How many chapters will gamers need to buy until they own the full Final Fantasy 7 Remake? Square Enix doesn't know just yet.
April's launch of Final Fantasy 7 Remake wasn't the full package, but only the first chapter in a multi-volume roadmap of games. Square Enix plans to release multiple full-sized volumes that are sold as standalone, full-priced games. We originally assumed the series would be a trilogy with 90 hours of content--one full game release for each of FF7's original 3 discs--but now Square Enix says the game could have more than three parts.
Topics covered here:
- FF7R might include more than 3 chapters
- Games may be shorter and release sooner, or longer and release farther apart
- Is FF7R coming to PS5? Kitase said in 2017 that yes it'll happen
- FF7R timed exclusivity opens up doorways for Square Enix
"We have a rough idea, but haven't exactly decided yet. It's not something we can definitively say. The widespread speculation seems to be that it'll be a trilogy," game producer Yoshinori Kitase said in the recent Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ultimania guidebook.
So what's the magic number? How many episodes the game(s) get in total depends on one big thing: Timing. Square Enix can dice things up into more chapters that release faster, but bigger sprawling episodes like the Midgar-based one released this month will take longer. Luckily chapter 2 is already underway, and Kitase expects the second installment will release much quicker due to team efficiency.
"[How long each game takes to develop] depends on how many parts there are. If divided into bigger parts it will take a bit of time, and if into smaller parts we will be able to release it in a shorter span. Personally I'd like to release it sooner," game co-director Tetsuya Nomura said in the guidebook interview.
Ultimately it's Square Enix's call. If the publisher is fine with releasing one big marquee FF7R installment every 2 years or so, then we'll see huge standalone games like the one launched this month. But if they want a game every year, we could see maybe four or five releases. The game's staggered release cadence is also complemented by a smart timed exclusivity strategy. FF7R is exclusive to PS4 for one year. After that year is up, the game will come to other platforms.
We could see chapter 2 released in 2021, and by that time, FF7R's first chapter will be on PC and Xbox One as a re-release. This lets Square Enix enjoy another influx of sales while it develops (and possibly releases) new chapters the same year.
One interesting question to ask: Will FF7R be on next-gen consoles? The first game won't. At least not the way you think.
Square Enix has confirmed FF7R won't have a next-gen PlayStation 5 re-release. That means it won't get it's own separate SKU for PS5. The only version sold in stores will be the PS4 version. But that doesn't mean the game can't get enhanced on the PlayStation 5 to make use of the next-gen console's immense CPU, GPU, RAM, and SSD power.
But Yoshinori Kitase hints future FF7R episodes will be cross-gen.
Back in 2017, Kitase told Famitsu that the chapters could have inconsistent quality across generations. The first chapter is on PS4, but the second, third, and possibly fourth (and fifth?) chapters could launch on PlayStation 5.
"With the quality line set in place, it's our duty to carry on and protect it until the very end without having any disturbances for the episodes under production. But of course as we advance through the episodes, it'll only be natural to have quality that is fitting for the next generation [of when the episode releases]," he said.
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