Until Final Fantasy VII Remake was officially announced in 2015, the frenzied fans that had been whipped up by a reimagining of the game’s opening, shown a decade earlier, had basically lost all hope that it was ever going to get off the ground. But developers at Square Enix had been working on it all along. Key members of the original game’s development team, including director/scenario writer Yoshinori Kitase, character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and Kazushige Nojima, also a scenario writer, were trying to get the ball rolling on the project for a long time. But other Final Fantasy projects, as well as the limits of console tech, were always a roadblock in making sure Square Enix had the right team to successfully revive and reinvent one of the most iconic games of all time.
Yoshinori Kitase, now a producer on Final Fantasy VII Remake, told GameSpot that even before the team started production on the original Final Fantasy VII, they strived for the already-popular series to both do more ambitious things and reach a broader audience than before. “When we finished doing Final Fantasy VI and moved to start work on Final Fantasy VII, there was that idea in our heads that we wanted to go outside of Japan for this game,” Kitase reminisced, through a translator. “I don’t think we had the expectation that it was going to be as big as it was in the end (Final Fantasy VII remains the series’ best-performing entry with over 12.3 million units sold) but we did have that passion to make this go out to the world–rather than VI, which was a much more domestic-focused title.”
Paramount to making an impact on a broader audience was taking advantage of Sony’s PlayStation, and considering what that meant for the series’ former, iconic pixel-art look. “There were a lot of debates within the team about the right style to go for when we were making that transition,” Kitase said. “We went around to a lot of international CG events, things like SIGGRAPH, looking at what we could do.”