Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 9: The Town That Never Sleeps

We’re taking a deep dive into the ninth 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…

Where did the concept of Aerith wanting to high five Cloud, and the subsequent attempts between both of them to do this, originally come from?

The time they spend together heading between the Sector 5 Slums and Wall Market is an important time for Cloud and Aerith, as this scene is the "date" that she talks about as Cloud's reward. We used the high five to show the relationship between the two characters and how the distance has been broken down between them.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith holding up her hands for a high five

I could never have imagined the Wall Market theme from the original FFVII being turned into "Due Recompense" on the FFVII Remake soundtrack. How did the concept for this arrangement come about? It's so brilliant!

If you play the original FFVII music for Wall Market next to the new version from REMAKE, they tie together naturally.

As I put the track together I tried to get my head into to the atmosphere of the place and build an image of the kind of BGM that could be playing while you walk around the town and see its distinctive vistas. I tried to sweep away all preconceptions and focus my efforts on expressing the things I felt from the location through music.

Unfortunately Corneo was always lurking in the back of my mind while I was doing this! (laughs)

Mitsuto Suzuki (Music)


Creating a brand-new piece of music to serve as the background track for Wall Market must have been a difficult decision to make. How did the team decide to write something brand-new for this part of the game?

Mr. Toriyama's request was to create a noisy and hectic atmosphere, where music can be heard from different angles all over the place.

Once you meet with Chocobo Sam and head out into the town it immediately hits you with a saxophone to bring out the excitement of the bustling neon-lit city, but if you go down a narrow backstreet then you stop being able to hear the BGM. Walk a bit further and the sitar and tabla drums open up to create a exotic and suspicious mood when you pass by the hand massage parlour.

To sum it up in one phrase, I would say that the music for Wall Market in Remake is a "nationless sound", but I imagined a chaotic yet alluring place where people forget about their everyday lives and the flow of time, to enjoy this transient, dystopian world for one night. I would be delighted if the Honeybee Inn and Midgar Blues also added to expanding the world of FFVII Remake too,

Mitsuto Suzuki (Music)

Cloud walking down a Wall Market street

It was an absolute delight to see the Hell House make a return from the original FFVII as a fully fledged boss in FFVII Remake. What process did the team have to go through in order to turn this into a boss fight, including the addition of Tonberries in Hard Mode!

We wanted the gameplay for this boss to involve the player preparing lots of different elemental attacks and strategically selecting the right one for the situation, but had a hard time communicating that structure to the player in-game.

It is a bit of a regret that the underlying logic of the battle is not easy for the player to pick up on, so it can become a fairly gruelling battle.

However, I think that the fact it ended up as a memorable boss works well for the remake.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

The Hell House in the Corneo Coliseum

The squats mini-game looks so simple when being watched but it's actually incredibly tough to get just right, did this need lots of refinement during development to make it just difficult enough for players?

It is always a head-scratcher trying to get the difficulty level right for this type of mini game. If it were a section where the objective is only to progress through for the main story or for a quest then we would obviously make it something that can be completed before it starts to feel stressful for the player. However, when you have something that involves a level of replay, we play through the game over and over, subtly tweaking and adjusting the parameters as we go to settle on the final direction.

The button UI disappears and the difficulty of the inputs increases as you progress, but that was not actually part of the original planning for this mini game. It was added in later while we were testing, as we felt it would be interesting to increase the difficulty by having a phase where the player needed to rely on their memory.

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

Cloud competing in a round of Squats

How did you determine how many side quests to include in this chapter, especially with the option to revisit and complete additional quests? As an aside, thank you for keeping a sidequest in which mimics Cloud's quest through Wall Market in the original FFVII - it was such a great homage!

This touches on what I said in a previous answer about quests, but we approached the side quests based on the concept of using them to dig deeper into the lives of the slum dwellers.

This concept led to our policy to have side quests through the various slum areas and was solidly in place by the middle phase of development, leading to the quest placement in the Sector 7 Slums, Sector 5 Slums, Sector 6 Slums (Wall Market) and in the areas of Sector 5 and 6 after the plate falls.

We also wanted to have the player earn the outfits they get in Wall Market through progress in quests and split the roles of the quests in different areas so that the ones in the Sector 7 Slums affect Tifa's outfit, the ones in the Sector 5 Slums affect Aerith's outfit and the ones in Wall Market itself affect Cloud's outfit.

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

Aerith in a red dress on a bridge in Wall Market

The entire Honeybee Inn section of the game has been praised by both fans and critics alike for being tasteful and respectful. Keeping in mind that this is all brand-new compared to the original FFVII it can't have been easy to write this entire section from scratch.How did this come together?

We had decided to change the original FFVII's Honeybee Inn episode from a gender free perspective right from the start of development. We remade the whole scene as a song and dance show, in order to make it the big stage for Cloud's cross-dressing event and to give it a "maximum showbusiness" vibe as part of the Remake story.

We collected together references of dance shows and decided on an overall direction, then tentatively edited that footage together while adding music and lyrics, before going even further and setting down the choreography. I think that just that preparatory phase here took up the longest period in the whole development.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Cloud and Andrea Rhodea dancing on stage at the Honeybee Inn

Did the entire dance scene with Andrea and Cloud have to be choreographed and motion captured and how was that done? I loved all the nods in the dance to actions that Cloud makes in the original FFVII.

Changing Andrea to the owner of the Honeybee Inn had a big influence on the dance scene. We put together a concept video based on cabaret show reviews and then had the choreography worked up based on that reference and the music.

From the initial planning stages we wanted to have nods to the original FFVII in the dancing. We originally thought about having things happen to break up the show, but having the characters draw weapons felt too abrupt and would not fit with the scene, so we changed it so they took up distinctive poses instead.

If players have picked up on these touches then I think that fortune has smiled on our direction and presentation. It feels like an added bonus for all the effort that we put in.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

A side by side comparison of Cloud landing from a jump in the original FINAL FANTASY VII, and Cloud mimicking the pose while dancing at the Honeybee Inn

How did the designs of each of Cloud, Tifa and Aerith's dresses come together? Was there one person on the team assigned to design all of these or was it a combination of team members who brought them to life? Were there any dress designs that ultimately didn't make it into the game, and can we see them?

My name is Roberto Ferrari, and I designed the dresses for all the main characters. I re-designed the outfits based on the ones from the original FFVII and approached them by trying to keep the distinctive colour palette for each character, while adding in more different pieces and subtle decoration.

After I showed Nomura the proposals for the basic design direction, I moved straight on to finalising the visuals, so there was not a lot of waste in the workflow. I did not propose any completely different designs, but there were several different colour versions of the outfits.

For example, when I was checking the designs for the purple dress with Nomura, I sent him several different hues of purple to consider, including a redder purple and one with more of a blue tone, and asked him to pick his favourite. As you would expect, I don’t really want to show any of the proposal images from before they were cleaned up (gulp!)

Roberto Ferrari (Character Design)

Cloud wearing a dress at the Honeybee Inn

FFVII Remake has a few sections where players take control of a different character to Cloud. What was the reason for this?

The original FFVII told a story centred around Cloud and was structured so he would be the main character that the player controlled.

For Remake, we have not changed this basic idea, but each of the other party members also has their own strong personality and many fans, so we wanted to do some fan service and give each one an opportunity to be the star as a playable character.

I feel that this philosophy should not just apply to the first game and should continue into the future games in the series.

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

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 10 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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