Final Fantasy VII Remake Revisited Chapter 7: A Trap Is Sprung

We’re taking a deep dive into the seventh 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…

Please could you tell us the differences in design between Mako Reactor 5 and Mako Reactor 1? What did you pay attention to when trying to differentiate them and what were the reasons behind the differences in the designs?

We created differentiation through the use of different lights in particular. We made it so Reactor 1 uses warmer colours (these are older lights and have a lower energy efficiency) while Reactor 5 uses colder colours (the latest models that are energy efficient) to show the differing ages of the facilities.

Takako Miyake (Environment Director)

Barret looking over Mako Reactor 5

Heideggar and President Shinra's appearance in this chapter differs massively from the original FFVII. How did the team decide on turning both into projections?

This was one of the ideas that came up when we tried to update the interpretation of technology from the original for Remake.

The first proposal was just to have them appear on a screen, but we felt it was rather lacking. When old sci-fi films are remade, you often see the UI on the machines changed a lot and for FF7 Remake we also wanted to show how gadgets had evolved in the same way.

The resulting 3D holographic projection allowed us to create a feeling of intimidation and arrogance, and I think it worked great visually.

Shintaro Takai (Graphics & VFX Director)

Heidegger as a hologram taunts Tifa, Cloud and Barret

In this chapter we see "cutters" that are similar to, but subtly different from the sweeper robots. How do the designs for these kinds of "subspecies" of enemies come about?

The battle planners decide on everything to do with the forms that monsters will take and their movements, including the subspecies we will have, where they will appear in the game and how they will attack etc. We then base our designs on those plans and in this case worked to ensure that the Cutter looked significantly different from the Sweeper in game.

For example, by changing the weapon mounted on the arms from a machinegun to a cutting blade, we not only changed the appearance of the enemy, but also added variation to its movements and how it attacks. (However, if you change a design too much then you will incur higher resourcing costs when creating the model, so you need to be careful)

Masaaki Kazeno (Character Modeling Director)

A close up screenshot of a Cutter, wielding two sawblades

One thing this chapter does very well is foreshadowing. Why did you want players to see Airbuster early on?

One key feature of the level design for this chapter is how we wanted to make it so that the difficulty of the Airbuster fight changed depending on how the player had tackled the level. From that concept, it was only natural that we thought of adding in foreshadowing and making the player aware of the presence of Airbuster from the start.

The story in this section has the Shinra side working feverishly to get the Airbuster set up, while the player's team tries to disrupt that, so I think we were able to get a good narrative flowing through this section, with a setup, further development of the idea, a twist and a satisfying conclusion.

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

The airbuster before it is deployed

As someone who was repeatedly frustrated by this, I have to ask… who was responsible for bringing back the mini-game where Cloud, Barret and Tifa have to synchronise disabling the locks? That said, it was delightful to see this homage to the original FFVII. How important was it to ensure that even minor elements like this were brought back from the original FFVII?

When we were sorting out the staff assignments, there happened to be nobody who fit the slot for planning out the Reactor 5 section, so we actually had producer Yoshinori Kitase do the planning for the first part. From that point he had written in the planning documents that he wanted to make the unlocking section into a mini-game.

During development we were always aware that fans would have strong expectations towards how all the mini-games from the original were handled, not just for the unlocking section, but for things like the squats and G-bike too. We also knew that FFVII is associated with having lots of mini-games and unique gimmicks in the dungeons, so we felt a responsibility to meet those expectations, both for Remake and for the subsequent titles as well.

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

Cloud, Tifa and Barret attempting to push three levers at the same time

This section sees Cloud’s relationship with Barret soften – he even makes a joke! How difficult was it to develop the friendship between these two very different characters?

After the Reactor 1 bombing mission and Cloud having worked together with Avalanche over the next night, Barret gradually opens up to him. He was actually curious about Cloud from the start but was unable to say anything because of Cloud's aloof behaviour.

The distance between the two of them is reduced when Cloud joins them again for the Reactor 5 mission. It could be that the shared experience and facing danger together on the bombing missions has strengthened the bonds between them. As very different people, they also cover each other’s weaknesses and work well together.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Cloud and Barret talking in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE

Shinra seems intent on blaming Avalache’s activities on Wutai. Why do they want this so much?

If a war with Wutai erupts then there would be large scale economic effects. The Shinra company is directing this plot to crush two of their foes at once; the nation of Wutai that does not fall under their global control and Avalanche who are engaged in anti-Shinra activities.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

Shinra broadcast Barret and Cloud on TV. Did you plan any scenes where they may be recognised by the population?

The TV broadcast was deliberately done in a way that made it impossible to recognise the faces of the Avalanche members in any detail, as its aim was simply to stir up a vague and generalised feeling of societal unease from an anti-Shinra terrorist organisation being on the loose. It was a tactic aimed to strengthen the public's feelings of dependency on Shinra and create a situation where they could be seen to be dealing with any further crimes attributed to Avalanche in a suitable manner.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

The Airbuster music track is absolutely incredible, especially in the way that it's built up of different pieces of music across phases of the battle. How was this piece created from scratch?

What kind of details are shared before composing the track can even begin? Do the music team receive a detailed overview of how the battle is going to plan out, and then create the music from there?

The Airbuster battle is the first time in the original FFVII that the player will hear "Let the Battles Begin".

We did use some of the melodies from it in the area leading up to the fight, but wanted to save the rock guitar arrangement that is closest to the original for the fight itself. We let the composer and arranger, Mr. Makino Tadayoshi, know that the fight would be split into several phases and had him put the music together in a way that would ramp up the excitement as they progressed.

Keiji Kawamori (Music Supervisor)

When Cloud falls, he’s surrounded by Whispers. Is he being saved by them, or is this to signify something else?

Cloud is destined to survive here, so the Whispers are working to maintain that timeline.

Motomu Toriyama (Co-Director (Scenario Design))

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 8 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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