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Final Fantasy VII (JP) is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. It is a PlayStation title by Square that was directly ported to the Nintendo Switch by Square Enix. The game itself was directed by Yoshinori Kitase, produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi, with a score produced by Nobuo Uematsu and character designs by Tetsuya Nomura.

Issues that happened during the development of the original game led Square to stop developing and publishing games for Nintendo's consoles for nearly six years.

Gameplay

The gameplay is a departure from previous entries in the series in many ways. Though it retains the Active Time Battle pseudo-turn based menu command system, Final Fantasy VII features three party members rather than four. The Materia system allows the player to customize each party member's abilities to their liking, and the Limit system grants them unique combat skills. Though minigames had been a recurring feature, Final Fantasy VII introduces numerous new ones, many of them playable in the theme park Gold Saucer varying from racing with Chocobos to snowboarding.

Plot

Final Fantasy VII follows the story of mercenary Cloud Strife, who is hired by the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE—led by Barret Wallace—to help fight the mega-corporation Shinra Electric Power Company, who attempts to drain the planet's lifeblood as an energy source to further their profits. Apathetic to the cause, Cloud initially fights for personal gain, and for the promise he made to childhood friend Tifa Lockhart. Cloud eventually joins forces with many others to save the planet, which is threatened by Shinra and Cloud's nemesis Sephiroth, and discovers a reason to fight for a cause other than his own.

Development

The seventh Final Fantasy installment was planned as an SNES title. After creating an early 2D prototype of it, the team postponed development to help finish Chrono Trigger. Once Chrono Trigger was completed, the team resumed discussions for what would become Final Fantasy VII.

Instead of making the game in 2D, the team decided to take a riskier option and make the game in 3D on new generation hardware. This meant that the team had to choose between making it for either the Nintendo 64 or Sony's PlayStation. The team also considered making it for the Sega Saturn and Windows PCs. This decision was influenced by two factors: a highly successful tech demo based on Final Fantasy VI using Softimage 3D software, and the escalating price of cartridge-based games, which had been limiting Square's audience. Tests were made for a Nintendo 64 version, which would use the planned 64DD peripheral despite the lack of 64DD development kits and the prototype device's changing hardware specifications. This version was discarded during early testing, as the polygons needed to render the Behemoth monster put a lot of strain on the Nintendo 64 hardware, causing a low frame rate. Faced with both technical and economic issues on Nintendo's current hardware, and impressed by the increased storage capacity of the CD-ROM when compared to the Nintendo 64 cartridge, Square shifted development of all their planned projects to the PlayStation.

Hironobu Sakaguchi recalled the following during an interview with Polygon involving Final Fantasy VII staff: "When we made our decision, the president of Square [Masafumi Miyamoto], our lead programmer [Ken Narita] and I went to a meeting with Yamauchi-san. There is an old cultural tradition where, in Kyoto, someone will welcome you with tea, but you're not supposed to really drink that tea. It's just polite to have it there. And Yamauchi-san welcomed us with a very expensive bento meal and beer, and gave us a very nice welcome and basically patted us on the back to say, "I wish you the best." No bitter feelings or anything." Hiroshi Kawai had stated "What I heard was Nintendo said, "If you're leaving us, never come back.""[1]

Reception

Final Fantasy VII was a big influence on the RPG genre and had continued to generate critical acclaim over the years.[2]

References

  1. "Nintendo Apparently Told Square "Never Come Back" After Losing Final Fantasy VII To Sony" - Nintendo Life
  2. "Final Fantasy VII Review" - Nintendo Life


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