Square-Enix said over and over that we'll never see a remake of Final Fantasy VII. But it's happening. Final Fantasy VII is coming back, and it's got some awesome new threads.
We can sit here and fret over the moral implications of Square-Enix going back on an ironclad promise. Or we can celebrate while we pen wish lists outlining everything we want to see in our return trip to Midgar.
Here are our (gentle) demands for the Final Fantasy VII remake:
A complete overhaul of the English translation
Final Fantasy VII's story probably didn't make much sense when you first played the game in 1997, and here's a shocking revelation: It doesn't make much sense today. But bad storytelling isn't necessarily the problem. Final Fantasy VII simply has a very shoddy English translation that makes the cast sound like they communicate by throwing darts at a board full of random sentences.
Priority one for a Final Fantasy VII remake should be a heavy duty re-translation. Tear it all down to its foundations, and scrub those foundations with turpentine and bleach. Then build it all back up from the very first "C'mon, newcomer! Follow me!"
The option to play with the original soundtrack
When Final Fantasy VII first hit Steam in 2012, its rich soundtrack was replaced by an acoustic horror show. Poor quality was only half the problem: Cloud's journey to save the world and find himself is accompanied by some of the best game music of all time, and messing with that music means messing with some very strong nostalgia.
No doubt Square-Enix has a symphonic overhaul in mind for the remake, but we'd also like the option to switch to the original soundtrack. It just wouldn't feel right to battle Rufus on top of Shinra HQ without those scratchy synthetic guitars blaring in the background.
More side quests
RPGs are getting bigger and grander, and that goes for Japanese RPGs too. The original Final Fantasy VII doesn't offer too many chances to wander off the beaten path, but when you do get an invite to stray from your original task, you discover some very interesting supplementary information about the game's characters and their world. It'd be awesome to have more journeys of discovery in the Final Fantasy VII remake.
No more random encounters
Boo to random encounters. They're completely unnecessary, especially since many of the RPGs released in Final Fantasy VII's shadow (including Square's own Chrono Cross) eliminated these aggravating interludes.
Mind, it wouldn't be terrible to have the option of turning on random encounters in the Final Fantasy VII remake. People get weirdly nostalgic for game-related annoyances. But there's no reason for them to be the norm.
Shiva throws ice. Ifrit burns his foes. Ramuh gives bad guys a jolt. The Knights of the Round go on.
Summons are cool to gawp at the first few times they appear, but we have to wonder what percentage of the 70-hour Final Fantasy VII save file on our PlayStation memory card is dedicated solely to summon-watching. Square-Enix, we know you can make pretty pictures. Now please let us skip summon animations in Final Fantasy VII's remake. We promise to say "Oooh!" at least once before we press A.
Online chocobo races and a fully-loaded Golden Saucer
Saving the world is hard work. Hard, intimidating work. That's why the Golden Saucer is so important in Final Fantasy VII. Sure, Sephiroth is about to chew up the planet and spit it out, but is that really important when you have a record to beat in Super Dunk?
We hope the Final Fantasy VII remake provides us with some shiny new games in Shinra's techno-Disneyland. We especially want the option to breed chobobos and race them online. This dream is already possible in Final Fantasy XIV, so there isn't much reason to deny us the pleasure of bashing birds like cheap go-karts in the new Final Fantasy VII.
No more mandatory mini-games
Nobody wants to be forced into giving a drowning girl CPR, Square-Enix. Nobody wants to go snowboarding directly after witnessing the death of an integral party member, either.