Okay, E3 2015, I’m ready to talk again. But this isn’t my usual blog post or article, I really need to spill some emotional ink. I’ve got a couple other writings in the works but those must be delayed to talk about something very important. You’ve noticed by now that the news of a certain remake has eclipsed everything else on social media.

Positive or negative, every human on the planet has an opinion regarding Final Fantasy 7. It was a formative game for the industry and almost single-handedly sold the Original Playstation. A phenomenon you may have noticed with Halo and the Xbox. Or Mario and every Nintendo console release ever. Final Fantasy 7 was so successful people remained loyalists to the PS brand despite one underwhelming release after another (10, 10-2, 12) on the off-chance such a remake was in the works. Congratulations, your patience bears a fruitful promise.

I  wouldn’t be the gamer or person I am today if it weren’t for Final Fantasy 7 (and 4 and 6 and Tactics – seriously I need to write a gushy confession about how bad ass FFT is). The news of the remake has me at odds. Remakes, remasters, and reboots don’t automatically piss me off. They’re viewed on case-by-case basis. Porting something in the current generation to a new console or PC gets a pass (e.g. The Last of Us Remastered). The Resident Evil remake is probably the best example of remakes done well. While there are examples of some others that didn’t need it. I place Silent Hill 2 in that category. You don’t fuck with perfection.

Final Fantasy 7 on the other hand wasn’t a perfect game. That’s my first holdup though. Art doesn’t have to be perfect to be great – hell the Mona Lisa isn’t even finished and it’s a lauded masterpiece. Flaws make art personal. Sharp edges give you a glimpse of artist beyond the work and enhance the experience. As the viewer/reader/player sees the artist, the work resonates, and becomes something more than a movie or book or game. Remakes polish down the sharp edges and seek to perfect the imperfect. Midgar was dirty. The characters were flawed. Not all of the story was explained or explored. All of that stuff kept wonder alive. As the game progressed, the veil peeled back, the world got bigger and more wonderful. Then a fucking space rock darkened the sky and things got grimy all over again. And yeah, the polygons were messed up, but they made the scene where Cloud was running around in a dress more endearing. Those polygons gave the game a unique style that enhanced the cutscenes and combat engine that had more impressive graphics. I have no faith in Square Enix recognizing all of that or attempting to preserve it. And I doubt half the population in love with the game realizes part of why they love the game so much is the imperfection.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII – Midgar

Square Enix is not Squaresoft. It’s a minor distinction but ever since the merger, they’ve failed to prove to me that they know the direction they should take their RPGs in. There have been glimmers but nothing has achieved the FF6, or 7, or Tactics, or even 9 stride. I’m content with them throwing money at other projects as publishers. As developers? Ugh. They’re J-Popping the fuck out of games. They reduce the substance and replace it with mindless spectacle, passing constant cutscenes off as gameplay. Worse, they have no idea how to leave the tried and true turn-based RPG the fuck alone. You don’t need more of a gimmick than limit breaks and materia to make Final Fantasy 7 a success.

As I’ve been writing, it’s become apparent to me why I’m not doing back flips over the announcement. I’m scared. I’m too worried they’ll screw up one of my most cherished games. I saw what happened with Star Wars, man. Remember when George Lucas decided he could re-release it with new CGI and extra scenes he “intended from the start?” It’s as likely that happens with FF7 as not and I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy.

You know what? Fuck it. I’m going to let myself get excited. The last E3 game I got excited about despite all other evidence turned out pretty good. I was pleasantly surprised – blown away even – by the Resident Evil remake and Capcom, like Squenix, had no idea how to release new games in their own franchise.

With marked hesitation and ignoring that hammed up voice over in the trailer, I’m going to give Sony/Square Enix the benefit of the doubt. I want to be excited about something from my youth being remade and re-released for another generation. But just because FF7 is old enough to do porn doesn’t mean you should fuck me here, Squenix.