I’ve talked before about nostalgia making us think older games are better than they actually are. They cloud our judgment, if you will. As a certain nostalgic remake gets closer to release, I can’t help but wonder if anyone who hasn’t played the original even cares about the remake.
I’m not talking about gamers who are my age, who were around and gaming when Final Fantasy VII first released but for whatever reason, never got around to it. They might have tried one of the many ports of the original, or perhaps thought they would play it if it was remade. I know plenty of this type of gamer who want to try the remake.
But what about those who were born during the PlayStation 2 era or later? By the time they heard of Final Fantasy VII, the graphics were already incredibly outdated. I joke that at the time, when we first saw a trailer of FFVII in college, we were blown away by how incredibly everything looked. I remember distinctly thinking, “Wow. I can’t imagine gaming looking more realistic than this.” That’s obviously extremely laughable now, and it was already laughable in the PS2 era.
What of these gamers who only saw FFVII as an outdated relic? Do they have any interest at all in seeing what the fuss was all about 25 years ago?
What about the fact that the game is episodic as well? This isn’t some point-and-click adventure from Telltale or DONTNOD. There’s nothing in this game that really involves decisions that will affect what happens later. It’s a full game that released over 20 years ago that will be broken up and delivered piecemeal. If you think an episode has a cliffhanger, you can easily find out what happened.
Which yes, you can say this about nearly any remastered title. But this isn’t a remastered version of Ducktales, as that doesn’t have a story because hello, hardly anything from the NES era did. This isn’t a port from the last generation to the current. This is Final Fantasy VII. The game has an epic story that still makes some gamers tear up as they remember Aerith’s sudden death.
Any JRPG fan from any age knows of this scene. They know Cloud’s secret. None of this will have the big shock the original had back in 1997. So unless you played the game before, whether you finished it or not, or you’ve always wanted to play Final Fantasy VII, why would this title be enticing at all? For those who maybe lived under a rock and have never really heard of this game, or even those who have only heard olds talk about it with stars in their eyes, what is there to draw you in?
You can read the entire story now if you want, so there’s no surprise there. The combat may be fun, but it’s not revolutionary. Is that enough to try out a remade 23-year-old JRPG?
Chances are, Square Enix plans on banking on this project on nostalgia alone. That might be a great start, but it’s the newcomers to FFVII that will make the project successful. So far, the only reason I can tell someone to check it out is because it’s a classic game. But beyond that, what other reason would a newcomer have to check out the remake?