Final Fantasy 7's pre-rendered backgrounds looked pretty pixelated on the PC, upscaled from their original tiny resolution. But now you can make them look remarkably better with the FF7 Remako HD graphics mod, which is available to download as a beta today. "Using state of the art AI neural networks, this upscaling tries to emulate the detail the original renders would have had," writes the mod's author. "This helps the new visuals to come as close to a higher resolution re-rendering of the original as possible with current technology."
If you're wondering how that works: Last week I wrote about how modders are using neural networks to more intelligently upscale images, to great effect with the low-res backgrounds featured in old PS1 games. The upscaled images aren't magically perfect—there's naturally some lost detail and some bluriness when you quadruple the size of an image, but this technique does a remarkable job of preserving the style of the original work while getting rid of the pixelation. Check out the video above for some comparisons.
According to the Remako Mod's author, all the backgrounds in FF7 have been converted, but it hasn't been fully checked over. Some graphical oddities will likely crop up here and there, hence the beta release.
A similar mod for Final Fantasy 9, Moguri Memoria, is likewise a work-in-progress. Its latest release, v5, is available here.