VII Ways Final Fantasy® VII Influenced Gaming

Photo courtesy of Square Enix
Photo courtesy of Square Enix /
Brought to you by Final Fantasy® VII: Remake
Final Fantasy® VII Remake

Final Fantasy® VII is a monument. It's a consensus choice for one of the greatest video games ever made, regularly appearing on the lists of critics and fans alike. With its long-awaited Remake nearing release after years of development and years more of desperate fan requests, we figured now was a good time to take stock of the classic title's influence on gaming history.

1. Helped Push the Industry from Cartridges to Discs

When Square Enix (then known only as Square) began development on Final Fantasy® VII, the developer originally planned to release on platforms other than the PlayStation.

The original Final Fantasy® VII took full advantage of the CD-ROMs used for PlayStation games. When the game took off, its success helped push the industry away from cartridges toward discs — a seismic shift in games.

2. Filled Out the Blueprint for 3D RPGs

The CD-ROM provided Square the opportunity to give players a vastly improved graphical experience. Part of that meant placing 3D characters over pre-rendered backgrounds, giving players a new sense of size and perspective. This was the first time a Final Fantasy® game had expanded into the third dimension.

3. CGI Cutscenes

As impressive as the 3D environments were when Final Fantasy® VII first launched in 1997, the game's most impressive visuals came in the cutscenes that ran between the gameplay. These cutscenes, generated using CGI, brought the game to life in unprecedented visual detail. These cutscenes set the standard that games would aspire to for years.

4. Pushed Video Game Budgets Upward

Today, AAA video game budgets frequently cross into the billions of dollars. But back in 1997, that was not the case. Final Fantasy® VII was one of the most expensive video game projects ever made. Its success placed another link in the chain that would become today's gaming landscape: the massive-budgeted AAA title.

5. Grew Nobuo Uematsu's Profile

Nobuo Uematsu had already created the soundtrack for several Final Fantasy® games by the time VII rolled around, but his work was still relatively unknown outside of niche gaming circles. Final Fantasy® VII provided a new level of reach to the rising master. Suddenly millions of homes around the world were playing his music, beginning the ascent of one of gaming's great musicians.

6. Helped Popularize the JRPG

The JRPG carved out its place in gaming culture relatively early in the art form's lifespan, but it reached true mainstream success when Final Fantasy® VII took the world by storm.

7. Inspired Narrative Risk

In perhaps the most-discussed twist in video game history, Square defined the first third of the original Final Fantasy® VII by killing the player's most reliable healer and oldest in-game friend, Aerith. The move was controversial in more ways than one, but its audacity helped make Final Fantasy VII into the cultural touchstone it is today.

This article is brought to you by Final Fantasy® VII: Remake. Check out the trailer below: