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FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE - Spoiler Discussion [SEE STAFF POST]

Professor Beef

Official ResetEra™ Chao Puncher
Member
Oct 25, 2017
11,770
The Digital World
How much time do you think you’re gonna be in places like Kalm and Gongaga?
i was gonna say "a while" re: kalm, but then i remembered that while the flashback happens in kalm you're not actually *in* kalm in terms of gameplay assets
Is FF VII really that popular though? I can see people being pissed at Yuffie being moved to Part 3.
i'd be fucking livid, she's the best character in the entire game
 

Kanmurukillua

Member
Jan 28, 2019
2,603
I'm playing through the original for my first time (don't worry, I've long since been spoiled on FFVII and all of its many twists and turns) and am almost at the end of disc 1. I'm actually semi-excited to see how they adapt the flashback when the group is in Kalm. It'll be really interesting to start the second game with a flashback like that.
 

Spehornoob

Member
Nov 15, 2017
1,200
I'm playing through the original for my first time (don't worry, I've long since been spoiled on FFVII and all of its many twists and turns) and am almost at the end of disc 1. I'm actually semi-excited to see how they adapt the flashback when the group is in Kalm. It'll be really interesting to start the second game with a flashback like that.
The Nibelheim flashback in Kalm would be such a perfect opening for Part 2. We see what happened, why Cloud has us chasing this Sephiroth guy.

And if they're somehow able to make it to Northern Crater in the same game and end it on the player learning that Cloud's head is fucked and he doesn't remember it right at all. Man, it would be such a perfect downer of a second part.
 

Gold Arsene

Member
Oct 27, 2017
22,737
I think Part 2 should just start with the Nibelheim flashback. Like no intro in Kalm or anything when you start the game you’re in the truck with Sephiroth.
 

Tyrael87

Member
May 19, 2019
125
Hey guys, did they leak... the credits? We've seen anything but these lol. I'm curious about the VAs especially the one for Don Corneo, if he's really Mark Hamill like people thought or not.
 

RagnarokX

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,181
Played it last year. It's a small part of the overall gametime, but it's about a third of the script. The game is just paced much slower once you exit Midgar, and there tends to be much more exploration and gameplay segments between story beats.
I don't think this a good argument. Visual media stories are told with more than just text. The game really looks like this:


I mean, you could still do an open world in part 2. You don't get the airship until pretty late in the story so you wouldn't NEED to model the entire planet yet. Only the portions that the player can conceivably visit in that episode.
I dunno. If they do Kalm -> North Crater they'd pretty much need to do the whole planet. Only places you don't have to go before North Crater are Wutai and Mideel, and you never have to go to Wutai at all.


Also, I don't think they could do a world map for FF7 without redistributing locations between the continents or adding new settlements. The Eastern continent is especially barren and needs more towns for a more realistic map. There are paved roads for Zack and Cloud to ride a truck to Midgar.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,167
I don't think this a good argument. Visual media stories are told with more than just text. The game really looks like this:
Exactly, in games you have all these elements working together to tell the story. But in the original, Midgar was extremely stripped back on everything except the script. But if you bring Midgar in line with how the rest of the game was paced you absolutely would have a third of the game. That’s what VIIR is doing and the proof will be in the pudding.
 

AuthenticM

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,162
Shit I didn't believe it but this almost has me convinced.

That said, if the open world takes away from the story or causes development issues, I'd rather it not be there.
I don't think that'll be the case.

Do you really think a full scale open world AND a whole games worth of highly detailed set piece filled dungeons and towns is realistic? There’s a reason we’ve literally never seen a game do both before. Even the Witcher doesn’t do it. Even RDR2.
The reason we've never seen a game like this before is because no singular game has ever been split up in multiple parts like FFVII-R has. The Witcher 3 and RDR 2, as ambitious as they were, were only one game, and there is only so much time and money that can be put in a singular product that will be sold for 60$. Then there's the fact that they are a very different type of game from FFVII, the later having much less emphasis on "open-world questing" and more on a linear story.

Think about it. This game is actually multiple full-fledged games, right? Now think about how FFVII's story is structured. The first part is Midgar, and we are getting a full game set there.

The second part is the persuit of Sephiroth, starting from Kalm and going all the way to Northern Crater. That part is very linear. The world map isn't really open; it's an illusion. That part of the game isn't any different from how FFX has the player traverse the world: from place to place, linearily. So in the second part of the game (and the third part if we are getting more than three parts), the devs only have to create the assets that will populate the player's gated world. In other words, they don't actually have to create the whole world just yet; only part of it. It's going to be the same sandbox that will eventually turn in a gigantic open-world in the last part when the airship becomes available, but it will be heavily gated. It doesn't matter how (environmental obstacles, Shinra blockades, etc.).

The devs create all of these assets that only make part of the whole world, and they set the game in that. Going back to my FFX comparison, from the moment the gang leaves Kalm to pursue Sephiroth until they reach the Northern Crater where the WEAPONs are unleashed, FFVII is going to be played pretty much like FFX, only with larger environments and no (or few) loading screens. But the player will be guided on a railway from one point of the planet to another, just like how FFX starts in Besaid and ends at Zanarkand. So the devs make that game, ship it and charge 60$ for it.

Now they are making the last part of the game. They've already shipped at least two 60$ games and are reusing all the assets that they have made for them. In this last part of the game, they finalize the whole planet and are finally able to let the player go anywhere anytime they want.

They only way this is possible is by splitting what was once one game into multiple 60$ games. They are slowly, across multiple games, creating assets that will end up all sharing the same final game. There's been nothing like that so far in gaming. The closest thing I can think of would be Sega's Yakuza games. At least starting with the PS3 games, which used a new engine, the devs created assets to realize Kamurocho in the first game, and reused them for the later games by adding onto them. With each game, Kamurocho got denser and more detailed. Yakuza 0 could not have been created as-is without the work that went into 3, 4 and 5.

FFXV, for as mediocre as I think this game is, was kind of a third of the way there. It has a pretty big open-world, some cities, and some actually well-designed dungeons. This was one 60$ product that had many development issues, on top of it having been made on a bad engine, by a director that wasn't known for having put out great products, and released on platforms that weren't powerful enough to realize the game's uncompromised vision.

FFVII-R is comprised of multiple 60$ games, made on Unreal Engine 4 by talented people, and the later parts of the game are being made for next-gen consoles that will have the hardware to fully benefit open-world designs.

I think expecting a full open-world game with detailed dungeons and towns, considering what I have laid out, is realistic, yes. We would only get the full thing with the last game, though.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
37,959
Biggest downside of losing the overworld = no Main Theme. No WEAPON hunting. No point for gold chocobos to exist, or Chocobo breeding (and thus racing) PERIOD.

There's so many things that just kind of crumble to dust and fall away if you cut the overworld. Gold chocobos won't be valuable at all in a game with shitty field maps.
 

AuthenticM

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,162
Biggest downside of losing the overworld = no Main Theme. No WEAPON hunting. No point for gold chocobos to exist, or Chocobo breeding (and thus racing) PERIOD.

There's so many things that just kind of crumble to dust and fall away if you cut the overworld. Gold chocobos won't be valuable at all in a game with shitty field maps.
Yep. They can't afford to do away with it.
 

jacktuar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,167
I don't think that'll be the case.


The reason we've never seen a game like this before is because no singular game has ever been split up in multiple parts like FFVII-R has. The Witcher 3 and RDR 2, as ambitious as they were, were only one game, and there is only so much time and money that can be put in a singular product that will be sold for 60$. Then there's the fact that they are a very different type of game from FFVII, the later having much less emphasis on "open-world questing" and more on a linear story.

Think about it. This game is actually multiple full-fledged games, right? Now think about how FFVII's story is structured. The first part is Midgar, and we are getting a full game set there.

The second part is the persuit of Sephiroth, starting from Kalm and going all the way to Northern Crater. That part is very linear. The world map isn't really open; it's an illusion. That part of the game isn't any different from how FFX has the player traverse the world: from place to place, linearily. So in the second part of the game (and the third part if we are getting more than three parts), the devs only have to create the assets that will populate the player's gated world. In other words, they don't actually have to create the whole world just yet; only part of it. It's going to be the same sandbox that will eventually turn in a gigantic open-world in the last part when the airship becomes available, but it will be heavily gated. It doesn't matter how (environmental obstacles, Shinra blockades, etc.).

The devs create all of these assets that only make part of the whole world, and they set the game in that. Going back to my FFX comparison, from the moment the gang leaves Kalm to pursue Sephiroth until they reach the Northern Crater where the WEAPONs are unleashed, FFVII is going to be played pretty much like FFX, only with larger environments and no (or few) loading screens. But the player will be guided on a railway from one point of the planet to another, just like how FFX starts in Besaid and ends at Zanarkand. So the devs make that game, ship it and charge 60$ for it.

Now they are making the last part of the game. They've already shipped at least two 60$ games and are reusing all the assets that they have made for them. In this last part of the game, they finalize the whole planet and are finally able to let the player go anywhere anytime they want.

They only way this is possible is by splitting what was once one game into multiple 60$ games. They are slowly, across multiple games, creating assets that will end up all sharing the same final game. There's been nothing like that so far in gaming. The closest thing I can think of would be Sega's Yakuza games. At least starting with the PS3 games, which used a new engine, the devs created assets to realize Kamurocho in the first game, and reused them for the later games by adding onto them. With each game, Kamurocho got denser and more detailed. Yakuza 0 could not have been created as-is without the work that went into 3, 4 and 5.

FFXV, for as mediocre as I think this game is, was kind of a third of the way there. It has a pretty big open-world, some cities, and some actually well-designed dungeons. This was one 60$ product that had many development issues, on top of it having been made on a bad engine, by a director that wasn't known for having put out great products, and released on platforms that weren't powerful enough to realize the game's uncompromised vision.

FFVII-R is comprised of multiple 60$ games, made on Unreal Engine 4 by talented people, and the later parts of the game are being made for next-gen consoles that will have the hardware to fully benefit open-world designs.

I think expecting a full open-world game with detailed dungeons and towns, considering what I have laid out, is realistic, yes. We would only get the full thing with the last game, though.
Interesting. It’s possible!
 

Zaiven

Member
Nov 12, 2019
97
How is it a regression, exactly?

I’m assuming you mean in terms of storytelling? Like, games nowadays are putting more emphasis on technology; being prettier and grander in scale instead of evolving the story?

Well, just because the narrative’s wide scope is cut down doesn’t mean there’s less story being told in general. Adding more depth to already-established scenarios and events can be of equal value to the experience because you can understand the story and characters much better in those specific scenarios.

In that quote, the devs didn’t mean remaking the game 1:1 and simply updating the graphics. Obviously it wouldn’t have required as much time or effort to do that if the PC mods are any indication. Not that it matters seeing how literally no one wants that, hence the vociferously negative reaction to the announcement of the original FFVII in “upscaled graphics” back in 2014 — because it was so significantly unlike what they wanted.

The simple fact that people don’t seem to grasp whenever they preemptively judge Square’s decision to split the project is: no one knows the extent of Square Enix’s ambitions with this project currently.
Why do I view this as regression? Well, I said this was another discussion for another day, but if you're asking...

I remember the first time I ever read about the PS-bound Final Fantasy 7. It was in the May 1996 issue of Game Informer. Within a few days, I had issues of all the monthly magazines. GameFan in particular did a funny article where they talked about the game being a staggering 15 months away from an English release. In those days, having to wait 15 months for a game was an extremely long time. Now, getting a Final Fantasy game in less than 15 years is cause for mild rejoicing. Final Fantasy 1 - 12 came out in less time than it's gonna take us to get from FF12 to FF17. I don't see how this can be considered progress.

Square used to be able to produce brand-new Final Fantasy games at a rate of about 1 every 2 years. Back then, when asked if they ever felt the need to go back and re-release one of their old titles, they would give responses like, "No. We want to go forward, not backward." Re-releasing old games was seen as a sign of regression back then. Even in fairly recent times, they were resistant to remaking FF7 because they felt it would be admitting that their current games weren't up to snuff (they weren't wrong). The very act of remaking an old game is itself a sign of regression.

Going from releasing 1 game every 2 years to releasing 1 game every 6 or so years doesn't exactly seem like progress to me. I don't care how pretty the games look. I didn't care about it back then, and I still don't care about it now. There's no way anyone can convince me that this is progress.

Cutting out content (like I said, I fully expect the World Map to be gone) and making optional content mandatory (Vincent and Yuffie, as well as all the material connected to them, will definitely be mandatory this time around) is not progress. The optional content gave the original game an extra layer of value that is now going to be gone from the new ones.

I also believe that taking away from the player's imagination is a form of regression. Part of the magic of the old games was that they left us wondering when we were done with them. A big part of the appeal of FF7 is that a lot of players didn't understand the whole story after they got done with it, and had to search for answers by talking to other players, reading magazine articles, or going on the Internet in its early days. Here's where the increased production values actually hurt more than they help--in some ways, the story will be genuinely easier to follow (Cloud's flashbacks and hallucinations, in particular, should be more coherent this time around), but in other ways, things are going to be spelled out so clearly that there won't be as much room for players to wonder after they turn off the game. This is also where removing optional content and making it mandatory hurts: a big chunk of FF7's plot was actually hidden (all the Vincent and Lucrecia stuff, and of course the big reveal of how Cloud really got to Midgar--that stuff is necessary to understanding the game's plot, and yet it's all completely hidden out of the way of the main game). To me, this optional content increases the game's value. Making the material mandatory lowers the value. So I see this as another form of regression.

The only real way anyone can see this as "progress" is because of production values. But I honestly don't care about production values. No one's ever going to convince me such things are necessary (this is one reason why I've been against the idea of an FF7 remake since the beginning. That, and knowing full well that Square would inevitably sully the remake with the Compilation junk, which we now know is definitely happening). I've been 100% consistent on this for at least 25 years now. Developing production values to a point where it takes 10 years, 1000 people, and $100 million just to make a game, whereas it used to be possible to do it with a staff of 12 in someone's house, is not progress in any true sense of the word.

If "progress" is defined as needing 100x more time, money, and manpower to get things done, then, no, I don't consider that progress. Any idiot can make simple things difficult. The true mark of a genius is in making difficult things simple. Taking a difficult task and making it simpler to accomplish is true progress. And I don't see how anyone can argue that that's the direction Square has been going in for a long time.
Keep in mind that one of the reasons the games post IX didn't have a world map or airships is because the tech wasn't there. They didn't want to make a chibi-style overworld because they wanted the art to be consistent throughout,
The question is, why? Why is this so important? Why is this aspect prioritized to the detriment of everything else? This is nothing more than a stylistic choice.

And how do we know Nomura's ambition won't outstrip his talent and the available tech once again? What assurance do we have that he won't run headfirst into yet another development disaster that slows everything down by years and years?
 

Isayas

Member
Jun 10, 2018
1,954
Biggest downside of losing the overworld = no Main Theme. No WEAPON hunting. No point for gold chocobos to exist, or Chocobo breeding (and thus racing) PERIOD.

There's so many things that just kind of crumble to dust and fall away if you cut the overworld. Gold chocobos won't be valuable at all in a game with shitty field maps.
Bro, you don't know how this is gonna be implemented. You probably think there will be no vehicles and just a bunch of click and point.
 

AuthenticM

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,162
The question is, why? Why is this so important? Why is this aspect prioritized to the detriment of everything else?
I dunno. Ask Square. I wouldn't have batted an eye had FFX kept the chibi overworld.

And how do we know Nomura's ambition won't outstrip his talent and the available tech once again? What assurance do we have that he won't run headfirst into yet another development disaster that slows everything down by years and years?
I'm not going to argue that Nomura might have been too ambitious regarding Versus XIII, but I think it's appeared pretty clear in the years since that the main reason the game ended up the way it did was because Square kept poaching Nomura's staff to fix the messes that XIII and XIV became. Then he got forcibly removed from the project in 2013 and put on FFVII-R.
 

Zaiven

Member
Nov 12, 2019
97
Exactly. Episode I covers a very small part of the over all story. Unless they do a lot of cutting, there's no way to do the rest of the story in two more games. I don't see how they can finish it in less than five, at a minimum. I wouldn't be surprised if it goes to seven, for symbolism.
Whew. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

I think four is the most reasonable expectation. 7 full-priced releases is unsustainable both on a financial and a developmental perspective. It would take twenty years to make seven parts.
I know. That's what I've been saying.
Three parts makes sense because FFVII is divided into three main narrative arcs
1.The fight against Shinra in Midgar
2. The journey to find Sephiroth
3. The race to stop meteor.

It really lends itself well to be expanded into a trilogy, but that second one is the one snag, because so much of the world has to be developed for it.
The second one is also by far the least interesting, plot-wise, and will be the toughest sell. Square's got a lot of thinking to do in the days ahead.
Part one being the way it is might be quite helpful in cutting down the dev time for the rest of the series, get the engine, combat systems, design work down, now all the need to really do is build on it. Then there’s the added bonus of getting some cash in now rather than it being stuck in dev he’ll for however many years. It’s a nice buffer for them.
That's assuming they don't change any of that in the releases to come.
I don’t even understand why developers started getting scared of the classic overworld design. Name me one WRPG that has the amount of environment variety and polish as a JRPG
Nothing more than a stylistic choice (and the wrong one, too).
I don't think that'll be the case.


The reason we've never seen a game like this before is because no singular game has ever been split up in multiple parts like FFVII-R has. The Witcher 3 and RDR 2, as ambitious as they were, were only one game, and there is only so much time and money that can be put in a singular product that will be sold for 60$. Then there's the fact that they are a very different type of game from FFVII, the later having much less emphasis on "open-world questing" and more on a linear story.

Think about it. This game is actually multiple full-fledged games, right? Now think about how FFVII's story is structured. The first part is Midgar, and we are getting a full game set there.

The second part is the persuit of Sephiroth, starting from Kalm and going all the way to Northern Crater. That part is very linear. The world map isn't really open; it's an illusion. That part of the game isn't any different from how FFX has the player traverse the world: from place to place, linearily. So in the second part of the game (and the third part if we are getting more than three parts), the devs only have to create the assets that will populate the player's gated world. In other words, they don't actually have to create the whole world just yet; only part of it. It's going to be the same sandbox that will eventually turn in a gigantic open-world in the last part when the airship becomes available, but it will be heavily gated. It doesn't matter how (environmental obstacles, Shinra blockades, etc.).

The devs create all of these assets that only make part of the whole world, and they set the game in that. Going back to my FFX comparison, from the moment the gang leaves Kalm to pursue Sephiroth until they reach the Northern Crater where the WEAPONs are unleashed, FFVII is going to be played pretty much like FFX, only with larger environments and no (or few) loading screens. But the player will be guided on a railway from one point of the planet to another, just like how FFX starts in Besaid and ends at Zanarkand. So the devs make that game, ship it and charge 60$ for it.

Now they are making the last part of the game. They've already shipped at least two 60$ games and are reusing all the assets that they have made for them. In this last part of the game, they finalize the whole planet and are finally able to let the player go anywhere anytime they want.

They only way this is possible is by splitting what was once one game into multiple 60$ games. They are slowly, across multiple games, creating assets that will end up all sharing the same final game. There's been nothing like that so far in gaming. The closest thing I can think of would be Sega's Yakuza games. At least starting with the PS3 games, which used a new engine, the devs created assets to realize Kamurocho in the first game, and reused them for the later games by adding onto them. With each game, Kamurocho got denser and more detailed. Yakuza 0 could not have been created as-is without the work that went into 3, 4 and 5.

FFXV, for as mediocre as I think this game is, was kind of a third of the way there. It has a pretty big open-world, some cities, and some actually well-designed dungeons. This was one 60$ product that had many development issues, on top of it having been made on a bad engine, by a director that wasn't known for having put out great products, and released on platforms that weren't powerful enough to realize the game's uncompromised vision.

FFVII-R is comprised of multiple 60$ games, made on Unreal Engine 4 by talented people, and the later parts of the game are being made for next-gen consoles that will have the hardware to fully benefit open-world designs.

I think expecting a full open-world game with detailed dungeons and towns, considering what I have laid out, is realistic, yes. We would only get the full thing with the last game, though.
So basically, the game we're really waiting for is the one that hopefully will exist sometime around the year 2029.

I'm not going to argue that Nomura might have been too ambitious regarding Versus XIII, but I think it's appeared pretty clear in the years since that the main reason the game ended up the way it did was because Square kept poaching Nomura's staff to fix the messes that XIII and XIV became. Then he got forcibly removed from the project in 2013 and put on FFVII-R.
I get that, but the question remains: what assurance do we have that such a thing won't happen again? Will all mainline Final Fantasy development be halted until FF7R is finished? Will we not see FF16 until 2032?

I'm sorry. I really don't want to be a Negative Nancy and rain on everyone's parade. But I just see this whole thing as destined to be a disappointment in the end. Even in the best-case scenario, the game we're really waiting for is still nearly a decade away. It's tough to be excited about that.
 

AuthenticM

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,162
I get that, but the question remains: what assurance do we have that such a thing won't happen again?
I mean, there isn't, but keep in mind that the Square of today isn't the same as the Square of ten years ago. Back then, Square was managed by Yoichi "Imperial Hot" Wada, and all the mismanagement shit that happened did so under him. Moreover, Square has since let its developpers use Unreal Engine instead of forcing them to use broken proprietary engines. The XIII games are done. XIV is a massive success. Kingdom Hearts 3 was released to critical acclaim.

I personally don't see any hard reason to be super worried about the future of Square and its games. They seem to have turned a corner.
 

Quinton

SOLDIER 1st Class
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,458
The Research Triangle
Biggest downside of losing the overworld = no Main Theme. No WEAPON hunting. No point for gold chocobos to exist, or Chocobo breeding (and thus racing) PERIOD.

There's so many things that just kind of crumble to dust and fall away if you cut the overworld. Gold chocobos won't be valuable at all in a game with shitty field maps.
Nah, disagree. Main theme will find its way into open areas. WEAPONs will be in open areas. Gold chocobos and breeding in general will be necessary to reach certain locations within open areas.

There's plenty that can be done with "shitty field maps" as various other JRPGs have proven.

You really think they’re gonna have a Chocobo that can run across the surface of the ocean for miles in order to find secret islands in a game with field maps?
How long does it actually take to bring a chocobo across an ocean in order to reach secret islands in FFVII? It really doesn't need more than a couple of minutes or so in order to have a similar impact upon players' minds in the remake.
 

Zaiven

Member
Nov 12, 2019
97
Sorry I meant to say FFVII Cid. For some reason, I didn't type his name, lol
I don't know about Cid the character (methinks he won't go over too well with modern audiences without heavy changes to his character), but I'll bring out the boxing gloves against those who diss his music.

I mean, there isn't, but keep in mind that the Square of today isn't the same as the Square of ten years ago. Back then, Square was managed by Yoichi "Imperial Hot" Wada, and all the mismanagement shit that happened did so under him. Moreover, Square has since let its developpers use Unreal Engine instead of forcing them to use broken proprietary engines. The XIII games are done. XIV is a massive success. Kingdom Hearts 3 was released to critical acclaim.

I personally don't see any hard reason to be super worried about the future of Square and its games. They seem to have turned a corner.
I hope so. I really hope so. I'm just... I'm deeply scarred.
 
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PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
37,959
Nah, disagree. Main theme will find its way into open areas. WEAPONs will be in open areas. Gold chocobos and breeding in general will be necessary to reach certain locations within open areas.

There's plenty that can be done with "shitty field maps" as various other JRPGs have proven.



How long does it actually take to bring a chocobo across an ocean in order to reach secret islands in FFVII? It really doesn't need more than a couple of minutes or so in order to have a similar impact upon players' minds in the remake.
I disagree. Every single game I’ve ever played that uses fields wastes so much time on these pointless filler areas where nothing of interest ever happens. It’s like they’re BAD dungeons, basically.

The last thing a FFVII remake should be doing is making players spend a ton of time running around nameless, empty plains. The point of an overworld is that it’s shorthand so you get to the good stuff and skip the filler.
 

Balfour

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,665
I disagree. Every single game I’ve ever played that uses fields wastes so much time on these pointless filler areas where nothing of interest ever happens. It’s like they’re BAD dungeons, basically.

The last thing a FFVII remake should be doing is making players spend a ton of time running around nameless, empty plains. The point of an overworld is that it’s shorthand so you get to the good stuff and skip the filler.
I wouldn't mind a modern overworld like the old days. I think a lot of people would be ok with it too.
 

Quinton

SOLDIER 1st Class
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,458
The Research Triangle
I disagree. Every single game I’ve ever played that uses fields wastes so much time on these pointless filler areas where nothing of interest ever happens. It’s like they’re BAD dungeons, basically.

The last thing a FFVII remake should be doing is making players spend a ton of time running around nameless, empty plains. The point of an overworld is that it’s shorthand so you get to the good stuff and skip the filler.
Okay, so here's a question for you. How would you define the differences between Final Fantasy X's Calm Lands, Final Fantasy XII's Dalmasca Westersand, Final Fantasy XII's Mosphoran Highwaste, Final Fantasy XII's Nabreus Deadlands, and Final Fantasy XV's Kingdom of Regis?

I've often seen you praising FFXV's open world as flawed but a step in the right direction. I want to know, in as much detail as possible, what it is that you think makes the FFX region and FFXII regions that I have mentioned such a step down. Pretty please. :D
 

AuthenticM

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,162
I have a feeling that the truck and motorcycle that the gang uses on the highway will follow them to the overworld, and the player will be able to use them to ride at high speeds (thank you, SSDs) on beautiful plains.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
37,959
Okay, so here's a question for you. How would you define the differences between Final Fantasy X's Calm Lands, Final Fantasy XII's Dalmasca Westersand, Final Fantasy XII's Mosphoran Highwaste, Final Fantasy XII's Nabreus Deadlands, and Final Fantasy XV's Kingdom of Regis?

I've often seen you praising FFXV's open world as flawed but a step in the right direction. I want to know, in as much detail as possible, what it is that you think makes the FFX region and FFXII regions that I have mentioned such a step down. Pretty please. :D
FFXII's areas are obstacles. You have to constantly run through these dumb areas to get to the good stuff. Nothing interesting ever happens in them, they're never fun to explore. They're just filler areas designed to chew up playtime and get in the player's way. You never get vehicles to play with, you never get to redefine the way you look at the world, it's just a bunch of dead space. I've given FFXII so many tries on multiple different platforms and its world design is so mindblowingly dull that I've never finished it.

By comparison, FFXV's overworld IS the game. It's not filler, it's not there to delay you from getting to do cool things, it's just there because that's what the game is. I have a lot less of an issue with a game where the game world is basically the entire point of the experience than I do with a game where 60% of the experience is spent sleepwalking through big, empty boxes on your way to the next cutscene.

I have the same exact problem with the world design in modern Tales games and DQXI. It's NEVER compelling or fun to play around in and it's not worth losing vehicles and scale.
 

Araujo

Member
Dec 5, 2017
1,773
Guys........


Game one : Ends with Midgard
Game Two: Will end with Aeris death + Getting the Airship
Game Three: Airship and Chocobo Navigation to cover the whole final stretch in a more linear retracing of the world you explored in two.

Think Game two as FF12 with Game Three being FF10 but in a "World of Ruin" from 6 fashion.
 

Lastdancer

Member
Nov 1, 2017
189
I don't think that'll be the case.


The reason we've never seen a game like this before is because no singular game has ever been split up in multiple parts like FFVII-R has. The Witcher 3 and RDR 2, as ambitious as they were, were only one game, and there is only so much time and money that can be put in a singular product that will be sold for 60$. Then there's the fact that they are a very different type of game from FFVII, the later having much less emphasis on "open-world questing" and more on a linear story.

Think about it. This game is actually multiple full-fledged games, right? Now think about how FFVII's story is structured. The first part is Midgar, and we are getting a full game set there.

The second part is the persuit of Sephiroth, starting from Kalm and going all the way to Northern Crater. That part is very linear. The world map isn't really open; it's an illusion. That part of the game isn't any different from how FFX has the player traverse the world: from place to place, linearily. So in the second part of the game (and the third part if we are getting more than three parts), the devs only have to create the assets that will populate the player's gated world. In other words, they don't actually have to create the whole world just yet; only part of it. It's going to be the same sandbox that will eventually turn in a gigantic open-world in the last part when the airship becomes available, but it will be heavily gated. It doesn't matter how (environmental obstacles, Shinra blockades, etc.).

The devs create all of these assets that only make part of the whole world, and they set the game in that. Going back to my FFX comparison, from the moment the gang leaves Kalm to pursue Sephiroth until they reach the Northern Crater where the WEAPONs are unleashed, FFVII is going to be played pretty much like FFX, only with larger environments and no (or few) loading screens. But the player will be guided on a railway from one point of the planet to another, just like how FFX starts in Besaid and ends at Zanarkand. So the devs make that game, ship it and charge 60$ for it.

Now they are making the last part of the game. They've already shipped at least two 60$ games and are reusing all the assets that they have made for them. In this last part of the game, they finalize the whole planet and are finally able to let the player go anywhere anytime they want.

They only way this is possible is by splitting what was once one game into multiple 60$ games. They are slowly, across multiple games, creating assets that will end up all sharing the same final game. There's been nothing like that so far in gaming. The closest thing I can think of would be Sega's Yakuza games. At least starting with the PS3 games, which used a new engine, the devs created assets to realize Kamurocho in the first game, and reused them for the later games by adding onto them. With each game, Kamurocho got denser and more detailed. Yakuza 0 could not have been created as-is without the work that went into 3, 4 and 5.

FFXV, for as mediocre as I think this game is, was kind of a third of the way there. It has a pretty big open-world, some cities, and some actually well-designed dungeons. This was one 60$ product that had many development issues, on top of it having been made on a bad engine, by a director that wasn't known for having put out great products, and released on platforms that weren't powerful enough to realize the game's uncompromised vision.

FFVII-R is comprised of multiple 60$ games, made on Unreal Engine 4 by talented people, and the later parts of the game are being made for next-gen consoles that will have the hardware to fully benefit open-world designs.

I think expecting a full open-world game with detailed dungeons and towns, considering what I have laid out, is realistic, yes. We would only get the full thing with the last game, though.
This is damn smart and makes a whole lot of sense; I gotta believe the finished remake will end up as such.
 

MeteoraVII

Member
Nov 16, 2019
117
In those days, having to wait 15 months for a game was an extremely long time. Now, getting a Final Fantasy game in less than 15 years is cause for mild rejoicing. Final Fantasy 1 - 12 came out in less time than it's gonna take us to get from FF12 to FF17. I don't see how this can be considered progress.
Maybe because we’re not waiting “15 years” for these shitty 3D polygons?


Y’know...it’s a bit different from what the developers actually wanted to do.



Devs can now actually portray their concepts the way they fully intended; motion capture and all.

Final Fantasy VII especially is an example of a game that had ambition like no other. Cinematic presentation; dynamic camera movement (e.g that iconic shot of Cloud looking up at Shinra HQ from Mako Reactor 1 and the pre-rendered BG shifting to a 3D model), action set-pieces (e.g motorcycle chase), extensive cutscenes etc.

Back then, when asked if they ever felt the need to go back and re-release one of their old titles, they would give responses like, "No. We want to go forward, not backward." Re-releasing old games was seen as a sign of regression back then.
Because barely anyone tried it back then. No shit they wouldn’t consider the possibilities when no such possibilities were ever made apparent to them.

The very act of remaking an old game is itself a sign of regression.
A regression of what, exactly? Originality? Cause there’s plenty of original concepts, story scenarios, gameplay mechanics found in FF7R already and other remakes like RE2.

Is it as fresh and unique as the original FFVII? Probably not.

Does that matter? No.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens basically just copied-and-pasted A New Hope and was still received better than the other 2 films in the trilogy despite how “fresher and newer” they were...

Going from releasing 1 game every 2 years to releasing 1 game every 6 or so years doesn't exactly seem like progress to me. I don't care how pretty the games look. I didn't care about it back then, and I still don't care about it now. There's no way anyone can convince me that this is progress.

Cutting out content (like I said, I fully expect the World Map to be gone) and making optional content mandatory (Vincent and Yuffie, as well as all the material connected to them, will definitely be mandatory this time around) is not progress. The optional content gave the original game an extra layer of value that is now going to be gone from the new ones.
This is all just you automatically assuming the Remake won’t have it’s own set of engaging optional content.

If "progress" is defined as needing 100x more time, money, and manpower to get things done, then, no, I don't consider that progress.
Good thing the “things” getting done aren’t the same things that needed 100x less time, money and manpower back in the day.

The question is, why? Why is this so important? Why is this aspect prioritized to the detriment of everything else? This is nothing more than a stylistic choice.
It’s not to the detriment of anything else, and the answer is simply; it’s a little jarring.

And how do we know Nomura's ambition won't outstrip his talent and the available tech once again? What assurance do we have that he won't run headfirst into yet another development disaster that slows everything down by years and years?
Because KH3 — a game Nomura had to juggle 48 balls to get done, somehow didn’t turn out to be the worst thing ever made in existence. Plus, it came out in a reasonable time frame considering when its production actually started...
 

AlexFlame116

Member
Nov 17, 2017
16,574
Utah
Not gonna lie, I actually like Cloud's spiky classic hair more than his Advent Children hair. I know that the AC hair is more realistic but I still like the more cartoony one.
 

Lucreto

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,392
Biggest downside of losing the overworld = no Main Theme. No WEAPON hunting. No point for gold chocobos to exist, or Chocobo breeding (and thus racing) PERIOD.

There's so many things that just kind of crumble to dust and fall away if you cut the overworld. Gold chocobos won't be valuable at all in a game with shitty field maps.
There are easy work around to all of these. For the weapons if they go with the FFX approach the Highwind can detect an anomaly and land nearby. It will be a hidden dungeon like the Omega dungeon in FFX.

The only point to do the breeding for the gold chocobo is to get the Knights of the Round materia and to get better stats in the racing. There is no other point to them really Again it can be worked around.

You do the breeding at the Gold Saucer and racing them. Each colour has its own set of races for their element. You can capture Chocobo's that randomly spawn in certain sections.

Again they can go the FFX route and ride the Chocobos through the areas can get hidden chests.

The only time where different coloured Chocobos were useful was Chocobo Hot and Cold in FFIX.

I mean, there isn't, but keep in mind that the Square of today isn't the same as the Square of ten years ago. Back then, Square was managed by Yoichi "Imperial Hot" Wada, and all the mismanagement shit that happened did so under him. Moreover, Square has since let its developpers use Unreal Engine instead of forcing them to use broken proprietary engines. The XIII games are done. XIV is a massive success. Kingdom Hearts 3 was released to critical acclaim.

I personally don't see any hard reason to be super worried about the future of Square and its games. They seem to have turned a corner.
I have been saying this for years. SE is a different company and most titles now release rather quickly with Kingdom Hearts and FFVIIR being the exceptions. FFXVI I expect to be released with the least amount of time between announcement and release as it would be the first FF title that wasn't announced under his role.
 

Quinton

SOLDIER 1st Class
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
9,458
The Research Triangle
FFXII's areas are obstacles. You have to constantly run through these dumb areas to get to the good stuff. Nothing interesting ever happens in them, they're never fun to explore. They're just filler areas designed to chew up playtime and get in the player's way. You never get vehicles to play with, you never get to redefine the way you look at the world, it's just a bunch of dead space. I've given FFXII so many tries on multiple different platforms and its world design is so mindblowingly dull that I've never finished it.

By comparison, FFXV's overworld IS the game. It's not filler, it's not there to delay you from getting to do cool things, it's just there because that's what the game is. I have a lot less of an issue with a game where the game world is basically the entire point of the experience than I do with a game where 60% of the experience is spent sleepwalking through big, empty boxes on your way to the next cutscene.

I have the same exact problem with the world design in modern Tales games and DQXI. It's NEVER compelling or fun to play around in and it's not worth losing vehicles and scale.
I wish I were able to connect at least slightly with your reply! Alas, I cannot. So I guess I’ll double down. Here’s my analysis of the five things I mentioned (FFX’s Calm Lands; the trio of FFXII zones; FFXV’s world).

In the Calm Lands, players get to stretch their proverbial muscles after the more linear approach to prior areas. This place is not unlike a “zone” would be in other JRPGs, like Xenoblade Chronicles or FFXII. Chocobos can be ridden here, and certain areas are only accessible via chocobo. There’s even a section where you can race against another chocobo! (There’s also the place where you steer a chocobo toward balloons whilst evading birds, but we’re not here to talk about hell.) The Calm Lands is chock full of optional stuff.

“But it’s only one snippet of an otherwise-linear game,” you might say. And you would be correct, of course. So what about FFXII? Let’s begin with the Dalmasca Westersand. Rather than immediately diving into demonizing it and its Ivalacian brethren as vile pits of worthlessness festering with seventeen other negative adjectives, I’m going to go ahead and take a glance at the details. In the Westersand, a beautiful, intentionally Tatooine-esque landscape of rolling dunes and distant oases greets the player as they explore. Sandstorms are somewhat commonplace, adding not just an aesthetic change but some fun little boosts to various elemental attacks as well. Two mark hunts can be found: Thextera and Ring Wyrm. But as is generally the case with mark hunts in FFXII, you’ve gotta think a little bit about where you might find them, prompting further exploration. If you’re not careful early on, you may bump into a T-Rex! (Earth Tyrant, to be exact.) There’s a peddler around whose wares change throughout the game and, bless The Zodiac Age, treasures to be acquired in set locations. Lastly, and perhaps coolest of all — after you’ve completed the Tomb of Raithwall, you can find Adrammelech in the Zertinan Caverns.

Now on to the Mosphoran Highwaste. Funny name? Aye, but seriously memorable music theme. We’ll begin by mentioning the esper this time around; Exodus, the Judge-Sal, can be found here. See, there’s a whole fun thing going on in the Highwaste involving the deactivation of various shrines built before the time of the Galtean Alliance. (Ooh, lore bits! These can and do happen in zone-based JRPGs!) First, players need to have fixed the gate connecting the Salikawood to the Phon Coast. You’ll then need to acquire some Gysahl Greens, which will allow you to ride a wayward chocobo for three minutes. Using your chocobo, you’ll fiddle with the various shrines, setting them all up so that you can successfully reach Exodus. What’s cool about the preceding pair of sentences is that you’re exploring an overworld region with a chocobo to reach hidden content, which is the sort of thing you have claimed crumbles away into meaninglessness outside of world maps and open worlds! Other fun stuff in the Highwaste includes dabbling in the fishing minigame, finding rare spawns, hunting the marks known as Atomos and Braegh, searching for treasure, dancing in the rain, visiting the settlement at the summit, and all-around admiring the vistas.

As for the Nabreus Deadlands, what a haunted sight! Why, it’s worth the trip for the scenery alone. Mist-thick wetlands with plenty of skeletal remains? My kind of Saturday night. This zone is entirely optional, however it must be visited in order to complete the Three Medallions sidequest to unlock Chaos. This will involve finding a nu mou makes Ma’Kleou and traipsing off briefly to Rabanastre and Archades. The Deadlands are just north of the Salikawood; to the west you’ll find the Necrohol of Nabudis. While you’re here, you can hunt the Roblon. You can do a bit of fishing. There’s not much else going on here — but that’s the point. It’s an optional locale and it’s very much reminiscent of optional locales in other video games, regardless of whether they’re zone-based, open world, or old-school world maps.

Each of the three FFXII regions I have listed, and most of the many regions I have not mentioned, are connected to each other via loading screens at their far edges. These loading screens change the tempo and the overall “feel” of the game, I won’t deny it. But ultimately they’re simply little tunnels leading to other parts of the overworld. (FFXIV follows suit, as I’ve recently discovered.) It’s one great, big Ivalice and almost every location offers more content than you’ve claimed, to be honest. Collectively, what you end up with is a world that’s larger and more audiovisually varied than FFXV’s Kingdom of Regis, and frankly, a lot less empty.

I understand that there is no arguing subjective preferences. You’ve given FFXII several tries. You don’t care for its approach to world traversal and this is the crux of your issue with FFVII Remake pursuing a similar path. But to paint folks who enjoy that style as being interested in dead, lifeless gameplay design where nothing happens and there’s zero impetus to do anything except advance to the next cutscene is quite simply disingenuous! So please, I beg of thee: look past your personal apathy and recognize that the design is not inherently irrevocably incompatible with content such as gold chocobo exploration and WEAPON hunting.
 

Spehornoob

Member
Nov 15, 2017
1,200
I wouldn't mind a modern overworld like the old days. I think a lot of people would be ok with it too.
I'm just trying to figure out how it would be done to Square Enix's modern graphical presentation.

There was an old 4chan rumor about FFVIIR. It was complete BS (said the game would be in two parts and the first part would end at the city of the ancients) but it had an interesting idea for an overworld concept. Essentially, you would leave a city/area and as you left the camera would pull up to a higher and higher vantage point until you saw the whole world map. That could be an interesting way to do it.
 

snausages

Member
Feb 12, 2018
2,854
The only thing I will grant globecrusher is that some of the zones in XII do feel a little stretched out and overtly MMO-esque. Phon coast and those sandsea zones just aren't interesting to run around.

But I was loading that game up last night and XII has such a great sense of presence in its cities, like Rabanastre. The way they are all circuited together by the airship ports and the way the zones connect also gives it a greater sense of scale and believability than any world in the FF series. More than XV. Much more than the games that used overworlds.

It's weird that this game came out between X and XIII, both of which felt like they sacrificed scale in pursuit of graphics. But now with all this time passed XII on occasion looks better than either of them, imo, and has a much better realised world. Particularly with the localisation and how different regions have their own accents/dialects. The optional zones like the zertinan caverns that connect different parts of the map together while having lots of danger inside add a lot of intrigue and danger to travel as well, as mentioned above.

I would not be upset by a VII remake that structured itself similarly, with larger zones with background loading. I would prefer it to the abstraction offered by overworlds or the emptiness of XV. I really don't care anymore about having that 'airship' moment, personally. The difficulty of realising a giant world with large amounts of content isn't worth the fleeting glee of flying the highwind for the first time, especially if it means breaking it up into more and more games (4, or 4+ or whatever). A game like Mass Effect already gives the feeling of exploration without even letting you fly the Normandy and I'm sure VIIR can find a way as well.
 
Oct 27, 2017
426
I wish I were able to connect at least slightly with your reply! Alas, I cannot. So I guess I’ll double down. Here’s my analysis of the five things I mentioned (FFX’s Calm Lands; the trio of FFXII zones; FFXV’s world).

In the Calm Lands, players get to stretch their proverbial muscles after the more linear approach to prior areas. This place is not unlike a “zone” would be in other JRPGs, like Xenoblade Chronicles or FFXII. Chocobos can be ridden here, and certain areas are only accessible via chocobo. There’s even a section where you can race against another chocobo! (There’s also the place where you steer a chocobo toward balloons whilst evading birds, but we’re not here to talk about hell.) The Calm Lands is chock full of optional stuff.

“But it’s only one snippet of an otherwise-linear game,” you might say. And you would be correct, of course. So what about FFXII? Let’s begin with the Dalmasca Westersand. Rather than immediately diving into demonizing it and its Ivalacian brethren as vile pits of worthlessness festering with seventeen other negative adjectives, I’m going to go ahead and take a glance at the details. In the Westersand, a beautiful, intentionally Tatooine-esque landscape of rolling dunes and distant oases greets the player as they explore. Sandstorms are somewhat commonplace, adding not just an aesthetic change but some fun little boosts to various elemental attacks as well. Two mark hunts can be found: Thextera and Ring Wyrm. But as is generally the case with mark hunts in FFXII, you’ve gotta think a little bit about where you might find them, prompting further exploration. If you’re not careful early on, you may bump into a T-Rex! (Earth Tyrant, to be exact.) There’s a peddler around whose wares change throughout the game and, bless The Zodiac Age, treasures to be acquired in set locations. Lastly, and perhaps coolest of all — after you’ve completed the Tomb of Raithwall, you can find Adrammelech in the Zertinan Caverns.

Now on to the Mosphoran Highwaste. Funny name? Aye, but seriously memorable music theme. We’ll begin by mentioning the esper this time around; Exodus, the Judge-Sal, can be found here. See, there’s a whole fun thing going on in the Highwaste involving the deactivation of various shrines built before the time of the Galtean Alliance. (Ooh, lore bits! These can and do happen in zone-based JRPGs!) First, players need to have fixed the gate connecting the Salikawood to the Phon Coast. You’ll then need to acquire some Gysahl Greens, which will allow you to ride a wayward chocobo for three minutes. Using your chocobo, you’ll fiddle with the various shrines, setting them all up so that you can successfully reach Exodus. What’s cool about the preceding pair of sentences is that you’re exploring an overworld region with a chocobo to reach hidden content, which is the sort of thing you have claimed crumbles away into meaninglessness outside of world maps and open worlds! Other fun stuff in the Highwaste includes dabbling in the fishing minigame, finding rare spawns, hunting the marks known as Atomos and Braegh, searching for treasure, dancing in the rain, visiting the settlement at the summit, and all-around admiring the vistas.

As for the Nabreus Deadlands, what a haunted sight! Why, it’s worth the trip for the scenery alone. Mist-thick wetlands with plenty of skeletal remains? My kind of Saturday night. This zone is entirely optional, however it must be visited in order to complete the Three Medallions sidequest to unlock Chaos. This will involve finding a nu mou makes Ma’Kleou and traipsing off briefly to Rabanastre and Archades. The Deadlands are just north of the Salikawood; to the west you’ll find the Necrohol of Nabudis. While you’re here, you can hunt the Roblon. You can do a bit of fishing. There’s not much else going on here — but that’s the point. It’s an optional locale and it’s very much reminiscent of optional locales in other video games, regardless of whether they’re zone-based, open world, or old-school world maps.

Each of the three FFXII regions I have listed, and most of the many regions I have not mentioned, are connected to each other via loading screens at their far edges. These loading screens change the tempo and the overall “feel” of the game, I won’t deny it. But ultimately they’re simply little tunnels leading to other parts of the overworld. (FFXIV follows suit, as I’ve recently discovered.) It’s one great, big Ivalice and almost every location offers more content than you’ve claimed, to be honest. Collectively, what you end up with is a world that’s larger and more audiovisually varied than FFXV’s Kingdom of Regis, and frankly, a lot less empty.

I understand that there is no arguing subjective preferences. You’ve given FFXII several tries. You don’t care for its approach to world traversal and this is the crux of your issue with FFVII Remake pursuing a similar path. But to paint folks who enjoy that style as being interested in dead, lifeless gameplay design where nothing happens and there’s zero impetus to do anything except advance to the next cutscene is quite simply disingenuous! So please, I beg of thee: look past your personal apathy and recognize that the design is not inherently irrevocably incompatible with content such as gold chocobo exploration and WEAPON hunting.
Well said -- I'm not a huge fan of FF XII's world design (I prefer X's actually), as the overworld areas tend to be a little too big and a little too confusing to traverse for my taste. Also I find Sakimoto's compositions grating, which sure doesn't help. But there is a LOT to do in these different zones, and many of them do have an excellent sense of place, as you've nicely laid out. I think part of the design of XII is that fiddling around in these big complicated zones is NOT supposed to be just filler between plot points, but is actually a big part of what you do in the game. The offline MMO. If you don't like this fiddling (I had mixed feelings) that's OK, but it's not fair to suggest that it's just an impediment to the actual game. It's well over 50% of what you do in the game!

What I preferred about X's world is that what you do in the (much simpler) locations is almost always related to your overall journey/quest. It adds a sense of propulsion and continuity to the journey that older FFs had (thanks in part to how quick/easy it is to traverse the world map). XII loses this momentum as they try and make the big areas and the idiosyncratic things you do in them a core part of the journey.

XIII has the sense of momentum, but almost none of the places feel like real places -- they're just monster-filled tubes. And without periodic slowdowns in cities/towns, the pacing is too monotonous.

XV did recover this link between place and what you do there and story. Dealing w/ imperial drop ships, for instance. It just fell apart in the second half of the game where the structure changes, and bad plotting in the first half undermines the effect. Excellent dungeons though. If they could slim down the zone structure of XII, keep the propulsion of X, and add dungeons as well designed as XV, I think I'd be pretty happy!
 
Oct 31, 2017
5,963
I wish I were able to connect at least slightly with your reply! Alas, I cannot. So I guess I’ll double down. Here’s my analysis of the five things I mentioned (FFX’s Calm Lands; the trio of FFXII zones; FFXV’s world).

In the Calm Lands, players get to stretch their proverbial muscles after the more linear approach to prior areas. This place is not unlike a “zone” would be in other JRPGs, like Xenoblade Chronicles or FFXII. Chocobos can be ridden here, and certain areas are only accessible via chocobo. There’s even a section where you can race against another chocobo! (There’s also the place where you steer a chocobo toward balloons whilst evading birds, but we’re not here to talk about hell.) The Calm Lands is chock full of optional stuff.

“But it’s only one snippet of an otherwise-linear game,” you might say. And you would be correct, of course. So what about FFXII? Let’s begin with the Dalmasca Westersand. Rather than immediately diving into demonizing it and its Ivalacian brethren as vile pits of worthlessness festering with seventeen other negative adjectives, I’m going to go ahead and take a glance at the details. In the Westersand, a beautiful, intentionally Tatooine-esque landscape of rolling dunes and distant oases greets the player as they explore. Sandstorms are somewhat commonplace, adding not just an aesthetic change but some fun little boosts to various elemental attacks as well. Two mark hunts can be found: Thextera and Ring Wyrm. But as is generally the case with mark hunts in FFXII, you’ve gotta think a little bit about where you might find them, prompting further exploration. If you’re not careful early on, you may bump into a T-Rex! (Earth Tyrant, to be exact.) There’s a peddler around whose wares change throughout the game and, bless The Zodiac Age, treasures to be acquired in set locations. Lastly, and perhaps coolest of all — after you’ve completed the Tomb of Raithwall, you can find Adrammelech in the Zertinan Caverns.

Now on to the Mosphoran Highwaste. Funny name? Aye, but seriously memorable music theme. We’ll begin by mentioning the esper this time around; Exodus, the Judge-Sal, can be found here. See, there’s a whole fun thing going on in the Highwaste involving the deactivation of various shrines built before the time of the Galtean Alliance. (Ooh, lore bits! These can and do happen in zone-based JRPGs!) First, players need to have fixed the gate connecting the Salikawood to the Phon Coast. You’ll then need to acquire some Gysahl Greens, which will allow you to ride a wayward chocobo for three minutes. Using your chocobo, you’ll fiddle with the various shrines, setting them all up so that you can successfully reach Exodus. What’s cool about the preceding pair of sentences is that you’re exploring an overworld region with a chocobo to reach hidden content, which is the sort of thing you have claimed crumbles away into meaninglessness outside of world maps and open worlds! Other fun stuff in the Highwaste includes dabbling in the fishing minigame, finding rare spawns, hunting the marks known as Atomos and Braegh, searching for treasure, dancing in the rain, visiting the settlement at the summit, and all-around admiring the vistas.

As for the Nabreus Deadlands, what a haunted sight! Why, it’s worth the trip for the scenery alone. Mist-thick wetlands with plenty of skeletal remains? My kind of Saturday night. This zone is entirely optional, however it must be visited in order to complete the Three Medallions sidequest to unlock Chaos. This will involve finding a nu mou makes Ma’Kleou and traipsing off briefly to Rabanastre and Archades. The Deadlands are just north of the Salikawood; to the west you’ll find the Necrohol of Nabudis. While you’re here, you can hunt the Roblon. You can do a bit of fishing. There’s not much else going on here — but that’s the point. It’s an optional locale and it’s very much reminiscent of optional locales in other video games, regardless of whether they’re zone-based, open world, or old-school world maps.

Each of the three FFXII regions I have listed, and most of the many regions I have not mentioned, are connected to each other via loading screens at their far edges. These loading screens change the tempo and the overall “feel” of the game, I won’t deny it. But ultimately they’re simply little tunnels leading to other parts of the overworld. (FFXIV follows suit, as I’ve recently discovered.) It’s one great, big Ivalice and almost every location offers more content than you’ve claimed, to be honest. Collectively, what you end up with is a world that’s larger and more audiovisually varied than FFXV’s Kingdom of Regis, and frankly, a lot less empty.

I understand that there is no arguing subjective preferences. You’ve given FFXII several tries. You don’t care for its approach to world traversal and this is the crux of your issue with FFVII Remake pursuing a similar path. But to paint folks who enjoy that style as being interested in dead, lifeless gameplay design where nothing happens and there’s zero impetus to do anything except advance to the next cutscene is quite simply disingenuous! So please, I beg of thee: look past your personal apathy and recognize that the design is not inherently irrevocably incompatible with content such as gold chocobo exploration and WEAPON hunting.

FFXII stans are the English professors of gamers. “The blue curtains emphasize the melancholy tone and the inner struggles felt by the main character, tortured and exiled at a young age. It’s also worth noting the patterns of the curtains which strangely resemble Nazi symbolism; juxtaposed with the numerous angelic figures placed throughout the room, one could easily tell that this is a glimpse into the character’s chaotic, volatile, yet somewhat warm and gentle inner world. You could tell that she is hiding something; a burden that is far too great to bear.”

Please don’t ban me
 

Bit_Reactor

Member
Apr 9, 2019
2,609
Exactly, in games you have all these elements working together to tell the story. But in the original, Midgar was extremely stripped back on everything except the script. But if you bring Midgar in line with how the rest of the game was paced you absolutely would have a third of the game. That’s what VIIR is doing and the proof will be in the pudding.
I know I'm clearly in the minority but I would have much prefered elaboration on Dyne, Cosmo Canyon, Gast, Nibel, Rocket Town, etc than Midgar which served its purpose in the original and is only really pandered to because of the aesthetic.

Even if you can call Midgar a "third of the game," even though that's only in text boxes, I would argue in favor of keeping Midgar smaller and elaborating on the rest of the game versus a city that ultimately ends up being nothing to the rest of the story. Midgar exploration and expansion is nothing more than wanting to because they can.

Don't get me wrong I'm sure most people will say that the "extra" is good simply because it's extra, but it's like the Original Trilogy versus the Special Editions. Nothing is added by putting Jabba the Hutt in CG in the first movie besides dumbing down a plot line to make people understand its tie in the 6th episodes, and nothing is gained by interrupting the rescue mission in the sixth episode with a dance number.

These embellishments are for the people who like Midgar and for people who want more of the same. But as someone who's just plain effing tired of Midgar I'd much rather the other 2 thirds of the script get this love and care instead of padding out arguably the prologue to the game's world.

I'm not saying Midgar is pointless because it sets the stakes, but taking an ACT I and making it an entire standalone experience is still to the game's detriment. And if we want to get technical, if Midgar was already a third of the game's script, there was no need to elaborate on it further, as it already has a ton to tackle on its own. When so much of people's conversations about media talks about fanservice and fan pandering, it's weird that fan service in the form of Midgar expansion and more screen time for minor characters(or needlessly worsening characters like Seph) is rarely called out for what it is.

I would much prefer to keep things in line with the extended LOTR and less Hobbit/Special Editions myself.
 

entrydenied

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,529
The only thing I will grant globecrusher is that some of the zones in XII do feel a little stretched out and overtly MMO-esque. Phon coast and those sandsea zones just aren't interesting to run around.

But I was loading that game up last night and XII has such a great sense of presence in its cities, like Rabanastre. The way they are all circuited together by the airship ports and the way the zones connect also gives it a greater sense of scale and believability than any world in the FF series. More than XV. Much more than the games that used overworlds.

It's weird that this game came out between X and XIII, both of which felt like they sacrificed scale in pursuit of graphics. But now with all this time passed XII on occasion looks better than either of them, imo, and has a much better realised world. Particularly with the localisation and how different regions have their own accents/dialects. The optional zones like the zertinan caverns that connect different parts of the map together while having lots of danger inside add a lot of intrigue and danger to travel as well, as mentioned above.

I would not be upset by a VII remake that structured itself similarly, with larger zones with background loading. I would prefer it to the abstraction offered by overworlds or the emptiness of XV. I really don't care anymore about having that 'airship' moment, personally. The difficulty of realising a giant world with large amounts of content isn't worth the fleeting glee of flying the highwind for the first time, especially if it means breaking it up into more and more games (4, or 4+ or whatever). A game like Mass Effect already gives the feeling of exploration without even letting you fly the Normandy and I'm sure VIIR can find a way as well.
It's not like you can't do airships in games where there are large zones. Just do what Dragon Quest XI did and give players a big simple overworld version where you can either control your Bronco or airship. Load into zones where you want to get into certain areas.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
37,959
It's not like you can't do airships in games where there are large zones. Just do what Dragon Quest XI did and give players a big simple overworld version where you can either control your Bronco or airship. Load into zones where you want to get into certain areas.
And then you just can’t land in 90% of the game world, which is stupid. You can’t make an entire planet out of fields and have it feel scaled properly.