Kitase and Nomura Explain Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Episodic Format

Square Enix caused quite a stir when it announced that its forthcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake is to be what has been described as a “multi-part series”. Now, the game’s producers, Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase, have spoken out about why Square Enix has chosen the episodic route for release, in interviews posted by Famitsu and Dengeki.

The pair were asked to explain the decision to make the game episodic (translation courtesy of NeoGaf user JeffAtomsky):

Kitase: “The idea that a remake of Final Fantasy VII would not fit into a single release was there from the very beginning. We still can’t share more information about its multiple parts, but please look forward to future announcements.”

Nomura: “If we dedicated our time to a single release, parts of it would become summarized. We’d have to cut some parts, and additional parts would come in few, so rather than remake the game as a full volume, we decided to do multiple parts.

Kitase: “As you can see in the trailer, we showed Sector 1 and Sector 8, but in those areas alone, I think you can see a lot of density. When you’re remaking the entirety of the original version in that quality, it’s not possible to fit it all in one release.”

Kitase and Nomura also revealed more about the game’s battle system:

Kitase: “Rather than a command-based battle ensuing when you encounter an enemy, we’re aiming for a seamless active battle, as you can see in the trailer.”

Nomura: “Regarding the battle speed and tempo, for the sake of a stress-free battle, we want to do something on the level of Dissidia Final Fantasy. As far as the degree of action goes, it’s Dissidia Final Fantasy, then Kingdom Hearts, then Final Fantasy VII Remake. There won’t be any actions that require a technique. By using the new system, we want to do action battles while also being able to fight while thinking strategically.”

Nomura [RE: FFVII’s original ATB system]: “In the end, it’s based on Final Fantasy VII, so elements like the ATB gauge and Limit Breaks will appear with new ways to be used. Please look forward to how this game will evolve through the remake.”

Finally, they responded to queries regarding any potential changes to the story:

Nomura: “In addition to delving into these episodes more deeply, we’re preparing a number of mechanisms and such. To those who played the original version will know the important parts and understand the story from the beginning to the end. Also for these people, I hope that they can be surprised once again.”

Kitase: “I don’t want the remake to end as something nostalgic. I want to get the fans of the original version excited.We’ll be making adjustments to the story with this feeling in mind.”

While an episodic release structure may anger some, it is in keeping with Square Enix’s stance regarding a remake of Final Fantasy VII for the past two decades. Until the surprise unveiling of Final Fantasy VII Remake at E3 earlier this year, Kitase maintained that adapting the game for modern, HD formats would be cost-prohibitive due to its sheer scale. Just last year, Kitase told Eurogamer that a remake “would take a lot to happen.” It seems that the episodic structure facilitates that “lot.”

Is this a cash-grab or does is it pragmatic to release such an ambitious undertaking incrementally?