Square Enix launched Final Fantasy 7 Intergrade for the PlayStation 5 a little over a month ago. It was a wonderful next-gen upgrade, not least because it finally upgraded all those bothersome doors, but the DLC episode starring Yuffie — Final Fantasy 7’s high-energy ninja from Wutai — was undoubtedly its best selling point.
Multiple newspapers praised Yuffie’s episode, praising its fresh take on the standard battle system, its worldbuilding, and, of course, Yuffie herself. It acted as a microcosm of Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s strengths and shortcomings, with its brilliant worldbuilding occasionally being overshadowed by slow and tedious passages. Yuffie’s story moved along quickly, never overstaying its welcome while also providing a tantalizing taste of what’s to come in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2, which is currently in full production.
Motomu Toriyama, co-director of Cloud and Company, spoke with IGN via email about the intermission’s function in the wider tale and how it sets the setting for Cloud and company to encounter Yuffie in a later part. “As Cloud and his companions prepare to depart from Midgar in the basic game, Yuffie does the same. Cloud and his companions would later come across Yuffie in the vast realm beyond Midgar. I believe that by playing both the original game and [Episode Intermission], you will be able to comprehend where they are coming from an emotional standpoint, and hence I recommend that you do so.”
Yuffie is an agent sent to Shinra Headquarters to steal a big piece of material that is reported to be in development. She pairs up with Sonon, a newbie to the series who usually reacts to Yuffie’s fast-paced comments with dry asides. Their quick relationship is the emotional heart of the DLC, and it even extends to the gameplay, which is predicated on the two synchronizing their attacks for massive damage.
Yuffie’s tale, like the original version, is based in part on nostalgia. Much of it takes place in and around Midgar, with a number of notable individuals making appearances along the way. Another example of Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s superb mixing of the familiar with the new is Scarlet, a malicious Shinra executive who gets comparably little screentime in the original game.
“We learned a lot from the reception of [Final Fantasy 7 Remake] since its release,” says co-director Naoki Hamaguchi. “I think the response was especially strong for the elements we remade while keeping in mind to pay homage to the source material, and I recall players’ reactions being very positive.” “I don’t want to limit it to only this title; I’m reminded that it’s critical for the next chapter not to crush the source material’s memories while recreating it to exceed people’s expectations.”
In light of this, Square Enix’s decision to air Episode Intermission alongside Cloud’s trip makes sense. It enables the development team to reuse some previously created settings while offering a fresh take on classic occurrences. That wasn’t always the case, though.
In an unusual twist, Hamaguchi claims that writer Kazushige Nojima had a very different idea for Episode Intermission when it was first created. “To be honest, when Mr. Kazushige Nojima handed in the first sketch of the [Episode Intermission] scenario, the plot was going to take place at a different time than the events of [Final Fantasy 7 Remake], but we had him adjust it so that it happened simultaneously — while Cloud and his allies were on their adventure in Midgar,” he says. “I had a strong desire for [Episode Intermissiontale ]’s to help individuals who played [Final Fantasy 7 Remake] to get a deeper understanding of the lore.
” As a result, we were able to venture deeper into Avalanche HQ, Wutai, the Shinra Building basement, and other locations that were only briefly mentioned in the remake’s basic game – this time from Yuffie’s point of view.
The Fort Condor minigame was another piece that the developers recreated for the Yuffie DLC. It was reinvented for the DLC as more of a small-scale board game, based on a sidequest in the original game where you guarded a large condor against invading Shinra forces. Many fans have praised the minigame as addicting, putting it in the same league as classics like Triple Triad and Blitzball.
Fort Condor, according to Hamaguchi, was the most difficult aspect to work on because he knew it couldn’t be a “half-baked” homage to the original.”I worked one-on-one with the game designer at the beginning of production until we finalized the gameplay; even after the gameplay was solidified, I played it every day and pointed out areas that needed adjustments,” Hamaguchi adds. “Because the individual in charge of difficulty level modifications is very good with figures, there were instances when the difficulty was upped without warning… I recall fiddling with it right up until the master build was completed (laughs).”
Only hints about what’s to come in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 are available from the development team, but they make for some exciting information. Because of its distance from Midgar, Toriyama thinks it will “probably be a while before Wutai is featured in earnest,” but that “maybe there may be a different aspect to things depicted along the journey.”
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade Screenshots – Ramuh, Fort Condor Mini-Game, Nero, and More
Meanwhile, Hamaguchi says he’s pleased with how the first chapter made players feel like they were “experiencing a movie through gameplay,” but that the second chapter would present new challenges. “As for future improvement, or should I say “change,” given the next chapter will require Cloud and company to leave Midgar and explore the world map, our next task will be to build gameplay that makes use of the world’s grandeur, as opposed to what we did in this title.”
Director Tetsuya Nomura previously stated in an interview translated by a fan that Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 will pick up immediately after the events of Intergrade, with an atmosphere “very different from Part 1.” Cloud, in particular, will “run around a lot of nature.” Is it possible that Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 will have an overworld? We’ll have to wait and see.
In any case, the Final Fantasy 7 Remake continues to be a huge hit, with Yuffie’s story showcasing Square Enix’s dedication to bringing their most popular game into the present world.