Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 11: Haunted

We’re taking a deep dive into the eleventh 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…

There's a very distinct change in tone during this chapter of FFVII Remake. Was there ever a concern that this could break up the flow of the story and was this considered during development?

We had decided to make the Train Graveyard its own chapter and so we added in some episodes that were not in the original game to construct the story there.

Like the previous chapter, this was another section that was important for building the relationship between Tifa and Aerith, and we tied it in so that it would be effective when Aerith leaves the party in the next chapter.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Tifa helping Aerith stand up

Who created the designs crafted by the ghosts during this chapter, and how did they come together? Was there any reference material used to create these?

I (Sugawara Mizushi) designed these myself. They are supposed to be the work of children around 10 years old, so I looked at drawings by actual children and remembered back to the pictures I had drawn as a child when deciding on the designs. I arranged the designs to fit with the "Ghost" enemy, but also be something that the children in the world of FFVII Remake would have imagined and drawn.

Originally, I made them very child-like, using lots of colours, but to give the drawing a scarier look I ultimately changed it to a monotone.

Mizushi Sugawara (Environment Artwork)

Ghostly graffiti in the train graveyard

The Ghost enemy from the original FFVII appears here in the remake too.

The original version appeared as a white, spirit-like monster, but when I first saw the new design, I realized that the white body was supposed to be cloth all along. How do you decide on the textures and details for these kinds of monsters?

We decided on cloth after thinking what kind of texture would be best to maintain the ghostly feel of the monster once it had manifested and not ruin the effect. The textures used on a character vary depending on the personality of that character and how they are used in the game, but in most cases we come up with several possibilities at the illustration stage and then check these over with Mr. Nomura and Mr. Takai to settle on the one that best fits the design.

In addition, we sometimes also change and adjust the textures while character data is being created, in order to make the final design fit in with the area in which it appears, as sometimes there can be situations where a model merges with the background and becomes hard to see.

Masaaki Kazeno (Modeling Director)


There's an infamous scene as Aerith and Tifa both grab Cloud by the arms as they convince him to take the lead entering the Maintenance Facility, what are all three characters thinking during this scene?

It looks like there's a bit of tension between them all...?

I imagined a situation similar to entering the haunted house attraction at a theme park surrounded by two people who you like, but in the actual scene here, the two ladies are seriously scared of the ghosts and so are clinging on to Cloud.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Aerith and Tifa cling onto Cloud as they enter the train graveyard

There are so many distinct sources of light during this chapter, coupled with a subtle fog effect permeating the facility. What were the challenges in making all of this look as realistic as possible?

This location has many different lighting elements mixed together, and you can also see the plate and the Sector 7 pillar in the distance. It was tricky having to add a horror film style flavour to such a location, but we solved that problem by using the fog and colour correction. We managed to give an overall sense of consistency and reality to differently coloured elements by adding a single fixed tone to them all.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)

A wide shot of the train graveyard

It felt like the ghost enemies’ ability to grow immune to physical and magic damage was designed to force players to take advantage of different characters in the party. Was that the case?

It was indeed. This mechanic was one way to create gameplay where the player approaches battles by changing between characters and using their different skills.

I think we managed to implement the idea in a way that fits very well with the distinctive characteristics of the ghosts themselves.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Aerith in battle

Reno and Rude seem genuinely annoyed at their role at attacking the plate during this chapter. Did they really want to go through with it?

To the Turks, an order from the company is absolute and they must always do their job, regardless of any personal feelings about the situation.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

Rude and Reno piloting a helicopter

In Aerith’s flashback, we get a glimpse at her childhood. It gives us a glimpse into Aerith’s psychological vulnerabilities. Was this something you wanted to explore more in the game?

The episodes from Aerith's childhood as an ancient were one element that I wanted to use to dig deeper into the character for Remake. However, if we showed too much from that period then the number of flashback scenes would become unmanageable and the story would not progress.

Accordingly, we made it so that fans who want to know more about those times can learn about Aerith and Tifa's respective pasts in the companion novel "Trace of Two Pasts".

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director(Scenario Design))

A young Aerith sits alone

The Train Graveyard is quite a large area when compared to its size in the original game. Was it difficult remaking this area anew, while still keeping the gimmicks from the original, such as walking across carriage roofs and starting up one train to push another out of the way etc.?

It was difficult getting the visuals to align properly now that the graphics are so realistic and the staff put great effort into finding the right balance between reality and fantasy for the area. We always seemed to have reference material for trains or tracks in one hand as we worked.

I think that effort definitely paid off though, and the finished area is great fun to get your teeth into from a gameplay perspective.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Cloud operating a train

Overall were many of the concepts behind the Train Graveyard in FFVII Remake taken from ideas that perhaps did not make it into the original FFVII, or were they all brand-new for Remake?

What was the most challenging thing about creating the Train Graveyard chapter?

The ideas here were all created fresh for the remake, rather than being things that were not implemented in the original game.

For this location we had the most trouble with incorporating the ghostly elements in a way that did not interfere with the overall tempo of the story as the team hurry towards the Sector 7 pillar.

After experimenting with several different things, we decided to move away from trying to merge the feeling of hurrying towards the pillar together with the ghostly elements and instead went for a two-part construction where the focus shifts between them halfway through the area.

In the first half of the area up to the battle with the Ghoul, we concentrate on the ghosts, and do not really touch on the actions of Shinra much. However, in the second half you get to see the battle for the Sector 7 pillar playing out from the playable camera, with helicopters hovering around it. This gives the player a feeling of getting closer to the pillar and to lays the groundwork for mood the of the next chapter. If you pay attention to this while playing, you should notice the point where the overall presentation changes between the first and second parts of the area.

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

Aerith, Cloud and Tifa look up at the Sector 7 upper plate

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 12 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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