Final Fantasy VII isn’t my favorite entry in the series, but it was the first RPG I ever played and therefore holds a special immovable place in my heart. It was also one of my first introductions to the power of transformative works. Upon finishing the game I was pulled deep into the collaborative internet world of fanfiction, fanart, and doujinshi collecting. Some of the characters stuck with me and I wanted more.
But then suddenly I didn’t want any more. I did buy the deplorable fighting game Ehrgeiz just so I could face Cloud off against Sephiroth, and see dear Zack again. But each subsequent prequel, sequel, and spin-off didn’t capture what I liked about the original game and so I didn’t pay attention to it.
Something tapered off. Seeing most of the AVALANCHE gang cross paths in the original Kingdom Hearts was initially warm and fuzzy for me. But in Kingdom Hearts 2 it became less so. Dirge of Cerberus did not look like something that appealed to me, maybe because I wasn’t big on Vincent. I watched Advent Children once and pretty much don’t remember anything that was going on there. Reno was hot.
I did absolutely love most of Crisis Core, until the Gackt insert, poetry reading, and all-too-literal one-winged angel imagery showed up. The game’s missions could get a bit repetitive but the character sprites were endearingly expressive and the mechanics at play in the ending sequence were so effective in conveying what they needed to.
None of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII entries entirely captured my feelings about the original characters, and that’s difficult to come to terms with because then I realize none of the follow-ups ever will. It’s impossible. Final Fantasy VII as I personally know it is an imagined mental construct rooted in the 90s, with high school me diligently piling fancanon, vicarious strategy guide reading, and an active imagination along side the original material.
Even though via past experience I know I actually prefer Final Fantasy VII in its original form, I am really REALLY excited for the PlayStation 4 remake that was just announced at E3. When the lights dimmed at the Square-Enix presser and I saw the lifestream flourishes on the side displays I started yelling in disbelief. We had been trained to never believe in this one thing. And there it was. It’s coming, eventually, hopefully.
I’m worried that modern blockbuster game expectations won’t allow the Final Fantasy VII remake it to be as silly as its original incarnation, dolphin whistles and all, but playing the recent MMO Final Fantasy XIV has show me that flamboyant aestheticians and suplexing goldsmiths can still happily coexist as breathers between epic storylines. I hope the developers go for that feel and let Final Fantasy VII remain weird.
And Keep Cloud Awkward.