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This mod upscales Final Fantasy VII’s backdrops using AI neural networks

Blurry backgrounds begone! The Final Fantasy VII Remako HD Mod is here.

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Upscaled Final Fantasy VII background

Blurry backgrounds begone! The Final Fantasy VII Remako HD Mod is here.

When Final Fantasy VII first released in 1997, it was one of the most graphically-advanced RPGs we’d ever seen. The combination of sumptuous hand-painted backgrounds, 3D battles and massive cut-scenes seemed a world apart from the pixel art of the previous generation.

Sadly, there’s a problem with releasing Final Fantasy VII (and VIII, and IX) on modern systems: the original art for those pre-rendered backgrounds is thought to have been lost.

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That means there’s no way to reproduce the original art in a different resolution, and the original res – a measly 320×224 pixels – looks like butter spread too thin when upscaled to modern resolutions, like 1920×1080. That’s a four times increase on the vertical resolution, and explains why the backdrops look quite so fuzzy.

If you own (or want to play) Final Fantasy VII on PC, however, there’s now a new option: a mod to upscale those blurry backdrops.

The Final Fantasy VII Remako HD Mod (remake, Mako, geddit?) utilises an AI neural network to upscale those backdrops. Similar to the way in which a 4K television will upscale non-4K content – by effectively filling in the gaps between the pixels, smoothing and blurring the edges, and then delivering it at a higher resolution – the mod has been pointed at the classic RPG’s backdrops to make them (relatively) silky smooth and far less fuzzy.

The mod’s creator, known as CaptRobau on blogger, has produced a video that shows the difference between the original and upscaled backdrops. We recommend viewing it full-screen, as viewing it in a small window masks the problem with the initial resolution somewhat.

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The mod is available to download now, and should work with any of the PC releases of Final Fantasy VII, from the original boxed retail version of the game through to digital re-issues and re-releases.

It’s worth pointing out that the upscaling has already been done by the mod, and it’s just the updated backdrops that are shipped. You don’t need to dedicate some of your precious PC hardware to an AI neural network on the fly.

Because it’s such a massive game, the mod’s author hasn’t checked every single scene to check the neural net hasn’t done anything weird to them. With that in mind, the mod is still in beta, and if you spot anything weird, be sure to let them know.

Thanks, PCGamer.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.