FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE comes to Epic Games Store December 16

By Craig Pearson

Square Enix just announced during The Game Awards that FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE is coming to the PC. The classic RPG, that was rebuilt from the ground-up and released on the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5, will be arriving on the Epic Games Store on December 16. That’s next week! 

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE brings both the main release and the FF7R EPISODE INTERmission DLC together in one package. Players will experience the sprawling city of Midgar as Cloud Strife and his team battle to stop Shinra corporation from draining the world of its energy. 

This isn’t a remaster, but a complete reimagining of the original game from the ground up. Rather than completely remaking the whole game, the developers have focused all their attention on the opening city of Midgar, turning it into its own game for players to explore. 

Final Fantasy Vii Remake Intergrade Cloud Strife

Yoshinori Kitase, Producer of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, explained why: “Being able to create an episode in Midgar in the sort of detail that modern gaming fans expect, was a great plus. If we were to remake the whole original game in one go, then we’d have to roughly trim each section down and make it a digest. 

“By narrowing down this episode to Midgar, we were able to make the story clearer, depict the city in even greater detail, and increase the depth of the acting for the characters.”

Paradoxically, less became more. Every character in Avalanche, Cloud’s team of mercenaries, now has an expanded backstory. Entire chapters focus on what were previously side characters. You’ll get to know them, their personalities, and even their families. But even with the greatly expanded city, new fans won’t be missing out on the classic experience. 

“The way I saw it, fans didn’t just want us to borrow the world of FINAL FANTASY VII and revive it as some kind of entirely new remake,” Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi explains. “And they also didn’t want us to change what they loved (such as the characters, the feel of the world, and the story tying these aspects together. Or in terms of the battles—the ATB battle system and the materia system.) Rather, I felt they wanted us to take advantage of the extended creative freedom which has come with the advancements in technology and game design over the last 20-plus years, to change the game into something which would appeal to the gamers of today.

“As a result of this, even those who haven’t played the original FINAL FANTASY will be able to experience the same twists while feeling the same emotions that were present in the original, and I believe that this will help it to stay in fans’ memories as a piece of entertainment which is passed down from generation to generation.”

It’s a balancing act, but one that’s helped by the fact that FINAL FANTASY is iconic. For Hamaguchi, lavishing care and attention on the mini-games was paramount. 

“When you think of the original FINAL FANTASY VII, the fact that there were a whole host of mini-games immediately springs to mind,” he said. “So we understood from firsthand experience that fans were going to be really looking forward to playing these mini-games in the REMAKE as well. The mini-games from the original, in particular the bike chase along the highway and Fort Condor, have been made with a lot of love and attention to detail, including how we approached the creative aspects. This means that they are full of little things which will make people who played the original game smile without realizing. We will be taking this concept forward into the next episode, so I hope that you’ll look forward to seeing how more of the mini-games from the original will be remade.”

Final Fantasy Vii Remake Intergrade Battle

But there are changes. The new battle system is in real-time versus the original’s turn-based fights, and you swap between team members on the fly. It’s a lot more chaotic than the original’s menu-based battles, but it’s built for flexible and fluid fights. It’s a change that’s even more apparent in the included DLC. FF7R EPISODE INTERmission DLC adds Yuffie as a playable character. Her brash, confident personality, explored in two full chapters of additional gameplay, resonates in her ninjutsu-styled combat. Her inclusion enabled the development team to experiment.

“In terms of game design, the battles have evolved to feel like they’re happening in real time, compared to the ATB battles from the original,” Hamaguchi explains. “Of course, we were satisfied with how the battles felt in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE, but we wanted to see if we could find a way to add in a different kind of depth to the battle system by taking a new approach and strengthening the coordination between the members of your party. By including an element in FF7R EPISODE INTERmission, where Yuffie and Sonon synergize with each other, the battles have been rearranged into having a different strategic feel, and I think we were able to depict the bond between Yuffie and Sonon by using the strategy inherent in the gameplay. Of course, I’d like to expand upon these cooperative elements which we tried out in FF7R EPISODE INTERmission in the next game as well.”

Final Fantasy Vii Remake Intergrade Yuffie

FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE INTERGRADE will be out on the Epic Games store on Dec 16. Kitase is as excited for you to play it as we are. He said: “I get the impression that people who use the Epic Games Store are some of the most cutting-edge and enthusiastic players, even amongst PC gamers. FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE is a game which has plenty of depth to live up to the expectations of such gamers, so I hope they look forward to playing it!”