FF7R Famitsu February 2021 Interview with Tetsuya Nomura
Regarding FF7R Intergrade, FF7 The First Soldier, and FF7 Ever Crisis
Translated by Audrey

—The lighting, textures, and environment in the Playstation 5 game FF7R Intergrade look so real. Is there any other area that sees improvement?

Nomura: In regards to the graphics, the lighting and textures have been adjusted, but we’ve also added fog elements to the environment, giving you an even more immersive experience as you enter the world. We also have a mode that allows for 4K and runs on 60fps.

—How about the haptic DualSense controls as well as the 3D audio from the PS5?

Nomura: We have a few things that incorporates the adaptive triggers. However, in regards to fully utilizing the PS5 various features, we hope you can please wait for the next installment to experience it.

—The photo mode seems to allow you to change the camera angle while in game. Will you be able to change character poses like in Kingdom Hearts 3  Re Mind? Are there certain criteria that must be met before you can use Photo Mode?

Nomura: No, the concept is different from Kingdom Hearts 3 Re Mind, and you will not be able to pose the character. It's more like just taking a snapshot for memory in a scene. You can use photo mode immediately.

—It seems like you battle Weiss in the DLC. Why did you choose that character?

Nomura: Since the strongest character, Sephiroth, is already in the game, we wanted to have another formidable boss aside from Sephiroth, so we chose Weiss. I personally am curious as to how a battle would play out for the first time with Cloud versus Weiss. In fact, I even asked the team to add Weiss as a secret boss ever since the PS4 version.

—You designed the original Weiss in Dirge of Cerberus, but he was half naked in that game. It seems like he’s wearing clothes in this one.

Nomura: Since he is a secret boss, I wanted to present him with a sense of richness to it, so I gave him something to wear on top.

—It seems like the battle with Weiss is done in Shinra’s Battle Simulator, but will he be present in other parts of the story as well? What will his battle be like?

Nomura: In regards to details about Weiss, all I can say is please wait for more information.

—There will be a new boss character in the DLC, but is that character going to be different than Weiss, such as another character from the Compilation perhaps?

Nomura: The new boss character in the Yuffie DLC story is different than Weiss. As for who else will appear aside from Weiss, well, please wait for more info to find out.

—What kind of character is the new character, Sonon?

Nomura: In FF7R, we briefly touched upon the topic that Barret’s AVALANCHE and the other AVALANCHE are two separate groups. Yuffie actually came to Midgar for Materia, but she gets involved on a mission with the other AVALANCHE group. Basically, Cloud, Barret, and co. are doing their own thing with their AVALANCHE group while Yuffie and the others are doing theirs separately. That’s the basic gist of the story.

—Yuffie and Sonon have a joint battle together. What kind of battle is it?

Nomura: The battle system will be slightly different than FF7R, and you will not be able to control Sonon. The player will control Yuffie in battle instead. In the Tactical Mode, you will be able to give commands to Sonon though. As for new gameplay elements, Yuffie and Sonon will be able to battle together. I hope you enjoy this slightly different battle system compared to FF7R.

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FINAL FANTASY 7 THE FIRST SOLDIER
A action battle game that takes place when SOLDIER was not established yet.

—FF7 THE FIRST SOLDIER uses Midgar as its battleground, but where exactly does this installment take place within the FF7 story?

Nomura: Within the various compilations in FF7, this game is the first to take place chronologically during a time when SOLDIER was not a thing yet but is about SOLDIER cadets and how SOLDIER gets established. The story itself isn’t very dense given the nature of the game, but it does form the backbone of the SOLDIER story.

—The SOLDIER cadets fight not only monsters, but the Cutter enemy, Scorpion Sentinel, and other Shinra machines. What is the reason behind that?

Nomura: It’s all part of their SOLDIER training. They have to undergo various situations to experience realistic battles.

—Can you give us a basic rundown of the battle rules? Is it along the lines of last man standing wins? Or are there team battles?

Nomura: There are solo and trio battles, and the winner is the last person or last team remaining.

—Since this game is a Battle Royale type with RPG elements, there might be some out there who are worried about picking up the game as it might not be geared for gamers who are not used to that style. How did you go about making a balance for that?

Nomura: One of the fun parts of the Battle Royale game is leveling up by gathering items and subduing monsters, which are RPG elements we have added. This should allow for casual gamers to enjoy the battle game as well.

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FINAL FANTASY 7 EVER CRISIS
Another type of Remake that covers the entire story of FF7, told in Chapters.

For FF7 Ever Crisis, the stories from Before Crisis FF7 (takes place 6 years before the original FF7) up until Dirge of Cerberus (takes place 3 years after the original) will use a battle system designed especially for Ever Crisis. Does that mean FF7 Advent Children, which was originally a movie, will also be playable?

Nomura: Ever Crisis is basically kind of like another remake of the original FF7 using a birds eye view of the field with chibi characters but also incorporating regular full body detailed character designs for the battle parts. It will be a command style RPG. This game is the answer to those who said they like the command style RPG system.

The titles are divided into chapters that allows you to have a free game play style. The contents will cover the original FF7 and work its way through the Compilation of FF7 and include FF7 The First Soldier. In regards to the First Soldier that I mentioned earlier, Ever Crisis will also have part of the story within this game. In particular, since the story covers what happened before SOLDIER was established, we’ve also added in a part about THAT Legendary Hero’s youth. That story in particular is a huge eye-catcher, and we have asked Nojima-san to write the scenario too. We hope you look forward to it!

—There’s a lot of people who want a Remaster of other games within the Compilation. Instead of a remaster, this seems like a completely new game, so why did you decide to combine them all into one game?

Nomura: The concept of this game is to use the original FF7 as its base that players can enjoy. The Original FF7, FF7 First Soldier, and FF7R are all separate entities, so I don’t think this would wrap up other Compilation titles.

—Will the story of FF7 be presented chronologically? Or will the story from FF7 Before Crisis leading up to Dirge of Cerberus be rebuilt specifically for “FF7 Ever Crisis?”

Nomura: You will not need to play each title in its entirety before the next. Rather, each title will have its own chapters that you can select and play. Think of it more like a chronology of FF7.

—In regards to the chapters, will the stories be added as new updates?

Nomura: That’s right, new chapters will be added every month.

—In regards to the battle parts, it looks like it took the battle style from FF7R and made it into a command style RPG, but can you briefly explain what the battle system will be like?

Nomura: The battle system for the original FF& was based on the ATB system, so we will be going with that game style. The materia set up will also follow the original, and weapons, material, summons, and limit breaks can also be used, further opening the battle system.

—The new 3D chibi characters as wel las the 2D art design all look new. Who was responsible for the character illustrations in this game?

Nomura: The illustrations were done by our Art Designer Fujise Lisa. We originally wanted everything to be done with 3DCG models, but then in order to maximize the presentation of the original game’s atmosphere, this presented quite a few problems. We considered asking someone within the FF7 staff to do the character designs, but we all carried heavy workloads already. Thankfully at that time, Fujise came to us for some avatar design checks on a new project, and when we looked at her art, we thought, “Hey, wouldn’t this style also fit the game?” Even though Fujise was part of the team on another title I was involved in, we asked her to join the Ever Crisis one. We had new hope.

—Since the game seems to be very story driven, what will you do about voice recording?

Nomura: We’re still trying to figure out what to do with voice recording. Since I’m involved in a numerous amount of titles, I’m kind of stuck, and that goes for voice recording as well. Because of that, we even wanted to avoid having to do any new voice recordings. Since Final Fantasy Ever Crisis will use FF7 and other Compilation titles as its base, we thought “Why don’t we just not have voice acting?” However, it’s probably necessary to have it during the battle sequences, so we’re considering how to do so. If we are to add voices, it will probably be at a minimum.

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THE MEANING OF “INTERGRADE”
Reviving the Compilation of FF7 worlds and taking a deep dive.

—The next installment of FF7R is of course highly anticipated, but we also have FF7R Intergrade, FF7 First Soldier out in 2021, and FF7 Ever Crisis starting its service in 2022. With the sudden announcement of 3 new titles in the works, will you be the Director and Concept Design for all of them?

Nomura: Although we announced three different FF7 titles this time, as I mentioned earlier, I have an unprecedented amount of work right now. Since we already have FF7R as the base game to work on as well as understand what types of improvements to incorporate, the next FF7R installment will be directed by Hamaguchi (Co-Director of FF7R). I will carry forth as the Creative Director for FF7R as well as the mobile games. However, this won’t change my basic involvement with the work, so I hope for your continued support.

—Since your work with FF7 titles will not change much, you’re also focusing on other titles too, right? We look forward to those! With the announcement of three new titles, can you please say a few words to fans who are also anticipating the next FF7R installment?

Nomura: In order to make the game compatible with the PS5, there’s a lot of things happening in all directions that we had to sort through. However, our staff are incredibly dedicated and made it in a very timely manner. We would like you to first enjoy FF7R Intergrade. In regards to the title “Intergrade,” the original FF7 was called “FF7 International” for the improved overseas version, so it pays homage to that original title. The word "integrade" has the meaning of being "a middle," which serves as the midway point between FF7R and the next installment. It also means "to move," which is a nod to moving to a new [PS5] system and to the next installment."

We also have included a new DLC episode revolving around Yuffie, and there’s contents within it that you can’t miss. Weiss is a formidable opponent in the Battle Simulator.

Also, with the revival of the Compilation of FF7 through “EC” and “FS,” I was very surprised when I first heard from Kitase that they were planning to do both at the same time. I thought they would focus on one at a time, but Kitase said “Nope, we’re doing both at the same time.” I even remember suggesting they should narrow down their work load. However, they were all bonded by Producer Ichikawa’s strong enthusiasm, and he said “if we are to do it, we need to do it without any loss in quality.” It seemed like an impossible request at first, but we overcame the battle and got in the clear. I’m so happy we are able to announce these titles. We received good feedback during our beta test period, so I hope you look forward to the game!

As you wait for the next installment of FF7R, I hope you are able to thoroughly enjoy these three new titles.

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Source
: Original Japanese article from Famitsu