CULTURE

New "Final Fantasy 7 Remake" Trailer Makes It Hard to Decide Whether You Should Cheer or Cry

From Red XIII to Cross-Dressing Cloud to the best Nobuo Uematsu theme song in ages, the newest FF7 Remake trailer has everything.

Square Enix

To say that Final Fantasy fans are hyped for the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake would be the understatement of the century.

www.youtube.com

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?"

Red XIII Square Enix

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.

Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

CULTURE

Sakurai Said Mai Shiranui Is Too Sexy for Smash Bros. He's Kinda Right.

Mai Shiranui may be a top tier anime girl, but that doesn't mean she fits in Smash.

SNK

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game director Masahiro Sakurai loves SNK with a burning passion.

Sakurai made his passion crystal clear throughout his 48-minute Nintendo Direct breakdown of Smash's newest guest DLC character, Terry Bogard from SNK's Fatal Fury and King of Fighters, which almost plays out like a history lesson on SNK as a whole.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Mr. Sakurai Presents "Terry Bogard" www.youtube.com

But after extensively demoing all of Terry's special moves and unique gameplay mechanics and revealing 26 SNK cameo characters and a whopping 50 new SNK music tracks, one glaringly obvious hole seemed to be missing from the SNK Smash collab.

Mai King of Fighters SNK


"You may have noticed that a very important character from the Fatal furies series was not included," says Sakurai. "Yes, Mai Shiranui. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is for good boys and girls of many different ages, so we decided not to feature her. Please forgive us."

Indeed, Mai Shiranui, SNK's next-level busty kunoichi and most popular recurring female character, will not be appearing in Smash because, as Sakurai suggested, she's simply too sexy for an all-ages game.

And yes, Smash features Bayonetta who wears skin-tight leather while she open-leg flip kicks. But here's Mai Shiranui's default outfit:

Mai Shiranui SNK/Koei Tecmo

And this is how she moves:


Mai Shiranui GIF SNK

Look, I'm not saying Mai Shiranui shouldn't have made a cameo in Smash. I'm just saying that Sakurai made a conscious decision not to show big bouncing anime boobs to 10-year-olds, and that maybe he made the right call.