Did you catch part one of our special interview diving deep into the world of FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE? For those of you who’ve played FFVII REMAKE, you likely encountered some things while playing the game that made you wonder why they were there, or what influenced the game creators’ decisions—probably even more so if you’ve played the original FFVII. We here at FF Portal definitely did!
So, in order to find out more about the world of FFVII REMAKE we drilled the FFVII REMAKE development team with questions on things that sparked our curiosity while playing the game!
Co-director and scenario designer Mr. Motomu Toriyama was kind enough to respond to our inquiries! Here is part two of our special interview: Digging Deep into the World of FFVII REMAKE!
●What exactly is the “chocobo bean” popcorn sold in Wall Market?
Toriyama: It’s similar to your average movie-theater popcorn, but is made by frying chocobo-shaped “chocobo beans” in oil. These beans maintain their shape even after popping, and apparently eating them makes you suddenly say “kweh!”
●The song “The Oppressed” was also in the original FFVII. What were the reasons behind giving it a more upbeat arrangement for REMAKE?
Toriyama: While still oppressed, the characters who appear when that song plays are there for comedic effect, like Beck’s Badasses and Don Corneo’s bumbling lackeys, so the track got a more modern, upbeat arrangement to match.
●Was it your plan from the start to have multiple arrangements of the song that plays in Wall Market? We were blown away by how the music transitions when you move from one area to the next.
Toriyama: We decided to create an entirely new song for Wall Market, one that would transition seamlessly between the quarters run by different characters, like Madam M and Chocobo Sam.
●The train graveyard in FFVII REMAKE added new elements that weren’t in the original, like the child apparitions and glowing graffiti. Why were those additions made?
Toriyama: In the original FFVII, the train graveyard was essentially just a dungeon, but became its own chapter in REMAKE. To make this part stand on its own, we decided to expand the location to feel like a haunted house attraction—it is a graveyard with ghosts, after all. After leaving this area, the Sector 7 plate collapse kills a countless number of citizens, causing a disturbance in the lifestream. The boss monster at the end of this chapter, Eligor, foresees this and works to stop Cloud and friends from reaching the pillar in time.
●Climbing the stairs in the Shinra Building was exhausting. Is it impossible to win against Tifa? It was also frustrating getting passed even by Barret.
Toriyama: Nobody can win against Tifa in a foot race, and getting passed by Barret may have just been Cloud underestimating him.
●Normally for high-rise buildings, elevators are divided into sections of floors, but the Shinra Building’s elevators will take you to any floor from the first all the way to the 59th. Is this because their offices are so technologically superior?
Toriyama: I believe the reason elevators in high-rise buildings are divided into sections of floors is to more efficiently transport people. The Shinra Building is a symbol of the company's power, and since the conglomerate isn't opposed to recklessly consuming vast amounts of mako energy, they ignore efficiency entirely and only have elevators that hit every floor so as to flaunt their latest engineering.
●How did you decide on a design for the Shinra Building? Was there a structure or location you referenced? Also, what was the reason behind adding a museum in REMAKE?
Toriyama: The Shinra Building isn’t based on any real-world location, but for REMAKE, we made it more technologically advanced than the original. Speaking of the 97 release, FFVII’s development took place in SQUARE ENIX’s old offices in Meguro, Tokyo. We had an employee-only lounge there that we called the “refreshment floor” in Japanese, which is where the facility in the original game got its name.
The Shinra Building sits at the center of Midgar, and is designed to be a monument to Shinra’s technological achievements. Furthermore, the structure isn’t meant to be just a workplace, but also a place where citizens can come to learn about the company and see how their city is powered. To that end, we thought a museum would be a good addition. We also wanted to give players a better understanding of keywords important to FFVII’s story, like the Ancients and the promised land, so we added the Visual Entertainment Hall’s VR video as a sort of faux-PR reel.
●What’s up with the Shinra trooper who’s tasked with being Scarlet’s pet—or whatever he is? Is that a shift-based position or is there someone who does it exclusively?
Toriyama: He is not Scarlet’s pet, but a specially chosen soldier who's assigned to be her footrest and help ensure her feet never get swollen, and who’s fittingly enough named “Ottoman.” Ottoman’s back has a unique cushiony softness to it that Scarlet is quite fond of, so his is basically an on-call position. He is apparently even made to wait outside Scarlet’s room while she sleeps.
●Why did you include Tifa’s platforming section when sneaking into the Shinra Building?
Toriyama: We created set pieces in the game for the player to take control of the other main characters. In Tifa’s portion, we wanted to utilize her agility and decided to give her “monkey bars”—as we called it during development—in the Shinra Building.
●Is Aerith responsible for the paintings on the wall of her childhood room in the Shinra Building? And what are they of?
Toriyama: Yes, Aerith created the mysterious art when she was a child and her abilities as an Ancient were beginning to manifest. Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima provides more information about the painting in FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE World Preview, coming this September. Not to give away too much, but the novella tells of the sadness that comes with being an Ancient, so be sure to pick up the book if you’re curious. Incidentally, during the project planning phase we commissioned this art with the idea that Aerith drew it with her birth mother, Ifalna, while she learned the history of the Ancients.
●The swordipede monster that appears as a boss in the Shinra building was just a normal monster in the original FFVII. Why was it chosen to become a boss?
Toriyama: The swordipede and Hell House both appeared in the original FFVII as standard enemies but their designs were so unique, they kind of felt out of place among the other creatures in REMAKE. Instead, we decided to make them stand out even more by upgrading them to boss encounters.
●Were there any monsters from the original FFVII that you had a hard time fitting into the universe of FFVII REMAKE?
Toriyama: We upgraded the Hell House to be a boss, but even then it was still a bizarre enemy, and it would have been strange if it appeared out in the world without any run-up. In the end, we decided to include it as a colosseum fight to make it more of a spectacle. We also created a lot of narration for Kotch and Scotch to use during the match, which was no easy task. Thankfully, it was well-received by fans, from what I’ve heard.
●Lastly, do you have any comments about player reaction, or anything you’d like to tell fans?
Toriyama: Narrowing down part one of FFVII’s sweeping story to just Midgar allowed us to really make the most of modern technology, and give a fresh coat of paint to the memories we all have of the original. The responses we’ve received from fans have been overwhelmingly positive, and while we were relieved so many of you like what we’ve done, it’s motivated us to push ourselves that much further as we proceed with the next part. The story of FFVII REMAKE has just begun, and we’ll be working extra hard to make the next part even more wonderful and exciting. You can expect great things to come as we work on the continuation of FFVII REMAKE.
Of all things, who would have guessed that Scarlet’s footrest would be named Ottoman!
Did you gain a better understanding of the world of FFVII REMAKE? We on the FF Portal team certainly did. Thanks to Mr. Toriyama for taking the time to answer our questions!