Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 10: Rough Waters

We’re taking a deep dive into the 10th 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…

The battle with Abzu was first revealed at Tokyo Game Show back in 2019 and was a big moment in terms of showing off a long segment of gameplay to fans. What are your memories of that reveal and how did you feel at the reaction received from fans around the world?

We were delighted at the passion we felt from all the fans at the event and those watching from elsewhere and were very grateful to them. One of the marketing themes that was set for the Abzu fight was to show a battle where summons are used. When we saw the response to the first reveal of fighting alongside Ifrit in the video, we were convinced deep down that players would enjoy the battles in FFVII Remake and wanted to get the game to them as soon as possible.

One other thing that we showed for the first time at that year's TGS was Classic Mode (the mode where everything except selecting menu commands is automated to create a play experience closer to the original FFVII). I was the player for that demo and my hands were shown on camera to prove that I was not controlling the characters directly, but it was so hard to stop them from shaking! (laughs)

Yuma Watanabe (Senior Assistant Producer)

Ifrit taking on Abzu in the sewers under Wall Market

Aerith is probably the most difficult character to play as in battle in FFVII Remake. Did she ever play significantly differently in battle during the development of the game? Which aspects of the way Aerith fights in combat are you most proud of developing?

Development on Aerith started with the concept that she should be a character with high magic power, and who really comes into her own when using magic. However, if we allowed her to launch straight into a sustained magical barrage from the start of battle then she would lack nuance and be too powerful.

Accordingly, we designed her as the type of character that needs to get prepared and take up a solid position at the start of a fight, but her offensive power and the variety of things she can do increases greatly once she has.

I think that the extra difficulty in using her stems from the distance she needs to keep from the enemy and the comparative trickiness of managing the charge up of her ATB gauge.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Aerith battling a sahagin in the sewers

The fog in the sewers gives a great atmosphere to the area. Was it difficult making sure that this effect was not too thick or too thin, and was it easy aligning it with the lighting?

As the fog has a very close relationship with the lighting of this area, we actually worked on adjusting and balancing the effect in the lighting section. We changed around the thickness of the fog several times and tweaked the intensity of the light at the same time, to make sure we got the overall feel just right.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)


Tifa and Aerith's friendship develops over the course of this chapter, was it important to ensure that they both had enough screentime to grow their friendship and what's going through both of their minds during this part of the story?

There is actualy surprisingly little time that Aerith and Tifa spend together during the part of the story in Midgar, so we decided to focus on their relationship in the underground sewers. That we were only able to put in this oppressive and gloomy area could only come from following the story of the original game.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa talk to each other in the sewers

Tifa and Aerith's friendship was surely tested by the water pump mini-game! What was the reason for implementing that?

I am overjoyed that players could sense the friendship between Tifa and Aerith in this scene. The water pump was not included in Mr. Nojima's original script, but we had always wanted to have the two of them achieve something together through the player's actions here, rather than just confide in each other in the cut scenes.

It was only proposed to add the water pump mini game here during the latter part of the development, so the designers pushed back quite a lot on the asset creation schedule, but I explained to them how important it was to insert a co-operative task between Tifa and Aerith here and they managed to sort out the scheduling somehow. I really am super grateful to the designers for pulling that off.

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

Aerith and Tifa working a water pump

The water pump mini-game is challenging, but it never gets too frustrating. How hard was it to balance the mini-game?

As I said in my previous answer, the objective here was to show Aerith and Tifa co-operating, so we set the initial difficulty a little bit higher. However, we also made it so that it gets slightly easier each time you fail, so that anyone can get through the game in the end.

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

The water pump in the sewers of Midgar

The sewer scene in the original game was considerably shorter. Why did you make the decision to extend it for FFVII Remake?

There is a specific reason why chapter 10 was made denser in the remake.

In terms of the overall game structure, the battle around the Sector 7 pillar in chapter 12 forms the big climax in the middle part of the story, and so we needed to create a sense of achievement from getting to the pillar itself.

One element of that was taking care that the player experienced the true scale of Midgar, by having them travel the actual distance from Corneo's mansion, through the sewers and the Train Graveyard to the Sector 7 pillar at full scale.

I hope that players got a sense of satisfaction at finally having made it back to the pillar after journeying through that section.

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

Cloud, Aerith and Tifa staring up at the Sector 7 pillar. Explosions can be seen within the structure.

Were there any concepts / ideas / enemies for the sewer section that didn’t make the final game? If so, why?

The original plans for the sewer section had it laid out like a maze, with the player raising and lowering the water level to access different areas.

However, we felt that having the player need to stop to change the water level and possibly get lost or hit a dead end did not fit with the narrative of needing to hurry back to the Sector 7 pillar, so we removed those mechanics and tweaked the difficulty so the player could progress through the area without great hinderance or getting lost.

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

Cloud pulling a green lever to close a gate in the Midgar sewers

During Chapter 10 players may end up being turned into toads! How important was it to keep this FF series staple status effect in FFVII Remake? Who oversaw designing the toad versions of each character and how were these built and implemented in the final game?

We absolutely had to include the toads in Remake, and it was never an option to get rid of them.

The designs were handled by the team headed up by Mr. Kazano, and they were all very passionate about making the toads reminiscent of the original characters. We felt that allowing players to still do some things while turned into toads would be more fun, so we also created the models in a way that they could use their triangle button skills and abilities.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Three toads inside a virtual reality environment in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

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 11 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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