Daily Reaction: Dissecting That Big Final Fantasy VII Remake Leak

As we head into E3, the supposed leaks are starting to come out of the woodwork. The rumor mills are beginning to churn. The local grocery store’s supply of salt has been ransacked. Inevitably, some leaks will be real. Getting nearer to the show means that more people have to be privy to certain information. I mean, we all remember when Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was leaked by a damned keychain, of all things. But that’s the nature of this pipeline, and not everyone in the process is going to be respectful of embargoes and NDAs that allow developers to save up some big reveals. Often times, the most surprising thing about any big reveal is the fact that it didn’t leak beforehand.

Of course, there are leaks that have some credibility, and others that are just giant walls of text on Reddit. These ones are where you really have to have your salt supply on hand. That’s what happened with a massive Final Fantasy VII Remake leak that purports to have a number of high-level details about the game in full, and here at Daily Reaction, we’re breaking the whole thing down line by line.

Dissecting the Final Fantasy VII Remake Leak

Here’s the original Reddit thread and comment, if you want to follow along.

It starts off by saying this leak comes from inside Square Enix El Segundo, which is a localization and publishing arm of SE. If this leak is real and things are already over in the localization and publishing office, then it could mean a pretty imminent release. The leak also says that retailers should begin prepping for preorders soon. They continue by saying the leaked information is for “Part 1.”

Speaking to the “multi-part” comments that Square Enix has made in the past regarding Final Fantasy VII Remake, the leak indicates that the game will release as two parts, not three as many had originally thought (to follow the discs). Honestly, this makes sense because the third disc is pretty much just the grinding and conclusion of the game. So splitting things along the halfway point makes a lot of sense. The leak says that the first part will end as Cloud lowers Aerith into the water in that iconic scene and the screen will fade to black. This is the perfect point at which to cut the two parts as it marks a pretty dramatic shift in the narrative and tone of the game. It will also allow players to not have to build up Aerith as a party member only to lose her part way through the game.

They also indicate that both parts of the game will be fully priced $59.99 releases. I know, this is going to get some people upset at paying that much for “what should be one game,” but if Square Enix manages to create two fully featured titles, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be priced separately. You had to pay separately to see all three parts of The Hobbit movies, which were vastly expanded from the book. Same deal here.

Materia and Weapons

As we saw in the recent PlayStation State of Play trailer, materia will show up in weapons and there will be unique models for different weapons that are equipped. Accessories won’t appear on your character. This one seems pretty obvious given the trailer that we just saw. Materia was definitely in the Buster Sword, but I don’t think we got a look at any alternate weapons. As weapons are a major part of Final Fantasy, again, I think it’s safe to say this part is true.

Limit Breaks appear to be making a return as ultimate moves that do tons of damage, which again feels like an obvious inclusion as such a core part of the original game. The new battle system, on the other hand, now relies on standard attacks to do chip damage and build up for powerful attacks using Triangle, which will be the primary source of damage output. This feels bizarrely specific to come up with if you don’t actually know about the game, which may help to lend a little bit of credence to the leak. Magic uses ATB as well as MP, with growth of these gauges throughout the game.

Summons will work like they do in the original game, being a cutscene that deals massive damage, rather than beings that come to the field to fight with you. “There is 1 new Summon Amarok and appears to be a wolf and causes darkness in addition to damage.” As pointed out by someone on the Reddit thread, this specific portion of the leak again either lends some credence to the leak or shows that the faker did a lot of research. Amarok is a wolf in Inuit mythology, and a lot of Cloud’s imagery is around being a lone wolf, including the Fenrir wolf emblem that multiple incarnations of his character have. This could be a new summon just for Cloud. Or again, it could be somebody having a lot of fun with this and making up random new summons to see who they can get to believe it. I’m on the fence on this one, as a lot of this other stuff seems to be staying more faithful to the original. An entirely new summon feels a bit out of place.

The Overworld Map

What’s Final Fantasy VII without the overworld map? The iconic map returns, and will be “almost seamless,” with zones around the map. it’s an open-world game and includes classic methods of transport like the Tiny Bronco which can only travel on lighter, shallower water, and the chocobos, available after you reach the farm. Again, these all seemed like a given to me as core parts of the classic game. Apparently items will now be scattered around the world map to find and collect, which would be a common carry over from more recent open-world RPG games.

The cities and towns you visit will each feel unique and distinct, as well as lived-in and with purpose. “Cosmo Canyon and its occasional dust storms are a stark contract to the streets of Midgar.” This again feels obvious to me. The original environments felt very distinct and iconic, and I’d expect them to really amp up the personality and flavor of each area for the Remake.

Sephiroth will be a pretty limited presence until the flashback in Kalm, which will full reveal the villain. This makes sense because it will really make the conclusion of the game hit harder, and allow him to be a much more omnipresent threat in “Part 2.” We’ll still have Cloud’s breakdowns which will have audio and visual flashes of Sephiroth, which is to be expected as long as the story remains relatively unchanged.

The HP bars shown during State of Play were mere placeholders and not indicative of where your HP will be at those points in the game. This is pretty common for developers to do in demos and trailers, so this doesn’t come as any shock (or even information of much importance). Given that the leaker felt inclined to include this, they are either a really clever faker, or legitimately someone who is just leaking out information that they find relevant and interesting, including this bit.

Character and Area Design

The Shin-Ra headquarters area won’t have as many floors to climb as the original game, but each floor will be filled out with plenty more to do, so it will still feel like a huge endeavor to get the top. Monsters are getting redesigns, but most will remain recognizable to their original versions, as we’ve seen in trailers. Some monsters seem to have been removed altogether, like the ghosts in the train yard area. This makes sense as the game adapts to modern game design standards, but I’m also happy that we’ll probably still be seeing some zany and weird enemies. Can’t wait to see things like the terrifying Midgard Serpent or the zany Hell House that is literally a house that fights you.

Preorder Final Fantasy VII Remake on Amazon

The Golden Saucer will have games that aren’t playable in the first part of the game, but will unlock for later story missions. They want it to feel like this grand break from the game while also retaining an important part of the story later on. This is consistent with the Golden Saucer in the original game. Again, a fairly benign part of this “leak” and makes me think that the leaker is either clever or truly trying to communicate things that they know. It’s the more benign information like this that tends to make me believe leaks as big as this one.

Tifa will retain her original outfit, but get a slightly “westernized” version of her Advent Children face. As mentioned in the weapon section, yes, materia will show up in her gloves, and presumably, her gloves will change based on what you have equipped. Given that the trailer has all of the other characters in their classic original outfits, it would be surprising if they instead changed Tifa to her Advent Children outfit instead. I think Square Enix is keenly aware that it needs to keep as much faithful to the original as possible while also moving the game forward, and character outfits are a big part of this. Even Cait Sith isn’t seeing any kind of design overhaul, and will actually use Bars as his Limit Break.

Red XIII has additional clones Cobalt XIV and Indigo XV that you must fight before he will join your party at the Shin-Ra HQ. Okay, here’s where things get a little hokey for me. This is a cut subplot from the original game, and it could be that someone is just pulling information from the Final Fantasy wiki in order to appear credible. Or it could be that Square Enix is exploring these original dropped storylines and bringing them to the Remake. This one’s a little too “on the nose” for my taste though, and gives me a bit of pause that someone may have just done their research rather than actually leaking things.

Cid no longer smokes in-game, but you’ll see evidence that he’s a smoker, so the spirit of the character is retained. They have also toned down his aggressiveness, particularly in regards to his anger at Shera. This again seems like information that would be difficult to make up if the leak were fake, so it’s info like this that really lends an air of credibility. Not that we have anything to go off of here but speculation.

Yuffie and Vincent are no longer optional characters, and will now automatically join the party if not obtained before a certain point. This seemed inevitable, as these two characters are beloved members of the Final Fantasy VII cast. What’s interesting is that it seems like the secret ways to obtain them will still be present in the game so that fans of the originals can still experience things like Yuffie stealing your materia or finding Vincent sleeping in a coffin.

Cross-Dressing Cloud

There’s been a lot of question on how the Cloud crossdressing scene would work, but it seems like it’s still here. The leak confirms we’ll see Cloud in a dress and wig, though changing into it will be handled by a simple fade to black. In fact, multiple details from this particular questline were talked about, including the return of the squats minigame (which granted the wig in the original game), as well as the Honeybee Inn. This time around, however, the Honeybee Inn will simply require a payment of gil to enter instead of the membership card.

The leaker indicates that there will be playable demos on the show floor at E3, with a home demo that will follow the show, exclusive to PlayStation Plus. This information is corroborated somewhat by reports we hard on Friday about a playable demo being ready to go. Could this be the piece of the whole thing that validates this leak’s credibility?

All in all, everyone’s excited about Final Fantasy VII Remake, and now that development seems to be ramping up and nearing what could possibly be a playable state, people are getting understandably antsy for more information on what the whole package will look like. Leaks like this either serve to sate that thirst, or they take advantage of people’s desire for more information. Either way, we’ll probably know a lot more about if these leaks are true or not at E3 this year, which is in just a few more weeks. Meanwhile it’s fun to do a little bit of speculation, even if I think it’s a bummer that the surprise of a playable demo was ruined.

Daily Reaction reacts daily to the video game industry. Have suggestions for the column or subjects you’d like us to react to? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out previous Daily Reactions for more dives beyond the headlines.

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