For a game where a martial arts master engages in a slap battle with another woman and a dolphin flips you dozens of feet into the air, the original Final Fantasy VII remains a remarkable achievement in video game storytelling.
It’s also notoriously full of strange mini-games and bizarre story beats. One new detail that’s emerged out of early Final Fantasy VII: Intergrade teasers, however, indicates the original game’s worst subplot might be MIA in FF7 Remake Part 2 — and the most frustrating mini-game will get a significant rework.
It all hinges on one overlooked detail related to a new character, a member of Avalanche who’s really into board games.
The Japanese magazine Famitsu released new information Tuesday about the additional story chapters included in FF7 Remake: Intergrade, the upgraded next-gen version of the game coming to PlayStation 5 in June. Square Enix shared further details in a blog post about the characters and voice cast that will be featured in the new chapters starring the young ninja Yuffie Kisaragi.
Called FF7R EPISODE INTERmission, the new chapters take place after the Sector 5 Mako reactor bombing when Cloud is off with Aerith. Working with local Avalanche agents, Yuffie plans to infiltrate Shinra HQ and steal the “Ultimate Materia.” Along the way, she meets a young man named Polk. Twitter user @aitaikimochi’s translation of the Famitsu article notes that Polk is “super into the popular strategy game called ‘Fort Condor.’” Yet another Square Enix blog post published Wednesday, however, notes that Polk is “passionate” about Fort Condor and refers to it as “a board game that’s taken the undercity by storm.”
For anyone who vividly remembers the original FF7 in its entirety, reading “Fort Condor” should immediately evoke memories of an incredibly frustrating tower defense mini-game and a globe-trotting quest to collect all of the Huge Materia rather late in the game. The party tracks down the yellow Command Huge Materia at a place called (you guessed it!) Fort Condor.
A massive Condor bird has taken up residence and is nesting atop the Mako Reactor there. When the party reaches the destination for the first time, they find it being defended by a ragtag group of poorly funded fighters. They’re trying to protect the bird from Shinra, which wants to shoo it away so it stops messing with the reactor.
Whether or not Cloud says yes to their pleas for help earlier in the game, the party must help defend the fort against a Shinra attack. Returning even later to play again and claim more rewards is optional, but it’s not really worth the emotional toll of dealing with such a bland mini-game.
As Shinra soldiers or other monsters march up the hill leading to the fort, you have to spend actual Gil to buy mercenary troops that will slowly march down the hill to fight. It’s a pretty basic tower defense scenario. In addition to being rather difficult with several possible outcomes resulting in a net failure, it is the single least visually appealing experience in the entire game.
For this bad mini-game to pop up in FF7 Remake already as a board game makes it abundantly clear that the remake series is doing something very different.
Twitter user @aitaikimochi’s Famitsu translation includes a bit of Polk dialogue that seems to imply Fort Condor might even be playable in INTERmission: “You’re bored? How about playing Fort Condor?” If this game is “taking the undercity by storm,” then it’ll surely pop up often, at least in conversation.
But what does that then mean for the actual Fort Condor location and their fight to protect a big bird? Did those events happen in the past and inspire the board game? Or does the fort have a storied history of conflicts we don’t know about yet? Will one of the Huge Materia now be located elsewhere?
Either way, this mini-game from the original is definitely getting some kind of drastic rework — and it could mean major changes when it comes to the Huge Materia hunt as well. If the “Ultimate Materia” Yuffie tries to steal winds up being one of the Huge Materia in INTERmission, then we’ll know right away that things will be totally different for that segment of the game later on. Despite claims that the rest of the FF7 Remake games will stick closely to the original story, that’s looking less likely by the day.
FF7 Remake: Intergrade will be released on June 10, 2021.