FF7 Remake’s Changes Should Inspire Devs Revisiting Old Games

With remakes becoming more common, developers need to take extra steps to make them more memorable by adding more than just improved graphics.

With remakes of video games becoming more common nowadays, some companies have decided to change the formula that goes into them. Initially, a remake or remaster would simply be an updated version of the original, with upgrades to the sound and visuals to match current standards. However, Square Enix has started to take remakes a step further by making in-game changes and updating the story itself.

When Square Enix produced the Final Fantasy VII Remake, it came as a shock to some gamers that the title was not simply a visual and audio update. Instead, the developer upgraded mechanics, added new areas, and built upon parts of the game that had previously only been minor details. In this way, the remake provided a new standard by which others should strive to live up to with their re-releases.

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The Key to a Good Remake Is in the Details

Tifa and Cloud encounter Whispers in Final Fantasy VII Remake

While most remakes and remasters are either simple re-releases of the original title on newer systems with revamped visuals, Square Enix has shown that upgrading the entire game is the way to go. The Final Fantasy VII Remake has demonstrated that a benefit of redoing old, beloved titles can be approaching the game with new ideas or even old ones that may not have been possible with previous technology. These changes are not a bad thing, as they help build on the world players are already familiar with and support the game’s growth without venturing too far from what makes the experience great.

There are multiple benefits to a developer choosing to alter or add details to a remake. While many players enjoy remakes because it allows them to relive the fun they had when first playing a beloved game, it can be predictable and somewhat dull if the game is a carbon copy. Altering details that make sense in a developed world can strengthen character designs by showing a hidden soft side or the true evil a character possesses that may have only been hinted at before expanding on specific events or areas. Even small changes like having characters voiced can improve plot elements by adding inflection to previously flat lines, thus demonstrating desperation or joy.

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Developers Should Avoid Getting Overzealous With Remakes

Screenshot of Final fantasy vii remake

While adding to an established title in the remake can prove extraordinarily successful, developers must ensure they do not go too far. What Square Enix did well in their remake of Final Fantasy VII is that they stayed faithful to the original and made changes that made sense in the context of the game. The use of whispers to ensure that critical details of the original continued to happen is a fantastic element that not only makes sure the game stays faithful to the original but executes them in a way that makes sense in the universe. There is a point where a remake should be a spin-off if too many key details are changed.

Redoing a previous work does not mean the developer has to reinvent the wheel. There is nothing wrong with remakes focusing on graphics and quality-of-life improvements. However, the game can be significantly strengthened by expanding on what already exists. Remakes come from established titles that have proven successful. They no longer have to worry about if the game will appeal to players. Developers should take the chance to further a successful vision instead of simply re-releasing the same creation time after time. Gamers can look forward to a continuation of the intricate changes set forth by FFVII when Final Fantasy VII Rebirth releases this year.

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