Why Final Fantasy VII-2 Is Coming: A Detailed Perspective
Unless you've been living under a very isolated rock, and haven't left for so much as a bathroom break in the past three months, you're well aware of the impending Square-Enix announcement. They said a Final Fantasy VII-related unveiling will be coming at their private party in August, and instantly, the now-ancient rumor of a remake for the PS3 resurrected.
Now, we've posted all the news and updates on this subject, but we haven't really had time to sit down and view this from the correct perspective: the full and complete perspective. Everyone has differing opinions on whether they want a remake, a sequel, a spin-off of some kind, or whatever, but in order to determine the possibility of any such project, we have to examine the business aspect of things. What's best for the gamer and Square-Enix? Of course, this is one franchise that has always sold quite well, but it's no secret that Square-Enix treats FFVII as the one that sits above all other installments. Think about it: we have a whole CGI movie based on the game, the characters are downright deified in Japan and in the US, they released a spin-off on the PS2 (Dirge of Cerberus), and we just had a prequel on the PSP (Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII). Then, Square-Enix says the FFVII products aren't done yet, and this new announcement will certainly focus on what many consider the greatest RPG of all time.
Okay, so here's why we think it'll be Final Fantasy VII-2 - or something to that effect - for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. First of all, the veteran RPG developer's new penchant for Microsoft's console is clear. FFXIII is headed that way, The Last Remnant debuts first on the 360, and both Infinite Undiscovery and Star Ocean 4 are (for now at least) 360 exclusives. However, as much as PS3 owners might complain, S-E isn't ignoring the system; FFXIII is still coming, and Final Fantasy Versus XIII is still a PS3 exclusive. Hence, we come to the conclusion that no entry in the legendary franchise will miss the PS3 entirely, but at the same time, Square-Enix's new focus on "westward expansion" (as stated by Yoichi Wada himself this year), means FFVII-2 will also be available on the 360. Moving on: Square-Enix has often said the main hurdle for a FFVII remake is that the entire original team must come back together.
Well, that's not entirely necessary for a sequel, is it? It wasn't necessary for the prequel, right? On top of which, it's quite obvious to everyone that this industry is all kinds of sequel-happy. The biggest next-gen sellers so far (GTAIV, MGS4, Halo 3) have been sequels, or if not direct sequels, added installments in long-running franchises. Remakes, on the other hand, haven't fared as well in the sales department. They're not slouches in the world of retail sales, but considering the amount of money S-E would require in order to turn a big profit on such a giant project, they may not want to risk it. Too many younger gamers are simply going to say, "eh, it's just an old game with new graphics." Then again, most everyone has heard of the name, "Final Fantasy VII," so a Square-Enix executive meeting on this subject might come down to one question: will just about everyone respond to a remake of a decade-old game just because they've heard of the name, or will they respond to a brand new sequel of a legendary title? A game that's next-gen the whole way through?
In conclusion, we have the following as potential a priori truths: FFVII is Square-Enix's baby; it still sits atop their company pedestal. Their new western focus means the 360 probably won't be left out of the announcement, and they have to understand that modern-age western gamers would be more interested in a new game than a remake. Sequels with giant names in the titles reap huge rewards. Square-Enix could bypass the biggest obstacles facing a remake by simply focusing on a sequel with an all-star team that may not require "all" the original FFVII members. The prequel just arrived, why not make a sequel? But there's only one major flaw with this theory: Final Fantasy XIII is a huge undertaking. Could they really be developing another equally huge undertaking with FFVII-2 at the same time? It seems impossible. But perhaps all these rumors we've heard over the past three or four years have pointed towards a secret, ongoing project that involves FFVII...and that project may be a sequel.
Lastly, we do remember Final Fantasy X-2, but that was hardly a sales failure, and above all else, there's a very clear difference between a sequel to FFX and a sequel to FFVII. Obviously, there are about a million other factors to consider, but if we were Square-Enix employees, we get the feeling that of all the possibilities (all the big possibilities), a sequel to the greatest RPG of all time makes the most sense. Dare we hope...?
7/30/2008 Ben Dutka