- Square Enix’s PlayStation State of Play presentation has divided the Final Fantasy fandom over its decision to get rid of player data for its new title, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
- The game’s director, Naoki Hamag`uchi, justified this decision by explaining the differences between both Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Rebirth.
- There are pros and cons to forcing players to start their characters over from the beginning instead of starting the game off already leveled up.
After teasing fans with news about the game’s development back in June, Square Enix dropped a treasure trove of fresh details about the much-anticipated Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the next epic installment in its three-part remake trilogy of the beloved 1997 RPG classic, at PlayStation State of Play. But there’s one little detail that fans aren’t too keen on.
Well, if you’ve already read the title, you can already guess what that detail is. Turns out that when you dive into Rebirth, you won’t be able to carry over your saved game from the original Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Bummer, I know, but worry not, because there just so happens to be some sweet rewards waiting for those of you who’ve battled their way through the last game and its follow-up DLC.
From Noobs To Legends
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is set to hit the exclusive PlayStation 5 stage on February 29, 2024, picking up the story after the events of 2020’s FF7 Remake and its Yuffei-centric Intergrade DLC, Episode INTERmission. Much like the first game, this sequel is shaping up to be a jaw-dropping visual reimagining of Square’s iconic PS1 RPG hit, Final Fantasy 7.
And just like before, they’ve sprinkled in some tweaks to the storyline, big and small, that promise to deliver some intriguing surprises. Now, if you thought that you could simply carry over your hard-earned progress from the previous game into this sequel, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not the deal this time around.
In an interview on the official PlayStation Blog, posted right after the world got a taste of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth in Sony’s latest State of Play presentation, Naoki Hamaguchi, the man behind the curtains, explained just why they were making all of us players abandon our previous progress.
Rebirth Isn’t A Sequel To The Remake
According to Hamaguchi, these new takes on the story of Final Fantasy 7 are all distinct games in their own right and not just one game that’s been sliced into three parts. Hamaguchi continued by explaining why, because of this, each game’s balance and progression are also going to be handled separately. So, don’t expect your character levels and abilities to carry over from one game to the next.
— FINAL FANTASY VII (@finalfantasyvii) June 16, 2022
This means that we’ll be getting a second shot at creating our OP characters using a whole new set of weapons and upgrades and not just having the same exact build you used in the first game, though that’s still an option if you’re really up for it, I know I’m not letting go of my Gotterdammerung anytime soon. Besides, with developer interviews revealing all the new features being included in the game, the best way to experience them would be to start over from scratch.
It’s like Square Enix is handing you a blank canvas to craft your character exactly how you want it, matching the needs of each new area and situation. As you level up and grab new abilities, you can customize your playstyle to be able to absolutely wipe the floor with whoever’s unfortunate enough to stand in your way.
Square Enix Isn’t The First Nor The Last Studio To Do This
Video games have evolved tremendously over the years, offering players immersive experiences in virtual worlds that can be as challenging as they are entertaining. One key aspect of this evolution is the decision by many game developers to start players off as relatively weak characters, forcing them to embark on a journey of growth and self-improvement.
This isn’t anything new to fans of the FromSoft games or the Soulslike genre in general, who are used to being absolutely destroyed by enemies at the beginning of the game who end up becoming fodder later on. the joy I felt when I loaded up the New Game+ and absolutely washed the floor with the Tree Sentinel with my trusty Rivers of Blood is among my top 10 gaming moments. While this approach may seem counterintuitive at first, there are several reasons why it’s a good thing that video games don’t start you off OP.
The Thrill of The Challenge
Imagine starting a video game as an all-powerful character, capable of effortlessly dispatching weaker foes. While this may sound exciting at first, it quickly becomes apparent that the thrill wears off. It becomes a monotonous exercise to plow through hordes of significantly weaker enemies. The absence of challenge and progression can make the game feel dull and uninteresting.
In many ways, this zero-to-hero journey is what makes a video game compelling. The gradual accumulation of power and abilities keeps players engaged, ensuring that each encounter feels meaningful and exciting. It’s also this reason why some players, myself included, believe that game difficulty should scale with your character’s current level.
After all, it’s the struggle and the sense of growth after getting defeated countless number of times and throwing your controller at the wall more times than you probably should, that make the ultimate achievement of power so satisfying. Plus, with the newly revealed exploration options in Rebirth, being able to take it slow and not power through everything will allow players to enjoy everything to the fullest.
There’s More Room For Customization And Adaptation
As already mentioned previously, one of the advantages of starting as a weaker character is that it allows players to customize their playstyle as they progress through the game. As you level up and acquire new abilities, you’ll be able to adapt your character to better suit their preferred style of play. This freedom to experiment and adapt is a hallmark of many successful video games.
Once again I use Elden Ring as an example, the critically acclaimed title from the father of the Souls-Like genre, FromSoftware. Elden Ring gives players the flexibility to customize their characters, allowing them to tweak their build whenever a particular setup isn’t effective against a specific boss or situation. The number of times I had to teleport back to Renalla at the Raya Lucaria Academy’s Grand Library and use a Larval Tear to reset my stats could be a whole opinion piece of its own.
Though you won’t have to die nearly half as many times I did in a single hour before finally reaching your “git gud” status, this approach encourages players to think strategically, experiment with different approaches, and adapt to ever-changing challenges. And hey, coming from a title that won 2022’s Game of the Year award over entries like God of War Ragnarok and Horizon Forbidden West, don’t take player freedom lightly.
It Gives A Sense Of Accomplishment
Perhaps the most significant advantage of starting as a weak character is the sense of accomplishment that comes from putting in effort and overcoming challenges. In a game where you begin as an overpowered character, there’s no real achievement in victory because success is virtually guaranteed. On the other hand, when you start weak and gradually become stronger, every triumph feels earned. A feeling every Soulslike fan is very familiar with.
The feeling of accomplishment in video games is a powerful motivator. It drives players to persevere through difficult sections, learn from their mistakes, and continually strive for improvement. This sense of achievement keeps gamers coming back for more, pushing themselves to conquer even the toughest adversaries and obstacles.
Not All Players Are Buying It Though
Square Enix’s choice to restrict save data transfer from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake to Rebirth has its reasons, but player autonomy, emotional attachments, and catering to different preferences make a compelling case for offering this choice. Plus, the existence of a “New Game +” option in most story-driven titles also supports the argument that Square Enix could’ve simply made the enemies higher level for those players who decided that they didn’t wish to abandon their progress.
This isn’t a new problem either, as even Final Fantasy Remake players faced a similar conundrum 3 years ago when fans discussed data transfer between Part 1 and Part 2 of the game and wondered whether they’d be able to keep their farmed material for the newer parts.
By allowing optional save data transfer, Square Enix could maintain a challenge for those who seek it and offer a smoother progression for others, accommodating a diverse player base. Ultimately, the choice between allowing save data transfer or not should consider these factors, ensuring that gamers have the agency to shape their own gaming experience.
There Are Some Bonus Rewards For Return Customers
Now, it’s true that some folks might be a bit bummed that their overpowered Cloud and Aerith won’t be dominating the battlefield. But let’s face it, these remakes are epic RPGs in their own right, and accommodating high-level characters from the get-go would probably mess up the game’s balance.
But hey, if you did dive into Remake, Square Enix has some “special bonuses” lined up just for you to kickstart your adventure, as Hamaguchi himself confirmed. Just remember, your save data needs to be snugly sitting on your PS5 when you venture into Rebirth. Those “special bonuses” include some sweet Summon Materia goodies for those players who have save files on their PlayStation 5 for Final Fantasy 7 Remake and/or the DLC, Episode INTERmission.
According to the official Square Enix website, if you’ve explored Remake and are venturing into Rebirth, you’ll snag a Leviathan Summon Materia, and if you’ve got saves from the INTERmission DLC, you’ll score a Ramuh Summon Materia. It totally makes sense that they don’t want you rolling in with max-level characters from Remake, but at least loyal fans will get a little head start in the power department as a token of appreciation.
It’s Time To Get Back On The Grind
In the world of video games, the journey from zero to hero is a fundamental aspect that enhances the overall gaming experience. It prevents the onset of boredom, encourages customization and adaptation, and fosters a deep sense of accomplishment.
Starting as a weak character and working your way towards becoming overpowered may be challenging, but it’s precisely these challenges that make video games such a rewarding and enduring form of entertainment. So, when you’re booting up FFVII Rebirth, remember to embrace the struggle, after all, it’s not the ending that matters, it’s the journey it took for you to get there.
However, that journey will have to wait till the 29th of February next year. But hey, if you want to make sure you get your hands on the game as soon as it hits the shelves, make sure to put in your preorders as soon as possible to get a chance at snatching a sweet Sephiroth figurine along with it, I know I am.
Pre-order the Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Collector's Edition, featuring a 19 inch Sephiroth statue, from the Square Enix Store while stocks last: https://t.co/iBkWzvRhpe
— FINAL FANTASY VII (@finalfantasyvii) September 21, 2023
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