A closer look at the concept art for Final Fantasy VII Remake on display at series 30th anniversary exhibit

Thanks to some individuals over on The Lifestream Forums, we now have a closer and higher quality look at some of the concept art for Final Fantasy VII Remake on display at the special “Farewell Stories” exhibition. This limited time event honors Final Fantasy’s 30th anniversary, and is being held at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Roppongi Hills, Tokyo from January 22 to February 28.

These high quality photographs capture some of Final Fantasy VII‘s memorable scenery, such as a Mako Reactor and Aerith’s church, and give us a better look at some of the characters that appear in these beautifully painted backgrounds.

Check out the artwork below, and for more information on the “Farewell Stories” Exhibition, see our other articles.

Final Fantasy VII’s “On the Way to a Smile” short stories collection to be published in the West

Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile is coming to the West with an official publication thanks to the efforts by the people at Yen Press.

FFVII: On the Way to a Smile is a collection of short stories written by Kazushige Nomura that bridges the gap between Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. The series had began with a short episodic story, titled “Case of Denzel”, being released on the official Japanese website for Advent Children, which inspired an OVA anime of a similar title: “On the Way to a Smile: Episode Denzel.” Following the OVA’s release, “Case of Tifa” was released in an issue of V-Jump.

These short stories had really only been available in Japan officially, with America and Europe receiving the short story “Case of Barret” with the release of the limited edition box set of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. However, with the announcement made at Anime NYC by Yen Press, fans in the West will soon have the entire collection together in one book.

Final Fantasy VII: On the Way to a Smile will feature all the previously mentioned stories as well as the additions of “Case of Yuffie,” “Case of Shinra,” “Case of Nanaki” and “Case of the Lifestream.”

The release date or price for the novel has not yet been announced.

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Final Fantasy VII Remake PlayStation Experience 2015 Trailer Analysis

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Today during the PlayStation Experience keynote, Final Fantasy VII Remake made a big appearance with a new trailer showing off cutscenes and gameplay – all in-engine.

For such an occasion we decided to piece together a quick analysis – taking a look at Final Fantasy VII Remake’s battle system, gameplay, gameplay mechanics and anything else you might’ve missed on your first perusal.

Starting off with the trailer itself, the first thing we notice is the abundance of real time footage – showing off iconic characters, scenes and moments from the game that’ll knock your socks off. The setting of the video mostly consists of Midgar and the beginning of the game with Cloud and crew facing off against Shinra soldiers. According to both Kitase and Nomura, “This footage only represents a small part of the game.” It’s clear things are very early.

Moving on to gameplay we see a lot of Cloud and his friends at AVALANCHE. It is nice to see the impressive character models along with the English voices. Speaking of voices voices – the English trailer clearly features the voice talents of Steve Burton, who has voiced Cloud in other games and in Advent Children.Speech

We also see Cloud running around Midgar through the chaos as we know happens during the beginning of the original game – including some iconic scenes such as the train scene. While we know FF7R isn’t running on XV’s Luminous Engine, we wouldn’t be too surprised to see this confirmed as an Unreal Engine 4 title similar to Kingdom Hearts III.WallsDuckingSome elements from Final Fantasy XV seem to resonate here along with Uncharted.

Moving away from game features we finally get to the big showcase of the trailer and honestly the highlight – the battle system. The combat in VII Remake is indeed action-oriented from first glance. You can get a good look at the current user interface in the image below. Battle 2As we can see we have a very similar UI to most SE modern IPs such as Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy XV. The party’s MP and HP bars are located to the right side along with a Limit Gauge. The true question is what is the bar under the character’s name. Could it be an Active Time Battle bar? Or perhaps tied to the game’s combo systems? Some characteristics we see from the bar during the video is that it increases through the damage taken and given by the player and could be tied with time as well. We also note free movement when in battle too. This implies the battle system is similar to Final Fantasy XII and there can possibly be a gambit like system for the party. Another big factor is that Nomura’s brought back character switching in real-time – similar to his original plan for Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Barret Character switchThe player switches to Barret. This is supported by the fact the UI color scheme changes and Barret attacks when the button is set on Attack. We can also note Magic, Summons, Items and Defending will be present during combat. The Defend button also supports the theory of a command-based combat system because most real-time combat games would have a dedicated button to guard or dodge rather than a selection from a command menu as we see from Final Fantasy XV and previous Kingdom Hearts titles.

After analyzing the combat, gameplay, gameplay mechanics and engine we can safely say that development for VII Remake seems to be going along smoothly. Nomura and Kitase also seem happy to show us more information in the future. It is currently unconfirmed, but it’s likely more information will spill out of PSX over the weekend. In the meantime, you can check out our video of the analysis as well as some screenshots below.