After playing Final Fantasy VII Rebirth for the first time (check out my full impressions here), I then spoke with director Naoki Hamaguchi, producer Yoshinori Kitase, and creative director Tetsuya Nomura to seek answers to some burning questions. That includes how much narrative ground Rebirth covers, the decision behind splitting it between two discs, and if there’s any form of data transfer between Remake and Rebirth.
How Did Rebirth’s Development Compare To Remake’s?
Rebirth launches on February 29, a couple of months shy of Remake’s fourth anniversary. According to Hamaguchi, Remake’s development cycle was around four years, making the turnaround for Rebirth, a much larger game, seem relatively quick. It’s especially impressive since Square developed and released the PlayStation 5-exclusive Intermission story expansion and Intergrade upgrade in between.
Hamaguchi credits working on Intermission/Intergrade for the smoother dev cycle, as it allowed the designers to become more intimately familiar with the PS5 (which Rebirth is exclusive to) and finish Rebirth within a similar timeframe despite its larger scope.
“But at the same time, we were able to keep the development time [down] and be able to release in sort of this normal or standard time while having this immense volume of content,” Hamaguchi says through a translator. “So that’s something that we’re very confident about and very proud of.”
How Much Of The Story Does Rebirth Cover?
When I asked what Rebirth’s stopping point will be, Tetsuya Nomura confirmed the story runs up to the end of the Forgotten Capital (a.k.a. The City of the Ancients). However, as anyone who finished Remake should know, Nomura stresses that Rebirth will not follow events in the same order or manner as the original game.
Can You Transfer Data From FFVII Remake?
Square Enix also confirms there will be no shared progression between any version of Remake and Rebirth. That means you won’t be bringing over the gear and materia earned in the first game.
“While there is sort of this story that they are following throughout these different titles, [Rebirth] is sort of supposed to be a standalone on its own,” Hamaguchi explains. “So there’s no particular sort of growth parameters or abilities that you will be carrying over from the previous title.”
However, Hamaguchi does reveal that players with Remake/Intergrade saved data will receive an unknown summon materia at the start of Rebirth.
Why Two Discs?
Rebirth is so big that Square is splitting it between two discs. Hamaguchi states that the game is 150GB, with 100 on one disc and 50 on the other. However, you won’t be swapping discs like fans did with the original. Due to the PS5 architecture, players will first install the entire game by inserting both discs. After that, only one of them will be needed to play the full game.
Hamaguchi explains the decision to split Rebirth in this way had less to do with rekindling nostalgia and more as a method to preserve the team’s lofty vision for it. Square had always envisioned Rebirth as a massive, highly detailed world more immersive than Remake’s revamped Midgar. Thus, squeezing it on a single Blu-ray would have forced the designers to scale back on content and ideas, so doubling up on discs became the obvious solution.
What Minigames Have Been Expanded?
Final Fantasy VII’s lighthearted mini-games make up much of the game’s charm. It was good to see some of them return in the recent State of Play trailer, but I asked Square if there was any specific mini-game the team was most excited to revisit. Hamaguchi calls out Rufus Shinra’s inauguration parade.
In the original, Cloud disguises himself as a Shinra soldier to infiltrate the festivities and lead the march through timed button presses. In Rebirth, players will collect soldiers and decide how to arrange them, resulting in a more hands-on approach that will result in different versions of how the parade proceeds.
“So this time around, we’ve really changed some of the aspects of the original mini-game, kind of taking its elements but also really elevating that to match the standards of today and for this deeper, more fun, interesting experience,” Hamaguchi says. “And that’s something that we would like the users to experience as well.”
What’s Up With Vincent?
Vincent Valentine’s brief appearance was an exciting highlight of the Rebirth story trailer at September’s PlayStation State of Play. We won’t reveal the character’s nature for newcomers, but he, like Yuffie, was an optional party member in the original game, so I asked Square if that would be the case again. Nomura confirms Vincent joins the group as part of Rebirth’s main story this time, but, unfortunately, he won’t be playable.
Instead, the brooding warrior simply accompanies the party like Red XIII did in Remake. Nomura explains this is the case because, in the original, Vincent joins the party during the backend of the story. Based on that answer, it sounds like we won’t be wielding Vincent’s power ourselves until the yet-to-be-titled third entry arrives.
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on February 29 for PlayStation 5
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