Tetsuya Nomura Reveals New Details on Final Fantasy VII Remake

Tetsuya Nomura revealed new details on Final Fantasy VII Remake including its story changes, theme song, character designs, and battle system.

March 4, 2020

As we’re getting closer to the launch of Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix finally unleashed the game’s demo on the PlayStation Store. Japanese outlets Famitsu and 4Gamer each published interviews with Tetsuya Nomura as well, revealing an Avalanche of brand new details. We most notably heard more about Cloud’s crossdressing event, the lack of characters from Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, and how the game went gold. Here are all the other interesting tidbits from the latest Final Fantasy VII Remake interviews with Tetsuya Nomura, translated below.

First are details on Hollow, Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s theme song:

Tetsuya Nomura:Hollow uses a male lyricist and is rock-themed in order to reflect Cloud’s feelings. The song is supposed to evoke rain, and I wanted to avoid changes in the song’s image depending on the language, so we only recorded an English version. The lyrics were written by Nobuo Uematsu and Kazushige Nojima, who was really into it. When Nojima wrote the lyrics in Japanese, he titled the song “Empty Sky”, and when translating the lyrics, the official title became Hollow.”

Next on the list is the character design. Back in June 2019 during the E3 period, Tetsuya Nomura lengthily spoke about Tifa and Aerith’s designs in another interview we translated. Nomura now mentioned how the very first character redesigned for the Remake was Barret.

Tetsuya Nomura: “The amount of realism added to Barret’s design compared to his original design served as a guideline on how much realism to add for remaking the other characters’ designs. As for Red XIII, his original design surprisingly already looked quite realistic, so we simply recreated it with more details, and he didn’t change much. In the past though, he equipped a hair ornament as a weapon, but this time, we changed it to being his collar so it’s more visible. The three Turks members were redesigned by Roberto Ferrari. Since they all wear simple suits, we added more details to better express their personalities.”

Coming up next are new comments regarding the Japanese cast. Nomura explained how Red XIII had very few lines in Advent Children, so he was voiced by Masachika Ichimura making a special appearance. Ichimura is more of an actor than a seiyuu, and the only major character he voices is Pokemon‘s Mewtwo. Since Red XIII has many lines in the Remake, the development team decided to recast the role. Red XIII is now voiced by Kappei Yamaguchi, a veteran seiyuu known for many anime and game roles including Ranma.

Tetsuya Nomura: “Red XIII is a character who needs a voice who can handle a wide variety of tones, and I thought Kappei Yamaguchi was perfect for that, so we picked him.”

Nomura also spoke about Cloud and Tifa’s voices during the flashbacks of their childhood:

Tetsuya Nomura: “We had a lot of trouble finding someone who fitted Young Cloud’s voice. In the end, we decided on a child living in a rural area. They came to Tokyo with their parents to record. I’m happy we were so meticulous and patient with the casting because their voice was perfect. It matches the delicateness, cuteness, the husky feeling, and the shadowy voice Cloud had at that age. Tifa, voiced by Ayumi Ito, has a cute but husky-like voice, but we managed to find someone who fitted that for Young Tifa right away.”

Nomura also highly praised Masahiro Kobayashi, the actor who voices Barret:

Tetsuya Nomura: “Barret is someone so badass he decided to replace his lost arm with a weapon. The extreme way of voicing him that Masahiro Kobayashi did fits perfectly. He really got into the character, without the need for directions, and most of the lines were one takes. Barret is really charismatic and interesting in the Remake. I tend to like old guys characters like him, and he’s my favorite”.

Lastly, we have Cloud:

Tetsuya Nomura: “Cloud in Final Fantasy VII Remake is weird. There are many times when he tries to act cool but fails or acts awkwardly. He gets nervous where most people wouldn’t. This might surprise you, as the Cloud in Advent Children was cool. But that’s because it was post-FFVII Cloud, plus we were limited, so we focused on emphasizing his cool side. However, in the original game, Cloud had many comical or lame moments, and this is what we went for with the Remake. I asked Takahiro Sakurai, who voices Cloud, to reflect that in his acting. I hope you’ll enjoy it.”

We recently translated an interview with Takahiro Sakurai chatting about voicing Cloud in FF7R.

Next, Tetsuya Nomura spoke about the new characters found in Final Fantasy VII Remake. One of the new characters, Soldier Third Class Roche, was designed by Roberto Ferrari.

Tetsuya Nomura: “I didn’t give any particular instructions for Roche’s design, and Ferrari had already done the first version, so we only changed it a bit before finalizing it. His first design was a bit too sharp and serious-looking compared to his easygoing personality. There are many other new characters besides Roche, but they mostly appear in sidestories rather than in the main story.”

Next, Tetsuya Nomura spoke about Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s graphic style:

Tetsuya Nomura: “It’s close to a photorealistic style, but it’s also different. Many iconic elements of the original were in the deformed style, so the Remake uses “realisticness in the range of the original’s deformed style”. ”

We also have comments on the battle system of FFVIIR:

Tetsuya Nomura: “I already mentioned this in the past, but since development began, we redid the battle system many times. Real-time and ATB are inherently opposed, so fusing both necessitated a lot of trial and error. I can’t thank enough the staff who persevered and shaped the battle system into what it is now, overcoming this challenge and managing to find the right balance.”

Nomura also mentioned how they included many different battle situations and enemy patterns, including flying enemies and a 3D element. This way, controlling Cloud at all times isn’t the most efficient way do handle things, and it’ll make players experiment with the other characters. He also mentioned the Remake has a lot of mini-bosses to let us fully enjoy the battle system. He also spoke about how the battles are incredibly vivid, be it the various effects when using magic or all the battle dialogue:

Tetsuya Nomura: “We heavily focused on the game’s atmosphere and immersion during battles. Maybe we overdid it when it comes to dialogue during battles (laughs). Recording everything was pretty difficult. At peak period we had up to 9 recording sessions a week, dividing them between two or three different studios. It might be the game with the most voiced lines I’ve worked on. Overall, in over 20 years of game development, Final Fantasy VII Remake was probably the most grueling project I worked on (laughs)”

Having the characters speak so much during battles was an idea from Motomu Toriyama, the co-director of Final Fantasy VII Remake.

The overall reception at events and from the debug team was very positive, and Nomura is confident in the game. He pointed out how the Remake‘s objective is to both satisfy the old fans and make players who never experience the original get why it’s so great.  Next, Tetsuya Nomura shared details regarding the scale of Final Fantasy VII Remake, story changes, and new events:

Tetsuya Nomura: “I know many are worried since the Remake project is in multiple games, and the first game only depicts Midgar. Don’t worry. It’s a highly dense game, and it doesn’t end after a few hours like the Midgar part in the original. There are many new events in the main story. Like a scene where you end up visiting Jessie’s parents, eating dinner. Each member of Avalanche is much more detailed compared to the original game, with new events to boot. By the time players leave Midgar, I’m sure they’ll be satisfied.”

Some content also didn’t make it into the final game, and yet it’s still on 2 Blu-ray discs. Nomura explained the development team prioritized quality over quantity:

Tetsuya Nomura: “We made the sidequest content to be as big as the main story. At the beginning, the development team readied even more content, but we wouldn’t have been able to do everything without cutting corners, so we prioritized quality. We wouldn’t have been able to finish the game otherwise. Despite that, the game is quite big, there are many places you can visit, and you can even move around using vehicles at some points.”

We also heard about another iconic scene, the Shinra HQ building infiltration scene, and how its stairs climbing part was recreated in the Remake:

Tetsuya Nomura: “Each character climbs the stairs at a different speed, and the dialogues changes depending on what you do as well, so you should try and experiment.”

Lastly, here is Tetsuya Nomura’s message for the fans and everyone looking forward to Final Fantasy VII Remake:

Tetsuya Nomura: “The Remake will be releasing soon, but it’s not like it’s overwriting the original FFVII. The original game is the source of everything, and thanks to it, we were able to make a new, unique experience. Fans of the original game will have a different, new experience compared to when they played the original. And I hope those who discover everything with the Remake will enjoy it too. This is the first part of the Remake, but it’s still a full-fledged game, and you’ll be satisfied after playing it. Once you try out the game, you’ll definitely have a hard time putting it down. Please look forward to it.”

That’s all regarding Tetsuya Nomura’s comments on Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s highly likely such lengthy Japanese interviews with actual new details won’t be happening until the game’s launch. Famitsu will definitely have a huge feature on the game the week of its release, so look forward to our future coverage as well.

You can check out the latest Final Fantasy VII Remake trailer, the opening cutscene, and the latest screenshots. Be sure to take a look at our gameplay preview, our other preview, and the results of the Final Fantasy series fan poll organized by NHK.

Final Fantasy VII Remake launches on PS4 on April 10. It was born through the efforts of a cosmopolitan team and is one of the most anticipated games in years. The game will be a PS4 exclusive until April 2021. If you enjoy our coverage, translations, and wish to support DuaShockers, you can do so by preordering FF7R on Amazon.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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