The first new trailer for Final Fantasy 7 Remake in four years was released last week during a PlayStation State of Play livestream. While the footage is just a minute long in length, fans are already performing second-by-second autopsies to glean any new information they can. Specifically, with how combat is going to work in the remake.
The trailers for Final Fantasy 7 Remake have shown off combat in the game but have offered no explanation as to how it works. So, fans have taken it upon themselves to dissect the latest Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailer, CSI-style.
The original Final Fantasy 7 utilized an Active Time Battle (ATB) system, which relies on a timer mechanic to determine when characters can attack. Final Fantasy 7 Remake are looking towards the ATB gauge, scenes from the newest trailer, and knowledge that Kingdom Heart 2's battle planner, Mitsunori Takahashi, is designing the combat, as the basis for all the fan theories regarding the remake's combat.
Since the original Final Fantasy 7 Remake announcement, fans have generally agreed that the remake is taking a more action-oriented approach to combat. This is easily seen in the two trailers' combat scenes where attacks appear to be done in real-time.
Without proper explanation for how combat in Final Fantasy 7 Remake works, fans have been looking to existing Square Enix action-RPGs as a guiding light, most commonly: Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy 15. The latter has proven to be controversial as not everybody liked how combat worked in FF15.
The ATB Bar Might be Back
What's been immediately noticed in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailers is the existence of the ATB gauge as indicated by the two blue bars by the characters' name. This has served as a launchpad for most theories regarding how combat will work in the remake. One user on Reddit believes the remake's combat is a retooled version of the original game's combat.
"The battle system seems to actually be more of a modern interpretation of the original where the attack functions are just filler for inbetween ATB gauge uses (which do around 2000% more damage) to keep battles exciting and dynamic," writes user "IISuperSlothII"
By dissecting the trailer, they've seemed to discover a correlation between damage, skills, and ATB. They argue that the second-to-second "Attacks" which are bound to the "X" button aren't meant to deal significant damage, highlighting how Barret's attack around the 20 second mark in the new trailer only deals 1, 2, or 3 damage.
Instead, "IISuperSlothII" posits that heavy damage is only dealt to enemies using skills that deplete the ATB bar, as seen in the 21 second mark when Cloud appears to be using the "Braver" attack. Though not clearly indicated by the trailer, "Braver" appears to use one ATB bar out of two.
The two blue bars seen in the remake trailer, and theorized to be the ATB bar, appears to be the key to unlocking the secrets of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake's combat. A separate video by The Night Sky Prince finds deeper connections with the rumored ATB bar. Not only does it appear to build in the trailer, and become spent when used with a special attack. But a separate menu seen in the 21 second mark labeled shortcuts seems to indicate that the ATB bar gets used for non-attack actions, like using magic.
Everything is Bigger in Midgar
Another big detail fans have noticed from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trailers, is literally about how big some of the battles are. In the 41 second mark you can see Cloud face a buzzsaw robot twice his size. There appear to be aiming reticles locked onto the robot's arm, suggesting that there are enemies so big that they'll have attackable limbs which can be damaged individually.
This has led to speculation regarding some of the larger enemies and bosses in the game. There's even evidence that unlike in the original, boss fights will impact the environment and level after the fight. The reactor level shown in the new trailer seems physically altered after the fight witht he Security Scorpion, and surrounding areas have visible battle damage.
These theories have given some fans confidence that combat in Final Fantasy 7 Remake isn't purely action oriented as theorized. It seemed that the worst-case scenario for some fans was that Final Fantasy 7 Remake's combat would be too like Final Fantasy 15, the most recent Final Fantasy game, or Kingdom Hearts 3 which Nomura directed last. Instead, fans seem to have discovered a pretty neat connection to the original Final Fantasy 7.
However, we'll have to wait until for more reveals to confirm if their theories are true. Square Enix is promising more Final Fantasy 7 Remake reveals at E3 2019, and we'll be onsite to cover it. Check out our Final Fantasy 7 Remake guide in the meantime for more of our coverage.