Your adventure beyond Midgar begins in just over a week when Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on PS5 February 29. You may have taken your first steps into that wider world already, thanks to the recent demo, or marveled at that expanse via the State of Play dedicated to the game. And what sights there are. Sprawling, densely detailed open areas and cityscapes, redesigned character models, reimagined threats and new enemies, side-quests and mini-games galore. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth packs a lot in. 

To understand how this evocative experience is being achieved on PS5, we turned to the action RPG’s creators, which include the majority of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s development team. Looking under the hood with us? Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Director Naoki Hamaguchi, who has been on the FFVII Remake project since the start, to talk us through how the studio brought the world of Gaia to life. 

How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

As a developer, what were your first impressions of the technology of the PS5?

With SSDs improving data loading speeds and allowing necessary resources to be loaded instantly, we felt that significant changes were needed in the system design to ensure a smooth gaming experience without any loading times for players. In fact, to take advantage of the high-speed SSDs in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the graphics pipeline and asset streaming system have been revamped from those of the previous title.

What learnings did you take from developing Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade to help you develop Final Fantasy VII Rebirth? 

From the beginning, we were conscious of the disc size for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and we made it an absolute requirement for the disc size to be within 150G— even including the world map—while still allowing for cinematic locations to exist as they did in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. (Intergrade has a disc size of about 80GB.)  For texture compression, experiencing the practical use of Oodle Kraken* and Oodle Texture** in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was very helpful in planning the disc size for this game. While the PS5 is equipped with an SSD which dramatically improves loading speed, there is still a limit to the size of the original disc that can be read, so this technology is truly indispensable.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was created as a PS5 game first and foremost, so how did you take advantage of the hardware when it came to the graphics and the gameplay? 

To create a sense of density within the world map, rather than simply polishing how it looked within a single screenshot, we focused on increasing the actual “quantity” of assets to enhance the feeling of a well-populated map. PS5 has implemented a new PrimitiveShader as its own geometry pipeline, and in combination with the ComputeShader, the rendering pipeline was designed to be able to render a large quantity of assets. This approach also matched well with the SSD, which could load a large number of assets instantly. Through this, players can expect a beautiful, diverse, and expansive world to explore in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

How did you leverage the PS5 SSD’s capabilities in this game? 

The PS4 version of Final Fantasy VII Remake had to be preloaded due to loading speed constraints, which squeezed the memory capacity and compromised assets. Streaming was also necessary, as we knew that the seamless world we needed to build for this game would be even more demanding in terms of memory usage compared to previous games. One of the challenges we found with Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade was that, in most cases after loading, the CPU processing time required to expand memory for additional space was too time-consuming, due to the high speed of SSDs. For this title, the CPU load for memory expansion is set to be as close to zero as much as possible, and the file format is designed to be a memory-allocated layout to take advantage of the high loading speed of SSDs. In particular, the pipelines for rendering and streaming background models were newly designed. The performance of PS5’s high-speed SSDs was incredibly helpful in loading assets in much finer increments, enabling us to render objects in a highly detailed manner when they’re up close, and more roughly when they’re in the distance.

How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

Character models in both Final Fantasy VII Remake and the PS5 upgraded version Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade were – and still are – visually impressive. Did PS5 allow you to add any additional details to the returning cast’s designs?

The characters in Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, including Cloud, were created based on the PS4 generation of consoles. This time, the models have been changed to meet the specifications of the PS5, and the main characters have been completely redesigned, from their hair to their outfits. In addition to the renewed character’s expressions during close-up shots, I’d love for people to take a close look at their detailed hair and skin as well. I believe you’ll be able to palpably feel the enhancement in physical textures and details. 

Besides modeling and textures, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth also features enhanced shading, animation, and lighting, and the overall character visuals that combine these various components greatly exceed those of Final Fantasy VII Remake, so please look forward to it.

Similarly, the cast expands with the arrival of Cid, Cait Sith and Vincent. Did you apply the same creative process as the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s cast when reimagining these characters with modern technology?  

New characters were created using essentially the same process, but I can say that this flow has been refined since Final Fantasy VII Remake. The majority of the development team from the previous title has continued working on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, enabling us to start production with prior experience already gained and allowing us to really polish the physical textures and details of the new characters, Cid, Cait Sith, and Vincent. We hope you will take a closer look at these characters when you play the game.

PS5 developers have offered players the option to enjoy their games in either a Graphics mode that prioritizes 4K graphics, or Performance mode that prioritizes smooth action at 60FPS. Can you share what we can expect from Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, and why you decided on these options? 

In Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, there is also a Graphics Mode that emphasizes 4K graphics and a Performance Mode that emphasizes 60 FPS, which users can freely select within the option menu. Selecting between these two modes has become a trend among players of PS5 games, so we felt it was an essential feature for this title as well.

The DualSense wireless controller’s unique features such as haptic feedback and adaptive triggers can immerse players more fully into the experience. How did you leverage these features for the game?  

We’ve actively incorporated haptic feedback and adaptive triggers in battles and cutscenes— game segments with strong action elements and cinematic presentation— so that everything conveyed through the graphics is also directly synchronized with the controller too. In addition, because there are many minigames for this title, we plan to utilize the DualSense function for each minigame. In addition to haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, you can also experience a wide range of features, such as the motion sensor, built-in microphone, and touchpad.

How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

How did you utilize 3D audio?

This title makes full use of Tempest3D audio. This allows for most of the voices, sound effects, and background music in the field to come from each object and character, with the sound varying according to its distance from the camera and the surrounding space. The 3D audio system also actively responds to verticality, and in some areas, we’ve placed different sounds above players for them to experience movement and objects within that dimension of space as well. We look forward to you experiencing the realistic and immersive ambiance that comes from this 3D audio, such as the Shinra helicopter flying over the field, or the various ambient noises within the vast Grasslands area, or the background music from the sky when you’re exploring the Gold Saucer. The recent SDK version upgrade also supports the Dolby Atmos output, so if you have a soundbar, speaker system, or other compatible devices in addition to headphones, you can enjoy this output as well.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade included a Photo Mode: is this feature returning in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and has it had any changes? 

Photo mode is, of course, implemented in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. A photo frame function has been additionally implemented for this title as well, making it possible to select a frame of your choice for all of your favorite snapshots. In addition, Photo Mode itself is integrated into the game’s worldview, with side content featuring a photo enthusiast character named Snaps, who asks Cloud to snap pictures at various photo locations around the world map. Completing these requests will unlock additional photo mode features, so please look forward to those as well.

Is there any particular scene, location, moment of feature in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth that you feel really encapsulates what you’ve been able to achieve thanks to PS5? 

To be honest, every scene utilizes so much of the PS5’s specs that it could not be realized without it… but if I had to pick one, it would be the town location. Towns require a large number of NPCs to be placed, while also increasing the density of assets in general. Crafting a sense of vibrancy and life for the NPCs in the town is something we put special care into, and I think you will be able to fully experience the PS5’s capabilities by walking through the streets. Personally, I love how the town of Junon is depicted during the inauguration parade of President Rufus, so I hope you can experience that for yourself in the game as well.

What other PS5 games have impressed you? From a developer’s point of view, how did you feel that they took advantage of the PS5’s capabilities?

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was a game that let me experience the capabilities of the PS5 the most out of the titles released in 2023. Utilizing SSDs truly sped up Spider-Man’s web-swings and wall runs, enhancing my exhilaration as I played. In addition, the fast travel feature was jaw-dropping, and I almost felt moved by how there was virtually no wait time when traveling via the map screen. Even from a developer’s perspective, I felt this was a game that could not have been actualized without the PS5’s high-speed SSD. 

How Final Fantasy VII Rebirth harnesses immersive PS5 technology

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on PS5 February 29. 

*Oodle Kraken is a data compression technology developed by RAD Game Tools, designed specifically for reducing the size of video game assets and improving loading times without sacrificing visual quality. 
**Oodle Texture is a component of the Oodle suite that focuses specifically on texture compression. It employs innovative techniques to shrink texture file sizes while preserving their visual fidelity.

More on Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

  • State of Play Recap: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth demo out today, 11 minutes of new gameplay revealed
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: Square Enix discusses reimagining iconic characters Sephiroth and Aerith
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth hands-on report – playable Sephiroth, Chocobo exploration, Junon and more
  • Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: developer interview reveals fresh gameplay details as new trailer debuts at State of Play

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the newest installment in the Final Fantasy VII remake project and one of 2024’s most-anticipated games, tells the tale of main protagonist Cloud Strife and his loyal companions who explore a massive world outside Midgar, the city of Mako, as they pursue Sephiroth, one of the most iconic antagonists in video game history. 

Ahead of the full game’s release on February 29, the demo releasing today allows you to not only take control of the protagonist, Cloud, but take full control of the legendary swordsman Sephiroth in battle. You will be able to play as Sephiroth as part of the extended flashback section, as Cloud recalls an earlier mission in his career as a Soldier – the Nibelheim incident. Taking place several years before the events of the game, this will set the stage for several important moments within Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. What’s more, we’re planning to release an update later this month that will allow you to explore part of the Junon region before the release of the full game on February 29. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to venture into the world of Final Fantasy VII!

State of Play Recap: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth demo out today, 11 minutes of new gameplay revealed

Today’s State of Play includes a new trailer focusing on the story of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth alongside around 11 minutes of never-before seen gameplay. This footage includes the world premiere of many unseen elements of the game: an overview of the world map, ways to get around the expansive world including a wide range of vehicles and mounts, varied exploration, minigames, and much more.

It’s a must-see, both for those excitedly awaiting Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and those who have yet to dive into the world of Final Fantasy VII.

Highlights from the Final Fantasy VII Rebirth gameplay 

The around 11 minutes of gameplay footage showcases the following elements of the game:

The stage for your new adventure: a gigantic world map, connected seamlessly

The stage for the adventure of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a gigantic world map, constructed of several areas seamlessly joined together.

The footage showcases a wide range of ways to get around the expansive map, from Chocobos – that Final Fantasy series mainstay – to buggies and wheelies. Chocobos will be of particular help to Cloud and his companions, since they have different abilities in each area. Some can swim through raging currents, jump over mushroom footholds, or even scale sheer cliffs.

Many points of interests to explore on the world map

In the vast field areas, there are all kinds of points of interest to explore that will call to your sense of adventure. Broadly speaking, the first category is World Intel – where you survey the world, fighting fearsome foes and seeking out various resources or hidden treasures as you go. The second type is odd jobs, which delve deeper into the world and characters. Today, we’ve introduced sanctuaries, which reveal knowledge on this game’s summons, helping Cloud and his companions conquer them to subsequently call on their power in battle.

Unique and colorful minigames scattered throughout different regions of the world

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth has a diverse range of minigames all throughout its world. And they’re of an even greater scale than the many minigames in the original Final Fantasy VII! The development team’s recommendation is the card game Queen’s Blood, and you can collect cards from the early part of the game, so you can enjoy thinking up and building a powerful deck that’s unique to you. Some of the minigames are just as fun to watch as they are to play, so they’re perfect to play when you feel like taking a breather from the main story.

Epic cinematic storytelling with stunning graphics

The emotional storytelling experience has been refined even further in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. The high-quality, rich graphics that use the PlayStation 5 console’s ultra-fast SSD to its fullest can show the subtle nuances of the emotional state of the characters, further elevating the narrative experience its depiction of Cloud and his companions forging ever-stronger bonds. 

More detailed and nuanced facial animations will lend additional depth to the characters’ journeys, especially as Cloud and his friends face down the destiny that awaits them at their story’s end.

New and improved ways to deepen your relationships with your companions through gameplay

The bonds between the characters established over the course of the story are now important to all aspects of gameplay. Cloud’s relationship with his companions will change according to his actions and dialogue choices, impacting most notably the well-loved date event scene from the original game. In addition to date partners players of the original Final Fantasy VII can expect, the team has prepared some new partners plus an expanded date sequence within the Gold Saucer, so there’s plenty to look forward to. And if you increase your party level, which shows the bond between the entire team, characters will be able to achieve their true potential in combat. There are lots of synergy skills that characters with a close relationship can perform, so you can overwhelm foes with your favorite characters and special moves.

The footage from State of Play also reveals plenty of other content that we didn’t cover in this blog, so it’s definitely worth a watch. And if this piqued your interest, we hope you’ll experience the new and expanded world of Final Fantasy VII in the demo, released today.

It’s not long now until the release of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth on Thursday February 29. We’re so excited to be able to get this game into your hands and for you to play the game for yourselves!

With his long silver hair, enormous odachi blade and epic theme song composed by legendary Nobuo Uematsu himself – Sephiroth is one of the most recognizable antagonists in RPG’s history.  

The one-winged angel debuted in the original Final Fantasy VII in 1997 as a once-loved war hero and first-class SOLDIER who descended into madness and promised to destroy the planet upon learning of his unnatural creation. But there is much more to Sephiroth than just that.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Sephiroth appears sporadically, mainly as a haunting memory, as the story focuses on Cloud and his friends trying to stop the evil corporation Shinra from killing the planet by using its life essence, mako, as an energy source. 

In the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, however, we will see Sephiroth in his full glory. We asked Producer Yoshinori Kitase to discuss reimagining this iconic character in the Remakes. 

Yoshinori Kitase: The story in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth starts after the team has escaped Midgar and continues all the way up to the Forgotten Capital. In the original game, Sephiroth barely appeared during this section, but in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, he is the driving force that pulls the story along to fill that void. He is depicted in even more depth than in the original game, and I think this makes him an even more charismatic and appealing antagonist than before.

Let’s remember that Sephiroth has built his legacy as a silent tiny 3D character played on the original PlayStation. The latest Destined for Rebirth trailer shows how much has changed since then. We asked Mr. Kitase and Creative Director Tetsuya Nomura how it feels to see Sephiroth fully come to life thanks to modern game mechanics.

Kitase: The scene at the beginning of the game where Sephiroth joins your party and fights together with Cloud was very exciting. One of the distinctive features of this game is the new synergy system where characters team up to perform combination attacks and seeing Cloud and Sephiroth fight together like that felt so thrilling.

Nomura: The evolution of the characters wasn’t a sudden mutation – we’ve seen gradual changes over several spin-off titles and in Final Fantasy VII Remake itself, and they are evolving even further in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Of all the characters, Sephiroth, in particular, has appeared in multiple different games, with each appearance adding more layers of detail, making him that much deeper as a character.

In a certain sense, we are seeing this evolved and in-depth portrayal of Sephiroth as him now “returning” to his roots in the remake series, and so naturally, his presence will be much deeper and clearer than it was in the original. On the other hand, the fans have now a much greater knowledge and understanding of Sephiroth, so I hope the players can see the character’s appeal even more strongly.

A tumultuous relationship between Cloud and his once-hero-now-arch-enemy Sephiroth, is the central motif of the game. However, Sephiroth is linked to yet another important character – Aerith. And it was Aerith’s fate back in 1997 that is considered by many one of the most shocking and memorable moments in video game history. 

Kitase: Aerith’s fate is one of the most important themes in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s story. I really want people to play the game and feel it directly, so I will not say too much here, but when comparing this scene to how it was presented in the original, I am confident that the audience will feel a great breadth of emotion from the extra level of detail in how the characters are portrayed.

Reimagining the story of a classic like Final Fantasy VII is not a small task. The original game is one of the most influential RPGs of all time, and Final Fantasy VII Remake has been a massive success, selling over 7 million copies. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth itself has already won several ‘Most Anticipated Game of the Year’ awards. We asked Mr. Kitase how the development team approached balancing fans’ expectations and creating a new and expanded storyline.

Kitase: As there are many fans of the series, I felt it was essential to keep the majority of the elements from the original game. On the other hand, if we simply followed along, keeping the story unchanged, it would only appeal to people’s nostalgia. We added the Whispers as a new element that could “shake up” the storyline and thus create a feeling of anticipation towards where things were going. I think that has already proved to be appealing to the fans.

So, what does this all mean for Sephiroth and Aerith? ‘No Promises to Keep’ evoked many strong emotions in players, including fear and hope for how the story will play out. Here’s the message Mr. Kitase left for those counting days to Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s premiere and finding out what fate awaits our favorite flower peddler.

Nomura:  Whatever I say will give people a hint about what is going to happen, so this is very difficult to answer. Really, I can only say that I want players to experience what waits for them at the end of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and feel it for themselves rather than getting that second-hand. Different people will respond to it differently, but I think that they will want to pursue that feeling, whatever it is, and set out on their next journey soon.

Kitase: I invite you all to play Final Fantasy VII Rebirth and see with your own eyes how the modern generation of players will react to Aerith’s fate, a moment that created such an emotional impact on a huge number of gamers 27 years ago.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth launches on PS5 on February 29, 2024. In the meantime, we invite you to revisit Final Fantasy VII Remake with a Brief Recap of The Story So Far:

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: Square Enix discusses reimagining iconic characters Sephiroth and Aerith

And if you want to experience the game for yourself, why not pre-order the Final Fantasy VII Remake & Rebirth Twin Pack which includes Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (available at launch) and Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade which is available to play as soon as the Twin Pack is pre-ordered.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: Square Enix discusses reimagining iconic characters Sephiroth and Aerith