Director Tetsuya Nomura was adamant that the remake needed to retain some essence of the original’s turn-based combat.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake is looking like it’s going to be the most ambitious remake ever made, which is all the more exciting when you consider the pedigree of the game it’s re-imagining. Every single aspect of the experience is receiving a major overhaul, and of course, that goes for the combat system as well. While the original Final Fantasy 7 was a turn-based game, as was the norm in JRPGs back then, the upcoming remake is a much more immediate action RPG.
Even so, it still retains a lot of what defined the original’s combat system, from mechanics like ATB and Materia to a tactical pause that acts – in essence – very much like the command-based battles of the original game. However, during the early stages of the game’s development, Square Enix actually considered shedding its turn-based trappings entirely.
Speaking in an interview with Stevivor, Final Fantasy 7 Remake producer Yoshinori Kitase – who was the director and scenario writer of the original FF7 – revealed that the development team initially considered making the remake “a full 100% modern action game” – not unlike Kingdom Hearts – but that director Tetsuya Nomura turned that idea down, deeming the turn-based core of the combat to be a necessary aspect of the experience.
“My personal opinion was I thought it would have been suitable to make it a full 100% modern action game,” said Kitase. “Actually, when we were discussing this and I proposed I wanted to take it full action, our director Nomura Tetsuya said, ‘no, I don’t like that idea.’
“[Nomura] said, ‘no, I want to keep in… original elements for the original fans and what they loved about the original turn-based style system.’ That’s really what led us to this hybrid model that we have today. We feature elements of both of those.”
“In the battle system too, that’s very much reflected in the way that we’ve created this hybrid system between menu command based input and action game mechanics,” he added. “So that’s again, designed to really satisfy both groups of players and give both of them what they’re looking for.”
Kitase pointed out that the development team took the same approach with the combat as it did with the game’s story, with their goal being to modernize and expand upon it, but to keep its core essence intact.
“It’s exactly the same idea behind the way we’ve reconstructed the story as well in that players who are completely new to it [will] be getting a an absolutely brand new game story experience,” he said. “We’re trying to make it so that they can experience the shocks or surprises and all the great moments the fans 23 years ago experienced, so they can experience them now in a modern way.”
Final Fantasy 7 Remake has officially wrapped up development, and will be out for the PS4 on April 10. In the meantime, the game’s demo is out now, so you can go head and get some hands-on time with the game through that.