So...the remake of Final Fantasy VII has been delayed, possibly until the next console generation. All I can say to that is, “Square Enix, god help you if you make us wait ten years for this.” What possible reason they could have for such a long delay, I have no idea. But given the often poisonous production values that Square typically puts into its major releases, it wouldn’t surprise me if the reason was so that they could polish Cloud’s bum to a mirror sheen. Seriously Square, just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s going to be good.
But with that said, yes, I am still jubilant to play the Remake. Hell, I’ve even got it on pre-order on Amazon (no joke). But you know what? As excited as I am, however, there is a game from Square that I actually want to see remade more than #FinalFantasy VII (well ok, there are several but this one in particular). I’m referring, of course, to Xenogears.
'Xenogears' And Why It Needs A Remake
Yes, that Xenogears. It’s always bothered me that, as big as a company as Square Enix is now, they have never gone back and revisited this franchise in any meaningful way. There is so much potential here that Square could easily turn this franchise into a series that could rival the #MassEffect games in terms of sheer scope and story. Here are three major reasons why Xenogears deserves the remake treatment.
1. Fixing The Second Half
Those who played it back in the day know that the second half of Xenogears, well, looks like this:
Ninety percent of the second disc was told through one large cut scene, with a healthy spattering of dungeons and battles thrown in-between until the end. This was a drastic departure from the first half of the game, which played like a more traditional turn-based #JRPG. Nobody knows exactly why the second half turned out this way, but it’s reasonable to assume that it’s because they didn’t have the resources. You see, While Xenogears was in production, so too was Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII, and it made sense to Square to give its full resources to a proven money maker.
This is one area that a remake could obviously improve. By making the second half more in tune with the first, you can keep the flow and immersion of the game intact and also flesh out the story told in that giant cut scene and therefore make this theoretical remake a more satisfying experience than the original. Like, for example, instead of us sitting there watching the game’s lore/backstory shown in the aforementioned enormous cut scene, we would now experience it first hand and have it impact us on a more personal/emotional level, which I think was the creator’s original intention. Oh, and speaking of the Lore.
2. 'Xenogears' Is A Perfect Multimedia Franchise
The casual #RPG fan probably doesn’t remember this, but what we experience in Xenogears is actually episode five of an epic six episode series that sadly never came to be. But with a remake, new opportunities for letting us experience the other four episodes suddenly present themselves. And it wouldn’t necessarily have to be in video game form. Take Final Fantasy XV for example. While FFXV itself doesn’t show us the whole back story of the game and its characters, the various companion anime and the film based on FFXV do. But while this multimedia approach is seen as annoying and unnecessary for Final Fantasy, the same cannot be said for Xenogears.
Xenogears’ lore (i.e. the first four episodes) is incredibly complicated and literally spans thousands of years of future history. There is way too much of it to fit into one game. For god’s sake, the first episode alone wouldn’t even work as a game, it be more suited for a movie or a TV Show. Which is why this multimedia approach would work. Unlike the anime and film based around Final Fantasy XV, the time in-between the episodes of Xenogears is such that each of them could stand on their own, while simultaneously supporting and building upon the narrative of the others, culminating in the events of the game.
What I’m getting at here is that with Xenogears, with its complexities and multi-part story built into it from the start, you can tell the story in full and not be reliant on one source of revenue to measure success. This is important guys because… this is Square Enix we are talking about, a company that went on record and said that selling 3.4 million copies of the Tomb Raider reboot was a failure. This is assuming, of course, that Square devoted as much time and money to a remake of Xenogears as they are to the remake of Final Fantasy VII. Realistically, this probably wouldn’t be the case. Which leads me to…
3. You DON’T Need The Uncanny Valley For A Game To Be Good
As much as I would love to see a big budget remake of Xenogears, I have to be realistic here. Xenogears is still a very, very niche game. And if a remake were to happen it would be on a smaller scale. Less like Final Fantasy VII, and more like I am Setsuna, or Final Fantasy IV on the Nintendo DS or PSP. But you know what? I say good. Square’s head is buried way too deep in the uncanny valley that it can barely see that staying there is hurting them half the time. Xenogears’ graphics weren’t exactly state of the art when it first came out. But I think that helped it more than hurt it in the long run. And the same could be said for a possible remake.
If you focus on perfecting the gameplay, story and characters then you can make up for a lot of things. With this game, you’re halfway there already in my opinion.
Xenogears is a game that deserves to come back from the dead, probably more so than any other in Square Enix’s non Final Fantasy catalog. But will it ever happen? Only time will tell.
Let me know what you all think down in the comments.