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For me, Final Fantasy VII was the game that gave rise to my obsession with meticulously saving my game progress. The three-disc 1997 Square classic had a rich plot, with the main story taking about 40 to 60 hours to complete. If one wanted all the rare items (the Gold Chocobo and Master Materia stand out in particular), one would have to spend more than 100 hours leveling up characters, maxing out their stats and defeating extremely powerful bosses that were exponentially harder than the final boss itself.

Final Fantasy VII has emerged as the most well-known game in the Final Fantasy series and vaulted the series to prominence in North America. It should comes as no surprise then that it’s getting a remake for the PlayStation 4. While Square ENIX (formerly SquareSoft) did release several games for the North American market prior to Final Fantasy VII, it only appealed to a niche market of gamers. However, the game’s expansive universe and transition into 3D graphics on the 32-bit PlayStation console made the game more appealing than its 2D counterparts. In addition, it made wide use of full motion video (FMV) scenes, which were very impressive for their time.

The plot remains unchanged—Cloud Strife, the protagonist of the game and a former member of Shinra Electric Company’s elite military unit (SOLDIER), joins AVALANCHE (an eco-terrorist organization opposed to Shinra) to stop them from destroying the environment. However, Cloud and his allies are drawn into a bigger conflict that threatens the very life of the planet. The game gets a graphical update with the Unreal Engine 4. This is a far cry from the blocky 3D of 1997 (at the time, 3D games were still relatively new), and the game will also feature new voice acting.

However, it has been revealed that the remake of the game will be episodic so that content won’t be cut. This means that Final Fantasy VII will eventually get a “Game of the Year” treatment, where all the episodes will be included. “If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become summarized,” said director Tetsuya Nomura. “We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts.”

Other members of the Final Fantasy VII remake team backed Nomura on the episodic approach. “The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning,” said producer Yoshinori Kitase. “As you can see in the trailer, we showed Sector 1 and Sector 8, but in those areas alone, I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.”

Final Fantasy VII had a PC release in 1998, but fan demand prompted a Steam re-release in 2013 as well. The game won numerous Game of the Year awards back in 1997 and received positive reviews from game publications as well. However, some gamers are criticizing the episodic approach, calling it a money grab for nostalgia as the game is nearly 20 years old. Having completed the game (as in actually spending the 100+ hours getting everything the game has to offer), I am looking forward to see what they do with the episodic approach.

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