A few days ago, news broke out that Yoshinori Kitasse (Final Fantasy VI-VII Director) said on a French YouTube interview that a Remake of the venerable Final Fantasy VI would take 20 years to make. Yes, you didn’t read that wrong, he said 20 years!
Kitase based his speculative time frame – for a FFVI remake – on the fact that it has taken them 10 years to make 2 Episodes of Final Fantasy VII’s “Remake” Project.
20 Years is an Excessive Amount of Time…But Then Again, This is Square Enix We are Talking About Here
Given that other much more impressive games than Final Fantasy VII Remake was – such as Horizon Forbidden West (5 year cycle), Red Dead Redemption 2 (8 year cycle), and Baldur’s Gate 3 (6 year cycle) have delivered grand – complete – experiences. It is not shocking that Kitase plainly admits that his team at Square Enix is incapable of delivering a AAA experience worthy of the Final Fantasy VI name within a reasonable time frame.
Tetsuya Nomura who is a brilliant character designer but a poor director. He has shown an inability to deliver projects in a timely manner. It took more than a decade (14 years) for Kingdom Hearts 3 to arrive on store shelves after the second entry. The bulk of the development time for KH3 took place in 5 years. But even then, for a game of that scope…there was no reason for such a long development cycle.
Things get murkier for Nomura when Final Fantasy VS XIII is brought to the forefront. Nomura never delivered the project that eventually became Final Fantasy XV under a different director.
10 Years to Deliver a FFVII Remake Episode…Why?
Probably because at some point during development, Nomura – and Kitase – decided that Final Fantasy VII Remake would not be a true remake but a sequel. Thus, new characters (not present in the OG game), and scenarios were added to make drastic changes to the storyline.
The above statement, and the fact that Square Enix just can’t make a AAA game these days within an acceptable timeframe (Final Fantasy XVI being the exception) are huge obstacles that need to be hurdled by the company if it were ever to try remaking Final Fantasy VI with modern technology.
Fans wanted a true remake, but Square Enix decided to take Final Fantasy VII Remake into a different direction. It all went south for Final Fantasy VII’s canon when the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII was announced in the early 2000s. Nomura was allowed to take the franchise into the “irrational” territory that Kingdom Hearts thrived in.
Thankfully, Final Fantasy VI Has Remained Untouched by Square Enix…It Doesn’t Carry the Irrational Baggage that Final Fantasy VII Does
If Square Enix were to hand over the original source material of Final Fantasy VI to a Sony Studios team we would probably get the FFVI Remake done within 4 years, and it would likely be a much better product than whatever Square Enix would be able to concoct in 2 decades.
The above paragraph isn’t an overstatement. Sony’s top studios have delivered epic single player games on a consistent basis. Final Fantasy VI‘s storyline is already great, and it hasn’t been tarnished by official Square Enix made ‘fan fiction’ projects like Crisis Core (good game, but it introduced characters and events that are irreconcilable with the original game’s plot line).
Final Fantasy VI is a masterpiece as it is. All it needs is deeper dialogue writing that doesn’t stray from the original story outline, or introduce new irrational ‘Nomura driven’ elements to the story. The same music treatment that Final Fantasy VII Remake was given, and the expected graphical overhaul are things that we would expect.
Conveying a proper world map with modern visuals has been challenge for JRPGs (it might be a big reason why the genre as a AAA force has dried out, and why Final Fantasy XVI was so linear). Keep in mind that games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Horizon Forbidden West…all take place within ‘regional areas’ as opposed to rendering a full planet at a 1:1 size ratio with the character models. But perhaps, a compromise on the world map design needs to be made.
For example, just keep it (the world map) as a miniaturized version of a real planet (like SNES version was), but with modern visuals, and perhaps more places to explore.
Unless Square Enix has plans to introduce new characters, and stupid plot devices (like FFVII Remake’s ‘Whispers’) to Final Fantasy VI (thus effectively ruining the prospect of a remake), I see no reason for the game to take two decades to develop.
My Final 2 Cents on This Topic
As mentioned earlier, a probable reason for Kitase’s mind bending statement on a “two decade” development period for a Final Fantasy VI Remake could be that Kitase, himself, is accepting the fact that Square Enix is no longer capable of the delivering titles of the quality of FFVI, FFVII, and FFIX within a reasonable time frame. Since 2006’s Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy games have failed to break into Metacritic’s 90’s threshold.
Square Enix continues to make AAA games but these games are far from the quality of its 1990s, and early 2000s JRPG releases. Final Fantasy VI was never as popular as Final Fantasy VII. But it was – and continues to be – revered as one of, if not the best Final Fantasy game by FF fans everywhere. Given some of the back lash that the company has taken for Final Fantasy VII Remake from fans of the original game. The company would need to thread carefully with a hypothetical Final Fantasy VI remake project.
Keeping a turn based system, and the hypothetical remake confined to a single game, as opposed to the multiple ‘episodes’ shenanigans that plague the FFVII Remake would go a long way in keeping everyone happy as well.
The most important work for Final Fantasy VI is already done. Character design, Music, Artwork, and Storyline were all fantastic in 1994, and remain so. There is no reason for a two decade development cycle…unless Square Enix has slowly turned into an incompetent publisher filled with mediocre studios over the last two decades.
Given its recent history…that might very well be the case.
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