- Square Enix is gearing up for the release of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth on February 29, 2024, exclusively for PlayStation 5.
- However, rumors suggest it may be available for PCs in the same year, a much shorter exclusivity period than usual.
- The company is currently facing challenges with platform exclusivity, which might deter a broader audience
Final Fantasy has, for decades, served as a beacon of light for fans and fellow developers alike. From humble 2D origins to expansive 3D worlds, from turn-based skirmishes to real-time confrontations, the best-selling franchise has shown an immense versatility, inspiring copycats, spiritual successors, and more, along the way. To Square Enix's best, each entry has offered a fresh and unique experience, driven by new characters, narratives, and mechanics. Though fans have been barely able to recuperate from the release of Final Fantasy 16 - it's still being scapegoated for Square Enix's financial troubles - the horizon already promises a new dawn.
Enter, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the sequel to Final Fantasy 7 Remake and the middle part of the planned trilogy.
Slated for a February 29, 2024 release exclusively on the PlayStation 5, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth might available on other platforms sooner than expected. Hints suggest the game might grace PCs as early as the end of May 2024. Interestingly, this three-month exclusivity is considerably shorter than previous entries in the series, which often left fans in suspense for at least six to twelve months if not longer.
More than a release date, Sony's State of Play presentation unveiled an electrifying three-minute trailer, placing FF7 Rebirth firmly in the limelight. Naoki Hamaguchi, the director, shared heartfelt words, elucidating the laborious journey the studio undertook to manifest this ambitious project. They've devoted years ensuring it aligns with the fans' soaring expectations.
Hamaguchi promises a tale grander in scope than the original and its predecessor while hinting at almost a whopping 100 hours of gameplay, spread across two Blu-Ray discs and sprinkled with riveting stories, exhilarating minigames, as well as formidable foes awaiting discovery on the world map.
Further enthralling gamers, a new trailer showcased an impressively muscular horse - that's Odin's horse, by the way - and Cloud Strife, the now-not-so-only central character, gliding on a Segway.
A nod to the original Final Fantasy 7's legacy, there were glimpses of Chocobo racing and a boxing minigame, which are reminiscent of FF7's vibrant interpretation of Las Vegas. With the expectation of free exploration, the world promises to be brimming with surprises.
While Final Fantasy fans are still riding the high of the earlier showcase, skeptics can't help but criticize Square Enix, or to be more specific, its release strategy. Final Fantasy VII Remake's PS4 sales hit a staggering 5 million within months of its debut. However, over the subsequent three years, the figure sluggishly climbed to 7 million, suggesting a decline in momentum.
Surprisingly, no one has criticized Final Fantasy 7 Remake for its relatively low sales, whereas Final Fantasy 16, which sold nearly as much in way less time, has become the target of ridicule and review bombing.
The best case scenario is that Square Enix has learned from its exclusivity deals. While it grants a sense of privilege to a segment of gamers, it simultaneously disheartens another. Square Enix, possibly aiming to recuperate from past failures, might finally be willing to try its hand at investing in multiple platforms. Yet, there are concerns this tactic may not bear the desired fruits. The series' inconsistent platform releases, coupled with Square Enix's reluctance to harness good ol' FOMO tactics, hype, and organic word-of-mouth promotion, might hamper its resonance with a broader audience.
While The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Starfield, and Final Fantasy 16, might all claim to have reaped all the benefits of zeroing in on a single platform in the development period, the bottomline suggests otherwise.
In fact, outside of Tears of the Kingdom, which has since sold nearly 20 million copies since May, most of the exclusives that came out this year are dealing with talks of lackluster numbers.
As the promise of eventually coming out to other platforms loses its allure due to prolonged waits, exacerbated by the inadvertent spoilers from online discussions and video thumbnails, the sentiment among fans is clear: many are hoping for Square Enix to change its tactics.
Only time will tell if Square Enix will circle back to what it did with Final Fantasy XV, which initially launched on multiple platforms in 2016 and shipped 5 million copies within 24 hours. But, it probably wouldn't hurt to experiment.
We'll find out soon enough if Final Fantasy 7 Remake finally becomes available on the Xbox Series S/X.
Square Enix is currently working on a PC port and two DLCs for Final Fantasy 16 with rumors of remakes of Final Fantasy 9, Final Fantasy X, and Final Fantasy Tactics. The third game in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake trilogy is expected to arrive within the next couple of years as well.