Square Enix Confirm That a Final Fantasy VII Remake Will Never Happen
Square Enix’s bait and switch Final Fantasy VII remake routine is one of the oldest dances in the world of gaming. An awkward PR shuffle whereby one of the senior Final Fantasy staff will offer just enough of a taste to get fanboys wildly salivating, before withdrawing at the last minute, leaving everyone blue. In recent years it has been a rather common occurrence to have Yoshinori Kitase claim to be looking into the project, only to have Motomu Toriyama proclaim several weeks later that rendering a town in HD would take at least a hundred years to achieve – well, it would seem that such hijinks may have finally come to an end this week, with Yoichi Wada stating in front of a room full of investors that Square Enix will never produce a Final Fantasy VII remake.
Yoichi Wada declared an end to Final Fantasy VII remake speculation in no uncertain terms, stating: “we’ll make a Final Fantasy VII remake once we’ve made a Final Fantasy game that exceeds the quality of FFVII.” Not only is this a tacit acknowledgement of how far the Final Fantasy brand has fallen (an admission that is as shocking as it is obvious), but it is also confirmation that fanboys can pack up their tents and go home, because Final Fantasy VII will never get a HD remake. Wada did not stop there however, as he went on to explicitly state that Square Enix at present is not producing games to the standard of Final Fantasy VII, and that if they were to release a remake of Final Fantasy VII right now, then the Final Fantasy series would be finished thereafter.
It is really quite difficult to understand how Square Enix could get to this point; haunted by the success of a fifteen-year-old game which the publisher seemingly views as both their solitary lifeline as well as their eventual destroyer. This is a company that has been allowed to capitalise on their successes for far longer than they should have, and thus are tormented by a legacy of prestige that they cannot possibly hope to live up to. At any rate, one is well pleased that Yoichi Wada has taken the potential butchering of Final Fantasy VII off the table – it can remain on PSN where it belongs, pristine, as a memento of better times in the studio’s history.
Nintendo to Release a 3DS XL Just for Lusipurr
Nintendo have this week announced the July/August release of a 3DS XL system, only a fortnight too late to save their dreadful E3 conference. The larger handheld system will feature a modest increase to battery life, up from the original 3 hours to a whopping 3.5 hours. The system will also feature enhanced chunky start, select, and home buttons, remedying a terrible design flaw of the original model. Meanwhile, the size of both screens has been increased by around ninety percent, from 3.53 and 3.02 inches to 4.88 and 4.18 inches, making the top screen almost as large as that of the PS Vita.
It must be stated however, that the composition of the new system is not without its criticisms. While it has been confirmed that the system will ship with a charger in America, Australia, and New Zealand, Nintendo has come to the incomprehensible decision to sell the 3DS XL without an A/C charger in both Japan and Europe – because goodness knows that the ability to actually use the system is an optional extra. One imagines that a penny pinching Nintendo is pursuing this policy within any market that they legally can; Capitalism ho!
Another point of criticism for the new handheld is the fact that everyone had assumed that the 3DS’ first hardware revision would see the addition of a second circle pad, alleviating the need for Nintendo’s frankly hideous Circle Pad Pro ashtray attachment. The fact that Nintendo have refused to accommodate market expectations is all the more baffling given the surfeit of additional surface area available to the 3DS XL. Nintendo’s failure to include a second circle pad may in fact indicate that Nintendo’s ashtray will be the next in a long line of peripherals that Nintendo has abandoned. Some people may chalk this conspicuous absence up to a frugal Nintendo pinching pennies yet again, but one is utterly convinced that this is an omission of pure contempt towards a market which deigns tell Nintendo what to do with Nintendo consoles.
Reggie Blasts His Critics
If gamers do have complaints regarding Nintendo’s handling of the 3DS XL, then perhaps Reggie Fils-Aime is not the best person to broach them with – or at least that was the take away message from the spray that he levelled at gamers this week for not getting excited at the prospect of more Wii Fit. Reggie went so far as to suggest that gamers are incapable of telling the difference between amazing software and mediocre drivel on the basis that they ignore ‘amazing’ multi-million selling software like Wii Fit. Reggie does not seem to understand that the Wii Fit audience all bought an iPad. They do not reside in these parts anymore, and they certainly do not comment on game blogs.
Reggie shrilly chastised potential consumers thusly: “One of the things that, on one hand, I love and, on the other hand, that troubles tremendously about not only our fanbase but the gaming community at large is that, whenever you show information, the perspective is: ‘thank you, but give me more’. I mean it is insatiable.
For years this community has been asking, ‘Where’s Pikmin? Where’s Pikmin? We give them Pikmin. And then they say: ‘What else?’ For years this community has said: ‘Dammit Reggie, when you launch, you better launch with a Mario game’. So we launch with a Mario game, and they say, ‘So, what’s more?’
I have heard people say, ‘You know, you’ve got these fantastic franchises, beyond what you’re doing in Smash Bros, isn’t there a way to leverage all those franchises?’ So we create Nintendo Land and they say: ‘Ho-hum. Give me more.’ It’s an interesting challenge.
When we show a game like Brain Age or when we show a game like Nintendogs, what’s the fan-based community reaction? ‘Ho-hum.’ Until it sells millions of copies. When we showed Wii Fit on stage.. go back and read your blogs, what was the reaction?
It’s the question of, as a gamer, ‘Is this for me and something I can get excited about?’ And Wii Fit did not get that reaction. And yet 43-million copies around the world, it’s a phenomenon. And so I would argue that the gaming community actually is unable to differentiate between a phenomenon and something that is ‘ho-hum’.”
There Reggie goes equating units sold with quality, and assuming that what is popular among post-menopausal Women should also be a sure fire hit within the gaming community at large. As far as Nintendo franchises go, the revival of Pikmin was only ever really going to satisfy a large niche – though there are certainly worse things Nintendo could have done to launch a new system. New Super Mario Bros. U for its part looks to replicate an experience that will be available to 3DS owners later this year in the form of New Super Mario Bros. 2. Meanwhile, Nintendo Land is an assortment of mini-games, and all the titles mentioned thereafter are dire bilge. It really goes to show just how out of touch Fils-Aime is that he has to wonder why consumers keep asking him what else there is to sell them on Nintendo’s positively arcane Wii U.
Hiromichi Tanaka Leaves Square Enix
This inevitability has been a long time in coming. The producer overseeing the ill-fated original incarnation of Final Fantasy XIV, Hiromichi Tanaka, has this week left the company that he has called home for well over two decades. The long-time Square producer cites ill-health for his departure, yet it does not take much in the way of imagination to picture him sitting in an empty office for the past year twiddling his thumbs as he waits for the non-compete clause in his contract to lapse – much like Hironobu Sakaguchi’s final days at the company.
While his post-millennial tenure under Square Enix did not bring him much in the way of distinction, it is perhaps better that we remember his contributions to gaming during the halcyon days of Squaresoft. Tanaka pulled game design duties on the first three Final Fantasy games, before moving to distinguish himself by designing the concept and scenario for Secret of Mana, which he then produced – Tanaka would go on to direct 1995’s ambitious sequel, Seiken Densetsu 3. It is for 1998’s Xenogears and 1999’s love-it-or-hate-it epic Chrono Cross that Tanaka is perhaps most likely to be remembered by contemporary gamers, as he acted as producer for both titles, and as battle planner and battle system designer respectively. Hiromichi Tanaka has cited his return to game design as being one of the motivating factors for his split with Square Enix, one can only hope that, like Hironobu Sackaguchi before him, he is able to rise from the ashes.