Final Fantasy 7 Remake and other Square Enix games won't get next-gen re-releases, and will instead rely on backwards compatibility.
Square Enix today confirmed how it will handle existing games playing on next-gen consoles. Instead of releasing two versions of its games--one for PS4 and one for PS5, for example--the publisher will simply use next-gen backwards compatibility to ensure cross-generation play. Gamers won't need to re-buy a PS5 version of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and the PS4 version will be playable on the PlayStation 5.
In a recent Q&A session with investors, the games-maker says it won't embrace full-on next-gen exclusives any time soon. This makes sense on a business perspective given the PS4 and PS5 lifecycles will overlap. Square Enix depends on the flexibility of multi-platform sales and it's not about to simply close the door on the PS4's massive 100 million strong install base.
Q: Could you share your thinking on the development of new titles for current- and next-generation game consoles going forward?
A: The next-generation consoles will have backward compatibility, so we plan for the time being to make our new titles available for both current and next-generation consoles. It will therefore be somewhat farther down the road that we release titles exclusively for the next-generation consoles.
The publisher's strategy aligns with our predictions. Right now publishers have two choices in how to handle current-gen games on next-gen: Re-release them as a PS5 port that's natively optimized to tap the system's new hardware capabilities, or simply upgrade the PS4 version with patches. Square Enix is taking the latter option.
Although existing PS4 games won't get re-released onto the PS5, we should still expect the titles to play, look, and feel better on the next-gen console.
Square Enix will undoubtedly release enhancement patches that upgrade existing PS4 games to run better on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, letting older titles take advantage of the newer system's potent Zen 2 CPU and Navi GPU hardware, ultra-fast SSD, and new effects like variable rate shading, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate to significantly raise in-game performance.
This is basically a continuation of how performance was handled between PS4/PS4 Pro and Xbox One/Xbox One X, with developers adding new patches to optimize their games for 4K HDR, boosted frame rates, and more.
Square Enix's decision is the easiest and most friction-less method to carry forward their games to the newer console generation. Expect to see other major publishers follow suit, and some will also likely re-release older games on PlayStation 5 (I'm looking at you, GTA V).
Final Fantasy 7 Remake releases on April 10, 2020 for PlayStation 4. It will come to other platforms 1 year later, and is the first chapter in a multi-volume series of games.