Final Fantasy VII Remake is pretty polarizing. Some people love the idea of it, others hate it. But what do they love and hate about it? It’s not uncommon for there to be something we think we know all about, and yet it completely subverts our expectations (in a good or bad way). Sometimes, however, we’re given hints. And Square Enix has constantly given us hints about the Remake – that it’s actually a “reimiagining”.
Even though we then to think of the words as the same, Square Enix is making a distinction between the words “Remake” and “ReImagining”. Yoshinori Kitase has said:
FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is a reimagining of the iconic original game that goes much deeper into the world and characters of FINAL FANTASY VII than ever before.We had no idea…
So then, what is a remake and what is a reimagining?
Let’s rule out a remaster, which is usually a change in quality of the sound, image, graphic, etc. Think Final Fantasy X-X HD Remaster and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age; they’re the same game but with enhanced character models, environments and music sampling.
A remake is like an update of an existing game: but in a way that might be described as from 2D to 3D. Think Final Fantasy III and IV on the DS. They’re built from the ground up, but still very much the same games we’ve come to know and love. They come with optional enhanced soundtracks, polygonal characters, and voice acting for Final Fantasy IV. Yet, the storyline follows the original closely, even if they add a couple of new scenes here or there.
But a reimagining? That’s another issue altogether. It’s usually like a remake, but with one defining change that alters the entire project in a big way. We didn’t at first know what was going to change, which lead to a ton of questions. What’s going to be reimagined? How much? Why? Remakes usually take liberties with the source material, but if a reimagining is different from a remake, then a reimagining might be more than a overhaul. It might have a brand new story, newer plots and more.
To which, Final Fantasy VII Remake most certainly did.
So then, the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s producer has said that what we think we are getting will be much different than expected. Why are they naming it a Remake instead of a Reimagining? Probably because there’s more hype and demand surrounding the word “remake” and no one quite understands what Square Enix means by “Reimagining”. One thing is for certain, we expect a remake and will be getting a reimagining. I can’t yet say this is a bait and switch, since the way we understand “reimagining” is too vague.
And this is the problem. The Final Fantasy VII Remake is a sequel that operates as a reboot. Reboots reset the continuity, which would seem ideal for a series that’s seen a ton of retcons throughout it’s compilation. Only, a remake should have fixed the continuity errors. It seems as if the writers were either unwilling or unable to fix these issues however.
Fans of Final Fantasy VII are still divided as to what the Final Fantasy VII Remake will be. Some of the more skeptical of us simply can’t trust Square Enix. But the more excited fans are anxiously looking forward to the Remake. But why? When we see the Final Fantasy VII Remake, we immediately think it’s going to be a remake, yet, it’s going to be closer to that of a “reimagining”, which necessitates something much different.
In this case, there’s a cognitive dissonance going on with how we view Final Fantasy VII Remake. For those who’ve followed news on the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s, we already know it’s going to be reimagined to current. But we expect a remake, something simply enhanced.
Those who are the loudest supporters of the Final Fantasy VII Remake in their minds are thinking it will be a remake, even though time and time again they nod at the idea of it being a reimagining. Do we truly know what Yoshinori Kitase means by a “reimagining”? No. This is where the fallout will lie, and where the disagreement will arise.
There was a term to define people perceived as propagandizing for a cause without fully comprehending the cause’s goals: useful idiots. These people, usually non-communists regarded as susceptible to communist propaganda and manipulation, were cynically used by the cause’s leaders. In this case, Square Enix is taking full advantage of fans’ hype for Final Fantasy VII to essentially sell us a product we only think we know. Did we really know what we were getting?