Tuesday, March 2, 2010

COUNTDOWN: Final Fantasy XIII, Day Seven


Development for the seventh Final Fantasy began in 1995; one year after the release of Final Fantasy VI. Squaresoft had been experimenting and developing a 3D Final Fantasy game ever since the release of Final Fantasy V.

At the time, Nintendo was working on a cartridge based video game console, The Nintendo 64. The Nintendo 64 would be the most powerful system on the market, but cartridges with a large a amount of money were ridiculously expensive. With the finances and concepts coming out with the newest Final Fantasy, Squaresoft was forced to make a difficult and hard decision.

On January 12th, 1996, Square said good-bye to two generations of gaming with Nintendo as they announced that the Final Fantasy series would continue exclusively on the Sony Playstation.

The team assembled to create Final Fantasy VII was one hundred strong, one of the largest ever at the time. They had a budget of forty-five million dollars, and cutting edge technology that would allow them to create full-length cinematic cut-scenes and incredible graphics. To make the game even more exciting, Sony launched a one hundred million dollar advertisement campaign to make the already anticipated game, even more anticipated around the globe. Because of the massive amount of work required to make Final Fantasy VII, the game's release date was pushed back almost a full-year. With a new console, new technology, and a new concept that was a far-cry from the themes that the Final Fantasy fans had grown to love, Squaresoft was beginning to look at a familiar financial problem that they had been in earlier. (We'll talk about that during Final Fantasy I.) They're next game would either boost them up into super-stardom, or summon the imminent doom of the company.

Final Fantasy VII was released in the United States in October, 1997. When it was released, many people had never even heard of the Final Fantasy series. So when number seven came to our shores, it took many by surprise. Even without any knowledge of the series millions of people bought the game.

In Final Fantasy VII, the world was ruled by a monopolizing mega-corporation known as The Shin-Ra Electric Power Company. Shin-Ra was sucking out the life stream of the planet and using it as Mako Energy to create a affordable form of electricity for the world to conveniently use, and to fatten their wallets.The problem with that is that Shin-Ra was slowly killing the planet. To prevent anyone from trying to stop them Shin-Ra created a strong unit of genetically enhanced warriors known as SOLDIER, and their own version of the CIA known as The Turks.

The story started out with a small rebel group known as AVALANCHE. Unlike previous Final Fantasy games, VII put you into the action as soon as you started the game. The mission of Avalanche was to destroy a toxic Mako reactor. (A reactor that sucked out the planet's life stream.) This time the protagonist was Cloud Strife; a self-absorbed swordsman with little interest in joining up with the rebels. However, if the pay was right, he was more than willing to do the job.

Cloud Strife. The characters in Final Fantasy VII were designed to be more simple and "cartoonish" due to the basic 3D graphics. Cloud is famous for his ridiculously large "Buster Blade."

Freedom fighters like the group Avalanche were the only ones willing to try and stop Shin-Ra. As an ex-member of SOLDIER, Cloud was stuck fighting for the good guys whether he wanted to or not. He was forced to sign up by his Childhood friend, Tifa; and was bossed around by the outspoken leader of Avalanche, Barret.

Cloud's childhood friend Tifa Lockheart. Yes, I know she has abnormally large breasts. Square initially designed Tifa so that the series would have a more "sexy" side.

After successfully destroying the Mako reactor, Cloud met up with a poor girl that sold flowers. Her name was Aeris, and from that point on she would become pivotal to the storyline. As it turns out, Aeris was spiritually linked with the planet and the President of Shin-Ra wanted to kidnap her and have her show him where the promised land was. The promised land was a mythical land where there was unlimited Mako, and the Shinra-Ra Power Company believed that it truly existed. Aeris was supposed to know where the promised land was because of her spiritual connections to the planet.

Aeris Gainsborough, a spiritual serene girl with a haunting past. Perhaps the most important character in Final Fantasy VII.

Eventually the President of Shin-Ra was assassinated by the strongest member of SOLDIER ever, Sephiroth. (Seff-i-roth) As it turns out, Sephiroth was after more than President Shin-Ra's blood. After Sephiroth learns about the terrible experiments that were conducted on him and his family he began to hate Shin-Ra, and then the world. He wanted to destroy the planet to rid himself of his pain; and it was up to Cloud to try and stop him.

Perhaps the freakiest and most disturbing villain of all time, Sephiroth. In this picture from the movie, he stands in the middle of a town, that he completely murders and then burns to the ground.

That's a very basic synopsis of Final Fantasy VII. Those five paragraphs took an hour to type... As you can probably imagine, the story is much more complicated and much much longer than that. The game spans three discs, and usually takes gamers around seventy hours to complete.

Cloud and Sephiroth in the Final Fantasy VII movie... too bad the movie isn't that good.

Final Fantasy VII brought numerous new features to the Final Fantasy series. Not only had the game brought the series into 3D, but it also turned the series into cinematic adventures. Final Fantasy VII featured over forty-minutes of cut scenes, the most impressive for its time. It featured no dialogue but the fans didn't complain, the amazing storyline was unlike anything the world had or has ever seen.

As you played through the game, Cloud's feelings of sexual desire were split between the beautiful flower girl Aeris, and his childhood friend Tifa; the story had two females leads both seeking affection, and for the first time in the series, there was a love triangle. You had the option in the game to choose which one you wanted to court and which girl you wanted to ignore, but in the end, it wouldn't matter...

"I think the real indicator that video games have become a story telling art form, will be when someone confesses that they cried at level seventeen." -Steven Spielberg, GEC, 2004

Steven Spielberg never played Final Fantasy VII. The world cried and wept in horror and disbelief as they watched Sephiroth stab his sword through the heart of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII. No one saw it coming, and the level of anguish moved and still moves many gamers to tears. Marked as one of the greatest deaths of all time, the death of Aeris in Final Fantasy VII proved to the world and the millions of people playing games that video games can be used as a story telling art form.

The death of Aeris shook gamers around the world. But it also proved that games are no longer just games.

The grand story of Final Fantasy VII was a compilation of numerous inspirations. With the release of Final Fantasy VI, Hironobu Sakaguchi, the founder of Final Fantasy, was faced with the death of his mother. Wrestling with grief led him to develop many of the concepts used in VII, such as Jenova, the mother of Sephiroth. Further depth was drawn from religious beliefs, that relate to rebirth, or the recycling of souls back into a mystical body; most apparent with the life stream. The name Sephiroth also comes from the mythology of the Kabbalah, referring to the manifestations of the ten heavenly attributes.

I said that Final Fantasy X was the most emotional moving game ever created, but I spoke out of turn. Although Final Fantasy X was a moving game, it's predecessor Final Fantasy VII reigns superior in terms of an emotional connection. Needless to say, the game was a smash hit. The only thing that lessened its impact, was that were it not for some familiar summons, chocobo's and moogles, the game was almost unrecognizable as a Final Fantasy game. The series went from being classically medieval, to a dark futuristic world. Castles were replaced by skyscrapers, dragons became helicopters, horses were now motorcycles, and bows and arrows became machine guns.

The metropolis Midgar. Midgar is the capital of the Shin-Ra empire. The Shin-Ra headquarters is the large building in the middle. The smoke stacks are the Mako Reactors.

The fans will forever argue about which Final Fantasy is the best. However, there is no denying that Final Fantasy VII is by far the most popular. It is one of the most revolutionary games ever created, and has left a mark on the gaming industry that is still being felt today, thirteen years later. It has been awarded countless awards and has spawned toys, movies, sequels and prequels in a series known as The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

Cloud and Sephiroth duel on the front cover to Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, the Final Fantasy VII movie.

In short, Final Fantasy VII is a huge world wide obsession. Fans have been calling out for a remake for years. In 2005 Sony released at a press conference a tease trailer showing fans what Final Fantasy VII would look like if it were remade on the Playstation 3. Unfortunately, millions of fans mistook the trailer and still do mistake it as a announcement for a remake of the game.

This is the infamous trailer that Sony showed in 2005.

Even if the game never returns, the universe and fan base of Final Fantasy VII continues to grow. The fan community on both coasts have continually called Final Fantasy VII to be one of the greatest games of all time, if not the greatest game of all time. Final Fantasy VII has been called the greatest game of all time countless times. Bands like My Chemical Romance have paid tribute to Final Fantasy VII by writing songs about Final Fantasy VII, it is everywhere in our media.

Fans have wanted a remake of Final Fantasy VII on the PS3 for so many years, some fans have gone so far as to create their own fake copies... what nerds.

At a financial result conference in 2006, Square-Enix president, Yoichi Wada claimed that The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII would be around for another ten years; which would end the Compilation on its twentieth anniversary. My money says that if you want a remake, then it's coming out then.

For several years of my life Final Fantasy VII was the greatest game ever made. The emotions it can stir in a person are mind boggling. My favorite Final Fantasy was Final Fantasy X, but as I retype this I start to remember why Final Fantasy VII is so great. Since my favorite Final Fantasy changes almost as quickly as the seasons do, I'm going to have to say that my favorite Final Fantasy is once again Final Fantasy VII.

We're finally half-way through our countdown to Final Fantasy XIII. Tomorrow we'll talk about the ancient Final Fantasy's that most people haven't played. The series shifts from the 3D to the classic 2D look from the 1980's and early 1990's. Be prepared for more of Brandon's Useless Knowledge! This post by far has been my longest post ever. It took over four hours to type, so if no one reads it, then I'll be ashamed. Seven days until Final Fantasy XIII. (Counting today.)

I also must say this disclaimer: about 70% of the information I got for this post was from various websites including Wikipedia, and Gametrailers. Thank you!

The following video is a fan made music video of Final Fantasy VII. Some people may find it corny, but I really like it. The song is "Pieces" by Sum41. If you don't like them, then you don't have to watch the video, just know that you're missing out.


  1. WOO! LOOOONG! But I love it. I love Final Fantasy VII I agree on everything you say. It really is amazing! The best part is that it WAS the only Final Fantasy with a black person! But now they have that one guy in XIII... but some people just don't get it, this is one of the most revolutionary games ever! I set a standard that still has yet to be topped by a new game! And you know what? I doubt it ever will be.

    Interesting thought on when the remake will come out. I wonder if they'll even announce it in advanced? Like of course they will, but I mean will there be a huge advertising campaign. It being Final Fantasy VII and the remake being wanted so badly they probably won't need it. If they ever do remake it, I feel sorry for all stores selling it the day it's released!

    As for my favorite Final Fantasy? Always has been, and always will be Final Fantasy IV! That one has a special place in my heart :3

  2. I really think a remake would be sweet. The graphics would be freaking awesome. But I agree with you, FF IV is my favorite as well!
    Will XIII Change that...I hope. haha

  3. i thing the final fantasy 8 is the most good prt we should see a movie for this part...

  4. The whole text feels.. familiar.. no it feels exactly like this:/