There’s been much discussion about Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, Square Enix’s follow-up to Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and how it offers a larger world to explore. As a seamless one-to-one recreation of the original game’s world map, it promises 100 hours of content, various mini-games and side content (like the recently showcased Grasslands).
However, like the first game, fast travel will be disabled and exploration restricted during key story moments. Director Naoki Hamaguchi spoke to Automaton (translation via Deep-L) about how the team retains an immersive experience, given the difference in map size and exploration.
“Of course, this title retains the dramatic game experience of the previous title. As we have done in other games, we have temporarily disabled fast travel on the world map when the story takes an abrupt turn. At a minimum, when the story has progressed, there will be times when the gameplay will temporarily be compromised by story progression, such as when Cloud and his friends are emotionally disturbed if they do not advance the story to some degree.”
Once said events have passed, fast travel and free exploration become available again. “It is as if the timing to explore and the timing to advance the story come alternately,” says Hamaguchi.
Talking about the incentive to explore, he described it as an “‘anything goes’ quest. Like in the previous game, there are quests for people in town who need help or for named characters who appear in the main storyline, and we delve deeper into the character’s story.” There will also be a storyline in addition to the main quest where “you explore the world map and use that storyline as a starting point to travel around the world and receive requests, etc.”
It would certainly fit with the side content being double that of the main quest, with areas that don’t even feature in the latter. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth launches on February 29th, 2024, for PS5. Stay tuned for more details in the meantime.