To say that Final Fantasy fans are hyped for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake would be the understatement of the century.
The newest Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer is a master class in video game marketing, hitting literally every note that a fan could ask for in preparation for the game's long-awaited April 10th release. But first, some history:
The original Final Fantasy VII, which came out for Playstation 1 in 1997, was a generation-defining game. For many kids growing up in the '90s, Final Fantasy VII was their first exposure to a truly epic story-based game, a 40+ hour experience that played out across three entire discs. Combining cinematic visuals, deep gameplay mechanics, and unforgettable story beats, Final Fantasy VII captivated imaginations and solidified JRPGs (Japanese Role-Playing Games) as a go-to genre in the Western hemisphere.
Not everything stands the test of time, though. While the original Final Fantasy VII's game play and narrative are still just as rich as ever, its visuals are not nearly as impressive in 2020 as they were in 1997, with the polygonal in-game character models frequently positioned as the butt of ridicule within the gaming community. That's not to say the polygon models don't have a certain charm (they absolutely do), but it's impossible to detach affection from nostalgia.
Regardless, if any game in the history of the medium has ever deserved a modern update, it's Final Fantasy VII. So, when after nearly a decade of fan demand, the Final Fantasy VII Remake was officially announced at E3 2015 with a gorgeous cinematic trailer, it seemed impossible for excitement to grow higher. Unlike many modern updates to classic games, Final Fantasy VII Remake wasn't just set to be a prettier re-skin, but rather an entirely new game built from the ground up.
It's been five long years of waiting since then––a relatively long time for game development––but anticipation has only continued to mount. Ramping up to the game's launch over the past year, Square Enix has slowly rolled out trailers revealing everything from new gameplay elements to updated designs of beloved characters like Tifa, Aerith, and Sephiroth. Each trailer has evoked the same response: "How could this possibly get any better?"
Now, this newest trailer answers that question once again: "Like this."
The new trailer introduces us to many of the members of the Shinra Electric Power Company, the corrupt megacorporation responsible for much of the sociopolitical oppression in the world of Final Fantasy VII. We get the first official reveal of fan favorite character Red XIII, the talking lion-like creature who Cloud and co. rescue from the Shinra lab. We get the promise of fresh storylines with Roche, a new character who seems to view Cloud as a rival. We get summon clips of Leviathan and Chocobo. We even get an extended clip of cross-dressing Cloud, one of the original game's sillier story beats that many fans worried wouldn't translate well into the modern era. And more surprising than its inclusion, it actually seems to work within a progressive context, with Cloud's makeup artist saying, "True beauty is an expression of the heart. A thing without shame, to which notions of gender don't apply."
Oh, and let's not forget legendary Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu's new theme song for the game. "Hollow," with its downbeat tune and haunting vocals by Yosh from the band Survive Said The Prophet, imbues the entire trailer with a deep sense of sad nostalgia––a feeling that any fan of the original game will recognize as emotionally spot-on.
After every new Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer, it's hard to say whether the proper response should be cheering or crying. But that's the beauty of this game, just like its predecessor in 1997. We can do both.