The First Official Gaming Launch Event of Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth in the Philippines

On February 29, 2024, Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth was released for the PlayStation 5. It happens after the events of the 2020 video game Final Fantasy VII Remake, in which the group managed to escape Midgar. Since some people haven’t even started playing, we won’t reveal any gameplay details. Rather, we will discuss an interview that we conducted with one of the game directors, Naoki Hamaguchi, during his trip to the Philippines to promote the game. The game was promoted at The Block Atrium, SM North Edsa, Metro Manila, Philippines. This took place one day following the game’s March 1–March 3, 2024, worldwide release. This marked the first official gaming launch event in this country.

On Saturday, March 2, 2024, Naoki Hamaguchi was present for a meet and greet. A few questions related to the game were asked of the game director during an interview. Here are a few questions people asked him and his responses.

What part of the original he wanted to preserve was the first question.

He responded, saying, “Instead of altering the main plot, I wanted to include details that we were unable to convey at the time so that users can use these kinds of details to discover new information and come to new realizations today.

The main plot should remain the same, but I wanted to add details to give the story more expression. If that’s all there is, though, then everything is predictable, leaving users unsurprised today. Therefore, I wanted to make some adjustments to increase their sense of, well, anxiety about not being able to read what would happen.”

The second question was whether there was anything in Final Fantasy VII that was essential to keep.

His response was, “Maybe the character settings and worldview should be kept because I am a fan of the original game, but it was difficult to decide which parts we wanted to keep.

It’s difficult to narrow it down to just one section because everything is important, but some scenes stick with the user more deeply. For example, at Rufus’s ceremony in Cosmo Canyon, Red XIII learns about his father, as well as the scene with Barret and Dyne. However, if you have already played Rebirth, you may have noticed that some of the storyline details have changed. I didn’t want to alter the feelings that the users would get from these significant scenes; instead, I wanted to be able to express the same emotion with these scenes by adding details. So if I had to choose one aspect, that would be it.”

The third question asked how relieved the team was with the game’s critical reception, the pressure to finish the trilogy properly, and if he had any discussions or remarks with Nomura-san and Kitase-san when the reviews came out.

In response, he said, “I’m grateful that I received the reviews and all of the good feedback!

Many people believed on social media that the team had set the game’s goal at ninety. I set a personal goal of 90, but I didn’t communicate it to the team because I didn’t want to put undue pressure on them. Since the final score for FFVII Remake was below 90 (based on all ratings combined), I would assume that some team members felt pressure to perform better. Although some members may feel under pressure to work towards the trilogy’s conclusion now that Rebirth has received such positive feedback, I believe that everyone is more empowered to move forward and give the final title the resolution it deserves.

I haven’t spoken to Nomura-san or Kitase-san yet because I was in America before the launch and flew to South Korea and the Philippines today. Nonetheless, Kitase-san sent me a message congratulating me on the outcome.”

Regarding the ability to switch parties during exploration and whether it was taken into consideration during combat, the fourth question concerned that process.

He replied, “This is a question I get asked occasionally. I didn’t want to do that, though, because switching parties during a battle alters the difficulty due to character restrictions and the materia customization feature. Instead, I included each character’s story in the main story to give them the spotlight. This allows you to switch between the characters, but not during the actual battle.”

The fifth question asked him how he felt when he initially became the lead director for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, how he felt when he accepted the task, and whether it was an overwhelming exciting feeling.

In response, he said, “It’s clear that the Final Fantasy series was the inspiration behind my decision to become a game developer. Having worked in this field for 20 years, I feel that working as a director for this project is almost fate, and directing this project would ultimately be like giving back to the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy was what inspired me to become a creator. I told Kitase-san that I wanted to give it my all when I was informed that I would be the director.

Reviewing the game since its release was the subject of the sixth question. In addition to being asked if there was anything else he would like to discuss, he was also asked what the most unexpected compliment, comment, or criticism regarding the game was.

In response, he said, “Alright, so the series was praised for its story design and plot in the past titles. However, for Rebirth, I wanted to give the series a greater challenge and try to give the users more freedom to choose what they want to do. This sort of gives the whole Final Fantasy franchise more possibilities in the future, giving more possibilities, not only in the story and the characters but also in the game design aspect. That’s originally what I wanted to achieve with this title, and I’m happy I was able to know that the users also liked that aspect of the game in the reviews. Additionally, some of the user reviews that were released praised the game system and having more freedom.”

To summarize the rest of the interview, he talked about how some parts of the game were inspired by other games such as Ghost of Tsushima and Witcher 3. The biggest inspiration he had was from Witcher 3. He also talked about some of the main characters like Tifa Lockheart, and how he wanted to depict her. 

Since its release, the game has received a rating of 9/10 in IGN, 92% in Metacritic, and 8/10 in GameSpot.

Let’s quickly discuss the origins of the Final Fantasy X game Blitzball in relation to Final Fantasy. According to a source, football and Star Wars pod races served as inspiration for the game. According to some, the game is derived from the Captain Tsubasa series. With character stats, distinct move sets, and a nice balance between actually playing the sport and defeating your opponent, it’s very similar to the general battle sports theme. The Captain Tsubasa video games were available on Nintendo, SEGA, Sony, PC, and mobile phones. 

Speaking of football, do you happen to have a football stadium bucket list like this one?

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