Fifteen years ago, Square Enix released it's most popular title for the original Sony PlayStation. Final Fantasy VII has led to a number of sequel/spin-off projects, but rabid fans have yet to see the high definition remake for modern hardware that has been in high demand for years. What's the delay? Why hasn't Square Enix driven the big truck around back to load up on the money that fans are ready to dump on them in exchange for a remastered Cloud Strife? Ryan Winterhalter over at 1UP.com has several reasons why you haven't seen the Final Fantasy VII remake yet and why, in all likelihood, you never will. It all comes down to timing, cost, and a lack of general development resources.
One could be forgiven for thinking of Square Enix as little more than "the Final Fantasy company" after examining their TGS lineup nine years ago. The company unveiled the first round of titles in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series: Dirge of Cerberus, Before Crisis, and the capstone project, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. 2003 marks the beginning of Square's Final Fantasy fever. From Crystal Chronicles to Final Fantasy X-2, the company decided that leveraging Final Fantasy would lead to massive profits.
Yet, Square Enix never greenlit a Final Fantasy VII remake during this gold rush. If the market was ever ready, it was then. True, HD consoles wouldn't appear for another two or three years, but remake rumors began to pop up as early as 2000 (where fans pinned the PS2 as the target platform for the remake); yet in those interim two years, all the company managed to put together was a three minute long tech demo.
If Square didn't buy in on remake development while they remained blissfully ignorant of the pitfalls of HD game production and were already milking the franchise for all its worth, they certainly won't do it in the far more dangerous market of today.
The Square Enix of today just isn't the same Square that existed back in 1997. Company cultures change, markets shift, and what could once have been a slam dunk product several years ago is today an expensive, risky proposition. If fans really want to see Final Fantasy VII reborn, perhaps they should focus their enthusiasm in another direction. Why not aim for a remake on a handheld such as the Nintendo 3DS or the PlayStation Vita? Heck, why not give the game a minor visual touch-up and bring it to Apple's iPhone and iPad? While a big PS3 or Microsoft Xbox 360 remake isn't going to happen, there must be viable alternatives on which both the company and the fans can agree. Failing that, perhaps it's best left alone.