wordlessly took on musical challenge after new musical challenge, setting no final goal for the finished game, and without even listening to the opinions of others. And the result of that was the soundtrack to FINAL FANTASY VII.

This time round I was given the honour of writing “Hollow” that plays during the game, and this track is also in a style that has never been seen in FINAL FANTASY before. To me, it is very much a continuation of my experimental challenges in the field of music.

Masashi Hamauzu

The first FINAL FANTASY game that I worked on at Square Enix was FINAL FANTASY VII. I sorted out the chorus and actually sung in it myself, as well as putting in the short extracts from Haydn 's "the Creation" that play during the story and directing the singing on them.

After FINAL FANTASY VII, I went on to compose and edit the music for FINAL FANTASY X, FINAL FANTASY XIII and related titles, and when I look around I notice that twenty years have passed since then!

This time round I got to work with many of the original team again, such as Mr. Kitase, Mr. Toriyama and Mr. Uematsu, and it really feels like time has started to flow backwards!

On the surface we are working together as developers now, but for me, these were the people who were my inscrutable seniors in the company and who checked and approved my pay.

After many moons have passed and I announced my resignation, I still sent them letters and they were a source of inspiration to me simply by being who they are. I never spoke to any of them outside of a work context, but those things stick strongly in your memory over such long development periods.

When Mr. Kitase and Mr. Toriyama contacted me about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, and with Mr. Uematsu even recommending me for the job, there was no way I could turn it down!

I was exhausted and even felt that I had enough of making games, possibly because of my increasing age and feeling very limited by the new system, but in the end I think it was those feelings that let me push myself back.

It is the same every time, but I feel that I have managed to somehow write music that very much has the "Final" ethos of FINAL FANTASY behind it.

Mitsuto Suzuki

"Would you like to create this scene from the music up?"

This very happy question was how I was asked to join the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE development team.

Thinking back to around the time that the original FINAL FANTASY VII was released, I was already working in the music world and there were always recruitment ads from the SQUARE’s Sound team in the music magazines that I read avidly, alongside adverts for FINAL FANTASY VII itself.

Time has passed since then and it is now 10 years since I became involved in games. Working on the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE feels very strange, but at the same time it also brings back vivid memories of the sounds, surprises and emotions I experienced at the time.

It did not take long for me to come together with the original project staff and grasp my position on the team. My role here was to work on the new elements that a remake allows and breathe new life into it.

I have created a huge number of tracks and put great care into how they are presented, in order to create something that will delight both people who played the original game and those who are experiencing it for the first time with the remake. I strove to always put a sense of playfulness into the music, not just for the new pieces but also with new arrangements and samplings of older tracks that respect the originals and full re-makes of some of them.

Working on places like Wall Market, the Honeybee Inn and Midgar Highway was one thrill after another! I brought back the surprise and enjoyment that I felt as a consumer of the original game, but the biggest change this time round is that I am now on the side providing those experiences.

Myself and the large sound team came together to remake the sound of this world. There is a lot to look forward to and not long to wait now!


Thanks to these amazing composers for their comments. You’ll be able to hear their incredible work when FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest news and information about the game, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

Introducing the FINAL FANTASY VII theme song by Nobuo Uematsu

Legendary composer returns with original track ‘Hollow’ - listen to it here. Plus see new footage from the game!
By FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Team

Four words that will thrill any FINAL FANTASY fan: Nobuo Uematsu is back!

The revered composer has created a brand new track for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Called ‘Hollow’ it also features vocals from Singer-Songwriter, Yosh – from Japanese Rock band, Survive Said The Prophet.

The new track debuts in the latest trailer for the game, which features some memorable moments and familiar faces from the original game:

It’s a great song, right?

The title may be ‘Hollow’, but Uematsu-san and Yosh are happy to fill you in on how they created it. This fascinating video goes behind the scenes on the track - it’s a must-watch for any fans of FINAL FANTASY music:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE concerts announced!

The music of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is set to be every bit as breath-taking as the original game - and you’ll soon be able to experience it live.

A new Orchestra World Tour will take place, in over 10 cities around the world, starting in Los Angeles this June.

The concerts will feature music from the game’s soundtrack - including Hollow - performed by a full orchestra, chorus and conducted by GRAMMY-Award winner Arnie Roth, known for his work on Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY.

For more concert and ticketing information, visit: http://ffvii-remakeconcerts.com/


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PS4 on April 10, 2020. You can preorder the game here:

To stay up to date with news about the game, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

SQUARE ENIX announced today that the global release date for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be April 10, 2020.

Below is a message from the development team:


“We know that so many of you are looking forward to the release of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and have been waiting patiently to experience what we have been working on. In order to ensure we deliver a game that is in-line with our vision, and the quality that our fans who have been waiting for deserve, we have decided to move the release date to April 10, 2020.

We are making this tough decision in order to give ourselves a few extra weeks to apply final polish to the game and to deliver you with the best possible experience. I, on behalf of the whole team, want to apologize to everyone, as I know this means waiting for the game just a little bit longer.

Thank you for your patience and continued support”

Yoshinori Kitase, Producer of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE will be available for the PS4 on April 10, 2020.


New FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE key art and screenshots

Images and commentary highlight Shinra, Sephiroth, Roche, Aerith's battle abilities and reimagined Midgar locations.
By Duncan Heaney

We have a host of new images from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE to show you!

These pictures reveal key information about the game, including a look at Aerith’s combat prowess, a tour of some of the game’s expanded locations, and a close-up with some of the key players in the story… including the brand new Roche!

First though, we have a couple of beautiful pieces of art to show you, focusing on two of the most beloved characters: Tifa and Sephiroth.

Character close-ups

Here’s a look at some of the key figures from the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, including a legend, Shinra’s top brass, and a character who’s entirely new!

Sephiroth

Sephiroth is famed as the finest member of Shinra’s elite SOLDIER unit. His gallant efforts in the war with Wutai made him a hero - and he’s inspired many a brave youth to join SOLDIER.

Sephiroth is believed to have died during a top secret mission, but there may be far more to the story than people know…

President Shinra

The current president of the Shinra Electric Power Company raised the company up from a small arms manufacturer to the massively powerful conglomerate it is today.

He can be generous to his allies, but when it comes to business he’s utterly ruthless. He’s willing to use cutthroat business tactics to make a profit - and eliminate anyone who gets in the way.

Heidegger

As well as being the director of Public Security, Heidegger has been President Shinra’s right-hand man since the early days of the company. He’s just as ruthless as his boss, and will do anything to get what he wants - even sacrifice his own subordinates.

He’s trusted implicitly by the President, and this has made Public Security the most powerful department within Shinra.

Roche

This 3-C SOLDIER turned rebel is also known as Speed Demon.

He loves bikes, speed and anyone who can give him a challenge. His comrades, however, find him annoying - he constantly squeals his rear tire and makes them choke on fumes of burnt rubber.

Aerith in battle

These next screenshots demonstrate how Aerith fights. A press of the square button will make her launch a ranged magic attack.

By pressing square in repeatedly, or holding the button, successive attacks can be unleashed. In addition, the number of targets hit will increase, and attacks will cover a wider area.

By pressing the Triangle button, Aerith will unleash her unique ability - Tempest.

You can also charge the attack by holding the Triangle button - at maximum charge it will explode repeatedly after it hits an enemy.

Aerith - unique abilities

‘Soul Drain’ lets Aerith absorb MP from a foe. As she specializes in magic attacks, using this skill will be a necessity in tough fights.

Lustrous Shield’ allows Aerith to summon a magical barrier, which will keep enemies at bay and block projectiles. What’s more, any attackers who come into contact with the shield will take damage.

Shiva - a very cool Summon

Characters in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE can use Summon Materia - orbs let them summon an intensely powerful ally into the fight.

The Queen of Ice Shiva is one such Summon. This frosty figure gives an icy glare to enemies and a loving smile to allies. She skates around the battlefield, and manipulates the air to freeze enemies in the blink of an eye.

Once summoned, Shiva will fight automatically, but you can also issue commands to make her use specific abilities. Heavenly Strike creates a giant glacier and smashes it down onto an opponent!

Summons are governed by a special gauge - when it’s empty they’ll disappear... but just before they leave, they’ll deliver an especially powerful move.

In Shiva’s case, it’s Diamond Dust - a move fans of the original FINAL FANTASY VII may remember. Shiva encases enemies in ice and then shatters them in spectacular fashion:

The Train Graveyard

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE takes many locations from the original game, and redesigns and reinterprets them to add additional depth.

The story is more detailed too, with more dialogue, story sequences and a greater portrayal of citizens’ lives.

The Train Graveyard is a perfect example of this. Originally used during the construction of Midgar, this area has since become a junkyard for old and abandoned trains. Strong winds make the rusting carriages creak and groan, and odd high-pitched sounds echo over the area.

You may remember this location from the original FINAL FANTASY VII. In that game, there was no dialogue here, but in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, characters will talk to each other as they explore the maze of wreckage.

The new game also adds a new story into this area, with multiple event scenes:

The Shinra Building

Here’s a look at another area of the game. The headquarters of the Shinra Electric Power Company is a 70-story skyscraper in the center of Midgar.

Up on the upper levels you’ll find the offices of President Shinra and the directors, and a Memorial Floor, where you can learn all about the history of Shinra. Alternatively, head to the Visual Entertainment Hall where you can see the latest technology being demonstrated.

Of course, the first thing you’ll see is the expansive entrance:

Inside the building, you can take a look at some of the Shinra cars on display:

Or to unwind, why not head up to the Relaxation Floor?

We hope you enjoyed this latest look at FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. The game launches April 10, 2020 - just a few months to go!

To see more from the game, and to be first to hear the latest updates, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

Meet Cloud Strife in the latest FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE trailer

The iconic ex-SOLDIER: first class introduces himself in this latest look at the game
By Square Enix Team

Just who is Cloud Strife?

Fans will be all too familiar with the spiky-haired hero of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but people coming to the story for the first time in the upcoming game may be wondering: what’s this guy’s deal exactly?

We could introduce him… but why not let him do it himself? In this latest trailer, which debuted at the 2019 Game Awards, Cloud does just that:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PS4 on March 3, 2020, and is available to preorder now:

As well as the standard edition, the following editions are available:


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Deluxe Edition

This edition includes:

  • A Sephiroth Steelbook Case
  • A hardcover art book featuring stunning concept art
  • A Mini-Soundtrack CD
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Cactuar in game

Preorder Deluxe Edition


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Digital Deluxe Edition

Available exclusively from the PlayStation Store, this edition includes:

  • A digital art book
  • A digital Mini-Soundtrack selection
  • Summon Materia DLC, allowing players to summon Carbuncle and Cactuar in the game

Preorder Digital Deluxe Edition


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE 1st Class Edition

Exclusive to the Square Enix Store. PLEASE NOTE: this edition is still available at the time of writing - however stock is limited.

  • A Sephiroth Steelbook Case
  • A hardcover art book featuring stunning concept art
  • A Mini-Soundtrack CD
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Cactuar in game
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Carbuncle in game
  • A Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife and Hardy Daytona box set (bundled separately)

Preorder 1st Class Edition


To stay up to date with news and information about FINAL FANTASY REMAKE, make sure you follow on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE social accounts go close up with Cloud, Barret and Tifa

New wallpapers, avatars and a longer look two of the game's iconic characters
By Duncan Heaney

There are some very interesting things happening on the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE social accounts - so much so, we wanted to highlight them here.

For example, we had a new close-up view of Cloud Strife, the main protagonist of the much-anticipated RPG. Then we got something very cool - new wallpapers featuring the sword-wielding SOLDIER... as well as some for his allies.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re a FINAL FANTASY fan who’s not already following, here’s some what you’ve been missing:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - a quick look at Cloud Strife

Few characters are as iconic as Cloud Strife. With his blonde hair, bright eyes and massive Buster Sword, he’s one of the most recognisable - and beloved - characters in the entire FINAL FANTASY series.

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, Cloud is presented with an incredible level of detail. To give you a sense of just how good he looks, and how fun he’ll be to play, the FINAL FANTASY VII social channels posted a beautiful new video.

Barret Wallace is up

The leader of the anti-Shinra group Avalanche, Barret is the focus of another brand new video - just released today:

Tifa Lockhart takes the stage

This next short video features the kind-hearted martial artist Tifa. Not only is she a key member of Avalanche, she also runs Seventh Heaven - a popular bar in the Midgar slums.


New FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Wallpaper and Avatars

Here’s something fans have been asking for - wallpapers featuring the characters of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

The first set was posted on the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE website. The wallpapers show a highly detailed image of Cloud, contrasted against a rich blue background. Take a look (and for high quality versions, head to the website):

Next up is Barret - again, note the detail:

Tifa's the focus of this next wallpaper:

As well as the wallpapers, we also released a new set of avatars, based on the heroes. They’re all available to grab on the official website now.

More wallpapers and avatars will be released soon - so make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media, as that’s where they’ll be announced:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE screenshots

In case you missed it, we've unleashed a host of new screenshots from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, featuring looks at the Turks, a new minigame, magic, upgrades and - my personal favorite - a super fluffy new summon!

The game’s social accounts have been highlighting some of the shots in more detail, and explaining a little about what’s going on in each one. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - they’re a perfect place to obsessively analyze them and discuss your thoughts with fellow fans:


That’s just a brief look at what’s going on in the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE social accounts. Make sure you follow to get the latest news and information about the game first!

Introducing the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE development team

Members of the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE development team discuss their thoughts and feelings about the highly-anticipated reimagining.
By Square Enix Team

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE arrives on PS4 on March 3, 2020. Ahead of the launch, members of the development team have shared their unique personal thoughts and insights about both the original game… and bringing the reimagining of the iconic RPG to life.


YOSHINORI KITASE - PRODUCER

In the several years following 2009, when I was running around all over the world promoting the FINAL FANTASY XIII series, I had opportunity to speak to many fans and journalists. The question that I always got as we got up to part ways was, “When are you making the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE?”

It was to the point where it almost felt like an alternative way to say goodbye, so eventually I started pre-emptively giving my response to the question before they’d even asked it. “If we were to create a remake of that now, it would be an enormous amount of data, and who knows how many years it would take. But, if the 'right time' comes along, we might just do it someday!” This is how I'd respond back then, who knows how many hundreds of times. To all the people I had a chance to meet with back then, the “right time” has finally arrived.

For the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, developers who worked on the original game have come onboard once again as core members, including myself as Producer, Tetsuya Nomura as Director, Motomu Toriyama as Co-Director, and Kazushige Nojima on Story & Scenario.

Additionally, we also have people like Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi who are now part of the core development team, who was just a fan of FINAL FANTASY VII back then. And, to my delight, creators from younger generations all over the world have come forth upon hearing news of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s production. While ensuring that the spirit of the original game is kept intact, these members are adding to it the power of a new generation.

As a result, the game that is about to be born surpasses even my own expectations as the one who voiced the desire to take this endeavour on in the first place. In fact, the one who’s looking forward to playing this game the most right now might actually be me.


TETSUYA NOMURA - DIRECTOR & CONCEPT DESIGN

I started up the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE project around the time of Compilation of FINAL FANTASY VII. We’d gone through Advent Children, Before Crisis, Crisis Core, and Dirge of Cerberus, and I was planning this by myself for about a year as the fifth and final entry in the compilation.

Since that initial plan and my first ideas, other projects took-shape and I became very busy as they moved forward, but I never stopped thinking about VII. As such, I feel like I’m looking forward to the release as much as anyone, as I’ve been carrying around these ideas for a long time.

Opportunities for discussing our true intentions are few, but with regard to the size of the game that many are asking about – there’s no reason at all to worry. Even in this Midgar portion alone, the density and volume are so great that I had to give directions to lighten them.

With regard to new characters, of whom I said during past interviews that there would be “none” – though they aren’t main characters, their numbers ended up growing considerably in the process of creating a rich depiction of Midgar. When you think of Midgar’s final boss, you probably think of the M.O.T.O.R., but in this game new bosses will appear and add to the excitement of the story even more.

We’ve already begun working on the next one as well, but I’m confident that playing through this title will expand your expectations just like the world that extends beyond Midgar.

Until next time.


KAZUSHIGE NOJIMA (STELLAVISTA LTD.) - STORY & SCENARIO

It must have been in the very beginning stages of developing FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE that I got to see the Remake version of Cloud for the first time. It wasn’t post-Advent Children Cloud, with kindness brimming from within. Rather, here was a young man with fiery features, looking straight at me through the screen with aggression in his eyes. I knew right t hen: “Oh, this is it.”

This time, it was this Cloud that I needed to depict. When Cloud came to Midgar and was hired by Avalanche, this was the sort of look that he would have had on his face. So I revisited the experiences that he’d had in his life so far, thinking of the effect that each individual event would have had on him. His attitude toward his childhood friend Tifa. How would he act toward Barret? What sort of distance would he keep while interacting with passers-by on the street? I picture the scene of Midgar in my mind and imagine Cloud moving through it. Write new lines of dialogue to add for him. This is how Cloud in the Remake Version came to be.

It was an exciting task to introduce a new current of wind to FINAL FANTASY VII, but at the same time, there was some fear. The original game used cartoon-like, stylised art, and the story was completed by players using their imagination to supplement portions that couldn’t be depicted as a result. Even if they were seeing the same scene, the information they took away from it and how they interpreted it differed depending on the viewer. Perhaps it’s what might be considered a narrative form of storytelling nowadays.

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, there will be much less room for player imagination. This fact will probably change the feel of the story considerably. People who know the original might not know quite how to take it. Such is the fear that I have. But I also have conviction. It should be possible to feel a much deeper connection to Cloud as you join alongside him. It would be amazing if you could feel that fiery flame together with him.


NAOKI HAMAGUCHI - CO-DIRECTOR (GAME DESIGN / PROGRAMMING)

When the original FINAL FANTASY VII was released, I was just another student who dreamed of being in the gaming industry. I of course played the game, but I also re-read the guidebook over and over again, my heart stolen by the engaging universe. I remember wishing strongly that I’d be able to create a game like it someday.

Twenty-two years later, that student who dreamed of FINAL FANTASY VII is now involved in developing the remake. I can’t help but feel like it’s fate.

In this title, I handled overseeing the development team overall, such as deciding development milestones, constructing a workflow using Unreal Engine, and taking responsibility for game design.

Here, I met staff members who were involved in the original game, who entered the industry with childhood dreams of FINAL FANTASY VII just like me, and those who were drawn by the allure of FINAL FANTASY VII and joined the dev team from overseas. It was a gathering of amazing creators with passion and ambition towards the game. All I have is gratitude for having the opportunity to meet this team.

With all this in mind, I’ve considered the following phrase important: “respect for the original.” FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE takes on the challenge of creating something that’s created specifically thanks to the technological power and entertainment quality that matches the current generation, while treating the captivating elements of the original game with respect.

For those who’ve played it: “new but familiar.” For those who haven’t played it: “experience the charm of FINAL FANTASY VII, which moved the hearts of many, now created with the most exciting modern technology available.” I hope you enjoy it!


MOTOMU TORIYAMA - CO-DIRECTOR (SCENARIO DESIGN)

For the original game, I joined the project as a planner who was just starting out on my career, and I worked on Sector 7 slums and Wall Market.

In producing FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, the thoughts and feelings I had when I was just starting out back then were revived, and at the same time, I took on the challenge of new methods of expression that I’m able to execute now that I have the experience.

The original version was a forerunner when it came to RPGs that used 3D CG, but the characters were made of polygons, the dialogue was in text only, and cameras weren’t able to be used for cutscenes.

In FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, we’re using the newest visuals, voice acting, and character facial expressions to redesign the FINAL FANTASY VII universe to be more realistic. By increasing the realism of the universe within the city of Midgar, which is made prosperous by mako energy, we of course also reimagined the characters who reside there, like Cloud and Tifa, more vividly as living and breathing human beings, depicting their daily lives and feelings in a more in-depth manner.

We took care to remake not only the main characters, but also characters like Johnny and the Shinra Middle Manager who I created back then. Please keep your eye out to see how they make their new appearances. Additionally, when remaking the Honey-Bee Inn at the Wall Market, we revived it is as a pantheon of entertainment, which couldn’t be realized back then. Here, the scene that many of you have been eager to see, where Cloud disguises himself. Please enjoy.”


SHINTARO TAKAI - GRAPHICS & VFX DIRECTOR

I created the effects for the original FINAL FANTASY VII. Back then, the scope of development was so exorbitantly massive that I just threw myself into the tasks for which I was responsible, without even fully understanding what sort of game we were creating.

Near the final stages of development, when I finally tried playing the test version, I remember being surprised by the graphics and the depth of the story, as well as how fully realized it was, and I remember enjoying the game as a player. It’s been 22 years after that, and I’m participating in the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE project as a developer, and today, I’m able to experience the impact and fun similar to that of the previous title.

For the remake, I’ve mainly directed the effects section, while also crossing over into other sections for decisions and directions on overall graphics.

Among the many major games that are celebrated for their photorealistic graphics, FINAL FANTASY VII is a little different. Not only is it realistic, but I believe you’ll notice that it incorporates “playfulness” in the design and colours for an originality not found in other games. Effects are an area that is particularly conducive to expressing various elements of “playfulness.”

I hope you’ll enjoy various effects that are not only beautiful, but also convincingly portray realism and magic!! Various elements of game design and graphic design have been packed into every corner of the vast Midgar. I hope you enjoy it!!


TERUKI ENDO - BATTLE DIRECTOR

When I played the original version, I wasn’t on the game creation side of things, and I remember enjoying it as a player and feeling constant surprise at the evolution of games. The three-dimensionality of the stage and the dynamism of the battle scenes have left a strong impression on me. Back then, I never even imagined that I would someday be on the side of creating games, or that I would be able to be involved in that game.

Speaking to my own personal experience, I had mostly been creating action games thus far, so for this title, I took on the challenge of remaking a system that was not of an action game originally and incorporating action elements into it.

Production was completely different than that of a pure action game, and the need for new design philosophy often arose. Production involved constantly searching for the best balance between action and command elements, but I believe we’ve managed to do this in an exciting new way.

In order to create battles that are surprising and never boring, we worked hard to create a variety of strategic elements for each boss and enemy. Also, in constructing battle systems for each character, we wanted to respect the image of the original version while additionally introducing many new abilities. I hope you’re able to find your own style of battle by combining those abilities with Materia.


TAKAKO MIYAKE - ENVIRONMENT DIRECTOR

For FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, the graphics team worked to the theme of “how would Midgar look if it existed in real life?” As such, as the environments team, we examined those portions that were once left to the players’ imaginations, fell outside of the on-screen area, or were between scenes, and tried to supplement them in detail.

For all the fans out there, we worked our hardest in hopes that you’ll be able to relive an experience that also surpasses your memories.

For all of you who are playing for the first time, we worked our hardest with the sole hope that you’ll experience this amazing universe that has remained beloved by so many for 22 years, and to be able to convey its charm.

Additionally, in order to create a fitting backdrop for the drama unfolding around the main characters, and in order for it to be a stage where the various characters living in Midgar can be their vibrant selves, all of teams, including the environments section, came up with ideas and worked collaboratively. Midgar is a closed city. However, I would be very happy if by experiencing the drama unfolding around its residents and the main characters who go through it, you feel as though Midgar actually exists.

I am a FINAL FANTASY VII fan, so being able to take part in the Remake was something that made me happy but also nervous. It’s been an unforgettable development experience. I truly hope that everyone enjoys it.


IICHIRO YAMAGUCHI - LIGHTING DIRECTOR

FINAL FANTASY VII, for me, at the time when I was in school, was a very impactful game. It really pierced my heart as I was at such a sensitive age, with not only a rich story, but charming characters, world setting and music, not to mention that it was the first in the series to be in 3D polygon format. This was the piece that really brought out my interest in CG in general.

When I was able to join the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE team, I started by thinking back to how I felt when I first played it. Midgar, with its’ abundant mix of different elements and original characters like Cloud, became something unbreakable and the “standard” for me in FINAL FANTASY VII.

In the world of the game, just like in real life, if there is not some form of light then you won’t be able to see anything. So when putting up lights just anywhere, Midgar could lose its token Midgar-ness, and Cloud wouldn’t be Cloud anymore. I’ve taken as much care as possible to recreate the world that I had saved in my mind and attempted to remake it to a fresh and modern standard.

The positions of the few lights that illuminate the entirety of Midgar, the adjustments made to each and every voluminous cut-scene… it’s all a lot of work to do! However, alongside the rest of the wonderful lighting team we feel that we’ve brought something great to the table. We’ve left in the elements that will have you going “Ah, that’s what it was like!”, and yet you’ll still be able to enjoy the world of FINAL FANTASY VII in its new and fresh style!


MASAAKI KAZENO - CHARACTER MODELING DIRECTOR

I was amongst those who bought the original game on the day of its release and played it constantly, clearing it in under a week. Those that also have cleared it will understand this, but I also wasn’t quite satisfied with the locations, so I continued to play it after clearing in the same places as well.

And so, my memory of FINAL FANTASY VII was how I actually started studying CG, after being left with the strong motivation to want to create a FINAL FANTASY game when playing it and truly being moved by it.

So I just made my mind up and bought a PC to help me study – something that I had never even touched before. So for me, someone who had been so strongly influenced by the original, to be working on the characters of the remake, I want to do everything I can to make them in a way that shows both a charm and freshness whilst keeping that nostalgia.

So I want them to reflect in a fresh way that that also allows players of the original to remember the time that they played the original, as well as make them detailed and charming enough to give first-time players the understanding of just how charming they are.

I’ve ensured to arrange things like hairstyles and outfits to re-create the design from the original, so I encourage anyone to take time with their camera angles when playing to take a look. Also, there are several characters that stand out other than just the main characters that you’ll find. So please see for yourself as to what kind of appearance and characteristics they have! Other than that, we’ve got enemies in there perhaps too close to the original, and there are many surprises coming in the Remake for you to all look forward to! Keep your eyes out!


YOSHIYUKI SOMA - ANIMATION DIRECTOR

When FINAL FANTASY VII came out, I was actually more of a SEGA Saturn fan, so I didn’t play it straight away. However, when it was decided that I was to join SQUARE, I was put on the development of FINAL FANTASY VIII, and so I thought to myself “I’m screwed if I don’t know about FINAL FANTASY VII!”. That’s when I bought a PlayStation and played it so much.

Those memories feel like only yesterday. So I can’t say this too loudly, but I actually started it out of obligation rather than as a fan. However, I was absolutely enthralled by the world and lore as soon as I picked it up!

For the animations; each and every member of the team – from those responsible for battles, fields, simple events, cut scenes, mini-games, facial expressions, to swinging things in the background, actual behaviour settings - have all worked together to improve as one.

We’ve done our best to ensure that whatever you do, it feels like the characters are alive there with you. We really hope you enjoy the story of Midgar on a huge screen, with Cloud and his friends.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE reimagines the iconic RPG for the modern age.

It’s set in a world that has fallen under the influence of the Shinra Electric Power Company - a sinister corporation that controls the planet's life force as mako energy.

In the city of Midgar, the anti-Shinra organization Avalanche have recently stepped up their resistance. Cloud Strife, a mercenary and former member of Shinra's elite SOLDIER unit, lends his aid to the group, unaware of the consequences that await him.

The game launches for PS4 on 3 March, 2020, and you can preorder it now:

To stay up to date with the latest news and information about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, make sure you follow us on social media:

New FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE screenshots reveal materia, moogles and more

Get your closest look at the game yet with these brand new images
By Duncan Heaney

Today, we’ve revealed a whole load of new screenshots from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

The images take you closer to the game than ever before, showcasing Avalanche and the Turks, the upgrade system, new Materia, menus, minigames, reimagined locations and more! Not to mention some beautiful new art.

Take a look:

Up close with Avalanche

We have some new screenshots of fan-favorite members of the anti-Shinra group Avalanche: Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge.

Biggs is calm, cool and collected, even in the most extreme circumstances. He’s tidy by nature, and loves nothing more than cleaning and taking a shower.

Jessie is in charge of procurement for Avalanche. She can get her hands on everything from explosives to fake IDs. She’s also a skilled engineer, and earns money for the group by fixing water filtration units and devices to sell on. She does have a weakness for handsome men though…

Wedge is an invaluable member of Avalanche, who uses his wits and charm for to gather information and defuse tense situations - including those within the team. He also has another very important role - he tastes new menu items in Seventh Heaven. Well, someone’s got to do it, right?

Meet the Turks

The Turks are a small, elite organization with Shinra. The shadowy group does everything the company needs it to - be it scouting out candidates for SOLDIER, protecting VIPs, or even assassination. Here’s a look at a couple of them.

Reno has flaming red hair and a cynical, aloof attitude. In battle, his agility and specialized weaponry and attacks make him a real threat.

Rude is instantly recognizable thanks to his shaved head, sunglasses and imposing stature. A man of few words, he relies on martial arts and his strength in battle, and completes missions as efficiently as possible.

Getting to the action

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE features a fast-paced real-time battle system that gives you lots of choice in how you approach combat.

Each character a unique ability - in Cloud’s case, he can switch between Operator and Punisher Mode.

Operator Mode offers a good balance between strength, defense and mobility.

A press of the triangle button puts Cloud in Punisher Mode. Movement speed is reduced, but his attacks become much more powerful.

Cloud also has access to powerful attacks, including Triple Slash, which hits all enemies nearby with three consecutive strikes…

…and the ranged attack Blade Burst:

For a detailed rundown of how FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s battle system works, check out our full article on the subject:


Switching to Classic Mode

For those players who prefer overall strategy over moment to moment action, or want an experience closer to the turn-based gameplay of the original FINAL FANTASY VII, Classic Mode is for you!

In this mode, characters perform basic attacks automatically, and when the ATB gauge is full, you can select a special ability to use from the menu - similar to how the original game played.

Here, you can see the option for Classic Mode in the difficulty menu:

Iconic locations reimagined

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE faithfully recreates beloved areas from the original game. It also adds new areas that couldn’t fit into the original game.

Here we can see the iconic Church in the slums. Just a stone’s throw from Sector 5, it’s one of the only places in the slums where flowers can grow, making it a very special place for Aerith.

The next shot is of Aerith’s home. Nestled in the corner of Sector 5, it’s a beautiful house that contrasts with the slums surrounding it.

Let’s Assess some Materia

Cloud and company are able to use special abilities, including magic, summons and more.

It’s all thanks to materia - orbs of crystallized mako energy that, when equipped, imbue the wielder with incredible power.

Case in point, here we can see Aeirth using the spell Fire:

Of course, not all Materia is about offense. Take the Assess Materia, pictured below. It shows you an enemy’s specific strengths and weaknesses, helping you refine your strategy when you take it on. Knowledge is power after all!

Enhancing weapons

Weapons also contain core Materia, and by you can upgrade them to increase the power of your equipment. Naturally, that includes Cloud’s iconic Buster Sword:

What’s more, every weapon has unique abilities that increase in proficiency the more you use them.

If an ability’s proficiency level maxes out, the character can use it with any other weapon!

Meet the new Chocobo and Moogle

Summons are a special, exceptionally powerful form of Materia. Equip one, and once the summon gauge is full, you can call a powerful ally into the fight.

In the past, we’ve showcased the firey Ifrit and cool-as-ice Shiva. Today we can reveal a new Summon that’s just as powerful, but a little… cuter: Chocobo and Moogle.

Moogle can Blast foes:

The dynamic duo can also use Stampede to trample the enemy with a herd of chocobos. It’s adorable… although probably not for those on the receiving end of it:

Side activities and minigames

These new screenshots highlight some of the additional things to do in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

If you need a break from battling Shinra, you can play a game of darts in Seventh Heaven:

You can also enjoy fast-paced bike battles. In this shot, we can see Cloud and Jessie in a thrilling chase with Shinra operatives.

We hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into what you can expect from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

The game itself releases on PS4 on March 3, 2020, but you can preorder now:

We’ll have more to show from the game as we approach release. The best way to stay up to date with the latest information is to follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

PSA: how to get the exclusive free gift with FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Pre-order any edition on the Square Enix Store to get a cool extra - full details within.
By Duncan Heaney

You may have already heard about the exclusive FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE pre-order bonus on the Square Enix Store. If not… well, I guess you’re hearing about it now.

Either way, here’s the upshot: preorder any edition of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE via the Square Enix Store and you’ll get a FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE lanyard included for free.

This lanyard features beautiful images of characters from the game, including Cloud, Aerith and Barret, and is exclusive to the Square Enix Store.

The pre-order bonus is available on all editions of the game, including:

But what if you’ve already pre-ordered? Well, don’t worry - the lanyard will be added to any existing pre-order too.

What editions of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE can I pre-order?

Three editions of the game of available on the Square Enix Store. Whichever you choose to pre-order, you’ll get the lanyard.

What’s more, if you pre-order any version of the game, you’ll also get the Chocobo Chick Summoning Materia.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Standard Edition

A spectacular re-imagining of one of the most visionary games ever, the first game in this project is set in the Shinra Electric Power Company-controlled city of Midgar.

Cloud Strife, a former elite SOLDIER, lends his aid to the anti-Shinra organisation Avalanche, unaware of the consequences that await him.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Deluxe Edition

This edition features the game and these additional extras:

  • A Sephiroth Steelbook Case
  • A hardcover art book featuring stunning concept art
  • A Mini-Soundtrack CD
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Cactuar in game

You can get the game here:


FINAL FANTASY VIII REMAKE 1st Class Edition

Exclusive to the Square Enix Store, this edition is the ultimate package for fans. As well as the game, it includes loads of cool extras:

  • A Sephiroth Steelbook Case
  • A hardcover art book featuring stunning concept art
  • A Mini-Soundtrack CD
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Cactuar in game
  • Summon Marteria DLC that lets you summon Carbuncle in game
  • A Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife and Hardy Daytona box set (bundled separately)

Please note that quantities are limited for the 1st Class Edition, so you’ll want to move fast if you want it.


To stay up to date with news and information about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, bookmark the Square Enix Blog or follow us on social media:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE box art revealed

Plus see lots of new screenshots from the game!
By Duncan Heaney

We revealed a lot of new information about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE at Tokyo Games Show (TGS) 2019, but we have just a few more things to show you.

Firstly, check out the game’s box art in North America and Europe. It depicts our hero Cloud Strife, and his iconic Buster Sword, standing in front of the Shinra Building - the headquarters of the tyrannical company that threatens the planet.

If you’re a fan it might feel a little familiar - that’s because it recreates the original North American FINAL FANTASY VII cover art!

As well as the new box art, a host of new screenshots have been released. Take a look:

Earlier in September, at TGS, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Producer Yoshinori Kitase hosted the first look at a new boss battle – the sewer-dwelling Abzu.

Not only that, but we also revealed Classic Mode - which essentially adds an optional command-based battle system, reminiscent of the original game.

It’s just the thing for people who prefer top level strategy to moment to moment action or old-school players who prefer the combat in the original fans.

You can read all about FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE's Classic Mode here.

How do I play FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE?

You don’t have long to wait now - FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE launches for PS4 on March 3, 2020.

You can preorder the game now. As well as the Standard version, these editions are available:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Deluxe Edition

This edition features:

  • A Sephiroth Steelbook Case
  • A hardcover art book featuring stunning concept art
  • A Mini-Soundtrack CD
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Cactuar in game

Get Deluxe Edition


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Digital Deluxe Edition

Available exclusively from the PlayStation Store, this edition includes:

  • A digital art book
  • A digital Mini-Soundtrack selection
  • Summon Materia DLC, allowing players to summon Carbuncle and Cactuar in the game

Preorder Digital Deluxe Edition


FINAL FANTASY VIII REMAKE 1st Class Edition

Exclusive to the Square Enix Store, this is a package for true fans. NOTE: this edition is still available at the time of writing - however, be aware stock is extremely limited.

  • A Sephiroth Steelbook Case
  • A hardcover art book featuring stunning concept art
  • A Mini-Soundtrack CD
  • Summon Materia DLC that lets you summon Cactuar in game
  • Summon Marteria DLC that lets you summon Carbuncle in game
  • A Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife and Hardy Daytona box set (bundled separately)

Preorder 1st Class Edition

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE has a Classic Mode for players who prefer turn-based combat

New gameplay and combat options revealed at TGS 2019. Here are all the details.
By Duncan Heaney

New details of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE have been announced at Tokyo Games Show 2019. During a stage show, the game’s Producer Yoshinori Kitase gave viewers their closest look at the game yet and announced a whole new combat mode - Classic Mode.

What is FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s Classic Mode?

The new feature will thrill fans who prefer the original FINAL FANTASY turn-based battle systems to real-time combat.

The original FINAL FANTASY VII used the classic Active Time Battle (ATB) system. In that game, you would wait until an ATB gauge fills up, then initiate a command. Classic Mode recreates this style of gameplay for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

It’s a different way to play to FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s standard combat modes - which see you attacking, dodging and blocking in real-time to charge up the ATB bar and initiate a special action.

In Classic Mode, characters fight automatically, so the player can instead focus on selecting commands. It essentially turns the game into a classic menu-based RPG!

We’ve talked before about how FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE’s combat system is all about giving players a choice in how to play, and this new mode adds even more options. To learn more about the combat system, you should check out our full article on that very subject, or the E3 demo:

21st Century Squatting

As well as Classic Mode, Kitase-san went into mode detail about some of the elements revealed in the latest trailer:

Firstly, he demonstrated the famous Squats mini-game - under his skilled tutelage, the presenter was able to take Cloud to a clear victory against his lycra-laden challenger.

The Squats mini-game plays similarly to the original, requiring a series of button presses to complete each manoeuvre.

Aerith’s combat style and abilities

Finally, Kitase-san took a close look at a boss fight that fans will know very well - ABZU. This sewer-dwelling beast is a formidable foe in the original game, and it’s even more intimidating in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

During the battle, Kitase-san revealed some new information about how Aerith will play - and some of the things she can do in a fight.

As standard, all of Aerith’s standard attacks are long-ranged and pressing the triangle button uses her character ability ‘Tempest’.

Her Holy Circle ability looks particularly useful. Activating it creates an area on the battlefield - any spells used inside that zone can be cast repeatedly.

How Summons work in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

The battle against ABZU also provided a close look at how Summons work in the game. Each character can have up to one Summon Materia equipped at a time - and it’s up to the player to decide which one to equip for each scenario.

In the battle against ABZU, Cloud had the Ifrit Summon Materia equipped - because of this his attacks cause a Summon gauge to fill up.

Once the Summon Gauge was full, Cloud was able to summon Ifrit onto the battlefield… where he stays and joins the fight! Summons are typically controlled by the AI, but characters are able to use their ATB charges to use unique Summon abilities.

In the case of Ifrit, Cloud was able to spend his ATB gauge to make his flame-bound ally use abilities like Flare Burst and Crimson Dive. The Summon stayed on the battlefield until Cloud’s Summon Gauge depleted - at that point Ifrit activated his ultimate attack: Hellfire.


That’s a recap of all the information provided during TGS 2019. FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE releases for PS4 on March 3, 2020 - and is available to preorder now:

To stay up to date with the latest news from the game, make sure you follow FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE on social media:

So how does FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE actually play?

In an extended demo, Producer Yoshinori Kitase walked us through the fine details of the game, from the basic controls to some of the more advanced techniques
By Duncan Heaney

Square Enix recently held an extended behind closed doors demo of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, hosted by Producer Yoshinori Kitase himself.

He provided an extended look at the famous bombing mission that opens the game, which follows the activist group AVALANCE as they attempt to destroy one of the evil corporation Shinra’s energy reactors.

As the demo progressed, Kitase-san provided commentary, explaining the reasoning behind some of the new features in the remake, demonstrating the sheer breadth of the tactical options available in the game, and delving deep into the nitty gritty of what you, as a player, will actually be doing.

How does FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE start?

The demo opens with a scene that fans of the original game will instantly recognize. A train pulls into the Sector One station in Midgar, with some unexpected stowaways aboard - Biggs, Wedge, Jessie and, of course Barret.

The group exit the train, making quick work of the surprised security officers. Then, leaping from the train, we’re introduced to everyone’s favorite SOLDIER 1st Class, Cloud Strife.

It’s a faithful reinterpretation of an iconic opening - as Kitase-san said: “How else could we start the game?”

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - basic combat

More Shinra security arrives and the AVALANCHE members book it, leaving Cloud and his massive Buster Sword to handle them.

The square button controls Cloud’s basic sword attacks. Strikes can be chained together to create spectacular looking combos, though the damage output of these assaults is somewhat limited.

But these attacks have a dual purpose - they also fill the all-important ATB bar. Once this gauge is full, you can perform a special move, cast magic or consume an item - and these can cause serious damage.

So long as you have a full ATB bar, you can make a command in Tactical Mode. Simply bring up the command menu appear and slows time to a crawl. You can do this regardless of what your character is doing.

Kitase-san explained that this is so that people who like to take their time and consider tactics have time to make decisions in combat.

But as a bonus, it does look extremely cool - and highlights the amazing animation work in the game. We suspect we’re going to be popping that menu a fair amount when the game’s released - purely to make Cloud look as dramatic as possible.

Special attacks

With the ATB full, Cloud is able to perform one of his numerous special attacks. In our demonstration, he used a leaping attack called Braver. It’s a name that will be immediately familiar to fans - it was a Limit Break in the original game - but here it’s a special move that can be brought out whenever you have ATB meter to burn.

Cloud jumps into the air, and slices down onto an opponent with a satisfying thwack. It makes quick work of the woefully outmatched Shinra guard and Cloud continues deeper into the reactor.

Combat survival tips

More Shinra troops attack, and Kitase-san takes the opportunity to tell us about two more essential components of combat: blocking and dodging.

Holding R1 causes Cloud to hold up his massive Buster Sword, and essentially use it as a shield. Attacks ding off the powerful blade, and our spiky-haired SOLDIER takes significantly less damage.

Of course, rather than reducing damage, it’s often better to take no hits at all. A tap on the X button sends Cloud rolling in the direction of your choosing, allowing him to evade his opponent’s strikes, and retaliate when they’re open with a barrage of his own.

It’s useful to combine dodges with the lock-on, which is activated by clicking in the right stick

Staggering enemies

Cloud and his cohorts enter the next area of the facility, with the game shifts smoothly from cutscene back into gameplay. That was a big focus for the team, according to Kitase-san - the importance of story to FINAL FANTASY VII, means that they wanted the player’s experience to be as seamless as possible.

He also introduced another big mechanic of the battle system: staggering. As you deal damage to enemies, a bar begins to fill. When it reaches maximum, the enemy is staggered and susceptible to massive amounts of damage.

We get a chance to see this in action in the demo, when Shinra brings out dangerous guard dogs. After landing a few hits, the previously powerful pooches are staggered, and start to take 160% damage. In other words, Cloud’s attacks are suddenly 1.6 times more effective and the bad dogs are put down fairly quickly.

Kitase-san explained that the enemies in this starting area are fairly weak, but later in the game staggering will be vital to prevail in combat.

Shortcuts

Here’s another useful tip Kitase-san gave us: shortcuts.

Those who prefer faster combat, can map abilities, magic and items to different command shortcuts, and use them in combat without having to pause the game.

You can assign up to four shortcuts, and access them by holding L1 and pressing one of the face buttons.

A punishing operator

The final control that Kitase-san demonstrated was the ability to switch modes. With a simple press of the triangle button, Cloud switches between two states: Operator mode and Punisher mode.

As an Operator, Cloud delivers quick, fluid strikes, taking down weak enemies in quick succession.

A quick tap of the triangle button, and Cloud flips to Punisher Mode. Now, his sword swings are much slower, but damage output is visibly increased.

Elevating the characters

Just as in the original FINAL FANTASY VII, the group battles their way to an elevator that will take them down to the reactor’s core. Barret takes the opportunity to lay out the facts of the situation to Cloud - Shinra’s sucking up Mako energy, the lifeblood of the planet.

It’s a scene that highlights just how much deeper the interactions between characters go in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE. Jessie’s look of resignation as Barret’s launches on his passionate tirades is a perfect example - an incidental detail that speaks volumes about those characters and their relationships.

This is another thing the development team wanted to make sure was right, Kitase-san says. When the original game was released, they didn’t have access to features like motion capture, voiceover and camerawork.

Now they’re using all these tools to make characters more detailed and compelling.

Barret Wallace enters the battle

The group exits the elevator and Barret joins the party as a playable character. Here, we get to see how distinctive each character will be.

Pressing up and down on the d-pad switches between characters - you can also assign them orders via the command menu when their ATB bars are full.

Rather than taking on foes up close, Barret deals damage from a distance with his gun arm. That’s useful because the reactor core is riddled with turrets that Cloud’s blade can’t reach.

There are other subtle differences too - pressing triangle activates a powerful charge shot rather than switching to a different mode. This fills the ATB bar much faster than his regular attacks, but it has a cooldown, which forces you to think strategically about when best to use it.

So while characters share the same basic controls, their playstyle and utility looks to be very different, allowing for interesting and challenging combat encounters, and lots of options of the player.

And that was pretty much the end of the show. Any further, and we would have seen the famous scorpion boss - and we’d already shown that extensively at E3.

Perhaps the strongest message we took from the demo is that the combat system has been designed to give the player choice in how they play.

Tactical Mode is fantastic for players who want to take their time, consider their strategy and exert maximum control over their party’s actions, while shortcuts keep the action flowing for people who want to keep the action fast-paced and flowing.

Hopefully that was some useful insight into what you’ll actually be doing when you play FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE.

The game is due to release on March 3, 2020, but you can preorder right now.

To stay up to date with all the news from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, make sure you follow us on social media:

New FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE trailer showcases Turks, summons and more

New footage will send a Shiva down your spine
By Duncan Heaney

We know a lot of you have been waiting to see more of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE… well, you’re about to.

A new trailer has been released, showcasing even more details about the game, its characters and its gameplay.

The new trailer gives you a closer look of the slums of Midgar, as well as some residents who may be familiar to fans of the original game.

Equally excitingly, we also get our first look at the Reno, Rude and Tseng - the Shinra operatives known as The Turks, as well as some of the beautiful, but destructive, summons you’ll be able to use in combat.


New FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE artwork

In addition to the trailer, we’ve also released new artwork that recreates one of the most iconic images from the original game. It features Cloud and the Midgar skyline and indicates the incredible levels of detail players can expect from the final game.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE releases for PS4 on March 3, 2020 and is available to preorder now:

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Deluxe Edition

Contains a beautiful Sephiroth Steelbook case, a hardback art book featuring stunning concept art, a mini-soundtrack CD, and Summon Materia DLC allowing players to summon Cactuar in game.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Digital Deluxe Edition

Contains a digital art book, a digital mini-soundtrack selection and DLC allowing you to summon Cactuar and Carbuncle in the game.


FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE 1st Class Edition

This one’s still available at the time or writing, but be aware that quantities are limited. It includes all the content of the Deluxe Edition, the Carbuncle Summon Materia DLC and a Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife and Hardy Daytona box set.

What is Square Enix bringing to Gamescom 2019?

Visitors can dive in and enjoy playable demos for Marvel’s Avengers, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and more
By Duncan Heaney

Gamescom is just a few weeks away - and we’re excited to announce what Square Enix is bringing to this year’s show.

MARVEL’S AVENGERS

In a worldwide first, fans at Gamescom 2019 will play a hands-on demo for MARVEL’S AVENGERS!

Gamers at the Square Enix booth will battle as Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Thor experiencing the preliminary incident of this original Avengers story, launching on September 4, 2020, simultaneously for the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X, Stadia, and PC.

Play the Beta first on PS4. Pre-Order for Beta Access at www.playavengers.com

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

For the first time in Europe, visitors will experience the highly anticipated FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, with a hands-on demo showcasing the reimagining of the iconic original game that re-defined the RPG genre.

Across 72 stations, show attendees will get their first look at the game before its release for the PlayStation®4 system on 3rd March 2020.

Trials of Mana

This remake of an RPG classic makes its global debut at Gamescom with a new playable demo!

Trials of Mana completely rebuilds the original (which is playable in COLLECTION OF MANA), with modern 3D graphics and new action RPG battle, levelling and skill systems.

Attendees will be able to experience an early section of the game at the Square Enix booth, and try out just some of the amazing characters that will be playable in the full game, when it comes out in 2020.

FINAL FANTASY XIV Online

It’s going to be a good Gamescom for FINAL FANTASY XIV Online fans. The critically-acclaimed MMORPG arrives at the show, bringing intense challenges and great prizes with it.

There will be a number of stage shows across the week, featuring makers of the game, including Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida and Main Scenario Writer and World Lore Creator Banri Oda. The programme culminates with a big cosplay competition on Friday 23 August.

Also, on the evening of Friday 23 August is the next FINAL FANTASY XIV Online Fan Gathering. It’s going to be the biggest FINAL FANTASY XIV Online fan gathering to ever take place in Germany, so Cologne had better get ready…

Life is Strange 2

Life is Strange 2 will debut a trailer for Episode 4 ‘Faith’ at gamescom 2019, ahead of the episode’s release on 22 August.

In ‘Faith’, the Diaz brothers’ journey towards a new life in Mexico reaches its most thrilling and complex stage yet.

The trailer releases 19 August, so watch out for that.

KINGDOM HEARTS III

Having surpassed 5 million shipments and digital sales following its launch earlier this year, the critically acclaimed action-RPG KINGDOM HEARTS III returns to Gamescom 2019 with playable demos from worlds inspired by Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Hercules and Disney Pixar’s Toy Story.

Merch and board games

Anyone who heads over the Square Enix booth will also get a first-hand look at some of the latest merchandise and board games.

As well as a sneak peek at merchandise prototypes for FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, you’ll also be able to get some hands-on with the latest Square Enix board and card games, including Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game and FINAL FANTASY TRADING CARD GAME.


To stay up to date with all the news from Gamescom, make sure you follow Square Enix on social media.