In a recent interview with Game Informer, Square Enix CEO and president Yosuke Matsuda spoke candidly about the approach taken towards remaking games, and his own desires for remakes and re-releases in general.
During E3, Square Enix revealed that Seiken Densetsu 3 was finally getting a remake and a localisation in the form of Trials of Mana, and that Collection of Mana would be launching on the same day as its announcement. Final Fantasy VIII will also be receiving its highly requested release on modern consoles through a remaster. In regards to these re-releases and remasters, Matsuda stated “If it’s a popular series, we want to revive the whole series regardless of what the profitability looks like”. However, he also revealed that it wasn’t always a simple case of just re-releasing games, as some games have missing code or data due to poor preservation in the past.
Regarding remakes, Matsuda revealed that the company was open to doing more, with the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake receiving a lot of positive attention. But this comes with careful consideration regarding how remakes are approached. “Remakes are harder, more challenging than you might think. Just by nature of being a remake, it means that there was an original and I believe that you have to be able to surpass the original. It's not enough just to do straight reprints of the old one because you also want to get new fans to be able to enjoy it”.
This approach of creating a remake that surpasses the original is an incredibly high bar to aim for, especially when it’s a remake of a game as beloved as Final Fantasy VII. If the long development cycle of the Final Fantasy VII Remake is any indication, remakes of other big Square Enix properties such as Chrono Trigger might be a very long way off.
The first part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake is releasing on 3rd March 2020 for the PlayStation 4, with a release for other platforms coming later.