After its appearance at the 2015 PlayStation Experience keynote, fans had two issues with Square Enix's upcoming remake of Final Fantasy VII. The first is that the game now features an action combat system, versus the original's turn-based battles. The second is that the game will be episodic, splitting the original experience into distinct chunks.
In a statement to fans, Final Fantasy VII Remake producer Yoshinori Kitase explained why the game is being separated.
"One thing that we wanted to be clear about during this weekend to accompany the new trailer was the scale of this project, wrote Kitase. "We wanted to tell you this now and not in the future so that you'd share our vision for what we want to deliver. The biggest reason why we haven't done a remake until now is because it's a massive undertaking to reconstruct Final Fantasy VII from the ground up with the current technology. Producing a proper HD remake of Final Fantasy VII that maintains the same feeling of density of the original would result in a volume of content that couldn't possibly fit into one installment."
"We've seen everyone's comments and reactions to the news that Final Fantasy VII Remake will be a multi-part series and many have speculated correctly as to the reason why we have made this decision," he added. "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 VII. We knew none of you would have wanted that."
The truth is, rebuilding all of the original scenes we remember in Final Fantasy VII into full 3D settings in HD is going to be a huge project. Splitting that experience into episodes allows Square Enix to focus on each section independently and it means we're not going to be waiting until 2018 to play the game. Square Enix has also turned to CyberConnect2, the folks behind the excellent episodic .hack series to help develop the Remake. There is some hope.
There's still some questions as to the freeform nature of exploration in the each Remake episode. It's possible that the world map as we know it may not be a part of the games, in order to keep the discrete section of the game walled off, but we have nothing but speculation at this point. Either way, Square Enix is looking to deliver the Final Fantasy VII remake fans have always wanted, it's just a matter of fans realizing that their dreams are bigger than what one company can produce in the next few years. Temper your expectations, folks.