Final Fantasy VII Was Originally a 2D RPG

Final Fantasy VII Was Originally a 2D RPG

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Square's original plan for Final Fantasy VII was to keep things largely similar to the series' 2D entries.

An interview with Final Fantasy VII director Yoshinori Kitase published in the latest issue of Famitsu magazine (via 1up) reveals how the game came to be what it was at release in 1997. Though it may seem like Square knew exactly how to bring the series to the next level, Final Fantasy VII's development was filled with a lot of uncertainty.

Kitase says that Square knew something "new" was coming to videogames, and it likely involved 3D, but 3D hadn't cemented its presence yet when development began on Final Fantasy VII. Square had been monkeying around with tech demos of 3D CGI, but hadn't considered using it for the entirety of the game.

"At the time, we figured that the only place in the game we'd actually use 3D was in the battle scenes," Kitase said. "The first bunch of PlayStation RPGs used Super NES-style world maps, with 2D sprites placed right in the middle of the screen. I thought that would become the basic sort of standard for RPGs in the future. I definitely didn't think the field view would wind up in 3D, too."

After working with the PlayStation hardware, Kitase says he realized that a change was necessary. "I felt that for this next generation, the field map needed depth and a character-oriented viewpoint or else we'd be losing out on story drama," he added. Before this realization, there was a heavy debate about the game's eventual format, an abnormality when developers would usually debate what kinds of new gameplay systems should be implemented.

According to Kitase, a major developmental hurdle was that there were no previous games to "rely on." Things that we take for granted today, like a game that goes seamlessly from the play screen to a CG movie, had to be figured out from scratch. Memory was also an issue, as Square had no idea how many polygons it could use for Final Fantasy VII's characters and monsters.

In the end, Kitase believes that the PlayStation is what allowed Final Fantasy VII to exist. He says that the console allowed him to "show people that Final Fantasy VII was an adventure played up close and within the world itself, not seen from overhead." As one of the most popular RPGs of all time, Square's hard work definitely paid off.

Source: 1up

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I would assume that most games made in a 3D formula, coming from a 2D background with the rest of the series, would have had their start in 2D.

This is no real news to me, though I am glad that they chose to do 3D instead.

Interesting read. Good for them for taking some of the first steps into 3D

Surprising how he didn't mention that it was Nintendo's stubbornness that made them migrate to the PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII was certainly a game that could not have worked on a cartridge system with limited memory.

I'm glad they made it the way that they did ... I'm in the middle of my yearly re-play of this game now, and I still enjoy it, dated as it is. Interesting, ... that he's talking about it again?

Hope springs eternal.

Adzma:
Surprising how he didn't mention that it was Nintendo's stubbornness that made them migrate to the PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII was certainly a game that could not have worked on a cartridge system with limited memory.

to be fair, the 64DD was supposed to expand on the cartridge memory, but I dont even think it got past the design stage before disks won the real console war.

I remember FF VII as being that game I couldnt understand how to play back in '97.

they guy had a sword and was with another one who had a gun, WHY COULDNT I JUST WAIL ON THE IDIOTS STANDING IN MY WAY?!?!?

then of course, I got older and finally understood TBSRPG's, and subsequently learned to hate FF VIII.........

but one memory that will always stick around was that it was one of the few games at the time that was in actual 3D.

..............has it really been 13-14 years since we broke the 3D wall?

FF7 being 2D (Or 2.5D) is common knowlage to the FF7 hacking community. FF7 was based off of the Xenogears engine that was forked early in development.

SaGa Frontier - > Xenogears -> FF7 -> Parasite Eve -> FF7 -> Parasite Eve 2 -> FF8 -> FF9

FFX was forked from the Vagrent Story Engine.

I'd prefer FF7 as a rotoscoped psuedo-3D game presented on at least nine SNES cartridges.

More people need to read this article instead of posting "FFVII is overrated" it's amazing because of what it did not just because of what it was. There simply WAS no other RPG like this, this RPG walked out and stomped the rest of them because of it's sheer magnitude.

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

Well, at least they took that chance to take games to the next level.

It's really cool how things were back then. No one knew just what was gonna happen or what was going to be the "next big thing." They probably didn't imagine it'd turn out to be so influential and popular. Also, I swear FF VII never looked as good on my playstation as it does up there in the screenshot.

Well there is a video around the internet that shows FF 7 on the N64 and it was 3D. Here is is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5l0A3zzEgw

Urge to replay FF7 now...

It truely was a fantastic game and i cannot imagine it being as wonderful with the 2D sprites from FFI-VI

Interesting news. I am glad they did that as they probably started a new generation of games.

Adzma:
Surprising how he didn't mention that it was Nintendo's stubbornness that made them migrate to the PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII was certainly a game that could not have worked on a cartridge system with limited memory.

Their stubborness not only costed them FF7, but a disk-based system as well. The Playstation was based off of what Nintendo and Sony were developing together for a console, but Nintendo wanted to keep everything to themselves so Sony got kicked to the curb by them.

Snotnarok:
More people need to read this article instead of posting "FFVII is overrated" it's amazing because of what it did not just because of what it was. There simply WAS no other RPG like this, this RPG walked out and stomped the rest of them because of it's sheer magnitude.

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

I don't know about as big, but most people that I've talked to consider FFVI better.

and it's the characters, man

at least it was for me, that's what made it stood out. when I related best with certain characters and such (not even close with the debacle that was FFXIII)

Supp:

Snotnarok:
More people need to read this article instead of posting "FFVII is overrated" it's amazing because of what it did not just because of what it was. There simply WAS no other RPG like this, this RPG walked out and stomped the rest of them because of it's sheer magnitude.

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

I don't know about as big, but most people that I've talked to consider FFVI better.

well it depends on your sample population but ah it's all relative haha

While I personally prefer Final Fantasy VI, I do respect Final Fantasy VII, I just wish the rest of the series stopped trying to emulate it. Particularly the sci-fi overtones. I preferred it when the Sci-fi stuff took a back seat to the world around it. While this has generally been avoided in terms of gameplay, the design still looks like their is a Sci-fi overtone.

(Secondly, I prefer my JRPGs to be 2D)

Supp:

Snotnarok:
More people need to read this article instead of posting "FFVII is overrated" it's amazing because of what it did not just because of what it was. There simply WAS no other RPG like this, this RPG walked out and stomped the rest of them because of it's sheer magnitude.

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

I don't know about as big, but most people that I've talked to consider FFVI better.

...Again, it's not about opinion, AT THE TIME there was nothing like it. 3D, movies, camera panning around your characters, weapons actually changing in battle.

cursedseishi:

Adzma:
Surprising how he didn't mention that it was Nintendo's stubbornness that made them migrate to the PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII was certainly a game that could not have worked on a cartridge system with limited memory.

Their stubborness not only costed them FF7, but a disk-based system as well. The Playstation was based off of what Nintendo and Sony were developing together for a console, but Nintendo wanted to keep everything to themselves so Sony got kicked to the curb by them.

I think Nintendo backed out of the deal because Sony wanted the rights to all SNES-CD games. You can't blame Nintendo for backing out of that deal (though they never should have signed it in the first place).

It's akin to ATI wanting all the rights to all Gamecube and Wii games since they made the graphic processor.

Nintendo was also working with Phillips to make the SNES-CD so it wasn't just Sony and Nintendo involved. I believe Nintendo finally decided to can the idea when they saw the poor success of the Sega CD.

Don't let me get in the way of your Nintendo bashing though.

FF7 and the Playstation began the downfall of Final Fantasy. FF7 is an excellent game but looking back and realizing where the FMVs, long animations and load times started for the franchise is a real downer.

Supp:

Snotnarok:
More people need to read this article instead of posting "FFVII is overrated" it's amazing because of what it did not just because of what it was. There simply WAS no other RPG like this, this RPG walked out and stomped the rest of them because of it's sheer magnitude.

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

I don't know about as big, but most people that I've talked to consider FFVI better.

Actually, the FF6 crowd is a vocal minority, FF7 is still the more liked and respected version of Final Fantasy.

I don't wish to imply that FF6 is a bad game, though, it's really good! :)

See the cash cow Nintendo missed by not joining with Sony and making their games disc based?

I have no trouble believing any of this.

Square had done excellent work in 2D prior to Final Fantasy 7 with 5, 6, and Chrono Trigger, so it's no surprise that 7 would follow suit before the Playstation came around. Equally, I'm not surprised about how FF7 was going to be 3D in battle sections and such only either. I say that because...think of another Square game in development around at the time: Xenogears. Xenogears WAS a 2D/3D hybrid and DAMN but it was good. So, that FF7 was going to work this way made sense.

The one question I have about Final Fantasy 7's development is this: Right, so you have the technology to fully-render 3D battles with characters in proportion as they were meant to be seen...but the actual world you walk around or go through towns in has to be done in deformed sprites? Was there not enough memory to do more and keep it to three discs or what? That's a curiosity that always stumped me. And I'll bet it's one of the reasons people wanna see a total remake of the game.

I recently picked up the US port of 6 and I feel it was exactly what a 2D ff7 would've been like. Not in tone obviously, but in graphics and gameplay. So yeah this makes sense. Also, FF7 was originally going to be a detective story and Zack's model was originally supposed to be Cloud's. With ssome after-the-fact hair spikes to differentiate, obviously.

Wouldn't it be nice if the FF series went back to innovating, instead of repeatedly releasing 200 hour cinematic films with 5 minute breaks to run down hallways?

Snotnarok:

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

Fallout? Star Ocean?

There are tons of other examples too.

VII wasn't that special. The main thing it has going for it is its popularity. Otherwise everything it did was done better by other rpgs before. (well except Cutscnes/graphics)

For another example of this: Oblivion. Many of its elements were done (arguably better) by the Gothics before and even more back in the past (1992!) by Ultima VII.

Edit: Naturally that doesn't mean that Final Fantasy VII isn't a great game.

Turio:

Snotnarok:

Find me an RPG that was this big back in 1997 on consoles that wasn't set in medieval times.
This isn't a rant of love it's a rant of "please understand why it was big and stop trying to compare it to modern rpgs" rant.

Fallout? Star Ocean?

There are tons of other examples too.

VII wasn't that special. The main thing it has going for it is its popularity. Otherwise everything it did was done better by other rpgs before.

For another example of this: Oblivion. Many of its elements were done (arguably better) by the Gothics before and even more back in the past (1992!) by Ultima VII.

Fallout and Star Ocean were not 3D like FFVII, and as big as Fallout was it wasn't on console.

This is what I'm talking about, the game BACK IN 1997 was drastically different than other RPG visually and in terms of what was done. Was Star Ocean? Sure in way but it didn't do full 3D.

Is this calling Star Ocean or Fallout bad or lesser? No it's saying at the time FFVII was very different and vast compared to most other titles. Yes today most RPGs especially that of the western variety stomp FFVII in size, visuals, translation but who compares RPGs visually over time gaps that big.

Oh, ok if we are just talking visuals. Then, yes. VII was pretty unique. But, so were FF games before. VI also drastically different and tackeld the steampunk harder which influenced VII.$

And other RPGs were visually pretty diverse before. Even on consoles. Shadowrun for another SNES rpg for example.

halkun:
FF7 being 2D (Or 2.5D) is common knowlage to the FF7 hacking community. FF7 was based off of the Xenogears engine that was forked early in development.

SaGa Frontier - > Xenogears -> FF7 -> Parasite Eve -> FF7 -> Parasite Eve 2 -> FF8 -> FF9

FFX was forked from the Vagrent Story Engine.

You listed FF7 twice. Is that a typo?

Garak73:

cursedseishi:

Adzma:
Surprising how he didn't mention that it was Nintendo's stubbornness that made them migrate to the PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII was certainly a game that could not have worked on a cartridge system with limited memory.

Their stubborness not only costed them FF7, but a disk-based system as well. The Playstation was based off of what Nintendo and Sony were developing together for a console, but Nintendo wanted to keep everything to themselves so Sony got kicked to the curb by them.

Don't let me get in the way of your Nintendo bashing though.

Oh yes, because me saying Nintendo wanted to keep it to themselves instead of sharing, and kicking Sony from the deal, is totally me bashing Nintendo
[/sarcasm]

Lack of thorough reading of the original contract almost led to Sony owning the rights of the games that were to be released for the CD-based system.
Nintendo then canceled the contracts as secretly as possible, then filed for an injunction against Sony to keep them from selling the Playstation once it was developed

I never claimed one company was better than the other (and owning system from both, why would I?), so keep your fanboism to yourself bub.

cursedseishi:

Garak73:

cursedseishi:

Their stubborness not only costed them FF7, but a disk-based system as well. The Playstation was based off of what Nintendo and Sony were developing together for a console, but Nintendo wanted to keep everything to themselves so Sony got kicked to the curb by them.

Don't let me get in the way of your Nintendo bashing though.

Oh yes, because me saying Nintendo wanted to keep it to themselves instead of sharing, and kicking Sony from the deal, is totally me bashing Nintendo
[/sarcasm]

Lack of thorough reading of the original contract almost led to Sony owning the rights of the games that were to be released for the CD-based system.
Nintendo then canceled the contracts as secretly as possible, then filed for an injunction against Sony to keep them from selling the Playstation once it was developed

I never claimed one company was better than the other (and owning system from both, why would I?), so keep your fanboism to yourself bub.

Did you or did you not refer to Nintendo as stubborn? How dare Nintendo want to keep the rights where their own console is concerned. Fanboyism? I don't think so.

Bub!

I hate captcha!

Never heard of this game.

Might have to check it out...

Garak73:

cursedseishi:

Garak73:

Don't let me get in the way of your Nintendo bashing though.

Oh yes, because me saying Nintendo wanted to keep it to themselves instead of sharing, and kicking Sony from the deal, is totally me bashing Nintendo
[/sarcasm]

Lack of thorough reading of the original contract almost led to Sony owning the rights of the games that were to be released for the CD-based system.
Nintendo then canceled the contracts as secretly as possible, then filed for an injunction against Sony to keep them from selling the Playstation once it was developed

I never claimed one company was better than the other (and owning system from both, why would I?), so keep your fanboism to yourself bub.

Did you or did you not refer to Nintendo as stubborn? How dare Nintendo want to keep the rights where their own console is concerned. Fanboyism? I don't think so.

Bub!

I hate captcha!

Stubborn yes, but that is how Nintendo is in general, they are consistently set in their ways, and barely, if ever, budge, beneficial or not.
That isn't bias against Nintendo, its the truth. Its why they've only just barely started with Online play, and why the friend code is STILL being used with their systems.

There was nothing stopping them from renegotiating the contract, instead of killing it off in secret and saving the news of it til the very conference they were originally about to announce the work Sony and them had done.

And yeah, this captcha thing sucks, it shouldn't be a factor to people with 500+ posts...

cursedseishi:

Garak73:

cursedseishi:

Oh yes, because me saying Nintendo wanted to keep it to themselves instead of sharing, and kicking Sony from the deal, is totally me bashing Nintendo
[/sarcasm]

Lack of thorough reading of the original contract almost led to Sony owning the rights of the games that were to be released for the CD-based system.
Nintendo then canceled the contracts as secretly as possible, then filed for an injunction against Sony to keep them from selling the Playstation once it was developed

I never claimed one company was better than the other (and owning system from both, why would I?), so keep your fanboism to yourself bub.

Did you or did you not refer to Nintendo as stubborn? How dare Nintendo want to keep the rights where their own console is concerned. Fanboyism? I don't think so.

Bub!

I hate captcha!

Stubborn yes, but that is how Nintendo is in general, they are consistently set in their ways, and barely, if ever, budge, beneficial or not.
That isn't bias against Nintendo, its the truth. Its why they've only just barely started with Online play, and why the friend code is STILL being used with their systems.

There was nothing stopping them from renegotiating the contract, instead of killing it off in secret and saving the news of it til the very conference they were originally about to announce the work Sony and them had done.

And yeah, this captcha thing sucks, it shouldn't be a factor to people with 500+ posts...

Maybe Nintendo felt betrayed that Sony would even draw up such a one sided contract and just didn't want to do business with them any longer, so they started working with Phillips.

All big corporations are stubborn though and slow to change. They are conservative.

About captcha, yeah, there really isn't any point to hassling everyone because a few might spam. The moderators could easily target the spammers and monitor their posts but instead we all get punished.

FalloutJack:
I have no trouble believing any of this.

Square had done excellent work in 2D prior to Final Fantasy 7 with 5, 6, and Chrono Trigger, so it's no surprise that 7 would follow suit before the Playstation came around. Equally, I'm not surprised about how FF7 was going to be 3D in battle sections and such only either. I say that because...think of another Square game in development around at the time: Xenogears. Xenogears WAS a 2D/3D hybrid and DAMN but it was good. So, that FF7 was going to work this way made sense.

The one question I have about Final Fantasy 7's development is this: Right, so you have the technology to fully-render 3D battles with characters in proportion as they were meant to be seen...but the actual world you walk around or go through towns in has to be done in deformed sprites? Was there not enough memory to do more and keep it to three discs or what? That's a curiosity that always stumped me. And I'll bet it's one of the reasons people wanna see a total remake of the game.

On the deformed models etc. being different from the battles. Remember that you would have to do a fully human scale model for each person in the overworld and make it work, whereas in the battles they had to do far fewer (and mostly monsters). So it's far less workload for them, plus in the overworld they looked more like the classic FF style. I like it this way, I think the deformed characters have a nice charm to them. It would be interesting to see the remake one day.

 

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