Last week Polygon came out with a very in-depth interview about FFVII with all the major players. Hironobu Sakaguchi, Tetsuya Nomura, Yoshinori Kitase, Hiroshi Kawai, Nobuo Uematsu, amongst others were interviewed for the piece. It is a long read that can be found here: Final Fantasy VII: An Oral History
This was a really interesting read, and I cannot express that enough. However, I do feel like there was a lot of good stuff, that I wanted to know about, left out. More on that later, but one of the truly fascinating things that was uncovered during this interview was that Square kicked around the idea of killing off almost the entire party. I really cannot imagine how that would have gone over. During the interview, Nomura talks about how Kitase wanted the entire party, minus the three people you chose as your final party, to die during the Midgar parachuting scene. I am REALLY glad that never made it into the game, because that would have been awful for fans, and for Square. My final party is usually Barret, Cloud, Tifa or Cid. Depends on my mood. Killing characters based of player choice would mean that something like Advent Children could have never been made. To some, that might have been a good thing. Same for Dirge of Cerberus. Again, maybe another good thing. Square couldn’t have made those because the only character that 100% guaranteed would not be dead would have been Cloud. The one character that 100% would be dead? Cait Sith. No one likes him, and no one uses him.
The other really interesting thing was a quote from Uematsu:
“When I was playing the game, I was really surprised when she died so early on. Everybody probably thought she was going to be one of the main popular characters, but then she just died right away. Maybe that’s the reason why everyone remembers it so much.”
This might seem like nothing to a lot of people, and it probably is, but I never really considered that the creators played their own games. I never thought Uematsu composed the music, and then when the game was finished, sat down with some popcorn and played it. For whatever reason, that just never crossed my mind. I wonder what it is like to create something as big as FFVII, and then sit down and play the finished product. I would assume that you are super critical of your own work. Anyway, maybe everyone on planet Earth except for me knew these people sat down and played their own games, but I kind of thought he made the music and then went on to the next project.
As much as I liked the interview, and I really did, I must say there was a large portion of it that I was disappointed in. Mostly, I was let down by the portion that covered the actual creation of the game. Sure, they mentioned the “Detective Joe” stuff that we have all heard before, but not much else. They touched on the decision to kill Aerith very briefly, as well. I just thought there would be a lot more to this, or at least that is what I was hoping to get out of it. I wanted to know more about how the story was created. I wanted to know how all the main characters were created, the locations, and all the minute details of the game’s creation. I don’t think you have many opportunities in life to have access to all those main players involved in the game at once, and I feel it was such a squandered opportunity.
That being said, read the damn interview. It is super long, so make sure you have a half hour or so to look at it. I found a lot of it really good, especially the stuff about the Nintendo breakup. I just wish there were more questions about the actual story of the game, characters, and what elements of the game were scrapped. I know some things like Edea were created for VII, but then used in VIII. I know there has to be other good stuff that never came out before that these guys know. The revelation about Kitase wanting to kill everyone in the game was huge, so I am sure there are more things like that just waiting to be discovered.
Let me know what you thought!!