The PS5 Release of Final Fantasy VII Remake Is Less Definitive than PS4
Square Enix have really outdone themselves this time. After releasing the terrible disappointment that is Final Fantasy VII Remake, the company has the absolute gall to then turn around and release a $70 version of this fourteen-month-old flop on PS5 in the form of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade! The podcast panel has previously discussed how little sense it makes to purchase this version of the game, given that the discounted PS4 disc of the game will allow owners to access the same upgraded 4k PS5 version of the game and the same Yuffie bonus episode, along with other newly added content. It turns out that the situation is much worse than this however, as it has been revealed that the Yuffie episode and other new content is not even present on the PS5 disc, and owners must instead redeem a voucher to download it as DLC!
Square Enix appears to have done this in order to hurt the game’s resale value, in a move which harkens back to the bad old days of online passes! The real kicker though is the fact that the new content can still be accessed on PS5 from the PS4 disc of the game! The PS4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake can be bought and sold any number of times, and yet the PS4 game disc will still be able to be used to upgrade to the Intergrade version of the game, replete with Yuffie episode! This effectively makes the heavily discounted PS4 disc version of the game the defacto definitive version of the game, since it is the only version where the game disc is able to access all of the content!
Final Fantasy VII Remake sold 3.5 million copies in its launch month, and many months later it was still trailing Final Fantasy XV at 5 million copies sold. Since then Remake has found a much larger audience through Playstation Plus, but Sony would have only paid them pennies per install! If at launch Remake had instead merely matched the 9 million copies sold of the original Final Fantasy VII, then Square Enix staff would still be wringing their hands over it not selling to projected expectations – and yet the reality of the situation is that it only sold 1/3 of that! Over the years Square Enix assured themselves that a Final Fantasy VII Remake was their ultimate ace in the hole and a chance to print money. For a while this would have been true. Square Enix waited too long, and in that intervening period they destroyed Final Fantasy and did everything they could to move away from the JRPG format, which fragmented their audience – and then they produced a fanfic-tier 1/4 of a game that could only be unreservedly appreciated by people without a strong attachment to the original game!
This is all a roundabout way of saying that Square Enix are shitting themselves at the unexpectedly low sales of Final Fantasy VII Remake, knowing that history suggests that they will be extremely lucky to sell 70% of the copies when the second part releases, and also knowing that they will need to produce at least another third part in order to successfully close out the project. Because of this they are now extremely jealously guarding any avenue to profitability they can – but the more draconian they become, the more people they will successfully drive away. Expect Remake part 2 to have a bunch of paid DLC.
Dutch Filmmaker Plagiarises Capcom’s Mega Man Series
This week it came to light that Dutch film director Richard Raaphorst has plagiarised the character designs for his 2013 Z-grade film Frankenstein’s Army directly from Capcom’s successful Mega Man series! He pretty much directly lifted the character designs for Air Man (1988) and Drill Man (1991) from Mega Man 2 and Mega Man 4 respectively, whilst also copying several themes of transhumanism that were pioneered by Capcom in their Mega Man series. He did this without approval from Capcom, and did not even think to credit them for the designs!
If all this sounds a bit silly, that is because it is. It is actually Richard Raaphorst who is accusing Capcom of plagiarising his monster designs in Resident Evil VIII – yet the monster designs are so generic that Capcom had already created them once before for their Mega Man games.
It’s a crazy monster movie filled with my own creature designs, one of which has been used – completely without authorization or credit in the newest Resident Evil game.
Oh dude, this is worse then I thought. First I felt angry, then proud, but now I see this, I feel sad.
Characters with drills on their arms are probably too numerous to collect into a single list, but Bioshock‘s Big Daddies certainly number among them. Characters with propellers on their heads also feel like a fairly familiar design, and not just because of the design of Air Man. One feels like one has seen this done in a horror context before; possibly as heavy metal album art or maybe as Silent Hill fan art. It seems quite unlikely that Capcom were attempting to reference Drill Man and Air Man in Resident Evil VIII, just as it seems equally unlikely that Raaphorst deliberately stole their designs for his movie – and that is the entire point. The designs are so generic to transhuman body horror that people just naturally and unintentionally copy one another. If Capcom actually were attempting to copy Raaphorst’s terrible obscure film then they would have changed his designs enough so that it would not cause problems for them.
All that being said, it does not necessarily mean that there is not a certain commonality between both projects. In fact both Capcom and Raaphorst almost certainly owe a creative debt to 1989’s Tetsuo: The Iron Man. However, of these two entities, only one is attempting to claim intellectual ownership over the decades old reheated ideas that they used. At the end of the day though, causing all of this nonsense will, unfortunately, turn out to be a very smart move for Richard Raaphorst – as for the rest of time Google image searches for Resident Evil VIII will always turn up results for his terrible movie!
Failing Upwards at Square Enix
Has there ever been a game director more overrated than Yoshinori Kitase? He is usually credited as THE director for Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger in the vast majority of media coverage, and yet if one reads the small print then it is quickly revealed that he was only ever really the director of the cutscenes in those games. Hiroyuki Ito was the primary director of Final Fantasy VI, while Takashi Tokita was the primary director Chrono Trigger.
Final Fantasy VII was Kitase’s first gig which saw him credited as a game’s full director – and it was a game which saw him attain legendary status. That being said, it was also a game where Hironobu Sakaguchi took more of a creative role than is typical for a producer. In fact Kitase’s role as director of Final Fantasy VII may have been far less substantial than the title would suggest:
Sakaguchi: I’ve been working with Kitase for a long time, since FF5. He did most of the event scenes in FF6: the opera house, Celes’ suicide scene, the scene where Setzer climbs the stairs and reminisces, and more. I’m not exactly turning things over to the next generation just yet, but for FF7 almost all the story was done by Kitase. His original ambition was to be a film director, so he’s well-disposed towards this work–I’ve left all the in-game event scripting in his hands.
As for my part, since FF3 I’ve led the battle team, and that was my role this time too. Well, actually, the battle team is composed of solid veterans, so I stepped back a bit and played more of a producer role.
The final game that Kitase ever directed was Final Fantasy VIII, which he developed while Sakaguchi was stationed on a different continent, and which did not come together at all well, turning out to be a dismal failure. Following that debacle Kitase was promoted to the role of producer, where he has produced a constant stream of failures for the past twenty years. The brightest points of Kitase’s career as producer are probably his role as producer on Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, and his role as co-producer on Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. When your top four games are this mixed of an assortment, it kind of raises a few questions about judgement and oversight. Other than this divisive assortment of games, Kitase’s other production credits are a constant stream of shit. He has not produced a passable game since 2005. There are sixteen year-olds driving around on our roads who were nothing but a sperm in their Daddy’s ballsack the last time that Kitase’s name was attached to a project that was not complete bilge!
Now, this week it has been announced that Yoshinori Kitase has been promoted to the role of Final Fantasy brand manager, replacing Shinji Hashimoto! The person who handpicked Motomu Toriyama as his protégé is now the Final Fantasy brand manager! The person who turned Tetsuya Nomura loose on Final Fantasy VII, and then could not say ‘no’ to any of his stupid ideas is now the Final Fantasy brand manager! The man who Hironobu Sakaguchi once described as ‘a good director but a bad producer’ has now been handed control over the brand as a whole! Expect Tetsuya Nomura to serve as director on every Final Fantasy game going forward!
When asked about a potential Final Fantasy VII remake back in 2011, Kitase knew that the remake team would have to adopt a gentle approach:
FFVII was made over 10 years ago, and there are lots of fans that love the game. In a way, they have created their own FFVII world individually, so if we were to make a sequel, we would have to be very careful not to disturb fans’ own individual picture of that universe. It’s a very delicate thing to do. We’d have to tip-toe around it.
Despite this, Kitase was never able to say ‘no’ to a single bad idea of Nomura’s. Were they gay lovers? Is that why Kitase was unable to tell him ‘no’? It is kind of a weird position to be in for a producer, where one is supposed to keep projects from imploding. Kitase cannot say ‘no’ to the blatantly bad ideas of Nomura, Final Fantasy VII Remake is now in severe trouble because of this, and he has now been made brand manager of Final Fantasy, where he can now make bad decisions on an even larger scale!
The Final Fantasy brand really will never come good now.