Jay Button: Be happy with what you’ve got

September 22, 2011

During TGS, Sony held a press conference about its plans for the Japanese game market in the next year. Of course, most of what was shown was heavily focused on their new handheld console, the Vita. Despite Sony’s stream crashing, forcing many of us to find another venue to watch without English subtitles, I was able to enjoy the whole thing. And even though 90% of it was people talking about things that aren’t video games, I was very pleased with what I’d seen.

I’m excited for the Vita, and can’t wait to sample its library. Yeah, I know I talked a few weeks ago about why I should stop buying consoles at launch, but this is different. At least, I hope it is. After the conference, I checked the Internet to reassure myself and make sure everyone online shared my opinions about what Sony had shown. I was surprised to find out many people were outraged by one of the announcements I had found most exciting. People are actually upset about Square Enix re-releasing one of their biggest and best selling titles ever, Final Fantasy X, on the Vita.

I think we should all just calm down and be thankful for what we’ve got.

The reason people are in such a tizzy about the announcement is as obvious as it is stupid. Fans are angry because Square Enix has chosen to update Final Fantasy X for a new platform and not Final Fantasy VII. Yes, we’ve all been waiting years for a remake of Final Fantasy VII, but it isn’t quite that simple. Let’s look at what would need to go into a FF7 update. First and foremost, the game would need a complete graphical overhaul. Have you played the game recently? Even the character models aren’t consistent. There are no less than three styles of character model throughout the game. Sometimes Cloud and Tifa are these cute, stout little chibi characters with Popeye arms. Then Cloud will hop onto a motorcycle and actually be shaped like a human being. This simply wouldn’t fly today. If you look at the Vita/PS3 rereleases of older titles, you’d notice they’re all PS2 games. This is because PS2 games are just really easy to update. All it takes is a nice coat of HD textures and you’re on your way. No modifying control schemes to fit new controllers or adding dual-stick support to fix the shoddy camera.

FF7‘s looks aren’t all that need some fixing up. The game would need a complete retranslation, which would take forever for such a massive game. In today’s market, a large company like Square-Enix wouldn’t allow Barrett to sound like Ice Cube in an episode of Law & Order: SVU or anyone to say “This guy are sick.” X only came out a few years after VII, but the standards for localization rose dramatically. Also, FFX has voice acting, which Square would also feel obligated to add to a FF7 remake. Do you really think after over a decade of filling in the voices with your imagination, you’d agree with whomever is cast as Cloud or Red XIII?

A complete remake of what was one of the biggest games of its time would take years, manpower and an insane amount of money to accomplish. I’d love to see it and you’d love to see it, but it may never happen. The way to show Square that we want this is not to complain on Reddit. It would sell a bajillion copies and recoup its cost immediately, sure. But we still need a better way to show them. Start with buying the game on PSN. It’s only 10 bucks and funds Square Enix. It’s cool that you only play the game on your original black label discs, but they don’t know that. You bought that game on Craigslist from a guy who bought it on eBay. And for that matter, you already have the game. Why not just play that one again? Are HD graphics really that important to you?

This post may come off as kind of annoyed and bitchy, but I’m really tired of people complaining about things they can’t change without giving the opposition a second thought. If a Final Fantasy VII remake happens, that’s great. Until then, why don’t we be happy for the hundreds of games that already come out every year.

And for that matter, shut up about Shenmue 3 while you’re at it.

Shoot Matt an email if you have an idea for something you’d like him to cover. What do you think about the Final Fantasy X remake? Let us know in the comments.