First released in 1997, Final Fantasy 7 immediately cemented its place as one of the best JRPG titles around and introduced millions of gamers around the world to the genre. Now, due to the success of Final Fantasy 7 over 20 years ago (and the pleads from die hard fans), Square Enix is releasing a remake.
Unfortunately, those high expectations have been both a blessing and a curse for the game as the path to release hasn’t been smooth.
But now, nearly five years after it was announced at E3 2015, we finally have a Final Fantasy 7 Remake release date: April 10, 2020. Although, even that hasn’t been smooth-going, with Square Enix pushing the release date back from March 3, 2020.
Despite the delay, we are firmly on the hype train for Final Fantasy 7 Remake. We’ve now seen the game a half-dozen times in trailers – and even got hands on time at Gamescom 2019 and E3 2019 – but it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s going on with the long-awaited remake.
So, we’ve gathered up everything that’s been confirmed about Final Fantasy 7, what we’ve learned from our hands-on time and everything fans suspect right here for your perusal.
[Update: Square Enix has dropped a new trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Read on to find out more.]
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A re-interpretation of the popular JRPG Final Fantasy 7
- When can I play it? April 10, 2020
- What can I play it on? It’s been confirmed the game will come to PS4 first but this is a timed exclusive so it could come to other platforms in 2021.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake release date
Final Fantasy Remake is due for release on April 10, 2020 – after Square Enix announced its initial release date of March 3, 2020 had been pushed back.
It’s unclear if this release date is for all of the episodes (remember, FF7R is an episodic game with more than two Blu-rays worth of content) or if that’s just the release date of episode one. The latter seems likely as development on episode 2 is still underway.
The Final Fantasy 7 remake has had something of a troubled development, which makes it less surprising that the game’s release date has been delayed.
The game has been in the works since 2014 but, for a few years, there were few significant official updates since the E3 2015 reveal. During that time, development of the game moved from external developer CyberConnect2 to Square Enix’s in-house team.
The good news is that this new release date should be set in stone and PS4 players will get to play then. Fans using other platforms could potentially see a release in 2021, which is when the game’s period of exclusivity on PS4 apparently ends.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailers
The first trailer for the game was released upon the remake’s announcement at E3 2015. The trailer is largely cinematic and you can watch it for yourself below:
A further trailer (this time featuring gameplay) was revealed at PSX in 2015:
There’s also the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer that was revealed during a Sony State of Play event last year. In it, we got a great look at what the action-heavy combat would look like (think Kingdom Hearts and you’ll be on the right track) and one of the series most well-remembered protagonists, Aerith.
Check it out below:
The most important trailer we have is the one that was unveiled at a Final Fantasy 7 concert held in Los Angeles, where the game’s director, Tetsuya Nomura, unveiled Remake’s initial March 3, 2020 release date.
It’s only a minute long but it’s important.
Another Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer was released as part of Tokyo Game Show 2019 and showcased a first look at characters, summons, mini-games and more. Check it out below:
The most recent trailer for Final Fantasy 7 appeared at The Game Awards 2019. The trailer shows snippets of combat and flashes of some of the game’s iconic characters. It’s a minute and a half you don’t want to miss.
We know, there’s lots of trailers for Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but the latest is pretty great. Not only do we get to hear the theme but we also get a much better look at the cast of characters in all their revamped glory.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake news and rumors
Release date delay
Final Fantasy 7 Remake was originally due to release on March 3, 2020 but this release date has been pushed back by a month to April 10, 2020.
In a statement, Final Fantasy 7 Remake producer, Yoshinori Kitase, explained that the delay was to allow the developer more time to polish the highly-anticipated remake.
“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.”
It’s only a few months until the release of the first part of Final Fantasy 7 but a recent leak has resulted in some serious spoilers emerging online. After rumors that a demo could coming to the PlayStation Store before released surfaced in December 2019, some users have managed to find the demo, download it and then upload the footage online.
Even more significant than this is that files relating to the wider game have been found in the demo’s code and now details of the game and changes that have been made from the original are leaking out. A rip of the game’s soundtrack is even floating around out there. It’s something of a disastrous start to the new year for the Square Enix team which had, before now, managed to keep much of Final Fantasy 7’s specifics under wraps.
Those hoping not to be spoiled before the game’s release ought to be vigilant when searching online while those who just can’t resist will find the leaked demo on YouTube.
A demo coming soon?
There are reports that a Final Fantasy 7 Remake demo could be coming to the PlayStation Store soon. According to Gematsu, the tracker on Gamestat which follows everything uploaded to the PlayStation Store has added a cover for the demo. Square Enix is yet to confirm if there are plans to release a demo of the game and there’s no information other than the cover available so, if there is a demo on the way, there’s no way to know when it’ll be available. Given the game launches in April 2020 it’ll have to be in the next couple of months if it happens at all. We’ll update here as soon as further information becomes available.
It seems that, as rumored, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake will be a timed exclusive for PS4. The North American box art for the game was posted to Twitter recently, with a banner stating that the game will be a timed exclusive until March 3 2021 – nearly a year after its first release. This isn’t an outright confirmation that the game will be coming to other platforms but it does suggest it’s a possibility. After all, Microsoft is adding a raft of the Final Fantasy games to its Game Pass service in 2020 which could be a precursor.
Final Fantasy VII Remake box art updated with timed exclusive disclaimer – until March 3, 2021 pic.twitter.com/IGL0f5dbBb10 December 2019
Work is underway on part 2
We already know that Final Fantasy 7 is going to be released in at least two parts but we don’t know how much of a gap there’s going to be between the release of part 1 in March 2020 and part 2.
At the very least, we do now know that development on part 2 is well underway. In a recent Square Enix blog, Tetsuya Nomura said “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.” From what Nomura has said with regards to the “density and volume” of part 1’s Midgar, we may need a little space between releases to get through it all anyway.
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake Deluxe Edition is available to pre-order now and contains a hardback art book featuring art, a mini-soundtrack CD, Summon Materia DLC (allowing players to summon Cactuar in game), and a Sephiroth steel book case. The Digital Deluxe Edition contains a digital art book, a digital mini-soundtrack selection, and Summon Materia DLC (allowing players to summon Carbuncle and Cactuar in game).
If you would rather pick up the 1st Class Edition, you’ll get all the Deluxe Edition content, the Carbuncle Summon Materia DLC, as well as a Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife and Hardy Daytona box set.
Those who pre-order any version of the game will also receive the Chocobo Chick Summon Materia DLC at launch. Those who pre-order any digital edition from the PlayStation Store will also receive the Cloud & Sephiroth Dynamic Theme for the PS4.
It looks like FF7 Remake will feature mini-games that involve button bashing tasks for exercise training and darts. Those are just what we’ve seen so far.
Those Xbox One rumors
After the Xbox Germany Facebook account posted a video which suggested that the Final Fantasy 7 remake would be coming to Xbox One on March 3 2020, the same date it was initially due to hit PS4, fans were left with some pressing questions.
However, Square Enix confirmed in a statement to IGN that Final Fantasy 7 will only release on PS4 on March 3, 2020 (we know know the release date is April 10) and that there are “no plans for other platforms”. Whether this means there are no plans for other platforms just on March 3 or whether there are no plans for other platforms for good is unconfirmed but so far it seems like the game will be a PS4 exclusive. Microsoft has deemed the Facebook video which was quickly removed an “internal mistake”.
We got hands on with Final Fantasy 7 Remake at E3 2019 and were extremely impressed by what we saw. Remake brags seamless, Advent Children-tier cinematics and fluid, real-time combat. While the game is centered on the same story, characters and enemies, everything has been amped up to make for a modern gaming experience. Characters have new abilities and there’s a few new cutscenes thrown in to add to the narrative, but essentially Remake is a game which is equally accessible to fans and newbies alike.
The only FF7 Remake setting we have seen is the dark, steampunk city of Midgar. In order to increase Midgar’s gothic atmosphere, Square Enix used lighting, coloring and effects to vary the iconic location while also including “surprises around every corner”.
Technology has come on leaps and bounds since Final Fantasy 7 was released, therefore it’s no surprise that Square Enix is harnessing motion capture to enhance Remake’s characters – adding more expression and therefore making the title more immersive. The Remake also has a new voice actor cast, however developer plans to keep the original cast for other Final Fantasy games that include Final Fantasy 7’s characters.
Deeper into story and characters
Square Enix has explained during a behind-closed-doors E3 2019 presentation of Remake that while the title is a “reimagining” of FF7, it aims to dig deeper into the game’s story and characters – making it the equivalent of a standalone Final Fantasy game in its own right.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake includes Tactical Mode which is essentially a Matrix-style slow motion mode that that gives you time to select your next action and aims to please those who prefer turn-based combat.
FF7 Remake is based around core values
Square Enix has assured us that Final fantasy 7 Remake is based around three core values: innovation, pushing boundaries and surprising players. In that light, the developer is approaching Remake like a new game in an effort to create new exciting experiences for a new generation. However, many of the game’s original development team are continuing to oversee the title, in order to keep its heart.
E3 2019 news – two discs and new ATB system
At E3 2019 we learned that there are more than two Blu-ray discs worth of content planned for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. We also got an in-depth look at the combat mechanics of the game – including the new ATB system. The main takeaway is that switching between characters in the real-time battle system can be done by pressing a single button, and you’ll need your entire party to beat tougher bosses.
So what’s worth pointing out here is that the sedentary turn-based combat you may remember from the original has been replaced with a FF15-style approach that allows you to control the characters and move them around the battlefield. You’ll still have some familiar options in combat – like Limit Breaks – but expect combat to be a bit more engaging this time around.
During E3 2019 we also learned that Final Fantasy 7 Remake is not only episodic, but actually requires two Blu-ray discs to hold all the content. The first disc, released on March 3, 2020, will actually only take place in Midgar – that futuristic city you’ve seen so much of in the trailers.
Nomura admits an announcement was premature
Square Enix’s Tetsuya Nomura has admitted that both Kingdom Hearts 3 and the Final Fantasy 7 remake were announced too early.
“I am well aware of the fact that we announced it too early,” Nomura told Italian gaming mag Multiplayer (translated by Kingdom Hearts Insider) . “But even in the industry, word was beginning to spread that we were working on the game, so we just decided not to keep it more secret and officially reveal it.”
It’s a reconstruction, not a shot-for-shot remake
The Final Fantasy 7 remake will follow the original game’s narrative and feature the iconic characters and locations that fans love.
Considering it’s so beloved there’s a lot of pressure on Square Enix to not stray too far from the original source material but according to director Tetsuya Nomura it won’t be a completely direct recreation. In an interview with Wired, Nomura said “We’re not intending for this to become a one-to-one remake, or just the original Final Fantasy VII with better graphics.”
Nomura has said that he wants the remake to “apply to the current era” and “the current generation of players.” He added the caveat that he doesn’t “want to change it so much that it’s unrecognizable” but it has to be offering something “fresh and new.”
To accommodate modern consoles and gamers, changes will naturally have to be made to the game both in terms of gameplay, mechanics and perhaps even to some elements of the story. For starters, early trailers show a game more akin to Final Fantasy XV mechanically, with fixed viewpoints and static backdrops swapped out for full-3D terrain, and a turn-based battle system removed in favour of a real-time action-orientated one.
A significant way the remake is going to differ from the original game is that its story will be told episodically. This is a detail that was confirmed back in December 2015.
The reasoning behind the decision, according to series producer Yoshinori Kitase is that “a proper HD remake” just wouldn’t fit into one instalment and maintain the “same feeling of density of the original.”
“We’ve seen everyone’s comments and reactions to the news that Final Fantasy 7 remake will be a multi-part series and many have speculated correctly as to the reason why we have made this decision,” he said, “If we were to try to fit everything from the original into one remake instalment, we would have to cut various parts and create a condensed version of Final Fantasy 7. We knew none of you would have wanted that.
“I hope that by explaining a little more about our design decisions that you can appreciate the size of this project and what we have planned for this remake. Going beyond the scale and depth of the world, narrative and gameplay from the original to deliver something that feels familiar yet new. As I said before, we like delivering surprises.”
Each episode will apparently be its “own unique experience” but as yet we don’t know how many episodes there will be or how they’ll be structured in relation to the original story.
No more turn-based battles
As mentioned above, a major element that’s changing from the original game is a move away from turn-based battles.
In an interview with Famitsu, Nomura said that battles in the remake will be “action-based” rather than command-based. Nomura didn’t go into much more detail with regards to the game’s combat system but it’s widely expected that we’re going to see a formula more similar to Kingdom Hearts and FFXV.
This would mean a more active and seamless style of battling involving party members whom the player will be able to switch between.
Though the loss of turn-based combat will be mourned, a move towards a system like Kingdom Hearts will be more accessible to new players.
A PS5 release?
PS5 development kits are now said to be out in the wild, with Sony’s first-party development teams working almost solely on titles for the as-yet-unannounced next-gen system. With the ambition on display here, could Square Enix be planning to shift Final Fantasy 7’s remake to the next machine?
For Sony, it’d be a system seller right out of the gates for the new console generation, and for the developers you’d imagine it’d offer more processing grunt and a little longer in terms of the development window. This is speculation at this point, but as the sun sets on the PS4, and titles like Final Fantasy 7’s remake being no closer to even having a release date, it starts to seem like the looming next generation machines may be now what they’re being aimed at.