How to improve the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement video in four easy steps.
Lose the voice-over*. It’s really quite dreadful. You can see what they’re going for, but it’s not exactly war never changes, is it?
*You could actually stop there, if you like. Removing the voice-over improves the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement video immensely, but why settle for just that? We’re pushing for perfection here at Thumbsticks!
Lose the subtitles from the aforementioned awful voice-over. If we’re not hearing him babbling on, then we certainly don’t need to see a Japanese translation of said babble cluttering up the screen and distracting us from the main event.
Don’t cut to a shot of a jubilant audience at the Sony 2015 E3 conference, where the announcement was made. The Final Fantasy VII Remake should speak for itself, and the audience reaction shot is just a bit tacky; kind of like audience laughter tracks on sitcoms of questionable quality. We know everyone’s excited. You don’t need to go out of your way to try and confirm it for us.
Switch out the music.
Yes, the music is fine in the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement video. It’s a bit Hollywood – presumably to go with that naff voice-over – and in parts sounds more like a rip-off of the Jaws incidental music than a Final Fantasy score, but there’s nothing wrong with it per se. It does the job, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.
This is where being a Final Fantasy VII fanboy, and a bit of a music geek, comes in handy.
I frequently listen to the Final Fantasy VII OST in the car. And Distant Worlds. And Nobuo Uematsu’s old band, The Black Mages. Anyway, I’m getting distracted.
Because I listen to the Final Fantasy VII OST reasonably often, I hear the original game’s opening theme a lot. And I can tell you from memory that the rumbling noise as we pan across the starfield stops around 45 seconds into the track; at the same time as the starfield is replaced by the ghosted-in image of Aeris’ face. And some beautiful strings. And some lovely, twinkly piano. Then over the next thirty seconds or so, the drums build as we pan out over the establishing shot of Midgar.
I can also tell you that the major lift – as the Final Fantasy VII logo appears on screen – happens at around 1 minute 25 seconds.
As I watched the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement for a third, fourth, tenth time – who’s counting at this point – my mind was automatically making associations between what was happening on screen, and the timings in the original soundtrack. In my head, the two were synchronising pretty well, so I muted the video, dug out my iPod and played the two simultaneously to check I wasn’t imagining it.
It. Was. Damn. Near. Perfect.
So that’s what we did. We followed the four steps above, mashed the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement video together with the original opening theme from the Final Fantasy VII OST, and here’s the result:
It’s pretty special, isn’t it? Gives me tingles every time.
Is it an accident that the two mesh together so well? Probably. There’s likely some mileage in the notion that the 1 minute 25 second point (give or take a few seconds) is a pivotal moment in a lot of 2-minute reveal trailers; but for the tingling strings to begin just as Tetsuya Nomura’s name is announced? For three birds to fly into shot on the 1-2-3 of the twinkly piano? For Barret to enter shot on a drum-beat, and Cloud to enter on the next? For the logo to appear precisely on the first major lift, and then for the “Play it first on PlayStation 4” to appear on the second?
It just seems too good to be true, but this video has been put together exactly as we found it.
We added a fade in/fade out to the audio track for effect, and started the audio after the blue PlayStation ‘splash screen’ at the beginning (when the Final Fantasy VII Remake announcement video starts proper) but other than that, there has been no sneaky manipulation here. No editing. No lengthening, shortening, cutting or splicing. It really does just fit that well.
A Final Fantasy VII Remake: Too good to be true?
I know we’re all worried that the Final Fantasy VII Remake is going to diminish the original. Remakes are never as good as their forbears and the world of movies has taught us that time and time again. We’re rightfully concerned that Square Enix are going to ‘fix’ the graphics of Final Fantasy VII, but in the process remove the heart and soul of the game by ‘updating’ the gameplay in-line with some of their (frankly woeful) recent offerings, and that would be a crime.
But if they can make something that fits so perfectly with the original, entirely by accident…? That gives me a glimmer of hope, albeit a small one, for the Final Fantasy VII Remake.