I’m sure we’re all excited to actually explore Midgar in the Remake. I think a valid question to ask: why does the Final Fantasy VII Remake need to expand on the original Final Fantasy VII? It doesn’t “need to be” expanded into a full game, but they did it so that they could fill in the parts of the lore that were missing in the original game. It’s their vision.
So they say. But their vision is more money. They’re expanding parts of the introduction of Final Fantasy VII. Yes, this is what Final Fantasy VII’s Midgar section technically is. It’s an introduction to the game, the battle mechanics, the story and lore. While the overall pacing of the story is slow, I think Midgar does a great job building the smaller world of Final Fantasy VII, that would itself expand into a large narrative.
The parts from the original lore don’t actually include Midgar, because Midgar wasn’t the point of Final Fantasy VII. Sure, Midgar was a big city, but no matter how big it was, there was a bigger world out there to explore. That was the point. The city was made to seem big, yet claustraphobic at the same time. Telling us that there were eight nearly identical Sectors, yet only relagating us to a few of those for very specific missions and story beats, yet you feel like the world was overwhelming yet closed at the same time.
Sure, some will say “but it full game”. Cool. But, jam packing a small section of the original game, that was in turn exponentially will expand a city with more city assets doesn’t sound like a good idea. In fact, it actually sounds terrible.
And it was. Some missions actually expanded the lore, and certains characters such as Jessie (with her now last name Rasberry) had her story fleshed out as well. But the amount of fetch quests, filler and padding did not justify the length Final Fantasy VII seemed to be struggling to reach.
For Square Enix to say that they’ve added extra content that wasn’t in the game is beside the point. It wasn’t necessary, and no one asked for it. Some of it would have been a welcomed addition if the full experience was made, but they weren’t adding it for a full experience. The extra content was added in to justify a full price of a game. Taking what was supposed to be less than 10 hours to complete and expanding it with extra content was filler.
We’ve praised a bloat of plastic.
Second, Midgar was an introduction to the bigger problem facing the world. There’s no reason the remake can’t just expand on this. But for us to know that they’ve done this successfully, we would’ve need to see the world.
The point of Midgar was actually a false narrative. We were led to think that the whole game, or most of it, was to take place in Midgar. But the reason were never got to explore the city in it’s entirety was to show how Midgar didn’t matter. How inconsequential it was. We’re led to think we could explore all of Midgar, and visit each Sector. But our plans were foiled by ShinRa. We were captured. It looked like the end of us.
Then through what seems to be a Deus Ex Machina sprung us from jail, and teased us of a presence far scarier than ShinRa without revealing itself. Yet, in the Final Fantasy VII Remake, we’re given more glimpses of Sephiroth than necessary. Sephiroth appears in the story more than he should, diminishing the big reveal in Kalm. Well, if there ever needs to be a big reveal in Kalm, but they might at least keep this element from the story. The narrative suffers because of it.
Midgar wasn’t supposed to be fully explored, because the action was beyond Midgar’s city limit. The better materia, weapons and scenery was only there after we moved past Midgar. That was the whole point of the Final Fantasy VII’s theme: it was more than just ShinRa, there was an existential threat to the Planet. And expanding Midgar throws off the pacing of the entire story.