Square Enix has a tough job ahead of them. I think everyone has a vision in their head about what FF7-R should be, and trying to satisfy all of them is not going to be easy.
For myself, I'll be content to just get a great game. To that end, there are a few things I'm looking to see Square do with this.
1. Ditch the fixed camera perspective. It's pretty much a given that the environments in this game are going to be fully rendered. Which is fine, but if they keep the same perspectives that the original did, I don't see it comparing favorably. Plus, we've already seen FF7 from that perspective.
An over-the shoulder 3rd-person, perhaps with occassional shifts to other perspectives for puzzles and such, would give them a lot more opportunities to be creative with old environments, especially given the way the new style will force them to expand the scope. Perhapse they could let us toggle between the perspectives, though that might be more trouble than it's worth.
2. Ditch as much of Advent Children as possible. As enjoyable as Advent Children is, it's not a great movie, or even much of a good one. And I don't see incorporating aspects of that movie into the game doing anyone any favors. The color scheme, the character design, and especially the voice actors should not be in the game. A bit of a lonshot, but I can hope.
3. Remove the 'romance' mechanic. This was kind of awkward when it was new, but at least it was 'new' then. Now, it comes across as more than a little dated. If they really wanted to keep it, they'd have to double down on the whole idea, and I simply can't see that working out well. This is Finaly Fantasy, not Tenchi Muyo.
4. Don't be blatant with fan-service. FF7 has quite a few spin-offs now, and there's going to be a lot of pressure to slot things from them into the new game. I'm not opposed to that, when it makes sense, but they're better off introducing and developing the characters they have, rather than adding more in. The game's going to be big enough without stuffing it full of references, teasers, and cameos from other games. The occassional easter egg, though, would be just fine.
5. Leave random encounters, ATB combat, and the world map intact. At its core, these things are FF7. Not only would it take a lot more work to build the whole edifice from scratch, it would remove what a lot of people liked about the original. If they want to rebalance or tweak abilities, add more detail and locations to the world map, or adjust encounter rates, that's fine.
6. Dig deeper into the characters and mechanics. FF7 has some very solid mechanics, but they could do with an update. Maybe more variety in the materia system (fire materia boosting strength stat, for instance, instead of just magic) or deeper weapon mechanics. Maybe something more substantial with chocobos.
And while the characters of FF7 were great, the way they were used was a mixed bag. FF13, for all its faults, managed to give every character something to do at almost any given time. In FF7 you can forget about characters completely if they aren't in your party. Some banter here and there and a little more interaction in cutscenes would not go amiss.
7. Be cautious with cutscenes. The temptation to use cutscenes extensively in this game must be immense. The game already contained several long, unskippable segments such as Kalm and Mideel (which really need to be made skippable), and it doesn't need even more. There are a lot of ways they could avoid adding cutscenes, or even remove existing cutscenes, if they were so inclined. I, personally, would love to see them not overly rely on them to tell the story.
What are you hoping to see Square Enix do with the Final Fantasy VII Remake?
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