FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH interview: talking combat, chocobos, minigames and more!

FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH Director Naoki Hamaguchi talks to us about the game’s many aspects, from the story and combat, to the world itself. And chocobos obviously!
By Duncan Heaney

FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH is shaping up to be a remarkable RPG. It’s a beautiful, expansive adventure that’s stuffed with things to see and do - an exciting story, tons of optional content, minigames and much more.

Of course, it’s also full of memorable characters, and the bonds between them are more important than ever - even affecting combat in the form of powerful new synergy attacks! You can see some of them in action in the most recent trailer:

As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about, so we spoke to the game’s Director, Naoki Hamaguchi, about exactly what to expect from the upcoming RPG.

How much of the story of the original FINAL FANTASY VII is included in this game?

Hamaguchi-san: I’ll say that the locations covered in this game go up to the Forgotten Capital.

But you don’t need to have played that game or FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE for this one though, right?

No, all three of the remake project titles have been designed as standalone games in their own right, so any can be enjoyed fully, even if you haven’t experienced the previous games.

I do think it’s worthwhile to play FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE before REBIRTH, but it’s not essential. If you want to know what happened in the previous game, there is a ‘story so far’ digest movie in the game that will get you up to speed.

Aerith and Cait Sith using a Synergy Ability

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE had one of my favorite combat systems of any RPG! How have you built on it for this new game?

The combat is still based on the system from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but for REBIRTH we’ve added in new elements that focus on teaming up with your allies.

By observing the flow of battle and switching the party leader at the right time, you can use new Synergy skills and abilities to gain an advantage over your enemies!

How has the materia system evolved from the previous game? Is there any new materia to look forward to?

There are many more materia types than in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE and these allow for exciting new combinations in battle!

For example, there are materia that automate some of your actions in battle like an AI, as well as other exciting new types!

Cloud racing a chocobo in the Gold Saucer

The most recent trailer revealed that there are lots of chocobo types in the game! Why was this important to show?

We wanted to pay homage to the original FINAL FANTASY VII - there were many different types of chocobo in that game, such as the river chocobos or the mountain chocobos!

One of the big draws of FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH is that you can explore the vast world map, so we re-imagined the different chocobos to become important features of that exploration. You can use them to fly through the air, climb mountains or speed across water surfaces.

You can also enjoy the chocobos you have collected in another way: by entering them in the Gold Saucer chocobo races!

The world does look massive! How difficult was it to interpret the world map of the original FINAL FANTASY VII for this new game?

This was one of the hardest challenges we faced when developing FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH. There are a lot of games out there that let you explore in a limited area of a specific location, but we haven’t seen all that many games that let you travel and explore a whole world.

If that world is too massive then it makes it harder for the game to work, but if it is too small then you don’t get the feeling of being in a massive world in the first place. We put a lot of thought and hard work into getting that balance right to fulfill both requirements.


It’s not just chocobos of course - there are vehicles too! The Buggy in particular has had an awesome redesign from the original game. How did you capture the look of the original vehicle, while making it seem fresh and new?

We did a lot of research! In order to decide things like the basic structure, type of tyres and so on, we looked into the kinds of modern motor vehicles used in deserts and on poor quality roads, including military vehicles.

Next, we looked at its external appearance. Design elements such as the jet engine at the rear for acceleration and the propellor screws for travelling across water surfaces were included to hark back to the somewhat fantastical buggy design in the original FINAL FANTASY VII.

However, we paid special attention to designing these fictional elements in a way that made them look real and functional.

The most recent trailer also showed Cloud zipping along on the two wheeled Wheelie! Can you tell us a little about this fun little machine?

We want to have the player experience feelings of liberation and freedom in the Costa Del Sol resort area, so we’ve given Cloud and the gang a fun and quirky little vehicle to scoot around on rather than walking like usual!

There is also a special promotional campaign being run (in the game) where you can earn souvenirs from travelling certain distances on them, so I urge players to take them for a spin when you visit Costa Del Sol!

What about the Tiny Bronco plane? Can we expect to see that too?

Of course, the Tiny Bronco will appear too!

Due to the events of the story, the time that it can actually fly is very short, but you can still use it after the wings have been damaged to cross the oceans freely - just like in the original game.

Cloud riding around Costa del Sol on a Wheelie vehicle

What new story elements can we expect from the game?

As with FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, we have been careful to maintain the storyline from the original game, while at the same time adding extra story content to flesh it out as a remake.

In addition to the main story, there has also been a huge amount of new side content added and you can expect to see new story told through that as well!

How does that new content affect the structure of the game?

Unlike the previous title, which had new content made available to the player following developments in the story, FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH has been designed to allow the player to freely select what order to play much of its content in.

Accordingly, it has also been structured so that none of the side content becomes cut-off and you never lose the opportunity to go back and play it, regardless of how far you progress in the story. That means that you can always take a detour and explore the expansive and vibrant world whenever the mood takes you.

Among that new content is minigames…

Many people remember the original FINAL FANTASY VII for having lots of minigames. For that reason, we felt it was important to let the player come across lots of minigames while exploring the world in REBIRTH too.

There are actually even more in FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH than in the original game!

What’s your personal favorite minigame?

Out of all the different mini games available, the card game, “Queen’s Blood” could be said to be one of the headliners.

It’s an in-world card game that is very popular in the world of FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH, and a minigame that can be played many times from the start of your adventure to the end.

Winning matches doesn’t just let you enhance your deck - you can also follow a unique Queen’s Blood story as well. The narrative progresses as you engage more challenges in matches.

Can we expect to see new elements in FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH that are taken from the Compilation of FINAL FANTASY VII?

I cannot reveal full details yet, but yes - there are many characters and details added to REBIRTH that weren’t featured in the original FINAL FANTASY VII but were seen in the compilation.

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE had a fantastic musical score that combined iconic themes with entirely new pieces. What can we expect from the REBIRTH soundtrack?

Just like for FINAL FANTASY REMAKE, we have created a huge number of arrangements of the original music, as well as new tracks to go alongside all the changing situations in the story. You can expect great things from the music this time round too.

Finally, what are you excited for fans to experience in FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH?

This game has many tens of hours of side content spread around the game world, outside of the main story. It’s fine to ignore the main story if you want or to go off and explore the world map to experience the side content whenever you like, at a suitable juncture in the narrative.

Where to go and what to start from is entirely down to the player. I can’t wait for them to see them enjoy the freedom of choice that the game gives them!

Many thanks to Hamaguchi-san for answering our questions. FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH launches for PS5 on February 29, 2024.

Preorder any digital edition of the game to get the following bonus item:

  • Moogle Trio Summoning Materia (in game item)

What’s more, if you have a save file from FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE or FF7R EPISODE INTERmission, you will be able to claim the following items in FINAL FANTASY REBIRTH:


  • Summon Materia: Leviathan


  • Summon Materia: Ramuh

Please note that save data must be saved on the PS5 system.

Standard Edition (physical and digital)

Available both digitally and physically. The physical version comes across two discs and includes a reversible cover.

This edition includes:

  • The full game

It’s available to preorder now:

A Digital Deluxe Edition Upgrade will also be available to purchase for the digital Standard Edition, which adds Digital Deluxe Edition content. This cannot be preordered and will become available when the game launches.

Deluxe Edition (physical only)

The physical Deluxe Edition also includes the below:

  • The full game
  • Steelbook® case
  • A mini soundtrack CD (in jewel case)
  • Physical artbook

It's available to preorder now:

Digital Deluxe Edition (digital only)

Available to preorder from the PlayStation Store, this edition includes:

  • The full game
  • Digital mini soundtrack
  • Digital artbook
  • Magic Pot Summoning Materia (in-game item)
  • Accessory: Reclaimant Choker (in-game item)
  • Armor: Orchid Bracelet (in-game item)

It’s available to preorder now:

Collector’s Edition

Available from the Square Enix Store, this edition is a real treat for fans. It includes:

  • The full game (across two discs)
  • FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH STATIC ARTS - SEPHIROTH - a large, highly detailed statue of Sephiroth
  • Steelbook® case
  • A mini soundtrack CD
  • Physical artbook features stunning illustrations and concept art from the game
  • Moogle Trio Summoning Materia (in-game item)
  • Magic Pot Summoning Materia (in-game item)
  • Accessory: Reclaimant Choker (in-game item)
  • Armor: Orchid Bracelet (in-game item)

It’s available to preorder now:

Twin Pack (digital only)

This terrific twin pack gives you access to both FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE and the upcoming game FANTASY VII REBIRTH.

Once ordered, you can start playing FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE right away and be ready to continue the adventure in FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH on release day.

The set includes:


Purchase this twin set before launch to get a substantial discount - essentially you can get both titles together for the same price as one standard edition! Check the PlayStation Store to see prices in your region:

Digital Deluxe Twin Pack (digital only)

This bumper bundle gives you both FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE and the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Digital Deluxe Edition, and all the awesome content that comes with it.

Once purchased, you can start playing FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE right away:

It includes:

  • FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH Digital Deluxe Edition - full game
  • FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH Digital mini soundtrack
  • Magic Pot Summoning Materia (FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH in-game item)
  • Accessory: Reclaimant Choker (FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH in-game item)
  • Armor: Orchid Bracelet (FINAL FANTASY VII REBIRTH in-game item)

It’s available to order now. What’s more, purchase before launch for a significant discount on the price of both games!

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