After playing Final Fantasy VII Rebirth for the first time (see my full impressions here), I then spoke with director Naoki Hamaguchi, producer Yoshinori Kitase, and creative director Tetsuya Nomura to seek answers to some burning questions. This includes how much narrative ground Rebirth covers, the decision behind splitting it between two discs, and whether there will be any form of data transfer between Remake and Rebirth.
How did Rebirth’s development compare to Remake?
Rebirth will be released on February 29, two months before the fourth anniversary of Remake’s release. According to Hamaguchi, Remake’s development cycle took about four years, which makes the transition to Rebirth, a much larger game, seem relatively quick. It’s especially impressive since Square developed and released the PlayStation 5-exclusive Intermission story expansion and the Intergrade upgrade in between.
Hamaguchi credits the work on Intermission/Intergrade for the smoother development cycle, as it allowed the designers to become more familiar with the PS5 (which Rebirth is limited to) and to finish Rebirth in a similar time frame despite its larger scope.
“But at the same time, we were able to maintain development time [down] And to be able to release in such a normal or standard time with such a huge volume of content,” says Hamaguchi through a translator. “So that’s something we’re very confident in and very proud of.”
How much story does rebirth cover?
When I asked where Rebirth would stop, Tetsuya Nomura confirmed that the story extends all the way to the end of the Forgotten Capital (aka the City of the Ancients). However, as anyone who has finished Remake should know, Nomura stresses that Rebirth will not follow events in the same order or style as the original game.
Can you transfer data from FFVII remake?
Square Enix also confirms that there will be no cross-progression between any version of Remake and Rebirth. This means that you will not bring back the gear and materials that you obtained in the first match.
“Even though there’s kind of this story that they’re following across these different titles, [Rebirth] Hamaguchi explains that it’s supposed to be self-contained. “So there’s no specific kind of growth criteria or abilities that you’re going to carry over from the previous title.”
However, Hamaguchi reveals that players with save data in Remake/Intergrade will receive an unknown summoning material at the start of Rebirth.
Why two tablets?
Rebirth is so large that Square is splitting it between two discs. Hamaguchi states that the game’s space is 150 GB, with 100 on one disk and 50 on the other. However, you won’t be swapping discs like fans did with the original. Due to the PS5’s architecture, players will first install the entire game by inserting both discs. After that, only one of them will be needed to play the full game.
Hamaguchi explains that the decision to split Rebirth in this way had less to do with reviving nostalgia than a way to preserve the team’s lofty vision for it. Square has always envisioned Rebirth as a massive, highly detailed world that’s even more immersive than Remake’s revamped Midgar. Thus, pressing it onto a single Blu-ray disc would have forced the designers to pare down the content and ideas, so doubling the discs became the obvious solution.
What minigames have been expanded upon?
Final Fantasy VII’s fun minigames are a big part of the game’s charm. It was good to see some of them back in the recent State of Play trailer, but I asked Square if there was any specific minigame the team was super excited to revisit. Hamaguchi calls Rufus Shinra’s inauguration parade.
In the original version, Cloud disguises himself as a Shinra soldier to infiltrate the celebrations and lead the march by pressing timed buttons. In Rebirth, players will collect soldiers and decide how to arrange them, taking a more hands-on approach that will lead to different versions of how the show will go.
“So, this time, we actually changed some aspects of the original mini-game, kind of taking elements of it but also elevating that to fit today’s standards and for this deeper, more fun and interesting experience.” Hamaguchi says. “This is something we would like users to experience as well.”
What’s up with Vincent?
Vincent Valentine’s brief appearance was an exciting highlight of the Rebirth story trailer at PlayStation State of Play in September. We won’t reveal the nature of the character to newcomers, but he, like Yuffie, was an optional party member in the original game, so I asked Square if that would be the case again. Nomura confirms that Vincent is joining the group as part of Rebirth’s main story this time around, but unfortunately, he won’t be playable.
Instead, the brooding warrior simply accompanies the group as Red XIII did in the remake. Nomura explains that this is the case because in the original text, Vincent joins the party at the end of the story. Based on this answer, it looks like we won’t be using Vincent’s power ourselves until the yet-to-be-named third entry arrives.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on February 29 for PlayStation 5
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