Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has been officially announced and is already proving to be a popular topic of conversation – perhaps as you would expect given the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake. This is a sequel that seems to veer wildly from the path it once promised, and Rebirth certainly hammers that point home.
But what do we actually want from Rebirth? What can Square Enix do to improve Remake? We chose the press square Editorial team gather to talk about the upcoming PS5 exclusive (minus Stephen, who tried his best to like Remake but threw it away after a few hours).
Robert Ramsey, lifelong Final Fantasy fan
I liked remake but didn’t love it. Overall, I think the game’s highs outweigh its lows, but I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth – especially from a structural standpoint. More exploration would be nice to start with. I enjoyed how well realized much of Remake’s world was – Midgar will always be a great setting – but the amount of corridor-like environments you’re forced into slow going down is a joke. There’s just too much padding in Remake – including borderline awful side quests – so hopefully Rebirth finds a better pace and sticks with it.
In Rebirth, I put my full trust in combat. I thought the system in Remake was fantastic – a near-perfect fusion of command-driven strategy and action-based combat. Evolving this mechanic could be incredible, especially when more party members are involved.
As for the story, I don’t know what to make of it. I don’t particularly trust Square Enix to do a “new” narrative is not a complete mess. God knows what they’re doing with alternate timelines and all that nonsense. Perhaps Rebirth will exceed expectations and actually take the world of Final Fantasy VII in an exciting new direction. I certainly hope that’s the case, but I’m not exactly betting on it.
Ultimately, I’m excited to see where things go – but my expectations are being tempered.
Liam Croft, Final Fantasy VII first player
I like Final Fantasy and I like good video games, so playing Final Fantasy VII Remake at launch was the perfect mix, even though I’ve never played the original on PS1. I have absolutely no nostalgia for this classic experience, and I absolutely loved what happened at the end of Remake. I’m a guy who loves games that get out of hand and weird – the earlier in the story the better – and boy did Square Enix do that. The fact that it’s not really a “remake” anymore intrigues me and I’m here for everything that’s happening in Rebirth.
Square Enix, I’ll tell you right now: don’t get stuck with the 1997 narrative. Keep Aerith alive. Kill Tifa. I don’t want Cloud and Sephiroth kissing. I want the most mental story possible. Put it this way: If you piss off the hardcore fans, I’ll probably like it even more.
When I actually play the game, let’s make the environments bigger and more open to exploration. I recently played Final Fantasy XIII and I’m done with one linear hallway after another. Level up the side quests and you have reason to stray off the beaten track. One of the Final Fantasy VII Rebirth screenshots shows a compass with a target over 1,000 meters away, and that gives me hope that the game could be a little more open-ended. Or Cloud and Sephiroth could just go a really long way in a flashback scene, I’m told.
But no matter what happens, I’ll play this sequel. In 2024 because you don’t get Final Fantasy XVI and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth in the same year. We’re sorry!
Sammy Barker, Final Fantasy Casual
I got to Final Fantasy VII late, so I don’t have the built-in nostalgia that many others have. That said, while I enjoyed my time with Final Fantasy VII Remake, it left me a little #worried. I have very little patience for anime bullsh*t to be honest, and while the ending of the original left me mostly amused, I don’t think we’re going to bother with a remake anymore. The sequel’s subtitle, Rebirth, even implies that we’re heavily diverted in another direction.
I can see that coming with some excitement for longtime fans: where will they go next? But for me, I find it frustrating – to be honest, it even borders on insulting. My favorite parts of Final Fantasy VII Remake were the moments where familiar scenes were adapted – not necessarily beat by beat, but at least recognizable. As we head into a different timeline, a multiverse if you will, I just don’t trust the writing team at Square Enix to write anything coherent.
From a gameplay perspective, I’m pretty happy with what we got, so the iteration will be great – a few less Poundland sidequests would be nice though. But again, for me it’s all about the plot: I already have a feeling it’s Kingdom Hearts-ed – and I fear things are only going to get worse. Cynicism aside, I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
Are you looking forward to Final Fantasy VII Rebirth? What are your hopes and dreams for the sequel? Vote in our poll, then write your own story in the comments section below.