When I looked at the list of games leaked from Nvidia’s database last year, I felt like I needed a series of progressively larger emojis – or a Vince McMahon meme – to properly convey my reaction. Could they all be real? Based on the number of leaks now validated from the list: Yes. I’m sure almost every item on the list is real – or It was real at some point (likely a few old entries that were scrapped). And over the past few months, I’ve been working myself up to think of one game on the list: Final Fantasy 9 Remake.
This name excites me. It also haunts me. Final Fantasy 9 is my favorite Final Fantasy game and my favorite JRPG. It’s a game made when Squaresoft was at its creative peak in the year 2000. It was the last Final Fantasy game with direct involvement from series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. To me, it’s a game that epitomizes “they don’t make them like they used to,” which is ironic given that it was, at the time, designed to be a throwback to Final Fantasys in the ’90s.
There is no remake that I can imagine would be more risky for me personally.
I don’t know if I think modern Square Enix can do Final Fantasy 9 Remake justice, because much of its ethos is rooted in its “retro” design. I don’t think Final Fantasy 9 is Final Fantasy 9 without turn-based battles, graphic cities, fun scripts, or comically proportioned characters. If Final Fantasy 7 Remake is the template, then the new version will push for more realistic graphics and more action combat. The game will be largely or completely rewritten. This path will lead to Final Fantasy 9 that was 20 years newer, for sure. but better? I very much doubt that.
It is not impossible that Square can get it right. In 2020, the studio released Trials of Mana, a remake of the Super Nintendo RPG that has remained impressively faithful while translating the game into 3D. But the transition from 2D to 3D has given developers more freedom to update the design of Trials of Mana: Final Fantasy 9 requires a much lighter touch and a much bigger budget to do justice, because it’s a sprawling game.
This fan rar created in 2019 is somewhat of what I was dreaming about in the FF9 remake. research Like, I think: it sticks closely to the original art while rebuilding it in 3D.
Final Fantasy 9 was actually ported to PC in 2016, so whatever this new release might be, it should be more important than just a polished “rework” of the original game. And as much as I love it, there are things that I think could be improved. The combat system pushed the original PlayStation beyond its limits, with long compensatory animations that created an annoying gap between entering commands and watching them play. Its Trance, a rotation of FF7 limit intervals, is so difficult to operate strategically that it is practically useless. Some party member story arcs can use some extra scenes to really pay off. Perhaps the last president could have done with more ultimatums.
If Square Enix gets its hands back into the game’s interiors and starts rooting, I hope none of those involved in writing Final Fantasy 7 Remake will ever be able to touch it. They’ve committed unforgivable dialogue crimes with characters I love so dearly, and I don’t know if my heart can handle them. As much as I’d love to see the perfect, fantasy version of Final Fantasy 9 come to life, I’d rather not see it at all. The 2016 version for PC has been greatly improved with a fan-made Moguri mod, which cleans up as much as possible the 2D backgrounds of the original game and fixes bugs that occur during the transfer process.
But I think it’s real and it will come whether you want it or not. I still think it’s an amazing option to remake; Unlike Final Fantasy 7, Square never made sequels or spin-offs for FF9, but it may have proven popular over the years in all of its ports and re-releases. The Nvidia leak has been proven accurate so many times to me that I have doubts at this point, and a French animation studio is currently working on adapting the game into an animated series – that would be pretty weird without a new game coming as well. After months of thinking about it, I’m ready for the announcement to either strike me like a moment of pure joy or a knife to the heart (maybe both, in that order, the more I see it).
There are a couple of fantasies that give me hope that the remake can do justice to my favorite RPG. One is Square who announced that the remake is led by Hiroyuki Ito, who directed the original game and recently emerged from the bowels of Square Enix with his first new game in 15 years. The other scenario is less likely: Square has hired studio Hironobu Sakaguchi Mistwalker to remake Final Fantasy 9 as a swan song, giving Final Fantasy’s dad one last chance to make his mark on the series.
The city of Alexandria in FF9, built from physical dioramas like the world in the Mistwalker RPG Fantasian? Now this is a real fantasy come to life.