Final Fantasy VII

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Final Fantasy VII was the first game in the Final Fantasy since the SNES generation. It was also the first 3D Final Fantasy, and one of the most successful Final Fantasy games in the franchise. The effect of its success is enormous; it helped make Square one the biggest RPG developers in North America, and it increased the popularity of RPGs among casual gamers. The enormous fan following of Final Fantasy VII is still active today. All other games and media related to Final Fantasy VII comprise the Final Fantasy VII series.

Square-Enix made 2 CG movies years later that continued the story, called Last Order: Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

It has retrospectively been acknowledged as the game that popularized role-playing games outside of Japan, and as the PlayStation's killer app that cemented its lead over other fifth-generation video game hardware.

Development[edit | edit source]

Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi noted the game's central theme of "life" dates back to when his mother passed away while he was working on Final Fantasy III, after which he always wanted to explore the theme of "life" in a "mathematical and logical way" maybe "to overcome the mental shock" but it was not until Final Fantasy VII that he explored the theme of "life" for the first time in the series.[1]

Development required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage 3D software.[2] This was the largest game development team at the time,[1] and included Japanese CG artists working alongside Hollywood CG visual effects artists, such as Ron Sabatino,[3] former British ILM artist Paul Ashdown who worked on Star Wars and Jurassic Park, and artists from Digital Domain who worked on Terminator 2 and True Lies.[4] Final Fantasy VII was the most expensive video game of its time, with a production budget of around US$45 million.[5]

An early tech demo featuring Final Fantasy VI characters was unveiled in August 1995 at the SIGGRAPH show, where many incorrectly assumed it to be for the Nintendo 64.[3]

When we discussed designing the field scenes as illustrations or CG based, we came up with the idea to eliminate the connection between movies and the fields. Without using blackout at all, and maintaining quality at the same time, we would make the movie stop at one cut and make the characters move around on it. We tried to make it controllable even during the movies. As a result of using a lot of motion data + CG effects and in still images, it turned out to be a mega capacity game, and therefore we had to choose CD-ROM as our media. It other words, we became too aggressive, and got ourselves into trouble.
~ Sakaguchi[6]

Sakaguchi stated that they were also considering the Saturn and personal computer as possible platforms for the game, before eventually deciding on the PlayStation as "the right machine" for the title. In early 1996, when Final Fantasy VII was around 15% complete, Square unveiled screenshots of the game, including the characters Cloud, Barrett, Aerith and Red XIII.[3]

Translation[edit | edit source]

Final Fantasy VII was originally intended for Japanese audiences; in order for it to be marketed to other countries, the game had to be translated from Japanese to English. This resulted in numerous spelling and grammatical errors found throughout gameplay, including "Aeris" (a mistranslation of "Aerith"), and the now-infamous "this guy are sick" line from shortly after Cloud meets Aerith in Midgar.

The translation team also had to make sacrifices to how the story was played out to western audiences. For more information about the story of Final Fantasy 7, click here.

Release[edit | edit source]

The game's marketing budget amounted to $100 million[7].

Reception[edit | edit source]

Critical Reception[edit | edit source]

Critical Reception
Review scores
Publication Scores
PlayStation
(52 reviews)
Microsoft Windows
(19 reviews)
1UP A+[8]
Absolute PlayStation 97%[9]
AllGame Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[10] Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg[11]
Arcade Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[12]
Brash Games 10/10[13]
Computer and Video Games Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[14] 9/10[15]
Computer Games Magazine Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg[16]
Computer Gaming World Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar empty.svg[17]
Edge 9/10[18]
Electric Playground 7.5/10[19]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 38/40[20]
Famitsu 38/40[21]
Fun Generation 10/10[22]
NeoGAF 10/10[23]
GameFan 100+/100
100+/100
100/100[24]
Game Informer 9.75/10
9.5/10
9.75/10[25]
Gamekult 9/10[26]
GamePro Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[27]
Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[28]
Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svg[29]
Game Revolution B+ (85%)[19]
GameShark 10/10[30]
GamesMaster 93%[19]
GameSpot 9.5/10[31] 8/10[32]
Gamestyle 9/10[33]
GMR 9/10[34]
Hobby Consolas 96%[35]
HonestGamers 10/10[36]
IGN 9.5/10[37] 8.2/10[38]
Jeuxvideo 18/20[39]
Just Adventure A+[19] A+[40]
MeriStation 10/10[41] 9/10[42]
Next Generation 5/5[19]
Official PlayStation Magazine Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[43]
PC Format 93%[44]
PC Gamer 90%[45]
PC Zone 93%[46]
Pelit 93%[47]
PGNx Media 9.75/10[48]
Play 94%[19]
Player One 97%[49]
Play the PlayStation 10/10[50]
Power Unlimited 89%[47]
PSM Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[51]
PSX Extreme 10/10[52]
PSX Nation 100%[53]
RPGamer 8/10[54]
10/10[55]
10/10[56]
RPGFan 97%[57]
100%[58]
Softpedia 10/10[59]
Svenska PC Gamer 93%[47]
Thunderbolt 9/10[60]
Ultimate PC 93%[44]
UltraNinjas 10/10[19]
ViceoJuegos 97%[61]
Video Gamers First 10/10[19]
Wirtualna Polska Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[62] Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svg[62]

Upon release, the game received widespread critical acclaim. In North America, GameFan called it "quite possibly the greatest game ever made," a quote which featured prominently on the back cover of the game's jewel case.[63] Electronic Gaming Monthly's panel of four reviewers gave the game scores of 9.5 out of 10 each, adding up to 38 out of 40 overall.[20] GamePro praised the "massive world," experimentation "with spells and weapons, encounters with weird creatures," and "soap opera-ish story line", concluding it has "classic" written "all over it".[28] In Japan, Famitsu's panel of four reviewers gave it scores of 9, 10, 9 and 10 out of 10, adding up to 38 out of 40 overall, making it their highest-rated game of the year, their highest-rated Final Fantasy game at the time, and one of their eleven highest-rated games up until 1997.[64]

Following its European release, Edge noted, "The ‘interactive movie’ has long been a dirty term to anyone who values a playable videogame, but FFVII succeeds in coming closer than any title yet," with the "highly complex, melodramatic story and excellently orchestrated chip music" combining "to make players feel real empathy with the characters," a "task usually shied away from by the action/comedy-orientated western graphic adventures."[65] Paul Davies of Computer and Video Games described it as "truly unique" and "an incredible new era of interactive entertainment" that could "revolutionize" belief of "what a video game can achieve", with arguably "some of the best moments in entertainment history", including "excitement" and "heart-rendering" emotional scenes, concluding that, with a "thrilling" storyline "brought to life with ingenious" gameplay, the "future of PlayStation is assured by this key to the future of games."[14] Alex C of Computer and Video Games stated that the characters "are well developed," comparing their "ups and downs" to a film, and that the "structure of the story is such that, just when you think you've seen it all, something even more awesome comes along to totally knock your socks off."[15]

PC Zone credited Final Fantasy VII for achieving "the formidable task of making role-playing cool", noting its mainstream coverage in "style press" magazines such as The Face.[46]

Awards[edit | edit source]

Awards
Publication(s) Award
Electronic Gaming Monthly

[66]

Game of the Year,
PlayStation Game of the Year
Interactive Achievement Award,[67]
Electronic Gaming Monthly,[66]
Origins Awards[68]
RPG of the Year
Interactive Achievement Award[67] Adventure Game of the Year
Dengeki[69] Best Story
Dengeki,[69] GameFAQs,[70][71]
GameSpot,[72][73] IGN[74][75]
Best Game of All Time
Dengeki,[69] GamePro[76] Best RPG of All Time

Final Fantasy VII won many Game of the Year awards for 1997. It won an Origins Award in the "Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1997" category.[77] At the second CESA Awards (now Japan Game Awards), it won the "Grand Prize" and the "Best Scenario" and "Best Sound" awards.[78] At the first Japan Media Arts Festival, it won an "Excellence Prize" in the "Digital Art (Interactive Art)" division.[79]

It was also awarded the Readers' Choice awards for "All Systems Game of the Year", "PlayStation Game of the Year", "Role-Playing Game of the Year", "Best Graphics of the Year" and "Best Music of the Year" by Electronic Gaming Monthly,[80] as well as their Editors' Choice awards for "Role-Playing Game of the Year", "Best Graphics",[81] "Hottest Video Game Babe" (for Tifa Lockheart), "Most Hype for a Game", "Best Ending", and "Best Print Ad",[82] in addition to Readers' Choice nominations for "Most Original Game of the Year" and "Best Sound of the Year",[80] and Editors' Choice nominations for "All Systems Game of the Year" and "PlayStation Game of the Year".[81]

Commercial reception[edit | edit source]

The game's demand in Japan reportedly exceeded that of the PlayStation's Japanese user base at the time.[4] In the game's debut weekend in North America, it sold 330,000 copies and grossed $16.5 million, setting an industry record and earning more than the top-grossing film G.I. Jane during Labor Day weekend;[83] Its success made it a killer app for the PlayStation.[84]

Platform Sales Revenue
(no inflation)
Revenue
(2015 inflation)
PlayStation 10.66 million[85] $820.13 million[86]
PSN 100,000[87] $1.5 million[88]
Steam 1.1 million[89] $13.2 million[90]
Overall 11.86 million $835 million $1.231 billion

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Since 1997, it has been chosen by many game magazines and other publications as one of the best video games ever made. Most recently, in 2012, Time named it one of the "All-TIME 100 Video Games".[91]

In 2013, GamePro included Final Fantasy VII in its "20 most innovative games ever made" list. They stated described it as "a classic that touched an entire genre of gaming" and "an entire generation of gamers." They also stated that its "status as an early PlayStation One exclusive gave Sony the edge it needed to compete in and eventually dominate the video game industry."[92]

Final Fantasy VII has also often placed at or near the top of many reader polls of all-time best games. Most recently, in 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment conducted a poll with over 10,000 Japanese fans, where Final Fantasy VII was voted the second favourite PlayStation game of all time (behind Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride), the second best game that impressed "more than a movie or a novel" (behind Final Fantasy X), and the most wanted remake.[93]

Remake[edit | edit source]

At E3 2015, Square Enix announced that they were remaking Final Fantasy VII. On December 5, 2015, the same day that the PlayStation 4 release of Final Fantasy VII was released on the PlayStation Store, a gameplay trailer was released that showed segments of the introduction mission, combat footage, and samples of both character animation and voice acting. According to the trailer, at least part of Midgar is explorable on foot, both Biggs, Wedge and Jessie in addition to the main characters have voice acting, and at least the opening boss, the Guard Scorpion, is included, with an updated appearance. The trailer also confirmed the name of the game: Final Fantasy VII Remake.

The remake is to be released over the course of several games, as remaking the game from the ground up will result in the game being too big overall for a single release.

References[edit | edit source]

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  85. PS sales:
  86. PS revenue:
    • 1997 PS game: $780 million
      • JP: 4 million at ¥7800 ($90) = $360 million
      • Overseas: 6 million at $70 (average price) = $420 million
    • 1996 PS demo: 657,816 units at ¥6264 ($61) = $40.13 million
  87. http://web.archive.org/web/20090628114657/www.gamepro.com/article/news/210963/final-fantasy-vii-downloaded-100-000-times-in-two-weeks/
  88. 100,000 PSN units at $14.99
  89. http://steamspy.com/app/39140
  90. 1.1 million units at $11.99
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  93. Giuseppe Nelva (December 2, 2014). Sony Lists Favorite PlayStation Games of All Time in Japan; Final Fantasy VII Most Wanted Remake. Retrieved on 2015-01-18

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]