Tetsuya Nomura - director on the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII remake - has agreed that the game's existence was announced too early. An exact release date has yet to be announced for the revamp, but it's hoped that it will be released before the franchise's 35th anniversary in 2023.
Originally released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII is one of the most popular installments in the long-running RPG franchise, if not the most popular Final Fantasy game of all time. The plot focused upon Cloud Strife - a mercenary who joined a group of eco-terrorists in their efforts to stop a corrupt mega-corporation from tapping the life essence of their planet as an energy source. The first Final Fantasy game developed for a disc-based console system in the United States, Final Fantasy VII was originally released for the Playstation before being ported to PC. Rumors of an updated version of the game with advanced graphics persisted for years, before finally being confirmed at a Final Fantasy 30th anniversary exhibition in May 2018.
Nomura's comments on the release announcement were recorded in an interview with multiplayer.it. Nomura was asked about his preferences regarding how he liked to work - with as much secrecy as possible until the game is nearly complete (as in the case of Kingdom Hearts III) or with an early announcement as the work was just starting.
"Announcing your game to the public is always a difficult decision to make. I understand why some companies wait as long as possible and I think it's a good thing for them," stated Nomura. "But in our case we receive pressure from the fans even when we do not announce anything."
While sympathizing with players upset that they may have to wait another five years for an updated Final Fantasy VII, Nomura also defended the early announcement and the reasons for why it occurred. It is Nomura's contention that it would have been far worse to say nothing and let untrue rumors about the potential game grow, rather than to establish the truth, however ugly, early on in the games' development cycle.
"People are waiting for new information regardless of whether the game has been announced or not," noted Nomura. "It's great when we manage to keep it secret for as long as possible, but today a lot of important projects are the victim of rumors and leaks. Honestly, I prefer that we officially reveal one of our games instead of seeing a leak or a rumor reported online... I am aware of the fact that we announced (the game) very early, but word that we were working on the game was already beginning to spread within the industry. So we decided not to keep it secret any longer and officially revealed it."
Whether one agrees with Nomura's point of view or not, one must respect his candor and his devotion to the truth at the risk of offending his fans. Given the devotion of the Final Fantasy fandom, particularly in regards to the seventh game in the series, it seems far more likely that they would be driven away by an apparent act of treachery on the part of the game designers than an announcement that they will have to wait a while longer for Final Fantasy VII. Hopefully Nomura and his team will be as committed to releasing a quality product worth the wait as they are to revealing the truth.