Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 16: The Belly of the Beast

We’re taking a deep dive into the 16th chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake with the wonderful development team who brought the game to life!
By Sunil Godhania

This year is Final Fantasy VII’s 25th Anniversary - and the celebrations have begun!

As part of the ongoing festivities, the development team behind Final Fantasy VII Remake have graciously agreed to dive deeper into the game than ever before.

We've been revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. Check out the first and most recent chapters here:

If you've yet to play Final Fantasy VII Remake, go and play it now, and if you read on...

...please beware of spoilers.

With that warning out of the way, let’s mosey…

How important was it to start this chapter with the iconic shot of Cloud looking up at the Shinra Building?

The scene where Cloud looks up at the Shinra Building is fondly remembered by many players as the promotional image for the original game and still comes up with a lot of hits from image searches. It was quite difficult to reproduce and fit this scene into the structure of Remake, but we were adamant that we wanted to include it as fan service.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Cloud looking up at the Shinra building

The battle through the carpark section is one of my favourites in the game. By this point in the game it feels like the player has started to feel comfortable with and started to master the combat system, while the incredible "Operation Save Aerith" track plays in the background.

Was it important to keep this track playing at full volume throughout the area in order to drive a sense of urgency and keep momentum up?

"Operation Save Aerith" uses some of the same phrases from "Those Who Fight", but was made pretty much from scratch as a new battle theme dedicated to capturing the feeling of apprehension in this scene and to bring excitement to this series of battles.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

Barret, Tifa and Cloud fighting their way through the Shinra Building car park

On the Shinra Building ground floor we get to play as Tifa and climb across monkey bars, who was responsible for this section and how did it all come together from concept design?

As part of the policy to give each character their own playable section, I wanted to show Tifa's efforts coming to the fore in the infiltration of the Shinra Building as the game moves towards its final climax.

At this point in the story Tifa is conflicted with doubt that Avalanche's actions were the cause of the Sector 7 plate collapse. I wanted to make the player experience her struggling to move forward under those circumstances and open a path for her comrades on her own.

Having her climbing the overhead ladders and moving across the chandeliers were elements we thought up to fit with the theme of infiltration.

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

Tifa traversing a room in the Shinra Building with monkey bars.

Compared to the original, the Shinra building feels more high tech and near-future in its design. How did you decide on the design direction for this location?

Shinra is always looking towards future economic growth and will discard older regions without a thought. The design direction for the Shinra Building was a part of that, as we wanted to show how Shinra keep all the high-tech secrets for themselves to drive the company's momentum, while the people of the city only receive the benefits of Shinra's cast-offs and may one day be discarded by them in turn.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

The lobby of the Shinra Building

In the scene where the party climb the staircase, the music also mimics the effect of being short of breath. How was this achieved?

Mr. Toriyama had the idea of using the BGM as one element to express the character's fatigue at endlessly climbing the staircases. This was achieved by editing the original track and adding effects over it rather than by creating a different arrangement, and it was quite heavily altered in the end, which I think gives an interesting effect.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

Cloud and Barret walking up many, many stairs

The Shinra museum was a great way to introduce us to the company and its executives. How did you decide what to include in it? What was the inspiration behind the museum tour?

This museum shows exhibits designed to get people to view the Shinra Company positively, and is aimed at both Shinra employees and their families, as well as the wider population of Midgar. It tries to give the message that everything will be safe if you stick with Shinra.

To give this area the right appeal and make it feel convincing, I approached the design like an actual museum curator and created numerous assets for historical documents and exhibits that promoted the technology that the company had developed (especially things that did it in a visual manner).

I imagined it more like a company or facility archive rather than a regular public museum.

Mizushi Sugawara (Environment Artwork)

A screen showing Shinra executives

In one of the photos we can clearly see an adult version of Shinra from Final Fantasy X-2, can you tell us why he's there?!

We did this so players can enjoy the speculation, but it could just be a commemorative photo of one of the company employees cosplaying as him.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

An old photograph from the Shinra museum

The video sequence showing us The Ancients was stunning. Why did the team decide to show this as a pre-rendered video rather than generating everything in-engine?

There is a depiction of the construction of Midgar in the video sequence, and right from the start we had decided to request Visual Works (now Image Studio) to do it as a pre-rendered piece, in order to show this scene at a satisfactory quality

Naoki Hamaguchi (Co-Director(Game Design / Programming))

A shot of Midgar under construction

Who's the security guard Cloud meets in the Shinra Building? Was there ever a time when Kunsel was going to be included in FFVII Remake? It was a nice throwback to Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-

The guard was one of Cloud's colleagues from Crisis Core and this episode shows how he was previously a Shinra employee. If too many of his old colleagues showed up then it would probably destroy the Remake story and we might have Whispers appearing.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Two Shinra security guards. One of them is smiling in recognition at seeing Cloud.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited and are looking forward to learning more from behind the scenes of the game over the coming months.

Make sure you share this article with your friends on social media and we hope you’re looking forward to Chapter 17 next week!

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade is available on PS5, Steam and Epic Games Store while Final Fantasy VII Remake is available on PS4.

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