Final Fantasy VII turns 20 today!
Final Fantasy VII, considered one of the greatest games of all time, turns 20 today. Released for the original Playstation on January 31, 1997, FF7 brought us Cloud, one of the greatest protagonists in gaming, Sephiroth, one of the most diabolical antagonists, and one of the most heartbreaking death scenes I've ever seen (you know who I'm talking about).
In just three days, FF7 sold 2.3 million copies in Japan. It then sold over 500,000 in mere weeks in the U.S., and over a million by the end of 1997. To date, it has sold over 11 million copies.
Due to FF7’s success, Sony became a leader in the gaming industry, with the Playstation staking its claim in the console wars. After years of being a leading game developer in Japan, it brought SquareSoft (now Square Enix) to the international forefront of game developers, on par with Nintendo and Capcom. It also made RPGs a mainstay in Western gaming, just as popular as the traditional plat-formers, shooters, and more “casual” game genres.
Final Fantasy VII showed that utilizing a blockbuster-size budget for a game could really pay off. It was one of the first 3-D RPGs, and showcased CGI cut-scenes in a way no one had seen before. I remember playing the demo at Target (I would have been 10 at the time) and freaking out over the 3-D visuals of Midgar in the opening scene. It had a very dark story, and took a huge narrative risk by going all Game of Thrones and killing a main character early on.
The influence of FF7 is evident in most RPGs since, and helped spawn the crazy-popular Final Fantasy/Disney mash-up series, Kingdom Hearts.
20 years later, people are STILL frothing at the mouth for the upcoming remake of FF7. Not a new game. Not a sequel (there is a film sequel) or prequel. A REMAKE. If that doesn’t show you the enduring fandom of this game, I don’t know what will.