Call me an empath, but something tells me that remaking Final Fantasy 7 as a trilogy of slick, high-budget modern games is taking its toll on poor Naoki Hamaguchi, the remake's director. In a recent chat with IGN, Hamaguchi and Final Fantasy 8 director Yoshinori Kitase were presented with the idea of a similar remake for FF8. Hamaguchi took to the idea like a cat to a swimming pool.
"If after we've finished the three games in the [FF7] trilogy," said Hamaguchi, "Mr Kitase then comes to me and says, 'Right, we're going to be remaking another numbered Final Fantasy game and you are on the project,' I'll just turn around and go, 'No!'"
Kitase seemed to agree, even though FF8 was originally his own baby all the way back in 1999. "Trying to recreate that kind of volume of content you had in the RPGs back then in the modern day really is not something you can take up lightly," he said, "It's such a massive investment of time and effort that we really have to think very hard about taking on any kind of project like that."
Well, that's that then. No Hamaguchi-helmed FF8 remake for you, and even one fronted by a different developer sounds unlikely. Still, that doesn't mean Kitase doesn't have ideas percolating about just what he'd do if Square Enix set him to remaking Squall and co's adventures.
In particular, Kitase would like to "really rework the battle system" in a hypothetical FF8 remake. He referenced the game's Junction system, which saw you equip abilities from the games GFs (Guardian Forces, not girlfriends) to your stats in a way that wasn't quite as intuitive to RPG players as putting on bog-standard weapons and armour.
"I think it was a very difficult system for some people to get into. Depending on player skills, sometimes they just didn't work out the best way of doing it," said Kitase, "I think I'd want to return to that and really rework the battle system… and make it something where that level of difficulty and approachability for some fans was a lot better balanced."
I'm not a Final Fantasy expert—I've actually just finished playing the first game, as a real-life weirdo starting with Final Fantasy 1—so I can't tell you just how badly the Junction system needs reworking. But it sounds like both Hamaguchi and Kitase would quite like to work on something that won't swallow up a decade plus of their lives, which means I doubt we'll see an FF8 remake in the near future (or maybe ever). Still, if Square Enix does decide to give the game a reboot, at least Kitase already has some ideas in the tank.