Cloud and company are back. After teasing fans with the possibility of Final Fantasy news, Geoff Keighley closed out Summer Game Fest 2023 with a stunning look at Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. The trailer was packed with hints at the game’s story and combat, but what’s most shocking is the sheer scale. The second chapter in the remake project will launch on two discs, and one thing seems clear: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is ready to go open world.
Final Fantasy VII Remake reinvented the opening Midgar section of the original 1997 title by turning it into a full-fledged RPG of its own. But Midgar was always a prologue of sorts, a confined cityscape that shepherds the player through the climactic events of the opening hours. It isn’t until the party is let loose from the city that the world opens up and the freedom of this foundational RPG comes into its own.
That is largely true of FF7 Remake as well, which gives the player some opportunities to explore semi-open sections that have a few side-quests and mini-games spread out. But the majority of FF7 Remake is an adrenaline-filled race through the main story culminating in the party finally looking to the world outside of Midgar and then striking out to stop Sephiroth.
There have been lots of questions as to how FF7 Rebirth will handle a fully open world. For one: Can Square Enix retain the quality and detail of the first remake title? If the Summer Game Fest trailer is any indication, not only will the game meet expectations — it will blow them out of the water.
Just in the few minutes we got from the trailer it’s clear Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s world is massive. Nibelheim, Cosmo Canyon, Corel, Chocobo barns, and more will be available to explore. Multiple vistas of the game’s open world seem to encapsulate a larger area than all of Midgar (which can still be seen in the distance).
In addition to announcing that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will be released in early 2024 (a delay from the previous Winter 2023 release window), Square Enix also announced the game will come on two discs for PlayStation 5. With the size of modern games easily getting close to or above 100 GB on one disc alone, it's hard to fathom just how much data is in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, and what that means for the actual size of the game’s world.
If the Midgar section took over 30 hours to beat in FF7 Remake, we could easily be looking at a Persona 5 or Tears of the Kingdom-length game in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
The Summer Game Fest trailer showed the party riding Chocobos, which means we should expect to be able to traverse this open world in whatever direction we choose, and maybe even get access to some of the game’s vehicles such as the Tiny Bronco. Of course, new party members will be joining Cloud, and we see shots of Intergrade’s Yuffie fighting alongside Red XIII.
While Midgar was a fairly linear endeavor, the open world could create a more open experience where players need to search the large world for everything. Yuffie in the original Final Fantasy 7 was an optional party member. If Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is as massive as we think it is then the possibility of missing a party member could be an exciting realization of the freedom
Final Fantasy 7 Remake was a revolutionary reinvention of one of the best games ever made. Rebirth’s unfathomably open-world looks to continue that trend, and deliver an unmatched experience.