Head in the Clouds
Final Fantasy VII will likely be the most important entry in the franchise. While there are plenty of amazing titles in the Final Fantasy series, it was Final Fantasy VII that was the breakthrough moment for the IP outside of Japan. Without the release of Final Fantasy VII, who knows where the franchise would stand on the worldwide stage?
While Final Fantasy VII is much loved by millions across the world, it turns out the game’s creation was quite a nightmare for Square Enix (Squaresoft at the time). According to the team, development of Final Fantasy VII was a turning point for Squaresoft in general. They were transitioning from the old way of making Final Fantasy games to a new approach, and Final Fantasy VII ended up being a mix of those philosophies. This led to a development process that was riddled with miscommunications, mistakes and a lack of general direction at times.
In an interview with Game Informer, multiple Final Fantasy VII devs comment on the hectic nature of the game’s creation. In the snippet below, character designer and visual director Tetsuya Nomura opens up about the struggles the team faced when they were in the thick of development.
“[Final Fantasy] VI included a lot of elements that each department on their own, just on a whim, wanted to include, so they just included it, while VIII is much more calculated and strategized. VII is a mix of that, where it’s both calculated and kind of an at-a-whim type of development. If we made games like this the way we did when we were creating the original VII, we would be in a lot of trouble right now. Times have really changed. Beyond VII is the point where I’d say times have changed. It’s the last of the titles where we were able to do things that way.
There were scripts and then suddenly things that are not even in the script that the character is now saying in the game that we’ve never even heard of,” he says. “Some departments just wanted to include the character saying these things. It was that kind of world then.”
You can hear from more devs on the rough nature of Final Fantasy VII’s development in Game Informer’s full feature.