Chattycast 74: Cloudy Memories

The Chattycast crew takes a look at how games age gracefully, and what developers need to do to modernize old tropes, in light of Final Fantasy VII remake news. 

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As a medium centered on new technology, video games go through rapid iteration and change much faster than other mass media forms. Genre tropes that once seemed fresh and new grow outdated and stale at a regular clip. Many games don't make the transition very well, making revisiting them a chore and forcing any remakes to rethink core gameplay ideas.

Case in point: Final Fantasy VII. What was once hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, Square Enix has tacitly acknowledged that some of its old systems don't carry the same shine they once did. Recent ports including the PS4 version allow you to turn on cheats that speed up some of the slower grindy portions, and the remake footage we saw at PlayStation Experience implies the remake will include a faster battle system akin to the recent Lightning games.

So, inspired by the Final Fantasy VII Remake news, this week the Chattycast is talking about how a game ages gracefully. Which genre conventions have stood the test of time and will continue to do so? Which ones have fallen by the wayside? Which current tropes do we expect to see grow stale? And in the context of a remake, how much can core systems change before it's more homage than update?

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Editor-In-Chief
From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 10, 2015 10:20 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Watch Chattycast #74 Live at 1:35 PM ET / 10:35 AM PT

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      December 10, 2015 10:58 AM

      Bump for Maximum Chattycast. Also watch to see Ozzie's permagrin :)

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      December 10, 2015 11:14 AM

      Interesting that you said that GoW had to be a cover shooter. What if they changed it? What if they changed it to be doom like? What about FF7? Why is it ok to change the combat for that game?

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        December 10, 2015 11:54 AM

        Gears would suck without hammering the A Button

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        December 11, 2015 11:30 AM

        Good point!

        I guess Gears just feels more defined by that central mechanic to me. Final Fantasy 7 used a modified version of the same active time battle system Final Fantasy games had been using for a while, and that system has continued to develop within the series. So, when making an updated version, it makes sense to use the more modernized battle system that evolved out of it. Gears started as a cover shooter, and the series hasn't moved in a different direction since then, so it feels like more of a central part of its identity.

        That said, if they wanted to take it a different direction I'd certainly be curious to see how it turns out.