A touching reunion.

Final Fantasy VII is a game that is beloved by many throughout the gaming world due to the iconic characters, captivating soundtrack and a story that still resonates in our hearts 23 years after its initial release. For a lot of people, myself included, Final Fantasy VII was our first Final Fantasy, and for me, my first ever JRPG as I was only eight years old when my uncle bought me a copy. Up until then I only knew of platformers like Sonic the Hedgehog and Mario or games like Streets of Rage or Golden Axe.

Before I continue, please watch the video below and let it show you visually how much excitement the announcement of a remake for Final Fantasy VII gave the world.

Video courtesy of Aohige

I was like those grown men and women; screaming, crying and laughing as I could not believe that after the PSX 2014 debacle we were finally getting a remake that we had all longed for since the tease with that PS3 Tech Demo all those years ago. It’s incredible to think one game could invoke such a reaction from so many people but the original did it before when it initially launched on the inaugural PlayStation back in ’97.

Final Fantasy was incredibly niche in the West before Final Fantasy VII came out, at which point the Final Fantasy brand became a worldwide phenomenon. Cloud Strife became one of the iconic characters for the PlayStation, along the lines of Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon fame. And Final Fantasy VII became the best-selling Final Fantasy title of all time (and still is, according to recent figures).

Final Fantasy VII was different compared to the previous entries which were your typical fantasy adventures and, although previous entries had some form of technology like the Magitek armour in Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII’s story was all about industrialism, with the evil corporation ShinRa Electric Power Company painted as the main antagonist (at least until you learn of Sephiroth and Jenova). No longer did Final Fantasy feel like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure, which many considered ‘nerdy’. Plus, Final Fantasy VII was the first game in the franchise to step into the foray of 3D graphics.

The music of FFVII sticks with you too. From the opening theme to the tense bombing mission music through to the gentle emotional theme for Aerith (I’ve moved past calling her Aeris now) and the daunting theme of the ShinRa company, I still to this day often find myself humming the various scores from FFVII throughout my days.

Final Fantasy VII helped bring a vast majority of people into my life. Whether it was because of Cloud and Sephiroth playing a part in the Kingdom Hearts games, or the compilation of Final Fantasy VII had attracted friends into the narrative of FFVII mostly Crisis Core or Advent Children. Final Fantasy VII gave me the best friend I could ever ask for but, sadly, she is no longer with us.

On March 14th 2019, I lost my closest and best friend. We met in college and bonded over our love for the characters, story and music of Final Fantasy VII. Just like me and many others, she was incredibly excited for the upcoming remake but due to the silence from Square Enix, she believed that the game was no longer coming out and that it had become ‘vaporware’. Unfortunately, due to ongoing struggles with her mental health, she lost her life. It breaks me knowing she will never get to experience the remake, something we had planned to sit together, play, and enjoy.

In fact, I find it hard to even write this piece, for even now every new bit of information – especially trailers – reduces me to an emotional wreck, knowing that I can no longer share this game with her. However, I will be playing the Final Fantasy VII remake as I want to play it for her, and I know she would be disappointed in me if I didn’t. It’s one of the games that brought us together, so I feel that to not play it would almost be an insult to our friendship.

Final Fantasy VII is an incredible game with intense and emotional moments and a powerful musical score, not to mention an amazing cast of characters. From the brief moments that I’ve played of the upcoming remake, I’m sure that Square Enix is going to do the game that I first fell in love with all those years ago justice and, even though the first instalment is only the Midgar segment, the content Square Enix has shown in trailers and screenshots fills me with confidence that it is going to be a beautiful retelling that fans around the world will love, old and new.

Final Fantasy VII Remake launches as a year-long exclusive on PlayStation 4 on April 10th, although there is a demo you can play for free on the PlayStation Store right now. For more Final Fantasy VII Remake content please check this link as well as my Everything We Know About Final Fantasy 7 Remake article with info from E3 2019.