One only needs to read social media comments to see that one of the biggest points of contention in regards to the Final Fantasy VII Remake and its future installments, is its ‘weird’ ending (in an already weird re-telling of the first section (Midgar) of the original Final Fantasy VII).
It can be inferred by how Sephiroth makes an early appearance in the game, that FFVIIR takes place on an alternate timeline, and the ending only muddies the waters by suggesting that there is yet (at least) another timeline.
The Guardian had a candid interview with Yoshinori Kitase (Producer), and Co- Director Naoki Hamaguchi, in which they asked the key question: Will the Story Change?
“ I am not able to tell you the answer to that now. I understand that there is a lot of speculation among the fans; that is what we wanted and we’ve really enjoyed seeing these theories and guesses of what the ending means. We wanted the fans to keep the discussion going on social media and keep their excitement high as we head towards the next game.”-Kitase
Judging by the answer it should be expected that the story will change (how can it not), as it has already changed. Sephiroth appearing early in the game (and the existence of other elements) complete gave the story a new twist.
The story changes while not in a accordance with the “Remake” title that the game carries, has both positive and negative ramifications. Positive for those who wanted the game to chart a new and unpredictable path. Negative for those who wanted a faithful remake and are scared that Tetsuya Nomura will devolve the entire story into Kingdom Hearts 2.0.
The other interesting topic of the interview is the status of the next episode, as it is well known that Nomura games can span into decade long developmental cycles. To that end, Kitase makes it known that they are still working in a remote fashion on the game as a result of COVID-19.
“I am pained and saddened to see so many people around the world suffering with the virus and even losing their lives. When we set the release date for the game, nobody could have predicted a global pandemic like this, and the release of the game happening during this unprecedented situation has blindsided us.
At this current time, the team are still making the next game via remote working. Our performance will temporarily drop below 100% efficiency because of this, but I do not think there should be a big impact in the long term. I sincerely hope that Final Fantasy VII Remake can provide those who are forced to endure the stress of living under lockdown a moment of relief and enjoyment in these trying times.” -Kitase
Thus we hope that we can see the next iteration in the FFVIIR series over the next two years, as Square/Enix has gained some good momentum on the strong sales of the first title, it would be counterproductive to make gamers wait longer than that.