I almost can’t believe Steven, Imran, Natalie, and I have talked about RPGs for one hundred episodes on our podcast, 99 Potions. That’s a lot of chitchat and analysis about falling in love war criminals, the fleeting but delicious crumbs we get from our favorite publishers, and the systems that make our minds race. This week, we had a lot to cover! We got announcements for two hotly-anticipated sequels: Dragon’s Dogma 2 and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
You can also listen on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
Our discussion about the flawed-but-brilliant Dragon’s Dogma is a great addendum to my conversation with Mike Williams this past week on Thanks for the Knowledge about how the sequel will enter into a post-Elden Ring world and how that bodes well for Capcom’s RPG. But the bulk of our conversation was centered around the massive Final Fantasy VII related news of the Crisis Core re-release and the sequel to one of 2020’s best games, Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Rebirth kind of set all of our brains on fire in regards to where the trilogy (yes, it’s now officially a trilogy) could go after the limiter was torn off of the story we know in Remake. The trailer for Rebirth helped stoke that fire, showing Cloud and Sephiroth walking side by side toward something. Could it be Nibelheim? Could it be something else?
But that’s not The Big Question. Oh no. That honor belongs to the consideration of Aerith’s ultimate fate. Will Rebirth follow the path laid out by the original 1997 game? Will it follow a new path? What we definitely all agree upon is that Aerith has a deeper understanding of what’s going on in this new narrative, but the rest? You’ll just have to listen to the episode to find out!
Topics covered in this week’s episode:
- Dragon’s Dogma is flawed but great
- Dragon’s Dogma 2 could be huge in a post-Monster Hunter World, post-Elden Ring world
- Square-Enix loooooves their expensive merch
- Crisis Core introduces a lot of needless complexity into the world of Final Fantasy VII, but not all of it is bad!
- Final Fantasy Rebirth ought to fix Remake‘s refusal to change materia mid-battle
- Remember Cait Sith in Remake? That was super funny.
- Final Fantasy Rebirth could go in a million different directions and that’s exciting!
99 Potions Ep. 100: Dragon’s Crisis Dogma Core 2 Transcript
Transcribed by E. Powers
Steven: Hello everybody, and welcome back to another 99 Potions, Fanbyte’s premier RPG podcast. The recording has struck 14 minutes, and that means it’s time to talk about video games. I am one of your hosts, senior managing editor Steven Strom, here on Episode [dramatic] 100 of 99 Potions. We are back from the world of Lady Blackbird, [Natalie: “Wahoo”] and I am joined by: [long, suspenseful pause] assistant managing editor for Fanbyte.com, Natalie Flores.
John: Oh, shit. Wow.
Natalie: Oh my God!
John: Already, Jordo’s gotta fucking come in with a gap closer there.
Natalie: [laughs] That gave me anxiety. Hi. [laughter]
Imran: I wasn’t gonna blink. The rest of you are weak.
Natalie: I wasn’t breathing! I just stopped breathing. [laughter]
John: I wasn’t either. I totally held my breath.
Natalie: I just stopped breathing. I figured it was gonna be me, because I went in the background, like trying to imitate the crowd, like, “Yeah, oh my God, Episode 100. Yeah! Oh my god, you’re so cool.” But it still came as a surprise.
Steven: Someone who is never caught off guard in the virtual world or in real life is one head of large for Fanbyte.com, John Warren.
John: [laughs] Oh, that is…could not be further from the truth. I’m constantly caught off guard. The person that gave me kolaches this morning gave me an extra one, and I had a meltdown, ’cause I was worried that I just got the wrong order or something. [laughter] So, could not be further from the truth, but I appreciate the vote of confidence. Thank you, Steven.
Steven: I love that, though.
Natalie: Wait, what’s a kolaches?
Natalie: What’s a kolaches?
John: It is a delicious little bread treat.
John: They’re traditionally Czechoslovakian in origin and filled with like fruit and stuff. But also people in the Texas Hill Country started putting meat in them, and now that is what I like to eat like once a week in the mornings.
John: If I’m going to the gym, I’ll go to my kolache place, get a couple like ham and cheese. They had a boudin kolache, which is a fun little Cajun treat. Anyway.
Natalie: Mm. Why did they give you the extra?
John: I think he just liked me.
Natalie: Okay, good.
Imran: Every culture has independently like created their own “What if we put meat inside of bread” meal.
John: Yep, uh huh. Yep.
Imran: And they’re all fantastic.
John: They’re all great.
Imran: Like, there’s literally no bad ones.
John: Yeah, I haven’t had a bad one, but yeah. Yep.
Steven: Someone who is never a bad one but does love fruit, meat, and bread all in the same packages: news editor for Fanbyte.com, Imran Khan. [laughter]
Imran: All in the same packages maybe goes a little bit…that’s a bit…
Steven: All in the same package. All at once. A feast.
Imran: Like, I’m not gonna get a Philly cheesesteak and like throw some apples in there.
Steven: You heard it here first, folks. He loves it. He just put anything in there. Kitchen sink like that episode of–
Natalie: I knew you were a sicko.
Steven: Like Ernest Goes to Camp.
Imran: Though I did put peach currant in a sandwich recently, so. That was okay.
John: Oh. All right.
Steven: In a sandwich of what?
Imran: It was like a ham sandwich.
John: Yeah, no, that’s good.
Steven: Yeah, that sounds all right.
Imran: It was pretty good.
John: I fuck up a Monte Cristo.
John: Have y’all had Monte Cristos? I love Monte Cristos.
Natalie: The dead guy?
Steven: Yeah, we’ve had the dead guy. [laughs]
John: I love eating the Count of Monte Cristo. That’s what I love. [laughter] No, Natalie–
Imran: I like how it wasn’t the book or the play or the movie. You went the guy.
John: Yeah, it’s the guy.
Steven: The dead guy. [laughter]
John: Natalie, a Monte Cristo sandwich is turkey, ham, cheese. It’s deep fried with a little bit of brown sugar and jam. I mean, sorry, powdered sugar and jam.
John: So it’s that sweet savory.
Natalie: Is that like a metaphor for like how he was just like totally heated [laughter] in the tomb or whatever and like had like a bunch of shit on top? I don’t know. [laughter]
John: Yeah, totally.
Imran: You know, how he was killed in the movie.
Steven: Are you thinking of Montressor?
Natalie: Ah, right.
Imran: Are you thinking of “Cask of Amontillado”, Natalie?
Natalie: Yeah! [laughter]
Natalie: These bitches need to change their names post-mortem. Like, this is a lot. [laughter]
Steven: You’re dead guy number one. You’re dead guy number two. We can keep you straight that way.
Natalie: By the end of the podcast, we’ll have dead guy number three!
Steven: Oh shit! Who will Natalie murder [John: “Wow”] on this episode? [Natalie laughs] You know, we were talking before the show if we should do something big and special for Episode 100. We did something special for Episode 99 last week, obviously. We were discussing at kind of the last second, should we do something special at the start of Episode 100? And what we kind of came to the conclusion is: Natalie’s going to murder [John: “Yeah”] either John or Imran before the end of this episode.
Imran: That is smooth, Steven, [Natalie: “Yeah”] just to take yourself right out of the running. [laughter]
Natalie: First of all, that was very smooth, and like several times today you’ve been very smooth.
Steven: She said “guy,” so, you know, I… [Natalie laughs]
John: Yeah, fair enough. [Steven laughs]
Natalie: Exactly. Steven is off the table.
Natalie: And second of all, we’re pivoting to true crime! Oh my gosh, [“Whoa!” “Whoa, yeah”] everyone’s favorite podcast genre. [laughs]
John: Wow, yeah. Yeah, wow. It’s such good timing. It’s like there’s…
John: It’s like the most…
Natalie: There’s no discourse going on whatsoever.
John: No discourse. It’s a totally un–
Imran: The first podcast on the left.
John: Totally unsaturated market. Yeah, I love it.
Natalie: Yeah. Says the person who pays like 20 bucks for a true crime podcast every month on Patreon…
John: I know, you’ve…
Steven: Hey, we all pay money for a podcast that we’re somewhat ashamed of. [laughter]
John: Yeah, every single one of ours.
Imran: Look, I’m just saying it’s great that Patreon doesn’t let you like click someone’s account and see what they’re subscribed to.
Steven: [laughs] Yeah.
John: Mm, mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Natalie: Oh my gosh.
Imran: Just a good note for everybody.
Steven: Hey, I…you know what, Imran, that is a good note for everybody. And, you know what, making a second Gmail account so that you can make an alias to subscribe to other people’s Patreons so that people don’t see what kinds of depraved shit you subscribe to? It’s free! You can make as many Gmail accounts as you want, as it turns out.
John: Yeah. Just a tip for people.
Imran: As of Episode 100, 99 Potions is a judgment-free zone.
John: For the audience.
Imran: Yeah, Natalie can still judge me.
Steven: Yeah, for the audience.
Natalie: I will say, y’all will be dead before you ever look at my Archive of Our Own bookmarks tab. Just absolutely. Everyone is dead.
Imran: Oh! Natalie, I have like a time release thing on my computer that if I don’t log in every six weeks, it will delete everything in my like… [laughs]
John: Holy shit.You’ve got a fucking Griffin Mcelroy blast my cache?
Steven: [laughs] Blast my chache device!
John: That’s incredible.
Imran: Not the entire hard drive, but like, my browser history, my bookmarks, yes.
John: That’s amazing. That’s great.
Steven: I love the different worlds that we walk in right now, where people are like, “Oh yeah, no, if anybody were to find out what I do, it’d be terrible.” And then I’m over here, like legitimately, this is a thing I’ve talked to John about before too, just like, I’m legitimately thinking about changing my name to reflect like my actual, the name I go by kind of in private more.
John: Uh huh. Yeah.
Steven: And the thing that has been stopping me is that is also the name that I use for my pseudonym when I write stuff for AO3 and whatnot.
John: Oh, so everyone– wow, so everyone would know?
Natalie: We will all see your AO3 account!
John: So you’re about to become so much more googleable.
Steven: Uh huh.
John: Uh huh.
Steven: Yeah, exactly. That’s the problem.
Steven: So this is what has, you know, been holding me back.
Imran: Let me tell you, as someone who is completely ungoogleable, I like it. [laughter] It’s actually pretty useful.
John: That is the best. I remember when we were about to hire you, Imran, [laughter] someone that we work with or like whatever was just like, “I’m confused about this person you’re about to hire,” and just started showing me articles about the other Imran Khan. I was like, “You know that’s not the same person, like at all, right?” [laughter] So.
Imran: There’s someone with nearly my exact same first, middle, and last name, just one letter difference, who is like a complete shithead in UK politics.
John: Yeah. Yes.
Imran: It’s like, great. That’s a– like, why can’t there ever be– it’s good because I win the competition of best Imran Khan handily.
John: Very easy, yeah.
Steven: Like seven years running now.
Imran: But it sucks, ’cause they’re all more famous than I am, so like, it’s hard to get a beat on me if you’re trying to Google me, which is also probably good in some respects too.
John: Yeah, the only other John Warren I know directed the third Major League movie, Major League: Back to the Minors [“Ooh.” “Mm”] with Scott Bacula. That’s like the only other John Warren I know. So. Anyway.
Steven: Genuinely, I’m probably…when you say more googleable, John, and like all that stuff.
Steven: There is an argument to be made, based on just the work that I do here at Fanbyte, which is more– it’s not– you know, some parts of it are front facing. I do Couch Surf, and I do some of that stuff, and we’ll probably be doing more video stuff again in the future. We do these podcasts, whatever. There is an argument to be made that I am more famous under my pseudonym than I am as Steven Strom on Fanbyte.com.
John: Mm. Love it.
Steven: So like, if people were able to find me and…like, I’m not gonna say that I’m like, you know, an award-winning novelist or anything like that, but my stories do pretty well.
Steven: And now I’m just taking this opportunity to brag, ’cause I never get that opportunity normally. So, I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe that’s gonna be…we’re starting a Fanbyte subscription service right now. That’s the announcement for Episode 100. [laughter] We’re starting a subscription service, and anybody who signs up can vote on whether or not I change my name for Episode 101. [laughter]
Steven: Oh, yeah. Also, video games.
John: We have a lot.
Steven: Dragon’s Dogma.
Steven: And Final fucking Fantasy.
Natalie: I was trying to come up with a nice segue, but I couldn’t. I was like speaking of changing names, uh, Crisis Core remake?
Steven: Speaking of dominance, Final Fantasy…
Imran: Speaking of going into free.
Steven: Yeah. Well, we’re talking about leaving free.
Steven: Jordan in the chat says, “Speaking of things we’re ashamed of liking: Dragon’s Dogma.” [laughter] Now, I do control who…okay, kick Jordan.
John: Kick Jordan.
Steven: Great. Taken care of.
John: I did ask Jordan over the week, ’cause I’ve been playing Dragon’s Dogma. Should we talk about Dragon’s Dogma first? I don’t think there’s a lot of meat on that bone.
Steven: Let’s talk about Dragon’s Dogma, ‘cause we can get that out of the way.
Natalie: Go ahead, yeah.
John: We can get that one.
Natalie: Especially since like Imran and John were like, “[gasps] Y’all, we’re just gonna be talking for like 500 hours or something,” like immediately after it happened, so.
John: Well, I mean, the Final Fantasy VII stuff, which we’ll get to, is pretty meaty.
John: But we did get the Dragon’s Dogma 2 announcement from Capcom after a fucking brutal 15 minute like [laughter] “Isn’t this game nice? 10 years of Dragon’s Dogma.”
Imran: Well, it’s weird, because like…so, I told you guys ahead of time, yeah, they’re gonna announce Dragon’s Dogma this week.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right.
Steven: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Imran: And even if I didn’t know that, they had, in that Capcom giga leak a couple of years ago, they said yeah, we’re working on Dragon’s Dogma 2. Like that’s, it’s the next project.
Imran: And like, I was sure they were gonna turn out the Capcom showcase. For some reason they didn’t, in a relatively otherwise lowkey showcase. And I guess–
Steven: They do talk about Dragon’s Dogma.
Steven: They bring it up. It’s not like they don’t mention it at all.
Imran: They announced this event here, or at that event.
Steven: Which was three days later!
Imran: Yes. So I think it was like–
John: That was so weird.
Imran: They were just, they didn’t want it to like, it was too much juice for the middle of the show, and they wanted to finish on Resident Evil. And I think that was the main logic, but it was just such a weird thing to just…
John: It was really weird.
Imran: To shove this to the side.
Steven: Yeah. Especially since like the stream that they did do for Dragon’s Dogma 2, which would like…it’s 35 minutes, I think is how long it ended up running. And it ran concurrent with the Final Fantasy VII Remake.
John: Which is insane. I mean, what a weird choice.
Imran: I emailed people at 47 who cover both games. I was like, “What the fuck, you guys?”
John: Yeah. What was happening there? Yeah.
Steven: It had to be an intentional– somebody somewhere was trying to steal some thunder from one or the other, right? That had to be the logic behind that.
Imran: No, I think it was just…I think it was two idiots who weren’t looking, just walking into each other.
Steven: Weird. It’s so strange.
John: That’s weird. That’s so strange, yeah.
Imran: I mean, if I hadn’t like–
Steven: ??? was strange too.
Imran: If I hadn’t just made educated guesses about what we were going to see and prewritten most of that, I would’ve been extremely pissed.
Imran: ‘Cause that was like three major news stories, like [John: “at once”] at the exact same time, yeah.
Steven: So bizarre. Like the stream itself, the Dragon’s Dogma 10th anniversary thing. They showed off Dragon’s Dogma. Well, they showed off Dragon’s Dogma 1 for a while.
John: For a long time, yeah.
Steven: And it was just like, it was just a couple of people who worked on the game talking about how great Dragon’s Dogma is. [laughs]
Imran: And they’re right.
Steven: They’re right.
John: They’re right.
Steven: They’re right to do that, too.
John: They’re right.
Steven: It was just a very strange way to do it, where they were just like, [John: “Yeah”] it’s a 35 minute showcase, no footage of Dragon’s Dogma 2 whatsoever.
Steven: It’s just, it was like–
John: It’s just a t-shirt.
Steven: If it’s 35 minutes– yeah. It’s like 30 minutes of them talking about how great Dragon’s Dogma is, as if they were like…and there’s maybe an argument to be made that like, you know, for people who don’t know what Dragon’s Dogma is, you need to remind people what Dragon’s Dogma is, ‘cause it’s not like…it was a minor success at the time when it was released. It was a PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game initially. Sold a couple million copies, I think? Where it found success, my understanding, is in its re-releases. It was put out on PC, and then it was like later put out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch. The PC release was where it really started to see a lot of heat again, [John: “Yeah”] because it was like, at the time, Capcom’s best selling PC release ever. I think it was like 2015 when that PC version came out.
Steven: So it had a cult following, and it has slowly gotten bigger and bigger over time as people have been able to play it on different platforms and rediscover it.
Steven: At the same time, like, if you’re doing this thing to try and remind people or show people for the first time what Dragon’s Dogma is, you do that at the Capcom showcase when a bunch of people are there to see Resident Evil!
John: You do it at the Capcom showcase, and frankly– I mean, I am excited about this, but frankly, talk about it when you’ve got something to show, maybe.
Imran: So, I think they’re literally trying to mimic the exact same like path that Resident Evil 2 remake had.
John: I guess so.
Imran: Do you remember when it– it was that weird thing where they were like, I forget who it was…somebody was saying, “Hey, what if we worked on a Resident Evil 2 remake?” like, in public, and then had a like development proposal saying “Resident Evil 2 remake, what if we make this?” And like, “I’m taking this to my boss right now,” and tweeted it out. And then he did a stream later, he ripped off the shirt and it said “we do it,” which is like exactly what happened with the Dragon’s Dogma thing. This is not exactly how this would’ve happened, because we know–
John: No. You’re not gonna make millions and millions of dollar decisions that way. No, you’re not.
Imran: Right. But we know it’s no– as soon as Devil May Cry 5, the original release finished, that was 2019?
Imran: That he said, “I’m taking a week off, then I’m starting work on the next project.” And we know now that is Dragon’s Dogma 2.
Imran: So this game has been worked on for about, you know, year and a half, two years?
John: Two years. Yeah.
Imran: Yeah. So they have something. It’s not exactly the same as Resident Evil 2, but even that was from the “we do it” shirt to the reveal of RE2, which, granted, was six months before the game came out. That was four years.
John: Yeah. Right.
Imran: So, they’ve got some time to work on here.
John: Yeah. Yeah. As someone that just started playing Dragon’s Dogma the original– well, not the original, but Dark Arisen on Switch. Like, this is an unbelievably flawed game, in my opinion.
John: I don’t think it’s like…the combat is pretty repetitive so far, in my first like 10 hours or so. There are quality of life things that I think are going to be tough for new players to swallow. But, you know, when Mike Williams and I were talking about this last week on TFTK, my other podcast, you know, he brought up like, this is gonna come out in a post Elden Ring world, and people are going to go absolutely fucking ape shit for it.
John: And I totally agree. There are…there is DNA intertwined here. I’m not saying those two experiences are the same. I’m really not.
John: But there are pieces of what made Elden Ring very special that I am finding in Dragon’s Dogma, and if you also love the idea of creating a little permanent companion from the ground up to basically go on adventures with you, that is a big selling point for me on this game. It is a delightful part of the game, and I can’t wait to see how they make this work for Dragon’s Dogma 2. And the combat’s gonna get better, because they’ve had all this experience with Monster Hunter: World and some other combat environments that are legitimately very fun to play that also play with the same kind of sense of scale that Dragon’s Dogma does. So like, this is a recipe for success, in my opinion.
John: Like, this game coming out in the next 18 months, 24 months, something like that. I think it’s got a really good chance of not only being great, but being popular.
John: Like, very popular.
Imran: This game is coming out in post Elden Ring world.
Imran: The original came out fresh post Skyrim.
Imran: And people really just wanted more Skyrim, [John: “Yep”] which I think is one reason that game didn’t like take off the way they hoped it would.
John: Yep, same.
Imran: Was because like, that was– I was talking to Steven about it earlier. Dragon’s Dogma was a game that introduced friction, while the rest of the industry was removing it.
John: Yeah. Mm-hmm
Steven: John and I talked about this too.
Imran: Yeah, the idea that you like shouldn’t go out at night.
John: Yeah, right.
Imran: Because you will just get your ass stomped.
Imran: If you did that back then, people were like, “Why? [John: “Why?”] I can’t play this game now. [John: “Yeah”] I have to like rest at an inn, so I can’t go finish this quest?” And like–
John: When we say that, I just wanna illustrate, like, not only are there just more dangerous creatures out and like bandits and stuff like as you might actually expect, hi, there are bandits on the road at night. It’s a smart, silly, easy idea that they make work really well. And also you can’t see shit.
John: They make the nighttime in this game fucking dark. Like, you need to have your lantern out. You have to have oil to refill it. It is such a weird…like, I’ve been playing this just being like, they’ve made a million decisions here that were so fucking ahead of schedule with like what the public wants, that like, it’s not surprising that this game is seeing a massive resurgence on Steam and things like that, because [Imran: “Right”] you know, the sequel is announced, but also a lot of things here are the kinds of things that I think people in a post Elden Ring world might wanna look at. If they want something that scratches a lot of those itches, this still exists and it’s there. Anyway, sorry.
Steven: It’s a post Elden Ring world, and it’s also like a post like Valheim world, you know?
Steven: Like a post world where a bunch of games that are not the like, that are not completely sanded down around every single edge to appeal to the greatest possible audience that you can, which is exactly what was happening, like to Imran’s point about like everybody was reducing friction at the time. That was what video games were back then.
Steven: And Skyrim was like the ultimate expression of Bethesda taking every last little obstacle out of your way from the Morrowind formula [John: “Right”] into Oblivion into Skyrim, [John: “Yeah”] until finally, it’s just like, fuck it. You can be the head of the Mages’ Guild and the head of the Dark Brotherhood.
John: Yeah, you can be everything all at once. Yep.
Steven: And you can go explore this cave, and you’re the Dragonborn, and you’ve got magic, and you’ve got this, and you’ve got that, and you can go here. You can fast travel whenever you want. It’s whatever.
Steven: And Jordo also says this is right around when Dark Souls came out.
John: Yes. Yep.
Steven: Dark Souls kind of begins that resurgence, in kind of a bigger, more mainstream sort of way. And then by the time you get to like Dark Souls 2 and 3 and obviously Bloodborne and stuff like that, that really kicks off. Dark Souls was popular. Dark Souls 1 was popular.
Steven: Dark Souls 1 did– the Dark Souls phenomenon did not take off right when Dark Souls came out, right?
Steven: Like, this was– that came a little bit later. It was still kind of seen as a somewhat niche thing. And Dragon’s Dogma didn’t sell zero copies. It sold a couple million [John: “Yeah”] at the time, you know? It was, like the original Dark Souls, appealing to that thing. But also, it’s not to be underestimated how big Elden Ring is compared to any Dark Souls game.
John: Uh huh, yep.
Imran: You have to remember the pressure that was on that game was it needed to save Capcom. ‘Cause Capcom was in a bad way back then.
John: Right. Yeah.
Imran: Like, they were…after Dragon’s Dogma, they said outright: we’re not gonna work on too many original games anymore.
Imran: It’s only going to be like remasters and the occasional big title. And there’s a couple of things that saved it, like Resident Evil remake on PS4 actually did really well.
Imran: And like other remasters like that that eventually let them get to the point they are right now, which is, I think, one of the more impressive third parties period.
Imran: They don’t do too many original games anymore. God knows what the fuck is up with Pragmata.
John: Yeah. [laughter]
Imran: But like, at the time, they were counting on Dragon’s Dogma to be a Skyrim for them.
Imran: And it was not that. So a couple of million, successful, but not ideal.
Steven: Superficially, like, it is extremely them trying to do– like, it was a lot of people– and probably not them basically basing it off of Skyrim, but also kind of the forgotten Bethesda game is Oblivion in a lot of ways, but Oblivion was huge, because Oblivion came out at a time when, on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, when there was nothing to play on those consoles.
John: Oh yeah.
Steven: And it was like, here’s a game that you can play forever.
John: Forever. Right.
Steven: So and then like, that primed the pump for like a very, very, very sanded down version of that experience that was also just like bigger. So it’s like, well, okay, y’all liked Oblivion. What if we like made Oblivion bigger and also made it so like everything triggers those neurons at every given moment. You’re always getting something. You’re always leveling up. You’re always getting a spell. You’re always able to do this. You’re always able to do that. And that’s Skyrim. And they– obviously with Dragon’s Dogma, like a lot of what Dragon’s Dogma is is you go around the world and pick up jars and vases, and you can loot cupboards and stuff like that. It’s a lot of stuff that you would see in a style of game like that, like an Oblivion or like a Fallout or like a whatever. It’s just obviously like way more up to– like, the original Dragon’s Dogma, until they put out that expansion, you had limited fast travel.
Steven: You could fast travel like six times in the entire video game, and that was it.
Imran: Until plus game where you could buy 10 more fast travel portals, [laughter] and you could put them anywhere. And that was, again, plus game. That was after you beat the main game.
Steven: Uh huh.
Steven: And then, in the expansion, they ended up introducing like basically like, okay, here’s a stone you can use an unlimited number of times.
Steven: You don’t have to– it’s not a consumable anymore. Don’t worry about it. And stuff like that. But like, yeah. And you could also see them—John, you talk about the combat—like, you can see them leaning into a lot of the ideas that would end up becoming bigger things in Monster Hunter: World years later.
John: Yeah. Except they feel pretty bad in this game. [laughter] I will give…so, Jordan showed me his review of this video game that he wrote many years ago in Gadget, which is a relic on the web, and I was delighted to–
Steven: Wrote for Joystick.
John: Nope. Oh, that was–
John: Oh, it’s archived in Gadget, isn’t it?
Steven: Everything gets archived.
John: Yeah, sorry. I forgot.
Steven: Everything Joystick is archived over on Gadget.
John: I knew this. I knew this, because I hired Jordan to work on a video game from Joystick. [laughter] But I was like, well, I guess he wrote it for Gadget, but I forgot that they– okay, never mind. [laughter] That’s how that happened. But like, it’s so funny. Almost every single one of Jordan’s criticisms of that game I agree with. I think the combat feels bad. NPCs are pretty lifeless in a lot of ways, and…
Imran: They’re all weird dolls, yeah.
John: They’re all weird dolls.
Steven: But kind of plays into the story by the very end of that game.
John: But I was about to say, it’s like, most of these things ended up charming me in some way. So like, there are a lot of problems with it. I do think the combat, today, of this 10 year old game, it is probably going to be a sticking point for a lot of new players.
John: ‘Cause I don’t, like, it is a frustrating, frustrating battle system, where like, if you knock someone– it’s kind of funny. There’s a lot of humor in it. You’ll be cornering a guy and doing some damage to him, but then you do like a knock back that like drives him fucking 50 feet. There isn’t really a lock on system.
John: So like, he falls into a hedge, and you lose track of him. And then there are like eight other wolves trying to attack you at the same time. But it is funny, though, and I do like that.
Steven: And one of those wolves, you can walk up and press the right trigger and pick it up [John: “And pick it up”] in a fucking full nelson while your bud runs up and stabs it! [laughs]
John: Like, this is maybe one of the funniest video games I’ve played ever.
Imran: Yes. And also you can make your pawn however you want them to look.
Imran: So like, I made mine look like Andre the Giant. You can make it like a small little guy.
Imran: And like, they will do all this, like, your small little guy, while you’re putting a wolf in a full nelson, will just run up and drop kick him in the chest, and it’s fucking hilarious.
John: Yep. It’s really funny.
Steven: You could make Natalie Flores as a character in your game [John: “Yep”] who is just like a fucking little dagger wielding ball of knives.
John: Uh huh. Right.
Steven: And she’ll run up and kill ‘em. [Natalie laughs]
John: Uh huh.
Imran: Which, by the way, do you think that–
Natalie: Not true to reality at all.
Imran: Do you think they’re gonna redo that pawn system? ‘Cause it’s kind of fucked up the way it is. [laughs] Like, well…
Steven: Yeah, I mean, their explanation for pawns is like, these people have no will whatsoever.
Imran: Yeah. They have no will. You’re actually doing them a favor by letting them be your slave.
Steven: They’re minions from Despicable Me.
John: I mean, they do–
Imran: They exist in a universe that only exists to serve you.
John: Yeah, they do come from some sort of pocket universe. I mean, you don’t think about them like people, even though they look like– you know what? Maybe they will make them, like, you’ll be allowed to make them not look like people. [laughter] I don’t know why that– I don’t know why that would help. It’s like, oh, I can now–
Steven: Ah, yeah. As long as you can other them further, John, it’s all right.
John: [laughs] Well, I’m like, it is a weird vibe. I’ll say that.
John: My honest hope is that they would, you know, keep the pawn system functionally much more the way it is, but like maybe humanize the actual characters a little bit more. Like, it’d be nice to give my pawn some sort of backstory, or I don’t know. Maybe I don’t care about that, honestly, but.
Steven: You could do a lot with it. Like, here’s the thing about the pawn system in this game is like, the pawns have– I hope they replicate this. They have so much dialogue.
John: [laughs] They do, yeah.
Steven: Just so much in this, in both the sense of like frequency and that they’re constantly talking, which is very funny.
John: They’re constantly talking, yeah.
Steven: It’s kind of a meme for this game how much they fucking talk, but also, they have– they recorded lines for fucking everything!
Steven: You’ll be walking into a camp, and the pawn will remark on that specific bandit camp, and like say like, “Oh, this place is near this place, which means it’s like this place, and these guys are from this area over here, and I bet they work really hard because of this.”
John: Yep. Uh huh.
Steven: And it’s just like, what the fuck? Why did you record so much bespoke dialogue for this random encounter?
John: Well, I don’t think I’ve come across any character that isn’t voiced. I think literally everyone is voiced, too.
Imran: Yeah. Pretty sure.
Steven: Yeah. Yeah, again, they were chasing Oblivion.
John: Which is crazy, though. Like, there are…you know, it’s like every single NPC in a third person RPG. Like, you know, a child running down an alleyway after like a toy. Like, every single one of them will be a–
Steven: Oh, we’re talking about Natalie again. [laughter]
John: But it’s like every single, every single NPC is voiced, which like, I don’t know why threw me, but it did in this game for some reason. It’s also got Xenogears—I mean, it’s not Xenogears—Xeno saga syndrome, where everyone is [imitating accent] everyone from London, [Natalie laughs] which is pretty funny. But yeah, I don’t know. I think this is a very cool game. I can’t believe it took me a decade to play it. And, yeah, I’m really excited about 2. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
Imran: Did you get to the scene in the king’s bedroom yet, John?
John: Uh, no, not yet.
Imran: So there’s a scene that—I’ve played this game several times—I’m still not a hundred percent sure I understand, where you’re like hiding in the king’s closet, and like [John, intrigued: “Mm”] his wife or whoever…it’s his wife, I’m pretty sure, but like, she’s waiting in the bedroom for him, and you two are having like a thing.
Imran: So she quickly shoved you into the closet. And he comes in, and like, it’s implied they’re gonna do like his, you know, husbandly whatever. And then he just starts choking her.
John: Oh. Oh my.
Imran: And like, it’s not even clear what that’s about, but it like, [John: “Oh my”] it never really comes up again beyond that, yeah, the king’s kind of fucked up.
Steven: Yeah, this game is full of weird…again, there’s something surreal, and I don’t know how much of it is intentional, but it does give this game like an incredibly distinct feel, where it’s just like, stuff is weird in the world of Dragon’s Dogma.
Steven: It looks…and honestly it’s similar Dark Souls in some ways, where it like looks like low fantasy, just very basic, “There’s a dragon. There are knights. Somebody can throw a fireball.” That sort of thing. But like, nothing feels right. It feels like you are [John: “Nothing feels right. It’s true”] in a dream.
Steven: One of the earliest quests that you can get as well, Imran, is like, there’s a scene where you trek all the way across the map from like the main area. It’s like the first real thing you do after getting to the big city Gransys.
John: Oh yeah.
Steven: And you trek all the way across this map to go meet this guy by this cave. I forget what he is. It’s like some master swordsmith or something like that. And then he like talks to you about like how nothing is as it seems or something. And then the camera pulls back to like a bird’s eye view and reveals that you’re both standing in like a giant, basically, crop circle, like a big giant… [laughter] I forgot what they’re called, but you know, those like big, giant designs in the world that are like made of stones. And it’s just like a big one of those built into the mountainside that looks like a stick figure of a human being. And that’s not really explained either. [laughs] It just happens, and it’s like, what is this? What is this?
Imran: It feels like you let your very creative, very creepy goth friend DM a game.
Steven: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
John: [laughs] Yeah, it does. It does. It does.
Steven: We could talk about Dragon’s Dogma– honestly, we’ve gone on longer talking about Dragon’s Dogma than I think we anticipated to, ‘cause we got a lot more to get to.
John: Maybe we should do a big Dragon’s Dogma spoiler cast, like soon-ish, maybe in the next…
Imran: We should.
John: Maybe after like mid-July or something I’ll have played most of it, and yeah, we should do that. That could be good.
Natalie: Jordo’s like, “I’m on the episode.” [laughter]
John: Yeah, that’s fine.
Steven: Yeah, you could be on. I just started a new save myself the other day, [John: “Yeah”] so maybe it’s time I– I’ve never beaten the Dark Arisen stuff.
John: Oh, yeah.
Steven: I’ve read some wild stuff about what Bitterblack Isle is [John: “Yep”] and like how it turns it into like a weird Diablo 1 like, which is interesting. You have to like extract loot from Bitterblack Isle to have it identified like in Division 1 when you had to like [John: “Oh my gosh”] take it to the helicopter, otherwise you’d just lose all that loot and it just goes away if you don’t make it back.
John: Oh, weird. Wild.
Steven: We will talk about Dragon’s Dogma some other time, though. We will instead take a break right now, come back, and we’ll talk about Final Fantasy VII remake news, which I think Natalie will have a lot to say about.
[music in background]
Steven: Hey, do you like everybody on this here 99 Potions podcast, the premier Fanbyte RPG podcast? Premier because it’s the only one, but we love to call it that anyway. [laughter] Well, you might also love the people who are on the show. That’s me, Steven Strom, managing editor of Fanbyte.com– senior managing editor of Fanbyte.com. Got that one wrong. You can follow me on Twitter at @stevenstrom however, and you can follow other people the old social medias. Natalie, where can people follow you?
Natalie: @heartimecia. That’s heart I-M-E-C-I-A.
Steven: Wow. That’s a Final Fantasy reference.
Natalie: Wow! We never talk about that game on this podcast. [laughter]
Steven: Never happened. I sure hope we don’t talk about it in the very next segment, therefore invalidating everything that I’ve just said. [laughter] Anyway, where can people follow you, John Warren?
John: You can follow me at @floppyadult over on twitter.com.
Steven: And Imran Khan. I don’t know why I put a pause between your first and last name.
Imran: Well, because it’s also a Final Fantasy reference, @imranzomg, which is famously what Noctus says at the end of Final Fantasy XV. [John laughs]
Steven: Oh, that’s right. I forgot about that.
Natalie: I was gonna say you put a pause because Imran’s username gives everyone a pause.
Natalie: Imran, zoh my god.
Imran: Especially Prompto.
Steven: [with a lot of weird pauses] You can follow our wonderful producer, Jordan Mallory on Twitter at @jordan_mallory, and you can follow Fanbyte Media on Twitter at @fanbytemedia. I’m putting pauses between all of them now, because, uh, you know, I just wanted to.
Imran: We can just make a soundboard where we can…
Steven: [laughs] I didn’t want you to feel alone, Imran, was the only thing.
Imran: Mm, yeah.
Steven: So, and, you know, Fanbyte Media’s feelings would’ve gotten hurt otherwise.
Imran: Yeah, of course.
John: That’s true.
Steven: Anyway, go do all that stuff. Bye.
Steven: And we are back from our break and outer space. Here to talk to you about Midgar instead is Final Fantasy VII Remake stuff. “Final Fantasy VII 25th anniversary livestream, baby” is what these notes say here.
Steven: I believe written by Natalie Flores.
Natalie: Mm, mm, mm-hmm.
Steven: Natalie, do you want to tell us a little bit about what happened?
Natalie: [British accent] All right. I will tell you what happened. [Steven laughs] So… [laughs quietly, drops accent] on June 16, Square Enix had its–
Steven: [laughs] We’re just not gonna talk about that, huh?
Natalie: [laughs, shifts back into accent] Its Final Fantasy VII 25th anniversary livestream. [drops accent] They revealed a few things, like new accessories, a new vinyl for the Final Fantasy VII compilation. They shared some–
Steven: Square Enix loves to sell merch.
John: Yes, they do.
Natalie: Yes, they do, like the over $10,000 Terra statue from Final Fantasy XVI.
Natalie: They also revealed updates to the hotly popular free-to-play battle royale THE FIRST SOLDIER, which is available on mobile devices, if you did not know that.
John: Is that popular?
Natalie: No, that was sarcastic. [laughter] I was just about–
Steven: That was so funny.
Imran: I could believe it!
Natalie: I was just about to say. I was just about to say: if you did not know, it’s on mobile devices, because, um, [sarcastic] but like, why would you not know, ’cause it’s sooo popular? [laughter] It’s currently on its third season, so that is, you know, an indication. And they did, you know, reveal more about Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis, which is a sort of different kind of remake that’s sort of gonna be encompassing the events of Final Fantasy VII and its compilation just enough that you can be ready for the next game. Or I think it’ll– yeah, I think that’s what it’s gonna do, just retell the original story but like using different sort of more visual novel format.
Natalie: There will be some fights, though. We saw Aerith in a beautiful dress doing some like power moves, and we saw Sephiroth with short hair and some really lovely character portraits in general. It’s entering closed beta in 2022 for iOS and Android. But now we’re gonna move on to the things that matter. [laughs] So, the first big reveal was Crisis Core Reunion, a remake, or as they’re calling it, a remaster of the original Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core.
Imran: It’s, uh…
Natalie: For those who might not– mm-hmm?
John: It looks like a remaster to me.
Imran: It is…so they’re reusing the FF7 remake models for the cutscenes.
John: Oh. Wait.
Imran: The actual gameplay has new lighting and shaders, but it is the up res of Crisis Core on PSP.
Steven: Oh, wow!
John: Right. Yeah, okay.
Steven: I missed– so, I’ve not seen– for context, I have not seen this video at all.
Steven: I watched the Dragon’s Dogma one, and I’ve been busy since. So I’m relying on all of you to explain exactly what happened.
Imran: Yeah, so they’re redoing most of the 3D models for, I think, the important characters. Like, you can tell in the gameplay that like some of– not every enemy model has been like completely redone or anything, but like Zack I’m pretty sure is his Remake model for the most part.
John: Yeah. I think that’s true, yeah.
Imran: And like the cutscenes are definitely like, some are CG, and some are just like very well, like, how would you– in engine, but like recorded.
John: Yeah, this looks good. Like, this looks like…you’re right. It does– it is beyond a typical remaster, especially of a PSP game from 2007. Yeah.
John: It looks like a–
Natalie: Has not been easily accessible like anywhere else basically since.
Steven: They only released it on UMD. You couldn’t even get it digitally.
John: Digitally. Right.
Imran: Which might be because like of Gackt or might be because the pop song “Why” that was like the main theme of that game. But for whatever reason, they could not release it digitally, and just has not been seen since 2007.
Steven: [sarcastic] Thankfully, it was released on the universal media disc, so like, everybody has a thing that can play that.
John: Everybody’s got one of those. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Steven: It’s universal.
John: It’s universal. It’s right there in the name. Should we…I wanna go around real quick to ask everyone briefly what your experience with Crisis Core is. Natalie, I’ll start with you.
Natalie: I loved it.
John: Okay, so you’ve played it, and you loved it.
Natalie: Yeah. Is that it? Like just the…
Natalie: Is that all that you’re getting a temperature read on? I’m not sure. [laughs]
John: I would– do you have anything else notable that you would like to say about it? Like, what’s something that you thought was really good about it?
Natalie: Mm, I really liked Zack as a protagonist.
Natalie: I didn’t quite connect with Cloud until later on in my life where I really sort of understood his own personal issues.
Natalie: I think as someone, when I first got into Final Fantasy, Zack appealed to me because of his personality. So I think Zack will be a…if you have not played the main remake game or the original or never got to play Crisis Core, I think Crisis Core is just a really enjoyable game despite its faults, because Zack is such a charming protagonist.
Natalie: He’s really part of the heart and soul of that compilation, and I’m glad that they’re doing it after all. I imagine it hasn’t been an easy task to remake this, but it really does feel necessary considering what we get by the end of the remake.
John: It sure does. Yeah.
John: Imran, did you like Crisis Core?
Imran: Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot. I replayed it, I wanna say…when was I laid off from Game– about three years ago.
Imran: So I, when I was like, I figured I would play it on an emulator, and so I played the higher res version. The game was a lot weirder than I remembered.
John: It’s weird! It’s a weird game.
Imran: It’s a very strange game.
Imran: It was like Tabata’s first director– not his first directorial debut, but like his first major one. The actual gameplay is strange.
Imran: And then it’s like that slot-based battle system. The quest system is strange, ’cause it was like, [John: “Yep”] that’s what all PSP games were at the time, was there were quest based things to go on these small little missions.
John: Designed for mobile. Yep.
Steven: Yeah, they were borrowing Monster Hunter.
Steven: It was like, everything had to be like one little thing that you did, ‘cause [John: “Yep”] Monster Hunter was like the king of the PSP.
Imran: Yeah. It started– it’s where Nomura and Nojima first started going like actually insane.
John: Uh huh.
Imran: Where like it, Nomura’s crush on Gackt reaches zenith at that point, and we… [Natalie laughs] Gackt was a major part of that game. There was a scene– the scene I always remember when I tell people like, “Hey, Crisis Core is actually a really weird game,” is where Gackt has– Genesis has two soldiers hold Zack down, then take his hair, and then eat it to gain Zack’s powers. And then it’s like [John: “Yeah”] never really talked about again. It’s just like, oh, they ate Zack’s hair, and that’s just the way to gain his powers, I guess.
John: Zack’s hair is made out of delicious black licorice.
John: Which, yeah, they don’t go into that, but that’s basically why that happens.
Steven: But also, Zack has powers? [John laughs]
Imran: He’s a really strong soldier. They never really explain why.
John: Yeah. Uh huh.
Imran: Like, even pre– ‘cause like, that’s the thing. In Final Fantasy VII, in the Final Fantasy VII universe, Zack may be the legitimately strongest normal person in the world.
Imran: Because he’s not Mako infused. He’s not Jenova infused. He is like just a really, really strong human.
John: [laughs] Yeah, Steven did just post the image where Zack goes, “No way! You just ate my hair!”
Imran: Yes. That is exactly what I’m talking about.
John: Oh, wow.
Imran: But also, that game has, I think, probably an all time best ending.
John: It’s good.
Imran: ‘Cause prequels…
Imran: Prequels are such a thing where like, I never really agree with the criticism that, “Oh, we know what’s going to happen in them, so prequels are boring.”
Imran: But to an extent, like, yeah, I know Zack’s gonna die at the end of this, [John: “Right”] because we’ve seen it in FF7.
Imran: But they handle it so fucking well that it’s like, [John: “Yeah, Natalie: “Mm-hmm”] it’s going to be a game ending I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, even if they just never reference it again.
John: Yeah. Yeah. That’s good. Steven, did you like Crisis Core?
Steven: Sorry, Natalie, were you saying something?
Natalie: Oh, I just said ??? [laughter]
Imran: Oh, yeah.
Steven: I liked it. I played it, and I never beat it, honestly.
Steven: Like, if I’m being completely open.
John: Fair enough.
Steven: I liked it at the time. I don’t have a ton of strong opinions about it. I was not a huge Final Fantasy VII player at the time. Final Fantasy IX at that era was still probably like foremost in front of my mind, and I thought like Zack was cool [John: “Yeah”] and that game was interesting and weird. It might have been too weird for me at the time, ‘cause this was really before I think I really got deep into video games outside of playing Red Alert and, um…
John: [laughs] Yeah.
Steven: Sonic the Hedgehog 2. I had a very weird introduction to video games, in terms of like what I did and didn’t play. And I was a PSP kid. I did not have a DS, or a 3DS eventually, [John: “Yeah”] until much, much, much later. So I was like looking for anything to play on PSP.
Steven: PSP had some great games, just not [Imran: “It does”] as many as the DS, ‘cause it sold so much better in the states. And then I turned in my– I think the reason I never got back to it really was because I turned in my PSP for a PSP go.
Steven: And it was like the one major casualty of that PSP go transition, because PSP go—if people don’t remember—was like a little, it was the final PSP revision where it like slid open like a sidekick.
John: Uh huh.
Steven: And it was cool, honestly, [John: “It was cool. Yeah”] to look at and hold and stuff like that, but it only played digital games.
John: Digital games. Yeah.
Imran: So you could not play Crisis Core.
John: You could not play Crisis Core. [laughs]
Steven: So you couldn’t play Crisis Core. It was– Crisis Core, Metal Gear Acid, and Metal Gear Acid 2 were like the three games that I always really wanted to beat and never could.
John: Never could.
Steven: I traded in Crisis Core and never got back to it. Now, in the intervening years, I have bought a PSP 2000 and a copy of Crisis Core, so I have it actually near me in a box, probably in the next room over. I just haven’t gotten back around to playing it, but maybe…
Steven: I don’t know. I don’t know if I should wait now to play this remaster?
John: I mean, you should just wait.
Natalie: I mean, yeah, you should just wait.
John: ‘Cause I mean, it’s coming to PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox, Steam. Yeah.
Natalie: The only real loss that you’ll get…yeah, the only real loss that you’ll get is that Zack’s new voice is really bad, in my opinion?
Imran: I agree with you, Natalie. It sucks. [laughter] It’s not the same old Zack. It’s like they’re trying to keep him in line with the remake, [John: “No. Yeah”] which is a thing that like, they explicitly told me a couple of E3s ago they were just not gonna do.
Imran: They were like, no, these voices are only for Remake. They’re not changing anybody else’s voice outside of this.
Imran: Which maybe they couldn’t get the old voice actor back. Maybe, I don’t know, there could be a number of other things, but the new voice is not as good.
Steven: Natalie, can you do me a favor?
Natalie: Mm-hmm, yeah.
Steven: What does the new voice sound like?
Natalie: Ah, fuck. You can’t make me do that.
Steven: [laughs] I’m the host of this episode. I can do whatever I want!
Natalie: No! I mean, fuck, I…okay. Wait, I need to get a line from the trailer and– what’s a quick Zack line?
Steven: “No way, he just ate my hair!”
Imran: No, you know the famous line: the price of freedom sure is steep.
Natalie: [imitating] The price of freedom sure is steep.
Imran: That’s actually accurate.
John: You know what? That’s actually perfect.
Steven: Perfect! Yay! [Natalie laughs]
John: That was honestly pretty great.
Steven: It’s like I watched the livestream.
John: It seems like I’m really there.
Imran: Yeah. Natalie’s Zack accent is much better than her British accent. [laughter]
Natalie: Yeah. Oh, British Zack would be like, [weird, bad accent] The price of– no. [laughs] That was not British. [all laugh]
John: The voice!
Natalie: We’re moving on from that. I’m not even–
Steven: Nope, nope, nope, nope! One more time. [clears throat] Okay, Jordan. We need a clean take of that.
Natalie: Okay. [clears throat] The price– okay. [worse, somehow] The price of free– [all laugh]
Steven: Goofy is here too?!
John: It’s like Goofy in a fucking Off Off Broadway.
Natalie: We will be talking about Kingdom Hearts later, so I’m just setting us up right now. [laughs]
Imran: Uh huh.
Steven: [Goofy voice] Gawrsh, Genesis, the price of freedom sure is steep! [laughter]
John: You were doing like Goofy if he was in Oliver Twist or something. [laughter]
Natalie: [imitating British Goofy] Me? By Golly!
[someone imitates Donald Duck]
Steven: [imitating Goofy] Pls, sir, can I have some more? [laughter]
John: [imitating Goofy] Not Modeoheim! Anyway.
Steven: [imitating Mickey Mouse] No way! He just ate my hair! [laughter]
John: Crisis Core, I think it’s the only PSP game I a hundred percented.
Imran: That’s not easy. That’s a lot to get through.
John: No, it’s not. It’s a lot. It’s a lot. Like, I beat the super boss. I did basically every mission. I did like everything you could possibly do. I really ate this game up, and I think it’s really, um… [laughter] I think it’s really, it’s going to be very important. I mean, there’s a reason [Imran: “Yes”] that they are releasing this [Natalie: “Mm-hmm”] the winter before the next Final Fantasy VII Remake entry. they are really setting this up as a thing that you probably have to play.
Steven: The thing is–
Imran: Well, so like, the Crisis Core has Star Wars’ extraneous content problem–
John: Uh huh.
Imran: Of like, we need to show the origin of Han Solo’s vest. Like, you know? Like, Crisis Core was “We need to show the origin of the Buster Sword,” which is like, do we really? Like, do we need to know that much more–
Steven: It’s a big sword, yeah.
Imran: Yeah. But it’s also very important to Zack in particular, and then Cloud throws it away the second he gets a bat with a nail in it.
Steven: Uh huh.
John: Uh huh.
Natalie: I also just really love–
Steven: Uh, not in the remake.
Natalie: I also just really love seeing Aerith in it. I think it was a little revolutionary for little, like, goblin Natalie getting into Final Fantasy for the first time, [laughter] where like…Final Fantasy 8 also does this, but I mean, you have this main female character that has like different loves in her life, and that seems like such a little thing, but I do remember at the time being like, “Oh wow, she’s in love with Zack, and she also later became in love with Cloud! And that is like a thing that women aren’t really afforded in stories, but it’s really cool.” And so I like seeing that different side of her. I do think Crisis Core did take her character in weird directions, [“What?”] so I’m wondering how that will resonate now when we see the remake.
Imran: What was weird? I don’t remember.
Steven: Nomura taking a female character and doing a bunch of weird shit with her?
John: So strange.
Natalie: [laughs] I think people just got a different vibe from her than from the original game, but I also would…I think that can be chalked up to–
Imran: She’s more baby in that game.
Natalie: Yeah, she can– that can be chalked up to her just being younger and having fewer life experiences and changing as a person later on. So, it’ll be interesting to see just how that resurfaces in people’s memories, now that [John: “Mm”] the two will be in close release within each other, rather than like getting Final Fantasy VII in, what was it? 1996 or 1997 or something [“7, I think”] and then Crisis–
Natalie: Yeah, and then Crisis Core how many years after?
John: Yeah, 10 years after that, yeah.
Imran: So here’s the question, then. Do you think they’re gonna change any of this?
Steven: Do I think Crisis Core is going to change?
Imran: Yeah. Do you think they’re gonna change anything for, you know, trying to make–
John: I don’t think it will change at all, because…
Imran: I agree with you.
Imran: They changed one thing so far, which is the Buster Sword design.
Imran: But that’s because I think they decided the old Buster Sword design looks stupid.
Steven: Does it count as a change if I say you’ll play the entire game and then there will be a post credit stinger in the new Final Fantasy Remake engine that adds some new wrinkle to everything like that?
John: Yeah, I mean–
Steven: I don’t think they’ll change anything.
Steven: I think they’ll add something.
John: Yeah, I think that’s a possibility.
Natalie: I think that’s a good bet.
Imran: I think so too.
Imran: They’re not gonna change the ending, ’cause the ending as it is is just too powerful. And also, it’s a thing that did happen for the original FF7. It was not– as far as 7 remade goes, it didn’t, but for…
Steven: Well, whatever weird multiversal [“Yeah”] time travel ish stuff has happened. I don’t think we know, really, unless it’s all explained in those leaks.
John: Yeah, like…
Natalie: I mean, let’s– oh.
John: Yeah. No, go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Yeah.
Natalie: Not sure if we should just switch over to talking about [“Yeah”] Final Fantasy VII Rebirth officially, then?
John: Yeah, we should. Let’s do it.
Natalie: Since we’re on the subject.
Imran: We should also give a spoiler warning before we do.
John: Oh, for Remake? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yes, yeah, we should.
Steven: Again, I’m going in blind, so you all know more than I do.
John: Yeah. So.
Natalie: Spoiler warning, woo!
Imran: Well, no, I mean a spoiler warning for Remake, ‘cause like we have to talk about the way Remake ended.
John: Remake ends to ??? Rebirth, yeah.
Steven: I guess I just meant that like, I don’t know how much they showed of Rebirth versus like what…how it lines up with the end of 7 remake, I guess.
John: Uhhh, I think you gotta basically take the original Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and remake 1 into account [“Oh, right”] with how…with the things that you see in the Rebirth trailer, I think.
Natalie: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
John: So yeah, just a spoiler warning for the original Final Fantasy VII, maybe a little bit of Crisis Core, maybe– and definitely Remake. So.
Steven: Final Fantasy XIII Agito, Final Fantasy Type-0. [laughter]
John: [laughs] Yeah. One scene from 14.
Imran: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. [laughs]
John: Uh huh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, Fortnite. Anyway.
Natalie: Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Steven: I’m just thinking now about that tweet you shared the other day, John, because I’m thinking about the post credit stinger theory that I have for Crisis Core remaster.
John: Uh huh.
Steven: All I’m thinking of is that tweet that you shared with yesterday where it’s just like, Marvel fans staying 12 minutes after the credits to see a character come up and say “I’m Hingle McDingleberry,” [John: “Uh huh”] and then fade to black. [laughter]
John: And then, yeah, fade to black.
Steven: [laughs] Which I do think is what’s going to happen here!
John: Yep, I do too. I think, yeah. I definitely think something like that will happen.
Steven: The credits will play, and then Vincent will appear on screen and say like, “This is like some kind of Dirge of Cerberus.”
John: No, he’ll say, “It’s fucking morbin’ time,” and then it’ll just be… [laughter] It’ll just be a stinger for the next game. Anyway, yeah, we should talk about Rebirth, because the next game is not called Final Fantasy Remake 2. Like, of course it was never gonna be called that, but it’s called Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, which I think is a pretty good title and also probably pretty illustrative of them branching the fuck off from what we know of Final Fantasy VII, which they said, [Imran: “Mm, yeah”] you know, might happen. So.
Imran: I mean, the ending narration of Remake was straight up: Hey, the rest of the story hasn’t been told yet.
Imran: We’re gonna do some weird shit now.
Steven: And then they immediately put out like a press release [John: “They did”] like a day afterwards that was like, “But it’s not gonna change at all! Don’t worry!” [laughs]
John: I don’t know why they did that. I really don’t know why they did that. I remember that.
John: I remember thinking about it. I still think about it. I thought about it while we watched this trailer, but I was like, why did they say that? Because it’s very clearly not going to go…it’s very clearly not gonna go the way that they’ve established the original going, so.
Imran: Right, like the Yuffie stuff alone changed stuff, [John: “Uh huh”] changed the story quite a bit.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
John: ‘Cause we’re not dealing with…and it’s, I mean, again, like I said, spoilers. ‘Cause we’re not dealing with, I think, the actual world that Final Fantasy VII took place in the original.
John: Like, we’re dealing with something else, and we don’t know what that is.
Imran: Which is like– yeah.
John: But we’re dealing with something else.
Imran: I think the trailer is pretty like hinting. Like, the trailer’s like, what is Sephiroth’s goal? What does he want?
Imran: And so I’ve been watching– my partner, who’s watched like these trailers like, I wanna play Final Fantasy VII Remake, so I’ve been watching her play it. Like, they hint from the beginning of that game–
John: Oh, from the beginning.
Imran: Yeah. Sephiroth wants [Natalie: “Mm-hmm”] Cloud to break the binds of the story.
Imran: He wants him to destroy those like fate ghosts, ’cause he can’t do it. It’s not in his power to do so. But if Cloud does it, then they can change the entire story. He can do whatever the fuck he wants at that point. So now that Cloud has defeated fate or whatever those things were called, which are just a metaphor for Square Enix.
John: The dementors, yeah.
Imran: Yeah. But like, now that he’s done that, the story can go wherever he wants. So the phrase is like, “What does Sephiroth want? What is his goal? What is his agenda?” has like multiple meanings, because [John: “Yeah”] there’s what they know, what they think he might do, [John: “Uh huh”] and what he actually wants to do. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure he still needs Cloud to wake him up, [John: “Yeah”] but after that, he can do whatever the fuck he wants.
John: Yeah. It’s one of the great meta texts in the history of media so far, because like…
Natalie: Uh huh.
John: Yeah, “What is his agenda?” is a question that Cloud and his companions are asking themselves, and it is explicitly what I think all of the fans of this series are asking. Like, what the fuck is his goal, if it’s not the things that we’ve established were his goals in the previous game? And I think that’s really compelling. It’s a little bit cheap, honestly, in a way, but it’s still compelling, ’cause they did Remake so well.
John: So I was like, all right, like, I’m on board with this.
Imran: Yeah, the–
Natalie: I just feel like Final–
Imran: Go ahead.
Natalie: Oh, I just feel like Final Fantasy VII is such a staple cultural pillar in our industry that it’s like, you have the original game, and I don’t think it like…I know there are people who disagree with this notion, and I totally understand why, but like, I don’t think– whatever changes that they have in store, I don’t think that cheapens the original story whatsoever.
John: No, not at all.
Imran: No, yeah.
Natalie: For me, this is really exciting. And like, I’m one of those people that’s like, I hope Aerith lives. And I guess we’ll talk about that in a bit maybe, or maybe not, but like–
John: I mean, we can talk about it right now.
Natalie: I am one of those people that’s like, yeah, I want Aerith to live. Like, I want them to explore the themes of grief and the repression of grief and agency that these characters have that like Aerith’s death facilitates in the original. I’m happy to see that happen in a totally different, other wildly creative way that doesn’t involve her dying. And it feels exciting that I can, like, regardless of whether that actually happens, it feels exciting to have a little bit of hope that she could actually survive this.
And I will say, just before we move onto the next thing related to that, as someone who was not huge on Final Fantasy VII compared to the other Final Fantasies that I love, it speaks to just this game’s legacy that them putting Cloud and Sephiroth just fucking walking together made me like lose my mind immediately. Like, very few games out there could do that. That was just so cool, and it looked so beautiful. Okay, I’m done.
Imran: That was kind of me for a while too. ‘Cause I was like, if you asked me 10, 15 years ago, “How do you feel about FF7?” I’d be like, “It was good, but overrated.”
Imran: Like, it doesn’t deserve the cultural cachet that it has. But playing Remake, like, was the legitimate like experience for me.
Imran: And just all like seeing these characters come to life in this like reinterpretation in a way that really set my brain alight [John: “Yeah”] was like, it was great. And I think part of that’s the music, part of that’s the writing and the incredible technology behind it and all that stuff. But also, the things that we think we’re so inundated with turn out to actually have a much bigger effect on us than we actually believe.
Imran: And I think that is also a lesson. That is, as Steven said, like the meta text of it, like that is a lesson within the game itself of we carry these things that we don’t think affect us, and they actually do [“Sure”] bury themselves deep inside of us.
Imran: But, okay, where do we start with this thing? Because now it’s like 15 things I wanted to reply to there. [laughter] So, the actual gameplay that they show in the trailer is of Cloud and Sephiroth walking during what I assume is the Nibelheim flashback.
John: Could be. Could be when they’re hunting the monster together outside of Kalm when they do that. I mean, they’re going to Nibelheim, but like, [Imran: “Right”] there’s a sequence where they’re basically fighting monsters together on the way to Nibelheim.
Imran: They fight a dragon. Yeah.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So yeah, it could be those things. It could not be.
Imran: But the thing I liked about that section is they made a point– so like, six months ago, Nomura said, “I have this footage of FF7 Remake sitting here that I wanna show people that is Cloud looking over an open world area, [John: “Right”] but I can’t show anyone yet, because that’s not the marketing plan.” This is pretty clearly that.
Imran: Like, ‘cause the original game was just tunnels for the most part, like tunnels and alleyways [John: “Yeah”] and all that jazz. It was not a very open game, unless you were in a fighting arena.
Imran: This one looks a lot more open. So I think they’re gonna go for– maybe not like full open world, but like definitely more explorable.
Steven: Well, we talked about that like a year or two ago? Or whatever. I honestly, at this point, can’t remember when Remake actually came out. Probably two years ago, right?
Imran: Yeah, 2020.
John: It was 2020, yeah.
Steven: I remember us talking on the spoilercast about how like, yeah, the Midgar section in the original game is all in one city, and then it immediately dumps you into an overworld, [“Yeah”] where you are walking around and then eventually flying and driving and all that stuff.
John: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, it stands to reason they would dump you into something like that. Although like, you know, I don’t know if…I don’t know if the path that the original set up is the path that makes sense for this crew in Remake and Rebirth, right? So it’s exciting. Like, my assumption is that you’ll still go to Kalm, which is the first place that you go [“Yeah”] when you leave Midgar, and then from there–
Imran: They’re like right outside it, at the end of the Yuffie DLC.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
John: So you’ll probably start there, and there’ll probably be some exposition. I mean, that’s the first time Cloud really explained his history with Sephiroth to the rest of the group, and so I think that’s gonna be an important part of the game, but, from there, it could go anywhere, I feel like.
Imran: So, there’s an interesting line in that trailer too, where Cloud says, “It already looked too late for you, so I just kind of moved on,” or something like that, and like–
John: Yeah. To Tifa!
Imran: To Tifa.
Imran: And she says, “What do you mean? Do you think I’m like some sort of clone or something?”
John: Yeah, yeah.
Imran: And I assume what that means is Cloud saw her stabbed and decided to just go confront– like went ahead into the reactor to confront Sephiroth, which is the thing that did actually happen. She doesn’t know it happened, ’cause she was both stabbed and he was in his Shinra outfit. But…
Imran: I wonder if they’re adding some sort of weird thing here where she knows Cloud is bullshitting the story.
Imran: And Cloud also has suspicions, like, how does Tifa know this much? Because she shouldn’t have been aware of some of this.
John: Well, that was– I would say that was almost an unreliable narrator aspect of the original, right? Like, it never– if I recall. It’s been a little while since I played the original. But it never really came up until a few crucial moments where Tifa is like, “Hey, a lot of that stuff you’re talking about just like didn’t fucking happen, Cloud.”
John: Like, she– they– the game almost became an unreliable narrator for a long time, in more ways than I think the text was, you know, like intending to. Where like, they could have had more moments where Tifa is doing a lot of like lifting with saying like, “Hey, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.” And because we already know this part of the narrative, they may be rushing this part of it in the remake, right? To go like, no, no, no, we don’t need to wait until like halfway through the game to find out that Cloud is full of shit about everything.
John: ‘Cause you, at home, you know that already. Which I think is interesting.
Steven: Which, for people who maybe don’t know, like the–
Steven: Again, spoilers, I guess. But like, Cloud is kind of a– they play this up a lot in Remake, which is actually one of the best things about Remake, [John: “Yeah”] but Cloud is kind of a dingus. He’s kind of a big dipshit dorkus.
Steven: Everybody gives him– makes fun of him for it constantly, ’cause everybody else is also kind of a huge dork, but they admit it and kind of like roll with it in a way that Cloud is like, “No, I’m very serious and cool.”
John: Uh huh.
Steven: And one of the big reveals of Final Fantasy VII is his whole mysterious cool guy persona is literally like a trauma response, right?
John: Yep. Yeah.
Steven: Like it’s, he made it up.
Steven: He made up a backstory where he’s the cool hero, and in reality, he was like a dumb ass grunt with no real impact on the story.
John: He was a grunt. Yeah.
Imran: He was Zack’s best friend, and he idolized Zack, and he wished he was Zack.
Steven: And then he think– and then he takes on like his image of Zack in his mind as like this cool guy [Imran: “Right,” John: “Uh huh”] and starts pretending to be that.
Imran: So I wonder if he’s so convinced of this, like now, like he’s absolutely convinced this is what happened, that he’s like questioning Tifa’s version of the events.
John: Right, yeah.
Imran: Like, maybe you don’t remember correctly, ’cause you were having a trauma response.
John: [laughs] The worst case scenario of faking it till you make it.
Imran: Yeah. [laughter]
John: Yeah. Yeah. It’s…it was an interesting couple of lines in that trailer, because like, yeah, it could be referring to things that we are already very aware of, or it could be something totally different, but that stood out to me too. I… [laughs] We’ve talked about this before I feel like, I think on the spoilercast. I think Cloud is fucking toast.
John: I think he’s toast. [Natalie laughs]
Imran: I think he’s toast. I think– so, they’ve announced three games.
Imran: This will not be longer than a trilogy, presumably.
Imran: And they haven’t said the name for the third game. Presumably, I think they take this one to where Aerith would have died in the first game.
Imran: In the original game.
Imran: That’s not–
John: Yeah, I do too.
Imran: Yeah, that’s not that– like, that’s a lot of content. It’s not an impossible amount of content. Especially–
John: No, you could put that into a game. Yeah.
Steven: It’s disc two, right? That’s the end of disc two, and…
John: That’s actually the end of disc one.
Steven: Disc one? Okay.
John: Yeah, oddly enough.
Imran: Disc two is covering a lot of stuff that’s like already…there’s not that many new areas in disc two, actually.
John: Yeah. There’s not.
Imran: So, you would be actually– it would make sense to have scoped all that out by now.
Imran: I think, this game, what happens is Zack has like a parallel story going on.
Imran: And then, at some point, when Cloud– Cloud realizes that he can’t sacrifice Aerith. I believe Aerith knows what’s going on.
John: Oh, Aerith– that’s another thing. Aerith 1000% [“Yes”] knows what’s going on.
John: I mean, that is…replaying Remake again for the first time in a couple years, I’m like, oh, she completely knows what’s happening. Yeah.
Natalie: She tells Cloud, “You can’t fall in love with me.”
Steven: Mm, mm-hmm.
Natalie: And it’s like, noo!
Imran: ‘Cause she’s the only one who sees the ghost at first.
Imran: She understands what they are but needs Cloud and all of them to understand too. She also mentions at one point that Sephiroth’s will was so strong that he didn’t go into the Lifestream, which is probably what allowed him to, you know, travel to this new universe, whatever. She could probably just do the same thing.
Steven: Yeah. Right. ‘Cause she’s like literally part of the Life–
John: She’s magic, right.
Steven: Like, that’s a thing. [laughs] Like, as much as– I don’t know how much Advent Children matters exactly, but like, we see in Advent Children…
John: I’m sure it matters.
Steven: That’s a good point. Everything probably matters. MCU rules now. But like, we see in the Lifestream or in Advent Children that like Zack and Aerith are still like aware and like living beings in the Lifestream of the planet and stuff like that and are like, you know, in some kind of afterlife or whatever. And then there’s a part where Cloud fights Sephiroth, obviously, and they encourage and like kind of root Cloud on [“Yeah”] in Advent Children.
Steven: So like, they’re still…if you wanted to tell me that yeah, like, Sephiroth, dispossessed of his body, went back in time and like created a parallel universe where he has a new chance to win or whatever [John: “Right”] or make his own destiny that doesn’t involve necessarily being like a puppet of Jenova and all that stuff?
John: Uh huh. Yeah.
Steven: I could totally see that’s where the story’s going. And then yeah, like Aerith, especially since she’s got that…I forget what, the Etra? Is that what they’re called? The…
Steven: The Cetra. And, you know, she’s got that like weird alien blood and stuff.
Imran: I think, in her effort to spare Cloud the trauma of her death, she is going to like hint or accidentally tell him, “Yeah, I’m going to have to die for this,” and then Cloud is going to do everything he can to stop it and will just take the death himself.
John: Yeah. He’ll take that bullet.
Natalie: [wistfully] My ship is back. [laughter]
Imran: And I think–
Natalie: Claerith stans rise in 2022, 2023! [laughter]
Imran: What’s going to work out for that because Zack is alive. You can just replace Cloud.
Imran: Like, you can just put Cloud with someone who has the same animations, roughly the same model, someone who they’re releasing his game the year before, who like…
Imran: Who can use all his equipment and all that stuff and can take this to like…who also has a grudge against Sephiroth and Shinra and wants to save the world. And maybe this ends up not being the story of Cloud and Tifa and ends up being the story of Aerith and Zack.
Steven: It’s a bummer for me, because I want Tifa to be happy. I think she–
Steven: She’s my friend, and she’s strong, and I want her to– [laughter] I want nothing but the best for her here.
John: Here’s my theory, though. I think Cloud is toast until the third game.
Imran: And they bring him back.
Steven: Oh, and then he gets resurrected? Yeah.
John: And then, you know, it’s the search for Cloud, right? It’s basically–
Steven: It’s the end of Chrono Trigger?
John: Well, it’s basically Spock dies in “Wrath of Khan” or whatever, and then they go search for Spock or whatever. It’s like, I think Cloud does take the death. I do think that is going to be a shocking moment. Like, I feel like I see it from a mile away, and I think it would still shock me to actually see them do it.
Steven: John, at that point, what do they call it the third game, Final Fantasy VII Resurrection? That would be absurd.
John: That would be so crazy! I can’t believe it.
Natalie: It’s not like we have a list at Fanbyte [laughter] of a bunch of ideas that we have for the third game’s title that Imran wrote and fielded from the rest of the Fanbyte staff.
Steven: Which, one of my favorite comments– like, my favorite comment, honestly, on that thing is like somebody being like, “I hope you guys are trolling,” and it’s like… [laughter] Where are you coming from?
Natalie: No, this is insider information, right?
John: That’s, no, we’re getting that straight from a whiteboard at Square Enix.
Natalie: Just like the 4chan leak.
Steven: Oh, god.
Imran: Oh, you mean the article I wrote within 15 minutes after the game was announced is not extremely well thought out? [laughter]
John: I can’t believe it. But I don’t think Cloud is going to permanently die in this trilogy, but like, I do think he is gonna take the death that everyone is kind of waiting for. And I do think he’ll be replaced with Zack to some extent. I think that’s a really big reason why they’re making sure that we have a way to play Crisis Core before we play Rebirth, because I think, you know, unless they make it easy to play a 15 year old game that was only on physical PSP media, there’s gonna be some stuff [Imran: “Yeah”] that I think is gonna be confusing for folks if you don’t play that game.
Imran: Who do you think they add as playable characters this time?
John: Well, I have, I mean, I have a…ugh. I mean, ugh.
Steven: Cid, right?
Steven: Like, they did all that work in Integrade with the spear guy.
John: I think Vincent has a better chance than Cid for some reason, because they would– I think they would have to really rewrite Cid a lot to be okay in 2022. Do you know what I mean? They would have to really change a lot about Cid’s deal, I think.
Imran: I think Cid will be the guest character in this game.
John: Yeah, I think so too.
Imran: I think playable will be Red XIII, Yuffie, and Cait Sith. The next game is–
Imran: Cait Sith?
John: I think you mean [correct pronunciation]
Imran: I sure don’t. [laughter] I will never. I will never!
Natalie: I don’t know who, the other day, was– one of my friends was playing Remake, and they’re like, that character’s appearance in that game, if you don’t know anything about the fucking compilation… [laughter]
John: Oh, it’s so good!
Imran: Yes. Like, before you ever know anything about Cait Sith…
Steven: It’s the first time that they appear on screen!
John: They appear on screen!
Imran: Like, as the plate is falling, you just see them like collapsing to their knees, like watching, as the cat.
John: Pounding the ground.
Natalie: It’s so funny!
Steven: So, for people who maybe have missed this or forgot, it’s the emotional climax of Final Fantasy VII Remake, the emotional climax of the Midgar sequence of Final Fantasy–
Imran: The end of act two.
Steven: Of act two, yeah. It’s like, the plate falls down on a big chunk of the city, killing like thousands of people, especially in the poorer section of town. It’s all part of this evil plot by the evil like rich corporation to blame everything on avalanche that’s going on, blah blah blah. There’s a montage scene in real time graphic– or in, not real time graphics, pre-rendered graphics that shows just every character like falling to their knees and like weeping at the sight of all these people getting killed, all these homes being destroyed, and all this stuff. And then it cuts to a fucking cartoon Tom and Jerry-ass looking cat standing on top of a roof with like a little tiny crown on, and he’s like pounding his fist on the ground, like, “Nooo!”
John: “Nooo!” [Natalie laughs]
Imran: It’s weird, ‘cause they introduce Reeve before, that they just never connect Reeve and Cait Sith at all up until then.
John: No, not at all.
Steven: Not at all. Which, yeah, that’s the first time that character shows up on screen. It’s just like, up to this point, you’ve seen normal human beings. Barrett is a cyborg, obviously, [John laughs, “Yeah”] but otherwise everything is normal.
John: Uh huh.
Steven: And then Cait Sith’s just like, “aaaah!”
John: “The fucking humanity!” Yeah, it’s…
Natalie: Remake was so good. I don’t wanna hear shit about [John: “Remake was amazing”] anyone saying that it wasn’t the best.
Steven: Remake’s fantastic.
Natalie: It’s so fucking good.
Imran: I will say, as somebody who’s– I’ve been watching my partner play Remake. I’m so glad this thing is only on PS5, because I can’t stand watching Cloud shimmy through another like alley or whatever. [laughter]
John: Oh no.
Imran: Hold triangle to like [John: “Oh my God”] hit a switch for like five seconds.
John: I agree. Yeah, I will…I think the benefits we get from it being just totally this gen and not worrying about last gen will be good.
Imran: Yeah. That said, very weird not launching on PC, which I guess like [Steven: “Yeah”] maybe it’ll come in a year later. Still weird that FF7 Remake, it’s not on Xbox and probably never it will be at this point.
John: That’s odd to me. Yeah.
Steven: It’s very odd. I can see…
Imran: Sony paid a lot of money to not do that, I guess.
Steven: Yeah. The thing that weirds me out, like, must have been a lot of money, because the PC versions of these, a lot of these releases and stuff, we’re seeing that now with like Atlus games, the Persona games are finally coming out on other platforms. Persona 3 finally playable again for the first time since, again, the PSP. But those– my understanding is like all these PC releases of these games do very well.
John: Well, yeah, that’s the only place where you can put Cloud in a fucking dress for the whole game. You know, it’s like… [laughter] It’s like, come on. Like, we’re losing so much by not putting this on PC on day one.
Steven: I wish I had the tweet in front of me. There was a tweet I saw the other day on my– on other more famous account, let’s say. And it was a picture of somebody tweeting a mod from the game, and it’s Barrett and Tifa and Cloud all standing in an elevator together, but they’ve been all modded to– it’s Cloud in a big frilly pink dress, [John: “Yep”] Tifa in like big pink clothes, and then Barrett in a big pink jacket.
John: Uh huh.
Steven: [laughs] Just with the caption, “Three tickets to the Barbie movie, please.”
John: Uh huh. Yeah.
John: It’s really good. It’s like, we’re losing this.
Steven: Video games are good.
John: Yeah. Video games are great. Yeah, but like, I think…I’m excited to see where this goes. What was the name of the fucking…what was the name of the character with the motorcycle that looks like Aloy?
Natalie: Ah. Ah, yes.
John: You’re gonna be able to play as Roche in the second game.
Steven: [laughs] You don’t think they’re just gonna forget that guy?
Natalie: That’s such an upsetting phrase.
John: No. No, no, no. Why– no. They went through such a fucking effort to add that character to this game.
John: That you’ll be able to play as Roche.
Steven: Wait, how do you feel about him, Natalie?
Natalie: That’s just such an upsetting line to say.
John: Oh, it’s awful. [laughter] Like, I hate…like, Roche is terrible. A terrible character created for Final Fantasy VII Remake. They will make him a playable character in Rebirth. Just, that’s…
Imran: He’s the most Kingdom Hearts-ass guy.
Steven: I don’t understand why he exists.
Steven: I don’t feel bad, like I don’t– I know a lot of people really hate him. I just am baffled by his presence in that game.
Imran: I think the–
John: Well, I think he probably has some sort of role, but like, we don’t know what it is yet.
Imran: I think the reasoning…if I had to guess the reasoning, it is there’s no one in Midgar that proves Cloud is strong.
John: Mm. Sure.
Imran: Like, you don’t fight anyone there that like– ’cause they’re all just kind of like, well, he’s like, he’s a Turk, he’s not really a soldier. Like, Roach is the only– he’s probably the strongest person you fight before Sephiroth.
John: Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, I don’t know. That’s just my…that’s my theory. I’ve got other theories. We don’t have to go through all of them, but it’s like, I think–
Imran: Let me ask you a question, then. Oh, go ahead, John.
John: Yeah. No, no, please.
Imran: What part are you looking most forward to actually seeing in remake form?
Imran: Assuming this goes until the end of the first disc.
John: Um…the…what is hopefully a 10 hour sequence of the Junon Harbor military infiltration parade thing, sneaking off on the boat and then hanging out at Costa del Sol.
John: Like, I definitely– I really need that to happen. I don’t know if it will, but I would really like that to happen.
Imran: What about you, Natalie?
Natalie: Mm, you’re saying the end of the first disc?
Steven: Anything from up to the end of the first disc [“Right”] that hasn’t been adapted yet?
Natalie: Mm…just for my recollection’s sake, end of the first disc is after Aerith’s death, right? Or…
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Imran: That’s where she dies.
John: You basically go to the…yeah, yes.
Natalie: Forgotten City, and…
John: Yes. You go for the Forgotten City, and then that stuff happens.
Natalie: Okay. Yeah. I wanna see how that plays out. I mean, I still be going on YouTube, looking up Aerith’s death, in like, what was it? I don’t know, 2018? When I was doing like graphics on forums and signatures and whatever and crying [laughter] to like these little like cube polygons and whatnot. I wanna see how that plays out and if that plays out differently. I’m yeah, I’m a big Aerith stan. She’s one of my favorite characters in the entire series, so I’m excited to see that.
Imran: What about you, Steven?
Steven: A materia system that doesn’t make me pull my fucking hair out [laughter] every single time I lose a fight.
John: They absolutely have to have mid-battle materia sorting. They have to.
Steven: Oh my God, I hope so.
John: They really have to. There’s no excuse not to have that in the new game. I agree with that.
Steven: Like, the combat in that game is so good, [“It’s good”] but it is just, it’s so reliant. Like, it very much feels like a combat system where they were like, yeah, this is good. And then they worked on it for however many years they worked on that game, six years or whatever. But like, they got so good at it over time and stuff like that, they forgot what it’s like for like people who aren’t like deeply, deeply, deeply familiar with every single encounter as they come is going to be.
Because like, you know, there’s boss fights in that thing where it’s just like, you need to have this materia to be able to do this thing against this boss. You won’t know that you need to do that until that boss fight has started, and the only– I’ve said– like, this is the 50th time I’ve said this on a 99 Potions podcast, but I’m gonna say it again. But you like, you get into these fights, and it’s like, this character is weak against this. He flies around, and you need to have air magic to pull him down. If you don’t have air magic equipped, the only options are to restart the checkpoint manually or just die and restart again anyway, and then go in and slot out all your materia. There needs to be some kind of hot swapping.
Steven: Or some kind of like, just let me go into a menu and change that stuff around on the fly.
Steven: Even like, you know, maybe it…put an animation in there so there’s like some risk/reward to it, maybe?
Steven: Like, I’ll accept that, if it’s like, you have to like do a little thing, like Monster Hunter style, like flexing after you take a mega potion drink. Have a thing where like Cloud has to like slam a fucking green orb into his sword or something.
Steven: I’ll be fine with that, but just give me some way to more fluidly tackle those fights the way that I want to tackle those fights.
Imran: The thing– like, I can see– I agree with you, they should do that. But also, I can see why they don’t, in that being prepared for the battle, I think, is part of the puzzle design of the combat, of yeah, you want to spread your spells around, and if you don’t, you want to think up some way to get around that. But the thing I’ve always said is every battle in FF7 remake takes at most two tries. The first try is you figuring it out, and the second of try is you actually doing it. And I think they’re probably going to stick to that, but you’re right that it is frustrating.
John: I don’t think that’s great design, to be honest.
John: I don’t think that’s great.
Steven: That’s why I don’t like Playdead games.
John: I think you think…I think the puzzle can be figured out mid battle, and I think you should be able to correct. Like, I agree that like…but I don’t think there’s enough context in the preamble to battles to give you the sense of what– and, to be clear, we’re talking about the normal difficulty here, because you could–
John: If you put that down to easy, it doesn’t matter. Like, it barely matters what you put.
Imran: Right. If you put it up to hard, then it’s like several tries more, ‘cause…
John: Then it’s several tries.
John: On easy, you basically don’t even need to worry about your materia setup, and on normal, you do. I don’t think– they either need to hugely better contextualize the puzzle of figuring that stuff out ahead of a battle or they need to let you do it. ‘Cause I don’t think it’s– I don’t know. I don’t personally think it’s good design to say, “You’re gonna get your shit wrecked the first time, just because you don’t know what you should be equipping.”
John: But that’s me.
Steven: Also, I would accept your answer, honestly, Imran, if it weren’t for the fact that—and this will hopefully not be as much of a thing, kind of a bandaid in the Rebirth as it was in Remake—but one of the big problems, the other big problem with like setting up a squad is you can’t do that in Remake. You can’t set up a squad to like be ready for any situation, because the narrative is constantly shuffling your party around.
Steven: You get Cloud, and that’s it, and then everybody else is constantly being removed and replaced and stuff. They never, ever, ever in that game, until like maybe the very, very final chunk in Hojo’s lab and stuff like that, maybe.
Steven: I can’t quite remember.
John: That’s kind of where it all comes together. Yeah.
Steven: But up to that point, you’re not allowed to have anybody in your party for– you aren’t allowed to customize a party. You are given the party that they give you and they want you to have, and then when the story says this person has to leave, you have to then reconfigure your materia again.
John: You know what they should do? The should do load outs.
John: Like, maybe don’t–
Imran: I’m surprised they didn’t do that for definitive edition, honestly.
John: Yeah, maybe you don’t go into a menu and manually select every single materia and move it all at once, ’cause I do think that would be a tedious…like that’s a Vagrant Story-ass way to do that, and I don’t think that’s a good idea. But like, maybe you have load outs and go, okay, I know we need a fire build. I know we need, you know, this kind of build to take on aerial monsters. You should have like 10 of those stored and can switch between them, I think.
Imran: I think, for me, probably the best compromise would be start battle over at menu.
John: Oh, okay. Yeah.
Imran: Like, let me see what I’m fighting immediately. Let me run assess, and go like, okay, I think I know what I need to do, then back off and start the battle over with.
John: Sure. Yeah.
John: It could be.
Imran: The thing I’m most looking forward to, Golden Saucer.
Imran: Like, I wanna see that. I wanna see Corel Prison. ‘Cause like, that’s–
John: Corel prison would be cool.
Imran: One of my favorite parts of that game is the realization that Barrett is actually kind of a fraud.
Imran: That he doesn’t actually mean a lot of his environmental shit he’s talking about. That he just really fucking hates Shinra, and he wants to destroy them. And I’m like, you know what? Cool. That adds depth to a character who is otherwise a cartoon up until this point.
John: Yeah. Yeah. I think there’s cool stuff with Gold Saucer. I think, um…Golden Saucer, excuse me. No, it’s Gold Saucer, right?
Steven: Manderville Gold Saucer, Final Fantasy XIV. All right, let’s get into it.
Imran: Yeah, let’s get into it. No.
Steven: The new live letter says [laughter] that we’re getting data center travel next week.
John: Yeah, but I would think that’d be cool. I like…you know, I wonder if they’ll do the battle, you know, the battle arena stuff where you’ve gotta win the championship belt or whatever. I think that stuff would be neat to see. I think the Corel stuff will be cool. They kind of did the Fort Condor stuff in the mini game for the Yuffie DLC, [Imran: “Yeah”] so I’m gonna guess that that is not gonna be a huge part of the actual game.
Steven: Oh, I assume it’ll be just worked into like the basic…
John: You think so? Maybe.
Steven: Like, I assume it’ll be like Triple Triad.
John: Oh, maybe. Yeah.
Steven: It’ll be just like a side thing you can do with various NPCs.
John: Well, that was the best fucking part of the Yuffie DLC. I mean, I liked the Yuffie DLC a lot, but the Fort Condor minigame was like amazing in my opinion. [laughs]
John: Yeah, I’m super looking forward to this game, and it’ll be out next winter, which will be cool.
Imran: Yeah. Relatively soon.
Imran: That’s a year and a half away.
Imran: I mean, it might get delayed. Who knows, but.
Steven: Yeah, who knows what 2023 looks like at this point? ‘Cause 2023 is packed. [laughs]
John: Yeah, it’s really packed.
Imran: They were way more confident about this target date than Kingdom Hearts 4, which had no target date.
John: Yep. That’s true.
Steven: Well, we have a target date–
Natalie: I also feel like it’ll be– oop, sorry.
Steven: No, go ahead, Natalie.
Natalie: I was just gonna say I feel like it’ll be hard to imagine Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and Final Fantasy XVI coming out in the same year.
Steven: I think they will.
Imran: Square Enix is honestly kind of killing it.
John: Yeah, I think they will.
Imran: Michael was saying the other day—like Michael ??? the head of link shell—was saying there’s never been a better time to be a Final Fantasy fan, ‘cause you have like three distinct lines of Final Fantasy right now that are all kind of crushing it.
John: Yeah, they’re all doing really interesting stuff. Yeah.
Steven: I don’t know. I kind of agree– I might agree with Natalie, though. I think like, I think that that also means you can, at a certain point, say, “Well, we don’t need to put out this game this year, because we have this other one coming out this year.”
John: Yeah, maybe. I mean, yeah.
John: I will say this. If XVI gets delayed into Q3 or something, I don’t think Final Fantasy VII Rebirth will come out right after that.
John: I don’t think that. I think because they’re about six months apart, it makes sense, but if that– if they get closer, I bet they’ll space them out a bit.
Steven: Well, [clears throat] as I was hinting at before, we do have a release date for the end of this podcast, and oh, would you look at that? It’s right now!
Steven: We are going to take a step away.
Imran: Yeah, we didn’t even hit everything we were gonna talk about.
Steven: Yeah. Like Imran said, we actually have more stuff on this list that we wanted to talk about, but we didn’t get around to it. I genuinely kind of wanted–
John: Probably next week.
Steven: Yeah, we’ll probably hit it next week, because news quest next week.
Steven: I genuinely kind of wanted to talk about Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands a little bit. [laughs] We can get to that later.
Natalie: Yeah, yeah. Let’s do that next week.
John: Steven, I’m gonna give you enough time to keep playing that to realize you don’t like it.
Steven: Oh, perfect. That’ll be great. [Natalie laughs]
John: That’s what we’ll do.
Steven: That’ll free us up a segment next week, then.
John: No, no, no. I wanna still hear about it, but yeah.
Imran: We can also talk about Fire Emblem Warriors next week, too.
John: Yeah, we can.
Steven: Yeah, Fire Emblem Three Hopes.
Natalie: [gasps] That’s true. News quest is gonna be litty.
Steven: It’s gonna be a good one. Gonna be a good week for games, I think actually, coming out here in the next few days. In the meantime, you can go to Fanbyte.com, click on all of our articles, leave a tab open.
Steven: And just kinda scroll around, click on different articles. That’s a thing that– that’s a trick we like to talk about in the media business called like bounce rate. It makes us more money, and it’s one of the best ways you can currently support us, ’cause this podcast is all done in the service of promoting the website, which is a great website.
Steven: And I’m not above groveling.
John: Yeah, of course. [Natalie laughs]
Steven: We’ve established that. I will just beg for people to go give us money by clicking on all of our website ads and stuff. I do that so that the rest of the, you know, pure people on this podcast don’t have to. [John laughs] Other things you can do is follow us all on Twitter.
John: Oh, Steven, Steven, we’re doing this in the middle, remember.
Steven: Hmm? Okay. Well, you’ve already heard– what you can do is follow us on Twitter, and you’ve already heard that if you’re listening to this part of the podcast, [laughter] ‘cause it appeared halfway through. That works out so well, doesn’t it? We love synergy and audio production over here at Fanbyte.com, and you know what else we love, is we love to saddle on up to the bar.
John: We do.
Imran: We do.
Natalie: You’re making me anxious.
Steven: And grab ourselves a nice potion. [laughter]
John: We do. We do love a nice potion.
Steven: Ah, we like to– ooh, this one– this one’s warm, actually, which is weird.
John: Oh, that is weird.
Steven: Normally they’re cold, but this one’s kind of got like a– it’s flesh heat.
Steven: It’s the heat of human flesh, which is weird.
Steven: But that’s fine, ‘cause you’re gonna–
John: Wonder what sound that’s gonna make.
Steven: We’re gonna pop it on open and then walk up to each other and give our little potions a nice little [in unison] clink.