Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 2: Fateful Encounters

We’re taking a deep dive into the second 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.

Over the coming months we’ll be revisiting their thoughts, memories, and anecdotes from the creation of the game. 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…

In Chapter 2 we learn how to equip and set up materia, do any team members have preferred materia set ups when they play?

Similar to the above question, have the team seen fans using specific materia set ups online that they hadn't themselves considered during development, and were surprised by?

As you would expect, there are the classics that a lot of the team equipped, such as Magnify and Elemental. Many of them also actively used Materia that increase the ATB gauge, like ATB assist.

I don't think I saw too many unexpected combinations, but in hindsight, that might have meant the breadth of the system was a little too narrow, so I will take it as a challenge to improve upon next time.

Teruki Endo (Battle Director)

Cloud standing in a street in Midgar looking at green materia

We see a lot more of the destruction in Midgar than the original FFVII. What were your intentions with the walk-through of Midgar?

We decided to depict the aftermath of the Mako Reactor bombing in a more realistic way and on a greater scale, so we also increased the extent of the damage that was shown.

Another intention was to tie it to the doubts that the characters were feeling towards their actions in the story, by having them see the suffering that they caused the citizens of Midgar firsthand as they walked through the streets.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Cloud standing in front of a burning building on a  Midgar street

Sector 8 was very briefly shown in the 2015 PSX Trailer, how much did the zone change in development between 2015 and the launch of the game?

Development on the visuals was prioritised for what we showed at PSX in 2015 and the direction of the gameplay had not been finalised at that stage.

We later decided to structure Sector 8 in the following three parts:

  1. The live section where players would experience the destruction in the aftermath of the bombing.

  2. The battle section where Cloud is noticed by Shinra after encountering Aerith.

  3. The battle section where Cloud is attacked by Shinra in the fountain square and their pursuit becomes even more intense.

The early scenes take place in the busy downtown district, but we paid attention to how the cityscape changes as Cloud is pursued by Shinra and gradually moves out towards the suburbs.

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

Cloud with his sword drawn, running towards a fountain

Fans who played the original FFVII were very surprised to see Sephiroth appear so early in the game, and taunt Cloud. Why did the team decide to add Sephiroth into the story so early? Is it a way of showing us Cloud's vulnerable side early on?

There was the intention to show the effect that a most likely imagined Sephiroth had on Cloud's mind at an early stage, but his earlier appearance was also because his existence had a massive influence on the world of Remake itself.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Sephiroth standing in front of Cloud. Cloud is drawing the Buster Sword.

Why are the Whispers interfering with Aerith by the time we meet her? Is she inadvertently interfering with the timeline already?

The Whispers surrounding Aerith in Sector 8 are not trying to interfere but are guiding events so that Cloud and Aerith meet each other for the first time there. The Whispers are making sure that Aerith stays in the area and does not run away because of the commotion from the reactor bombing.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Aerith being affected by invisible Whispers on the streets of Midgar

After Cloud fights against Sephiroth, he wanders through the interference clouding his mind. Is the vista he can see beyond the interference Nibelheim from the past, and if so, what were the challenges in depicting it and what did you pay special attention to?

It is the Nibelheim of the past that Cloud grew up in. We created a dedicated shader for the flashback scenes where his memories are distorted and tweaked the visuals to make it feel like an illusion.

The backdrop of the town itself also contains wooden buildings set on fire that should not exist there and we used the controller vibration to heighten the feeling of synchronicity between the player and Cloud.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

Cloud walking through a burning street

It feels like a lot of care was taken with the lighting in the scene where Cloud and Sephiroth face off amidst the flames feels. What were the bits you struggled with here, and what do you want to draw attention to?

As the only light source in the scene is the flames, we mixed multiple different hues of light, such as reds and oranges, to make sure that Cloud and Sephiroth's skin tones did not look too flat. I would like to draw attention to the feeling of tension in the scene and the impression of heat from the flames that cannot be created from just a single colour of light.

Iichiro Yamaguchi (Lighting Director)

Sephiroth standing in front of a burning building

In the scene where the construction of Midgar is explained on the screen in the train carriage, many elements have been remade and look great, but we get the impression that the wireframe model shown has not changed that much from the original. Was this deliberate?

We did keep it that way deliberately. Shinra has a monopoly on the cutting-edge technology of the world and the citizens of Midgar reap the benefits of it in their everyday lives. However, the level of technology used to create the different facilities around the city has changed over time, and it was done this way to show that the monitor in the train carriage is a model several generations older than the equivalent system used in the Shinra Building.

As a public facility, it has not been upgraded over the years and still uses the old system.

Hidekazu Miyake (Cutscene Director)

Cloud and Jessie look at a train map of Midgar

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this second 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 the next chapter!

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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