Final Fantasy VII's 25th anniversary livestream included a whole host of information about the future of the FFVII Remake project, including the first footage, official title and release window of Remake part 2.
Titled Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the game has been confirmed to be the middle part of a trilogy in Square Enix's episodic reimagining. It'll release on PlayStation 5 "next winter", which could mean Christmas 2023 or early 2024. Creative director Tetsuya Nomura said in a statement posted to Twitter that "some development" on the third part has already begun, so hopefully there won't be another 4-ish year gap.
The first trailer for Rebirth doesn't feature much footage, but it asks plenty of questions, and not just the ones that flash up on screen.
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We see Cloud walking towards what looks like Nibelheim with Sephiroth alongside him, which could be part of the famous flashback from the original, but could easily be set in the present.
At the end, we see a white feather fly by as Zack carries Cloud to the front gates of Midgar. We don't know whether history has been altered or alternate-universe shenanigans are going on, but it looks like the title Rebirth refers to Zack being alive and will be a major part of the new storyline Square Enix are telling.
Adding even more fuel to that fire is the fact that Zack's prequel game is being remastered as Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion, which is interestingly coming to Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC and PS4 this Winter, instead of just PS5.
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The voice acting has been redone with the new Remake cast, with reworked music and brand new character models and environments. However, the script and the animations look to be exactly the same as before, making this a high-end remaster rather than a ground-up remake. Gameplay wise, there's a controllable camera and revamped UI, but any other quality of life improvements have yet to be announced.
Similarly to how Yuffie's bonus Remake episode included characters from spin-off Dirge of Cerberus, it's likely Rebirth will include Crisis Core characters such as Genesis and Angeal (hence the inclusion of the white feather), especially now the ending has been thrown into unfamiliar territory.
If you've only played the original FFVII and/or Remake and are confused by all this spin-off talk, don't worry. Upcoming mobile game Ever Crisis is covering the events of VII and its prequels and sequels, and Square Enix announced during the livestream that it would have a closed beta this year, while revealing its seemingly turn-based gameplay.
Between all this FFVII content, Final Fantasy XIV continuing to dominate the MMO space, and Final Fantasy XVI out next summer, has the 35-year old franchise reached a new golden era?
Final Fantasy VII Remake is out now on PlayStation 4, PS5, Epic Games Store and Steam.