When you look at the current slate of 2024 releases, most RPG fans would agree that Final Fantasy VII Rebirth sits right at the top. The highly anticipated sequel to 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake is set to take Cloud, Tifa, Aerith, Barret, and Red XIII outside Midgar and into the expansive world of Gaia. For longtime Final Fantasy VII fans, this is what we’ve been waiting for.
Sights like Cosmo Canyon, Costa del Sol, Rocket Town, and more await on the horizon. Back during Summer Game Fest, we saw our first look at Mythril Cave and Cosmo Canyon’s Bugenhagen. The most exciting part, though? The three words that ended off the trailer.
Final Fantasy & Multiple Discs
Around 25 years ago, every Final Fantasy title was released on multiple discs. The original Final Fantasy VII launched with three discs, each having distinct beginning and ending points. According to Old School Gamers, a singular PlayStation 1 disc was capable of holding up to 1.8GB of storage. This includes video game data, cutscenes, etc. Everything had to fit across that 1.8GB of space.
With titles like Final Fantasy having such grand visions and longer runtimes, this naturally led to multiple discs as a solution to put out complete titles on the PlayStation 1. It wasn’t until Final Fantasy X on the PlayStation 2 that a single disc release came about, a drastic reduction of the four used for the entirety of Final Fantasy IX.
Multiple discs did not return to the series until Final Fantasy VII Remake, which utilized a secondary disc as a “Data Disc.” Each PlayStation 4 disc could hold up to 50GB of storage. That posed a problem for the 90.66GB monster that is FF7R. The PlayStation 5 had a solution for this issue with the release of Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade, though, as PS5 Blu-ray discs can hold up to 100GB.
So, with the marketing nod to two discs for Rebirth, it’s clear the game is well over 100GB large. That’s a staggering file size, especially when compared to the recently released Final Fantasy XVI, which clocks in at 90.66GB. It’s not every day you can say you’re happy to see games with huge sizes. The industry regularly puts out releases that equate to unoptimized messes, reaching hundreds of gigabytes for a single title.
For Rebirth, though? I’m elated. It’s a marketing tactic that has me ecstatic.
A Breathtaking Sense of Scale Awaits
I wrote this Summer about how the shot of the party overlooking the Gaia overworld perfectly recaptures the feeling you got from the world map of Final Fantasy VII. With the latest trailer from September’s State of Play, that feeling has only grown. We received a first look at multiple environments in Rebirth, including Cosmo Canyon, pictured above. Every area showcased thus far looks larger than life; it’s everything I imagined and more when I first played Final Fantasy VII.
With such unique and mesmerizing locations, it was easy to get lost in FFVII. Although interconnected, each area of the map felt unique with its charm and stylization. The team has opted to keep this feeling and expand upon it with Rebirth, as each area will be interconnected on one world map. 2D backgrounds have been transformed into gorgeous, intricate locations, each capturing just what made them special in 1997.
Further, the first gameplay trailer showcased large stretches of the map, up to 11,000 meters in distance. With every location connected on the map, you’ll be able to travel back anywhere throughout the story. There are no immersion-breaking limitations where quests are locked once you leave an area. Everything is in front of you.
Final Fantasy VII Remake pushed the boundaries of scale with its impressive recreation of Midgar. The game’s plethora of new and additional content created a captivating city with gigantic buildings and monuments all over. Rebirth has already showcased it will continue this trend with the dozen+ locations you will visit throughout your journey.
Locations like Under Junon now have fleshed out characters you’ll get to meet and talk with. NPCs found in the original game will likely follow suit, allowing for a more personable connection to be made with Gaia’s different inhabitants. As we see more iconic locations recreated, it’s only going to be more apparent just how big this game really is. And that’s a huge reason why the two discs are so exciting, as the scale is going to be fully realized.
The Reality of Rebirth Across Two Discs
We’ve already seen instances of the world map in the trailers. The Summer Game Fest trailer has the City of Steel sitting lifelessly in the background as you fight away in the Grasslands. It’s things like this that enhance the scale and immersion of the title, something that is a key reason for the two discs. It also builds upon the strength of the marketing point, as this wasn’t something the team could create with Remake staying in Midgar.
It’s likely that we will receive a new trailer at The Game Awards this week, highlighting new locations of the game we haven’t seen like Rocket Town. I’m sure that the expansive and rich scenes will only continue as we see sights like the Temple of the Ancients and the Highwind. I just can’t wait to see more. A sense of adventure has truly set in with this next chapter of the Final Fantasy VII story.
It was incredible to see the reactions of the community to “two discs” in excitement rather than disappointment. Most titles that have large install sizes tend to receive massive pushback, with developers often attempting to explain the reasoning behind it. That won’t need to be done here. Final Fantasy fans are just happy to see this project getting the love it deserves. This will likely continue to be a marketing point for the third entry in the Remake Project, which will allow Cloud and the party to fly across Gaia inside the Highwind. Maybe we’ll be on to three discs when that title hits shelves.
While it might be frivolous to say, the sheer size of Rebirth really does have me over the moon months later. I spent over 200 hours in Midgar with Final Fantasy VII Remake, obtaining two platinum trophies in the process for PS4 and PS5. I can’t wait to do it again in a world that will feel more alive than ever before.
What awaits at the end of the two-disc journey that is Final Fantasy VII Rebirth? We’ll have to wait and find out. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth hits PlayStation 5 on February 29, 2024.