It seems almost unimaginable with everything happening in the world but the Final Fantasy VII Remake is just a few weeks away.
While the experience promises to be faithful to the original in a great many ways, we’ve already been able to see some key differences in action thanks to the recent demo.
Playing through the game’s iconic introduction sequence on both the original and remake – aside from the obvious aesthetical changes and the renovation of exploration and combat – here’s how the experiences already differ and some of the narrative tweaks.
Few scenes are more iconic that Aerith’s introduction in Final Fantasy 7 and the remake has made some interesting subtle differences. While she’s still admiring the green glow of Mako, this time she seems to be running from someone, or something.
As she sprints out of the alleyway, she bumps into a stranger and ends up dropping her flowers as a result. Then those flowers are trodden on as she looks up to the skies quite solemnly and we get the full view of Midgar. There’s some interesting foreshadowing there, we reckon.
In the remake, only one guard is attacked coming off the train, the second walks off to go on duty elsewhere.
Another subtle change is the lines Barret spouts at Cloud, instead of ‘C’mere newcomer, follow me’, he barks ‘Get down here Merc’. This, of course, gives Cloud some license to do a stylish flip onto the floor. Show off.
The new lines seem a bit more menacing and really set up some added tension between the ex-SOLDIER and Avalanche member.
Easily the biggest, most noticeable change. Biggs and Jessie definitely have a bigger role to play – I always found Wedge to be influential and impactful, though his role is also expanded.
The sub cast have much more freedom to speak, with Biggs and Jessie having their own cut-scene and little conversation about Cloud. This makes it feel less like everything is governed by your actions, and that there is much more happening in the world around.
These characters have opinions and you’re going to hear more about them, which will undoubtedly have a massive impact on the narrative ahead and flesch out the side stories.
For instance, in the original game, Biggs goes as far as to say Cloud is now in Avalanche, whereas the remake makes that affiliation feel a little less clear, making Cloud seem more merc-like.
The dialogue reaches the same conclusion points and serves the same purposes, but there’s some nice rewrites here which actually feel more natural.
They’ve even made it so that Jessie is a little bit attracted to Cloud, which adds another layer of unexpected intrigue. She asks him about Tifa, and how well they know each other, even making a comment about his appearance. This is quite a shift from the original as we don’t hear about Tifa until later, and Jessie has little to say outside of tutorial tidbits.
Without doubt, Jessie is much more than a ‘Biggs and I got the code to the door’ and it’s brilliant.
Another tweak is Cloud definitely feels more merc-like, with mention of gil made several times. Barret says ‘he’d better be worth every penny’ and Cloud later adds ‘I should have charged more’.
Cloud is also given more space to fight on his lonesome for a while and you see the Avalanche crew leave him to it several times. For instance, at the turnstiles, the group sneak up the stairs while Cloud fights a bunch of guards.
You also have a moment where Biggs tells Cloud to fight soldiers before he can sneak through the grating and join them. Leaving him fighting that menacing looking dog is not cool.
It’s also fascinating that in the remake, Barrett immediately assumes Cloud has seen reactors, describing him as a SOLDIER dog that attacks on command, whereas in the original he asks if it’s his first time.
This is an interesting narrative deviation as Barret comes across as more aggressive and much more distrusting of Cloud this time, rather than someone who wants to try and convince him about the negative impact Mako is having on the planet. There’s much more clear-cut tension here.
Instead of saying he works for Shinra, Cloud now reveals to the player that he knows about interiors of reactors and can work his way around them to help with the infiltration. This also helps expand the world-building and deep dive into this intriguing, often overlooked part of the world, while exploring Cloud’s knowledge base in a new way, potentially providing us some unique back story.
Don’t worry, though, Cloud still finds ways to get under Barret’s skin and it works a treat.
There’s clearly some big changes and we’ve only scratched the surface with the demo.
Square are still keeping it faithful – they’re hiding powerups in the same places, and the story still manages to reach the same places and play off the same beats – but there’s clearly much more to come and the demo really gives us a good idea of how those differences are being incorporated.
Not long now!
Any other big differences you’ve noticed? Let’s hear about them. Shout out below.