There has been a lot change in the worlds of games since the release of Final Fantasy 7. Open-worlds was a concept used for a long time. Be it in the legend of Zelda where you move from tile to tile or the Kirby’s Dream World that connected you to the levels via doors. Final Fantasy has a long history with open worlds.
One thing that I felt is lost with the later games in the Final Fantasy range was the way parts where connected with each other. Most of FFX and later games were more or less linear. This of course drives story much better, and makes it easier to visually implement all those areas. They of course also are very stunning cause developers can really put a lot of detail in each area and make it come to life. Though, I think this type of story telling should be buried after FFXIII. If we simply look at games such as Tomb Raider (2013), Uncharted, Assassins Creed and not to forget the upcomming FFXV. We see that open worlds can be large and immersive. These games had beaches, jungles, forests, cities, grasslands, roads, and it all seems to interconnect with each-other.
Looking back at FF7, we see that this game had the open world map, and a few places of interest. Such as the cities, or materia caves. And while in those areas most of what we were able to see was a single screen from a single angle. Where we were able to move cloud (or the active party member) around.
The first issue we can clearly see is the size of Cloud compared to the city. When entering Junon it is a huge military complex. So when I approach this area in the remake, I am expecting to see a huge buzzing city, but also I expect to see the village of Junon in all it’s glory from a distance. Which on the above map is basically non-existent. Another issue we can clearly see is that we all expecting to see this in a more 3d view. Looking just at these grasslands was cool back in the 1990’s, but now we all are expecting much more. We will want to see rocks, grass, little bushes.
Open-worlds also allow for a much more interesting gameplay. We could be able to do a bunch of new side-quests. Collect things, kill certain monsters. Hunt perhaps a rare monster. We can see a lot more the effect materia has on the world. Maybe we can finally get Cloud to not be afraid of the water and swim. Or see why he is afraid to cross a certain river. Also, and I think this is rather important, we can see all the party members not just, them going inside of Cloud. But them actually following. Maybe it would be cool if we randomly encounter the non-active party members, also running towards their destination.
Imagine running through the above forest, finding your way to Fort Condor. And all of a sudden in the distance see Fort Condor pop up above the treeline. This would make the game instantly much more real. And I do hope they will keep the large open area’s and even the non linear paths to the story. Going back visiting these places over and over. Since Final Fantasy already had to much flavor in terms of how the world map looks. I think it will just be magical running though the canyons close to Cosmo Canyon. The spiky mountains near Nibelheim, Climbing and countering those mountains, Running through the jungle of Wutai, Decending into the glacier towards Crater, looking across the dessert from the Gold Saucer, or wading though the swamps to find the ancient temple. But also the areas that seemed less important. Rivers can now be rivers, mountains can now be mountains, and forest can now be forests.
Of course with such an open-world we also would expect the cities to be up to scale. But also that we can see those places from all directions. Visiting the train graveyard will be much more interesting, like from the above concept art, we can expect to see how this connects to the railway system. Or how many levels this really had. But also we can look up and see the glorious plate of Midgar. And the transport trains flying by. But when in shinra’s HQ top floor, we can look around out of the windows and see the whole city of Midgar. Not to mention how huge Diamond weapon will be when he attacks the party, if he is his real size compared to Midgar.
Being able to control the camera is going to be a vital to bring this remake to live. It would allow us to look around, feel more that we are inside this world. And it would allow us to explore the sides of FF7 we never witnessed. From the looks of the size of Midgar this is going to be exciting. Which area are you looking forward to see most?
Article Credit thanks to – Velorian from the FF7Remake Community.