Remakes have seen a boom in recent years, from the critically acclaimed "Resident Evil" remakes to the cult following which has developed around the remakes of the "Oddword" series and the anticipated remake of Naughty Dog’s "The Last of Us." You can’t talk about studios revitalizing the jewels of their franchises without mentioning "Final Fantasy 7 Remake," though.
It received six nominations at the 2020 Game Awards and development has officially begun on the second installment of the intended remake trilogy. Critics loved this nostalgia-driven trip back to Midgar, even if fans are still somewhat confused by the decisions made in the game’s ending. Writing for Kotaku at the time, Jason Schreier said, "’Final Fantasy VII Remake’ is a phenomenal game, one that any fan of the series should play."’
It isn’t the only game in the franchise worthy of such treatment though. Which other games in the series deserve a full remake?
Final Fantasy 10
"Final Fantasy 10" was the first "FF" game to make its way onto the PS2, and a poll from the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation found that it’s actually the most popular game in the series. The story follows a young man named Tidus, who is spirited away to a strange and foreign land after the city where he lives is destroyed by a giant monster called Sin. He wakes up in a strange place where technology is forbidden. Joining a priestess named Yuna and her guardians, they set out on a pilgrimage to rid the world of Sin.
The game featured stunningly-rendered monsters and utilized a vibrant color palette, giving the word a vivid beauty that simply isn’t present in some of the grungier titles like "7" and "8." It was also the peak of the Active Time Battle system, which had been used in every installment since it was established in "Final Fantasy 5."
There is already an HD remaster packaged with the game’s direct sequel, "Final Fantasy 10-2." This version of the game is still perfectly playable by modern standards, but there is certainly room for improvement. A full remake could be an opportunity to make the game more action-forward and add some three-dimensional movement to combat. (They can also re-record that infamous laugh.)
Final Fantasy 5
Now it’s time to consider a much older game. "Final Fantasy 5" was made back in 1992. It’s about a man named Bartz Klauser who is out camping with his trusty steed Boco one day when a meteor falls to earth. Upon investigating the occurrence, he discovers an unconscious princess named Lenna being carried away by two goblins, as well as an old man named Galuf, who has amnesia. Bartz eventually decides to help Lenna and Galuf get to the Wind Shrine, where it’s revealed that the four crystals which control all the elements in the world are in danger and they must go on a journey to restore them.
"Final Fantasy 3" featured a basic job system, but "FF5" was arguably the game that refined it to its best form. Characters could swap jobs whenever they wanted, which gave team-building a layer of versatility that was previously unseen in the series.
"5" didn’t have the deepest story, but it was mechanically ahead of its time. A remake could bring further innovation to the job system. Not only that, but it could take its time (and a few liberties) to flesh out the story, possibly making for a really outstanding game.
Final Fantasy 9
You play a young bandit with a tail named Zidane Tribal in "Final Fantasy 9." In an elaborate scheme, he and his crew kidnap the Princess of Alexandria, Garnet, but are pulled into escalating conflicts which have been growing between rival nations. Together, Zidane and his new group of companions must attempt to overthrow the Queen and end the war which has been raging across the land.
"FF9" drops most of the technological themes that had been growing more pervasive in the series ever since "Final Fantasy 6." Instead, this sequel goes back to a more classic fantasy setting, similar to what was present in the older games. It embraced a simpler design aesthetic, as well.
A remake of "Final Fantasy 9" could be a truly unique experience. Rather than pushing for realism like every other "Final Fantasy" game since "7," the devs could build a stylized world that matches the more cartoony design of its characters. It could be an opportunity for Square Enix to flex its design and gameplay muscles, rather than focusing so much of the designers’ energy on graphical fidelity.
Final Fantasy 8
"Final Fantasy 8" is about a mercenary named Squall Leonhart who works for an organization called Seed. He doesn’t like getting involved in politics or other people’s affairs, but he and a group of companions are nevertheless drawn into a battle against an evil sorceress from the future named Ultimecia, who wants to compress all of time.
Few games divide fans of a series like "Final Fantasy 8." It doesn’t compare to the popularity of "7" or "10," but it still has a large cult following. Squall even has a pretty prominent role in "Kingdom Hearts." Part of the reason fans are so split is that, while some players love the game’s customizable stat design, others think it’s the worst of any game in the series. In "Final Fantasy 9," stats are linked to spells you have slotted to enhance your abilities through something called the junction system, and you collect spell charges by tediously drawing them from enemies.
This is another title that has received a remaster with updated textures, but it didn’t do anything to solve the game’s contentious stat design. Of course, that’s exactly what makes it so deserving of a remake. Revitalizing the beautiful scenery, character design and story, as well as completely replacing the tedious draw system and other sluggish mechanics could take "Final Fantasy 8" from a controversial, middling installment to one of the best games in the series.