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Final Fantasy 7 remake would take longer than FF13 trilogy combined, says producer

Final Fantasy 13 series producer Yoshinori Kitase says that a remake of Final Fantasy 7 would require a large time investment from the company, estimating that it would take longer than the ten years it took to make all three FF13 games.

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Square Enix has heard fans requesting a remake of Final Fantasy 7, but has explained some of its hesitance to take on the project. Now that Lightning Returns has wrapped up the FF13 saga, producer Yoshinori Kitase has this time commented on just how time-consuming it would be to recreate FF7.

"I still think it's going to be a very challenging task," Kitase told Joystiq. "I can tell you personally I would love to do it. But before I decide to do anything of that kind, I would have to bring my dedication and motivation levels to the maximal high. It's not the kind of project I can start casually working on, it's a really serious project. It would be nice if I got the opportunity to do that in the future, but at the moment no plans."

To express just how serious the project is, Kitase compared the timeline to how long the entire trilogy of FF13 games took to produce. "We already took nearly ten years to make the trilogy of Final Fantasy 13 games, ending with Lightning Returns. I think that a high-definition FF7 would be definitely comparable to that scale, an even bigger project maybe," he said. "It would probably take a lot longer than ten years, even if we ever do it. So that's what I am saying, I would have to have a complete and utter dedication to the project."

Considering that a major hurdle of putting FF7 on modern consoles is updating it to match their power, and he estimates the project would take about the length of a console lifespan, we probably shouldn't count on it happening any time soon. We always have the tech demo video from the PS3's launch, though, rendering FF7's cinematic intro in real-time:

Editor-In-Chief

From The Chatty

  • reply
    February 18, 2014 11:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Final Fantasy 7 remake would take longer than FF13 trilogy combined, says producer.

    Final Fantasy 13 series producer Yoshinori Kitase says that a remake of Final Fantasy 7 would require a large time investment from the company, estimating that it would take longer than the ten years it took to make all three FF13 games.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 11:47 AM

      tl;dr: We wasted 10 years not re-making FFVII and instead delivered you 3 mostly shit games. Whoops.

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        February 18, 2014 12:01 PM

        Yup.

        I hope someone there acknowledges that they're on the wrong path and gets their shit sorted out soon. Final Fantasy deserves better.

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          February 18, 2014 12:16 PM

          That said, Bravely Default is arguably the best Final Fantasy game to come out in recent memory

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            February 18, 2014 12:20 PM

            Did SE actually develop it, or just publish?

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              February 18, 2014 12:34 PM

              Its credited to Square Enix/ Silicon Studios. The subtitle, which they dropped for the English version was Flying Fairy, was supposed to remind people of FF or Final Fantasy.

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              February 18, 2014 2:55 PM

              Just publish I think

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                February 18, 2014 3:02 PM

                This, although I'm pretty sure they had several SE people either on staff or consulting.

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            February 18, 2014 2:16 PM

            I still can't figure out why they just didn't call it Final Fantasy. It makes me wonder if they're worried about the brand.

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 1:04 PM

          Their acknowledgment was the announcement of Final Fantasy XV (previously known as "Final Fantasy VS XIII").

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 11:49 AM

      Make all new assets and cut scenes. Leave all gameplay, mechanics, and story the same. Not sure how this could possibly take longer than ten years...

      • reply
        February 18, 2014 12:26 PM

        This is what i was thinking as well. Since the game is largely 3d to begin with, it wouldn't require a full conversion into 3d. I wouldn't care that the backgrounds weren't 3d. Just give us better than squatty 3d figures that vibrate the whole time. Maybe take a bit of time to punch up the effects, but that's about it. I don't think they'd even have to remake the music - though maybe resample it from the master...maybe remix it so it's 5.1...... welllll.. I guess if you go down all those routes, it is nearly a full remake.. just not messing with the story and game mechanics. I assume those take a lot of time, but maybe more than I'm estimating.

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        February 18, 2014 12:36 PM

        Not sure about the 10 years figure, but making assets now versus 15 years ago is much more expensive/time consuming. The cost of AAA development has skyrocketed every new generation.

        To give you a simple example, look at the Cloud model from FF7 :
        http://gamingmemoirs.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Cloud-Final-Fantasy-VII.jpg
        He was probably animated using simple keyframes too. He looks like what... 300 polygons?

        An equivalent of that in modern AAA gaming would be maybe 100 times the polygon count, might involved a shitload of work to animate such as motion capture, facial animations, mouth/speech syncing etc... The amount of work involved is just tremendous. In the case of FF7, I guess their problem is that there is so many locations, enemies, characters etc... to make that it will be hard to make it a financial success.

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          February 18, 2014 12:44 PM

          The funny thing is they already did all this in Kingdom Hearts.

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          February 18, 2014 1:38 PM

          Plus pre rendered backdrops vs full 3d environments

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            February 18, 2014 2:29 PM

            I'm pretty sure if other studios can deliver AAA titles every few years, it's not unreasonable to suggest it should take less than 10 fucking years to remake a single game, even at full modern AAA quality. That's just ducking absurd and I don't know how anyone could take a response like that seriously.

          • reply
            February 18, 2014 2:34 PM

            I'd be fine with pre-rendered backdrops again. FF7 backgrounds were absolutely gorgeous.

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 5:13 PM

          While I totally agree with everything you are saying in that assets cost more, both time and money, he threw out a number of 10+ development years. I would think with not needing to come up with new story or game mechanics, that would save them in the "cost" in other areas.

          I guess I look at games like the GTA series who went 6 years in between 4 and 5, or Bethesda being 5 years between Oblivion and Skyrim. Even if you add 3 or 4 years of parallel development, it's still less than what he is saying. I'm not sure how many people work at these companies, but I know all 3 are major players. I just find it extremely hard to believe it would take them 10 years or more to develop this remake.

          As for it being a financial success, I wouldn't really count it being less, or more, of a bet than what they have been releasing recently in the FF series.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 12:07 PM

      Japanese and their endless pile of excuses…

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 12:10 PM

      Phase 1

      Contract the guys/gals who did the Chrono Trigger remake (Chrono Resurrection). Release this version to all consoles.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ANEBIB0oao

      Phase 2

      Contract the same guys to do Final Fantasy 7.

      Phase 3

      Profit.


      • reply
        February 18, 2014 2:56 PM

        That was never released right

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          February 18, 2014 6:03 PM

          Nope, it was C&Ded

          • reply
            February 18, 2014 6:10 PM

            IIRC, it wasn't even gameplay, just a short proof of concept. I'll never understand why people would ever publicize a blatantly copyright-violating project like this before it's at least finished.

            • reply
              February 19, 2014 4:28 AM

              yeah that fucking sucked, would have been awesome if it was just: oops we released a completed thing! its on the internet now nothing we can do!

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 12:16 PM

      Well then. Time to get started

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      February 18, 2014 12:19 PM

      They sound pretty incompetent over there at Square.

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      February 18, 2014 12:20 PM

      Why do people want remakes all the time? Why can't we let the classics stand on their own?

      Like when people want Nintendo to remix Super Metroid. It's already perfect, if you mess with it you will only fuck it up.

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        February 18, 2014 12:24 PM

        With Square, it's nostalgia for when they were at the top of their game. The PS1 era was their best era I think and would pay them to re-release them on modern consoles.

        I'd love to play through FF6-9, Chrono series, Xeongears, etc. all done in hi-res 3d art. Not in bastardized sprites like the FF6 android/iOS release.

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        February 18, 2014 12:25 PM

        There's a difference here. Super Metroid still looks great even by current 2D game standards. FF7, on the other hand, looks like crap even by the 3D game standards of its time. A visual update with full 3D environments would be a nice improvement.

        New content would be good too. Can you imagine the gaming community madness if they implemented some incredibly well hidden and complex process for saving/reviving Aeris? It would be like the Fez mystery solving effort only with about 1000x more people going apeshit.

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        February 18, 2014 12:28 PM

        Well I agree with you on Super Metroid, but PSX era games have aged more poorly than those from any other era.

        They're hard to go back to in a way that SNES games just aren't.

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        February 18, 2014 12:33 PM

        i don't agree in the case of FFVII. that game came out before the power we have now; and it's brilliance in story telling demands a high production remake.

        new kids should get to experience what we experienced; and quite frankly, i want to re-experience it with all the glits and glam that come with today's beastly computing systems.

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 12:42 PM

          The only way I'd be cool with a remake of 7 is if they went back and recovered all the hi-res masters for all the prerendered backgrounds, like this one for FF9:

          http://i.imgur.com/ZED6fpL.jpg

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          February 18, 2014 1:37 PM

          Kids won't give a single fuck. JPRG stories are always sappy overwrought babbling drivel, even the best ones. Maybe it makes sense and isn't total garbage in its original cultural setting, but I wouldn't know. What they excel at is mechanics. I'd rather have a million magic space babies from Mass Effect than another " We must combine our dreams and soul rage to make the lizard Zeus who is also God and my mother so that we can all live in this teardrop." YUCK. Space baby was dumb as a fuck, but at least it wasn't the fever dream of some over Kool Aided weaboo.

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            February 18, 2014 1:40 PM

            I like JRPGs but I agree with you. The stories in these things are terrible and that includes the sacred cows like every FF game and chrono trigger or w/e.

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              February 18, 2014 1:51 PM

              JRPG stories are notorious for the things mentioned, but Chrono Trigger was objectively quality. It transcended the cliche of a chosen hero who saves the world with its cast of characters and, of course, the time travel aspect. Not always coherent, but still fantastic. There's a reason that CT remains one of the best RPGs ever made.

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            February 18, 2014 1:44 PM

            I believe you are getting your insults mixed up, weaboo is a replacement for the term wapanese meaning a white person who wants to be Japanese, and I am pretty sure that JRPGs are made by Japanese people not westerners who want to be Japanese. Maybe Otaku would have been a more appropriate term for your attack.

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              February 18, 2014 1:50 PM

              Weaboo sounds funnier and dumber.

      • reply
        February 18, 2014 1:35 PM

        Depends on the property. In many games, I'd like to see remakes simply because (legally) playing the old versions is near impossible today. At the same time, putting something like FFVII or Super Metroid on a 60" plasma TV in its original form would just look horrifyingly, detractingly bad.

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          February 18, 2014 4:48 PM

          Super metroid looks fantastic on a 1080p TV using a proper scaler, or running through an emulator.

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            February 18, 2014 5:18 PM

            No you need to play on a CRT to get authentic interlacing. Otherwise it's just a pale shadow of it's original glory. Really a mockery that no self respecting gamer would ever be satisfied with.

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              February 18, 2014 6:35 PM

              you clearly haven't heard of the XRGB. And Super Metroid isn't interlaced, it's 240p.

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                February 18, 2014 6:38 PM

                And of course a high quality CRT is best, I use one, but if you look at screenshots from the XRGB on a nice Plasma, it looks pretty damn close. Not ugly by any stretch of the imagination.

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            February 18, 2014 5:35 PM

            Sure, so it's basically modded to Hell and may as well be one of those remakes

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              February 18, 2014 6:37 PM

              Not sure what you mean by modded. A good scaller will reproduce the image as accurately as possible. On the emulator side, BSNES is supposed to play most SNES games perfectly. So just set it's output to 1080p, maybe add scanlines, and you're golden.

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        February 18, 2014 2:33 PM

        I enjoy getting to see older games with new graphics etc. I'd love SC1 put into the SC2 engine and have it available for purchase under campaigns or something.

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      February 18, 2014 12:29 PM

      If they wanted to do it right they couldn't just remake the game they would have to redo just about all of it to make it halfway acceptable for the current audience.
      This was a game that had you go snowboarding directly after a loved ones death, had a black stereotype/Mr. T. look a like as well as a vampire as main party members and had you perform a squat competition with a man named Beautiful Bro to win a wig from him so you could cross dress and seduce Don Corneo into wanting to sleep with you.
      They would have to re-write, translate and record the dialogue for multiple languages, change the encounter system from random encounters to visible enemies, get rid of the sillier enemies like evil houses, make the dungeons full 3-D and more natural, and make the overworld into something like Skyrim so you wouldn't have realistic characters on a tiny world map, and do an incredible amount of CG to recreate the cutscenes.

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        February 18, 2014 12:33 PM

        Why would they change the story? Sure it's ridiculous but if they touch the story or gameplay mechanics the rabid fans would tear them apart. It will sell millions just updating the art assets. Use their existing engine they spent a decade on and make some money with it.

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          February 18, 2014 12:38 PM

          They can't just update the art assets the backgrounds were all pre-rendered and just don't exist in a form they can up-res without looking terrible. I should have been more clear when I said "doing it right," I meant in a way that more than just fans of the original would buy and enjoy, a real update as opposed to a HD type remake.

          • reply
            February 18, 2014 12:51 PM

            I think the fans would be more up for a HD remake rather than change major parts of the games story and gameplay to be more palatable for the modern gamer.

            Square would have to make all new assets for the remake and unify the look to match the Advent Children look I would assume. That design work is already done for most main characters in the series.

            Redoing cut scenes in real time is closer than ever. Would it be expensive? Absolutely. Would it sell gangbusters with over 10 years of teasing from Square about doing a remake? Absolutely.

            They've already done the new gameplay thing with multiple FF7 spin-offs to middling results.

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            February 18, 2014 1:39 PM

            You would alienate everyone changing the story as you describe. That's a terrible idea.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 12:34 PM

      change the lung oxygen cpr minigame please

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      February 18, 2014 12:46 PM

      I would be satisfied with a model and background update. Or they just do a 2D remake.

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      February 18, 2014 12:54 PM

      10 years? Can I pre-order now? And what DLC will I get with the pre-order?

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      February 18, 2014 12:56 PM

      Don't completely remake it, then.

      Make an HD version with 3D backgrounds that maintain the same perspective as the original as you walk through them, but with slight camera following of the player character to give the illusion of depth (similar to Bravely Default). You could basically use the prerendered backgrounds from the original as texture maps.

      Redo the world map.

      Make higher poly character and monster models, and you're done.

      10 years? I'm thinking 1 or 2, max.

      • reply
        February 18, 2014 1:00 PM

        Yah except that Square already said they lost the original art assets... they would have to recreate all the models for the backgrounds from scratch.

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 1:09 PM

          Which is beyond stupid if true. Still, if we're talking about more of an HD remake that mirrors the original perspective and isn't a kind of reimagining, it isn't going to be 10 years.

          • reply
            February 18, 2014 2:39 PM

            Have you seen how long it takes Square to make a game?

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          February 18, 2014 1:48 PM

          Of one of their most successful Final Fantasy's? Who is leading them, George Lucas?

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          February 18, 2014 2:35 PM

          lol ok George Lucas. Sure, you "lost" the originals

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 3:06 PM

          They already did that for kingdom hearts 1

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 1:31 PM

      10 years? What ever that can't be right.

      Well I hope they make something cool next what the heck happened to Versus I hope it is still coming out E3 2013 was the last I heard of it.

      • reply
        February 18, 2014 1:32 PM

        It's now FF15

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 2:38 PM

          Ah cool, well I wish them luck, that one looked the most promising, might finally be the golden egg they are looking for.

          Even though a FF7 remake would of been that egg, or a rip off of their own FF7 that is just based off it.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 1:47 PM

      Bullshit.

    • DM7
      reply
      February 18, 2014 2:37 PM

      They must be afraid of money. :(

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 3:11 PM

      Work on Final Fantasy VI-2 instead.

      • DM7
        reply
        February 18, 2014 4:08 PM

        Amen brother, ff6 was the best! :)

      • reply
        February 19, 2014 5:07 AM

        SIGNED

      • reply
        February 19, 2014 5:37 AM

        I want to support this, but they'd fuck it up.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 3:12 PM

      Does anyone else this that this comparison is bad. Final Fantasy 13 was in development hell. It started as a Playstation 2 game that was 80-95% completed with a new game engine. Then Square panicked with with new systems on the horizon so they scraped the game and engine. Then proceeded to re-invent the game engine from scratch and then began rebuilding the game. Which in the end they released a game 30-50% complected state because of the all the cost of time and money from starting again.

      So, the producer thinks that remaking Final Fantasy 7 would be the same process is just sad.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 3:28 PM

      i really care nothing for FF7 but i call bullshit on decade long dev to remake it. just make it a new project. you dont have to do any writing, music design, even VO's. just pull from the masters at a higher quality. you basically are just redoing the assets. use one of the newer FF engines. surely to god the Japanese developers are at least competent enough to be able to re-purpose a finished game engine and whatever middleware they created to compliment it? i know they are many, many years behind in general but this is not something that would be as monumental as they make out.

      the idea that they would try to somehow take those old assets and do something to them is absolutely insane. its all utterly worthless, its too low resolution and low poly and could be scrapped. they are a video game company who specializes in JRPGS, who own the rights to the archetypal JRPG both aesthetically and mechanic wise. assemble a team, start putting it together, and stop pretending that you have to somehow ship Clord McFox's or whatever his fucking name was, model to a magical place where they pray over it to make it modernized.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 3:32 PM

      10 years? Maybe you shouldn't be in the business of making games if you can't remake one of your own games.

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      February 18, 2014 3:51 PM

      I'm sorry but I just don't buy it. If it would take you 10 years to remake Final Fantasy 7... then you should just stop making games. That's just insane.

      • reply
        February 18, 2014 4:23 PM

        I doubt he was being literal. A little hyperbole to underscore the pressure they would feel to create a remake of something so beloved isn't terrible. Hopefully it is just a translation issue.

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        February 18, 2014 5:03 PM

        That is not insane. The scope of FF7 is rediculously huge, and making all of that stuff to the level of polish that FF13 did, it would take a long time

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 5:27 PM

          There have been some truly epic and amazing games made in 3 or 4 years. Square Enix has huge amounts of people and resources.. if they couldn't do it say... 5 years (being generous) then something is wrong.

          • reply
            February 18, 2014 5:44 PM

            They don't think they can make enough money to justify doing it - Its that simple. These guys get asked in every interview about remaking FF7 and they have to say something knowing that no matter what they say they are going to be attacked by fans. They should have never made that tech video for the PS3 because the internet will never let it go.

            • reply
              February 18, 2014 5:47 PM

              Yes, making a tech demo showing off something people have been asking for these last 10 years is bound to increase the amount of fans clamoring for it.

        • reply
          February 18, 2014 5:38 PM

          The scope is no larger than a lot of games that have been made in less time and require far more (like building an open world ROG with complex AI routines). FF7 is a linear JRPG, and frankly, Square's ability to take fucking forever to make anything seems like a problem uniquely their own.

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          February 18, 2014 6:20 PM

          If a few people can remake textures/models/maps for various games without payment as a hobby as happens all the time, then surely a huge company with vast resources of paid employees can do it in less than 10 years. It is insane.

          Remember, they already have a game engine that runs on PS4, they do not need to make one from scratch, and learn how to use it.

    • reply
      February 18, 2014 10:12 PM

      Read my lips, no new taxes!
      That was a little more believable than a FF remake taking over 10 years wasn't it?
      Who do they have working on it? The Duke Nuke 'Em janitor?

    • reply
      February 19, 2014 4:29 AM

      also GTA5 only took 5 years

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      February 19, 2014 5:30 PM

      That universe was fun, but it doesn't need any more sequels or remakes.

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      February 21, 2014 7:44 PM

      I think something is wrong with AAA game creation when each new generation of game costs many times more time, money, effort than the previous. Shouldn't technology be making more advanced and amazing graphics EASIER to produce instead of more difficult?

      The way it works now feels like they are making better games with the same technology of 10 years ago - which would make sense on how much more involved and difficult it would be. But it's not the same technology. It is - or should be - 10 years more advanced with tech to help ease the burden on developers.

      Apparently that's not the case.

      • reply
        February 22, 2014 6:28 PM

        I imagine it's much like batteries. There may be new ones that give x more life but when the demand also increases it really doesn't matter if the measure is time.

        We haven't broken the rut where the demand is greater than the capability. I keep hoping the some one will find a way to make the process of making games not just faster but simpler. At this point I would not be surprised to see the number of big budget titles, that all the publishers combined put out, shrink to a handful. We're probably also going to see a closure or buyout of a big publisher before this generation is over. It's either that or games will have to start charging 100+ or go cheaper and hope for a larger purchasing pool to grab from. I don't see either happening though.

    • reply
      February 23, 2014 12:40 PM

      I think they exaggerate quite a bit with how long, and how much effort this would take.

      Even if they started with a new engine and built it up from scratch, it would still be a remake.

      The story board and most if not all of the dialogue is already there. It would really be just a big edit.

      They could probably use a modified version of the FFXIII engine.

    • reply
      March 17, 2014 2:26 PM

      what about final fantasy verse 13 wait or should i say 15 since it still not out yet

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      March 17, 2014 2:34 PM

      besides the final fantasy 13 trilogy sucked ass i got the first one as a gift skipped the stupid second one and bought the last one because you can get clouds clothes