Usually, when we think of nostalgia, we think of “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.” The remake will truly feel like a homage to the first game, for the time being of course.
But everyone in the fandom believes that it’s going to be a brand new game. Well, they had no idea. In fact, it most certainly is a new game. The theme of Final Fantasy VII Remake is literally about “remaking” the future. However, the game itself is a subtle sequel that doubles as a reboot and a reimagining. By all accounts, it’s a very impressive undertaking, even if it’s not quite what people wanted.
OK. So it’s new. Then how nostalgic will it be? If it’s only going to be Midgar, then it’ll only be nostalgic of the first 5 hours of the original game, which is not nostalgic of the whole game. And the whole game is where we base our nostalgia.
But the game we thought we were getting added more material that wasn’t in the original. Before the game hit shelves, we believed it would simply be extra dialogue and new scenes that fleshed out the characters. Now we know that the entire plot has been changed.
For all we thought, only the characters, and maybe the setting would have been truly nostalgic. The story might have an altogether different feel, and different message (as it certainly does towards the end).
There are things they added that we’re glad they included, as well as material that didn’t need to be there. Certain characters appeared more than they needed to be, for better (Jessie) and for worse (Sephiroth). Remember that feeling of the first time Sephiroth was solely hinted at in Midgar? That nostalgia was lost when Sephiroth appeared at random throughout the first part of the remake.
I didn’t remember floaty ghost like wraith apparitions in Midgar. Who are they and how do they inform our nostalgia of the original story? Well, now we know they are the Watchers/Whispers of Fate. They’re main purpose is to ensure that the timeline of the original Final Fantasy VII remains the same. This means that this game is not the original Final Fantasy VII.
The dialogue might be overwrought, resulting in weird translation and writing problems. Plus, consider that this was originally directed by Tetusya Nomura, the undisputed champion and king of video game obfuscation. If there’s any weird stuff in Final Fantasy VII Remake that doesn’t make sense, doesn’t explain the original and only serves to add to confuse the viewer, we know where it started…
Tifa Lockhart and Aerith Gainsborough outright fighting over Cloud’s attention approaches camp levels of writing. I admit though, it’s nice to see their personalities shining through, even if it was too much.
Speaking of which, Tifa and Aerith don’t actually seem the way they were in the game. Aerith was way more assertive in the original. Making her into a damsel-in-distress in the remake takes away her original character, and makes her into her naive girly-girly iteration in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. And even then, she was still a bit more strong-willed.
Don’t get me started on Tifa. Her bust size is a non-issue we concentrated on for far too long. Her personality is much more interesting, yet how they are handling her is strange. She was shy, but extremely head strong as an Avalanche member. Her “feelings of being trapped” as opposed to be how she is in the original really sticks out.
Will Yuffie also be this wishy-washy, or a damsel-in-distress? Well, I guess she has to be in Wutai, to some extent. But will they make her some goof ball comic relief, like she was in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII? If so, wrong nostalgia. And I expect Square Enix to pull these types of bait and switch nostalgia with the entire compilation.
In this sense – and I hope they don’t do this – it’ll be false marketing.
We won’t be getting Final Fantasy VII, nor will we be getting a Frankenstein’s monster product of everything in the Final Fantasy VII compilation. We will be getting a brand new story incorporating it all. I kinda like the idea of this, but not the marketing promising us of the game that started it all.
And consider the gameplay. Nostalgia would be ATB. This is mostly realtime, which a few elements that mimic the ATB system. The mimic might be nostalgic, but in the same way that a mask of an actor reminds you of the movie they portrayed. Or rather, how Advent Children’s Cloud tried to mimic Final Fantasy VII’s Cloud to varying success. What about ATB? Isn’t this what made Final Fantasy VII so exciting? Haven’t many people expressed the need to return to ATB? Isn’t ATB a classic?
To be nostalgic, it has to be in the same tier, and same level as the original game itself – just an update. But too much has been changed. Was it good? You mean the first half? Eh, it was promising. Will it be nostalgic? Probably as much as Dissidia is nostalgic to the main line series. As in, sure, kinda, I guess. If Square Enix decides to change a lot of what made Final Fantasy VII a classic game, what are we left with?
I hope to say, “a new classic”. But I really doubt this game will break new grounds, as much as it broke TV sets and controllers.
For all we know, Final Fantasy VII Remake might be as nostalgic as The 3rd Birthday. That was also a “reimagining” of Aya Brea, and we all know how it turned out. Yes, I know. Square Enix said The 3rd Birthday was a “reboot”; it still “re-imagined” Aya Brea and the entire Parasite Eve universe. But what do we have here, with the Final Fantasy VII Remake?
In this sense, with all of the new elements, Final Fantasy VII: Remake will be a reboot. I know, Yoshinori Kitase and others have said “reimagining”. But that’s just “corporate-speak”. There isn’t any difference between the two words, aside from what Square Enix’s slick marketing talk.
And as for true nostalgia…
I don’t remember Hironobou Sakaguchi resorting to such rhetoric in order to sell a quality game.