The director of Final Fantasy 8 has shot down hopes that the next numbered Final Fantasy might see a remake once the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trilogy comes to its conclusion. The reason? Simply that it’s a lot of damn work.
Speaking ahead of FF8’s 25th anniversary this month, Yoshinori Kitase – who also serves as the series’ producer – told IGN that if a hypothetical remake of VIII were to happen, he’d look to “really rework” the game’s divisive Junction system used for its summons (aka Guardian Forces), character stats and abilities such as magic. The system requires players to assign various upgrades to characters in order to use certain skills, allowing for complete customisation of their passive traits and active abilities during fights.
“I think it was a very difficult system for some people to get into,” Kitase admitted, expressing his belief that any modern remake would need to ensure that the “difficulty and approachability” of the battle system were “a lot better balanced”. (As someone with a friend who effectively became a part-time Junction consultant for the rest of our FF-playing friendship group, I can see his point.)
Even if the Junction system were to be reworked, Kitase was upfront about the likelihood – or not – of a Final Fantasy 8 remake happening. In short: don’t get your hopes up. With Final Fantasy 7 Remake taking literally decades to come to fruition and then needing to be split into three enormous, expensive games, it’s no surprise that the cost and effort required to remake a lengthy RPG with modern-day visuals and gameplay is a major sticking point.
“Trying to recreate that kind of volume of content you had in the RPGs back then in the modern day really is not something you can take up lightly,” Kitase said. “It’s such a massive investment of time and effort that we really have to think very hard about taking on any kind of project like that.”
Even remaking an older 2D Final Fantasy game is likely off the table for the foreseeable future, with Kitase previously suggesting it would take two decades to remake Final Fantasy 6 – even if Square Enix staff themselves keep asking. Of course, that’s once the third part of the FF7 Remake trilogy is finally out, too – and we don’t know when that will be yet, given that FF7 Rebirth is only just about to come out.
While some fans will likely feel deflated about Final Fantasy VII being the one Final Fantasy that gets a remake, I’d argue there should be just as much relief. Those older games still hold up – and the iffy part-remakes of the SNES games we have seen with chibi sprites and ugly fonts suggest that for every great FF7 Remake, there are several Final Fantasy re-releases that should’ve stayed untouched. Anyway, there’ll be plenty to keep us – and Square Enix – busy for a good while yet, if Rebirth’s expansive line-up of minigames alone is anything to go by.