Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion was recently announced at the FF7 25th anniversary livestream, since when Square Enix has been dripfeeding nuggets of information about how the project's being approached. Most distressingly, for fans of vaguely pachinko-like roulette systems, they're taking the shears to the game's unique battle system (opens in new tab).
The short version: Crisis Core on PSP paired third-person combat with a luck-based slot machine. It's a slightly absurd but delightful system, and definitely one of my favourite aspects of the original.
The game's producer, Mariko Sato, addressed more specifically some of the changes that are being made in an interview with GameSpot (opens in new tab). "Things like the hard mode, which was in the overseas version to start with, is now going to be included in the game from the beginning for all regions," says Sato. "And then there's also a new dash function that's been added and new shortcuts to magic abilities and things like that."
Then comes the kicker: this is going to have a combat system much closer to FF7 Remake than the original Crisis Core.
"You know, we wanted to remain faithful to the battle experience of the original Crisis Core, but we also looked to the Final Fantasy 7 Remake and tried to close the gap between that experience and the Crisis Core Reunion battle experience," Sato says. "So it's kind of a very good combination of the original battle system and something close to Final Fantasy 7 Remake. We also heard a lot of fan feedback regarding what could be improved, and we tried to reflect as much of that as possible in Crisis Core Reunion.
"With regards to the DMW system, there used to be a kind of a movie that came up when that system was in play, but we've implemented a skip function for that. So a lot of things like that."
DMW stands for the Digital Mind Wave system, which is what the game calls it during the semi-realtime battle sequences. I'm pretty sure Sato's just referring to the short cutscene that basically indicated the beginning of a battle, rather than anything to do with the roulette wheel.
This is... not music to my ears. What Sato says about remaining faithful to the original battle system is positive, but everything else sounds like that's not what's actually going on here. If the Crisis Core remake just plays like Final Fantasy 7 Remake, to me that's doing a disservice to one of Square Enix's more weird and fun ideas for a combat system.
This all follows on from a tweet from the official Final Fantasy VII account, which outlines the following changes:
- Improved camera and character movements
- Optimised UI
- A new menu-based battle system
- New background music arrangements by Takeharu Ishimoto
- Full VO added to scenes that were previously text only
There are a few other tidbits in the interview. Sato says the story will be "a very faithful retelling of the original" with "no additional story content." All the in-game assets have been recreated from scratch, and all of the music is being remixed by the game's original composer.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion doesn't yet have a precise release date, but it's coming to Steam this winter.