Final Fantasy VII Remake’s gameplay headlines Square Enix’s E3 2019 Showcase

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Square Enix’s E3 2019 Showcase kicked off strong with an extensive presentation on the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake. With Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura taking the stage, more information about the game’s scope and gameplay were revealed to the public.

If you’re somehow expecting that the remake will be just one game, sorry to disappoint. Kitase and Nomura reaffirmed everyone that the game will still be episodic. The first part of the game will cover most of FFVII’s Midgar arc.

“Remaking Final Fantasy VII has allowed us to dive much deeper into the world and its characters than ever before. The game design was optimized for this title as well, and we anticipate two Blu-Ray discs’ worth of gameplay content. The first game in this project expands on the story of Midgar and is such an elaborate retelling that it’s become a solid standalone game in its own right.”

— Yoshinori Kitase, producer

Senior Manager for Product and Marketing, Neal Pabon, also took the stage to explain the Remake’s new combat gameplay. From the looks of it, combat is nearly similar to Final Fantasy XV, with players taking control of Cloud and freely moving around the area. Abilities and items can be assigned as shortcuts into the different face buttons, and can be executed once the character has enough filled up in the ATB Gauge. But unlike previous Final Fantasy incarnations, the Remake now allows the players to switch between characters with a single shoulder button press. Dodge, block, and attack functions are each done with their own assigned button presses.

The ATB Gauge, in the form of two bars at the lower right corner, fills up slowly over time. Landing hits on enemies will make the bars fill much faster. Once filled up, players can enter tactical mode, where the combat slows nearly to a halt to signify a wait mode. The mode opens up the menu to access the characters’ list of functions like skills and items. Worth noting here is that the original Limit Break function is no longer present. Instead, all of the characters’ limit breaks are sorted under skills. Spells are also present just like before. Slotting the right Materia into weapons and armor will let you gain access to spells, which will expend an ATB gauge and MP when cast.

The focus gauge also makes a comeback in the remake. Just like Final Fantasy XIII and XV, filling up the focus gauge will cause the opponent to stagger. Once staggered, the characters can deal extra damage for a certain amount of time before the focus gauge resets.

They also showed the combat in full swing with a demo of Cloud and Barret versus the Guard Scorpion of the Sector 1 Reactor, the first boss of the game. Apart from everything mentioned, the lengthy battle also showed the tactics of locating enemy weakpoints, utilizing spells to deal devastating damage (recall that Thunder was its weakness), taking cover from unblockable attacks, and switching characters when the need arises (like that switch to Barret once the Guard Scorpion goes beyond Cloud’s melee range).

The presentation ended with a new trailer, this time with Tifa and Aerith in action.

Part 1 of Final Fantasy VII Remake will be out for the Playstation 4 on March 3, 2020, as previously announced in the Final Fantasy VII concert.

Pre-orders will get a Chocobo Chick summon materia as a bonus. The Deluxe Edition gets an artbook, mini-soundtrack CD, a steelbook case plus the Cactuar and Chocobo Chick summon materias. A “1st-Class Edition” exclusive to the Square Enix Store gets you everything from the Deluxe Edition, plus a Carbuncle summon and a Play Arts Kai Cloud Strife and Hardy Daytona bike.