Just under a month ago, Square Enix released Final Fantasy 7 Intergrade for the PlayStation 5. This turned out to be a good next-gen upgrade, not least because it eventually upgraded all of them. those pesky doors, but its biggest selling point was definitely the DLC episode with Yuffie – the high-energy ninja from Wutai’s Final Fantasy 7.
Yuffie’s episode received a lot of criticism from several publications, which praised her new take on the established combat system, her world-building, and, of course, Yuffie herself. It turned out to be a microcosm for both the strengths and weaknesses of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, its sparkling world-building at times undermined by sequences that could be slow and repetitive. Thankfully, Yuffie’s story generally unfolded quickly, never quite going beyond its welcome while providing a tantalizing taste of what’s to come in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2, which is now in full production.
Speaking to IGN via email, Co-Director Motomu Toriyama spoke about the role intermission plays in the larger story and how it sets the stage for Cloud and the company to meet Yuffie in a later episode. As Cloud and his company prepare to leave Midgar in the base game, so does Yuffie. Later, Cloud and his allies will eventually meet Yuffie in the vast world outside of Midgar. By playing both the base game and [Episode Intermission], I think you’ll be able to figure out where they’re coming from, from an emotional point of view, so I recommend playing with both. “
In the DLC, Yuffie is an agent sent to steal a huge chunk of material that is believed to be in development at Shinra Headquarters. She teams up with Sonon, a newcomer to the show who uses staff and mostly reacts to Yuffie’s quick banter with dry asides. Their fast-paced friendship serves as the emotional core of the DLC, an element that even extends to the gameplay, which is based on the pair synchronizing their attacks for big damage.
Like the core remake, Yuffie’s story is at least partly built on nostalgia. Much of it takes place in established areas in and around Midgar, with a variety of familiar faces making appearances everywhere. Scarlet, an evil ruler of Shinra who gets relatively little screen time in the original game, is one of the main villains – another example of Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s expert merging of the familiar with the new one.
“There was a lot that we learned from receiving [Final Fantasy 7 Remake] since its release, but I think the response has been particularly good for the elements we’ve remade while being mindful of paying homage to the source material, and I remember the feedback from players has been very positive, ”said the co-director Naoki Hamaguchi. I don’t want to limit it to this one title; I am reminded that for the next episode, it is of the utmost importance not to damage the memories of the source material while re-imagining it so that it exceeds people’s expectations. “
With that in mind, Square Enix’s decision to run the Episode Interval at the same time as Cloud’s Adventure makes sense. It allows the development team to reuse some already established environments while providing a different perspective on familiar events. But it has not always been so.
In an interesting twist, Hamaguchi says that writer Kazushige Nojima originally had a very different take on episode intermission. “To be honest, when Mr. Kazushige Nojima delivered the initial draft of the [Episode Intermission] scenario, the story would take place at a different time than the events of [Final Fantasy 7 Remake], but we asked him to adjust it to make it happen simultaneously – while Cloud and his allies were on their adventure in Midgar, ”he says. “I had a strong desire for the history of [Episode Intermission] to allow those who played [Final Fantasy 7 Remake] to experience the tradition more deeply. As a result, we were able to dive deeper into Avalanche HQ, Wutai, the Shinra Building basement, and more, which were only touched upon in the remake’s base game – and this time from the point of view. view of Yuffie. As such, I hope this turned out to be something our fans were able to appreciate. “
Another item the team redesigned for the Yuffie DLC was the Fort Condor minigame. Named for a side quest in the original game where you defended a giant condor from the encroachment of Shinra forces, it has been redesigned for the DLC as a small-scale board game. The mini-game has been hailed by many fans as addicting, placing it in the grand tradition of classics such as Triple Triad and Blitzball.
Hamaguchi says Fort Condor was the item he struggled with the most, as he knew it couldn’t be just a “half-baked” homage to the original. “Early in development, I worked one-on-one with the game designer until we solidified the gameplay; even after the gameplay was solidified, I would play it every day and point out areas that needed adjustments, ”says Hamaguchi. “The person doing the adjustments for the difficulty level is really good with numbers, so there were times when the difficulty was increased without warning… I remember playing with it again until finalizing the main building (laughs). “
The dev team can only give clues as to what is to come in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2, but they do provide some tantalizing information. Among other things, Toriyama says it will “probably take a while before Wutai is really introduced” due to his distance from Midgar, but that “maybe there will be a new side to things. represented along the way “.
Screenshots of Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade – Ramuh, Fort Condor Minigame, Nero and more
Hamaguchi, meanwhile, says he’s happy with the way Part One made players feel like “experiencing a movie through gameplay,” but Part Two will have unique challenges. As far as the improvement, or should I say ‘the change’, moving forward – because the next installment will involve Cloud and the company leaving Midgar and exploring the world map, our next one. The challenge will be to create gameplay that takes advantage of the vastness of the world, unlike what we have done in this current title. “
Director Tetsuya Nomura previously said via an interview translated by a fan that Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 will resume immediately after the events of Intergrade, and that the atmosphere will be “quite different from Part 1”. In particular, Cloud “will run a lot in the wild”. Could that mean Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 has an overworld? We will only have to see.
Either way, Final Fantasy 7 Remake continues to be a smash hit, with Yuffie’s story once again demonstrating the love and care that Square Enix has given to translating its most popular game for the modern era. You can read our review of the original version here, as well as a look at his famous pole dance scene and more. Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 does not have a release date yet.
Kat Bailey is Senior News Editor at IGN. Yes, Yuffie is her favorite character.