To the surprise of many, Square Enix included, Final Fantasy VII Remake is considered a critical hit despite its struggles during the development cycle. The game received a score of 88 on Metacritic and an average user score of 8/10, landing it in the top 10 games of the year so far. Parts 2 and 3 will be available eventually, but the development timeline indicates Square Enix wasn’t prepared for the game’s success — and that’s a problem.
According to Chris Carter at Destructoid, Final Fantasy VII Remake co-director Naoki Hamaguchi said Part 2 is still in the early stages of being planned and hasn’t begun official development as of yet. If the development cycle of Final Fantasy VII Remake is anything to go by, then that indicates a Part 2 release sometime in the next three to five years, with the full release for all parts landing somewhere at the end of the decade.
It would be easy to say Square Enix just wasn’t prepared for the game’s success, but in reality things are much more complicated than that. Part 1 of Final Fantasy VII Remake went through a very trying period of development early on in the cycle. The original development team, CyberConnect2 — best known for its work on the Naruto fighting and adventure game series — ultimately wasn’t involved in the final release version, despite working on the game for two years.
Square Enix gave the project over to CyberConnect2 in 2015, but returned it to being an in-house project in 2017. The signs of development issues for CyberConnect2 didn’t stop there, since it would seem from comments by Square Enix that it had to scrap most of the project and start from scratch, prolonging the development time even more.
Although current reports indicate Square Enix will keep the remaining parts of Final Fantasy VII Remake in-house, there’s a question of how long development will take, especially given how big and diverse the first part is. This issue of continuity versus riding the wave of success is something Square Enix will have to ponder — ultimately, shortening development time may reduce overall quality, though fans are eager enough to get their hands on Part 2 that speed may win out.
The fact remains that Square Enix should have hit the ground running in the development process for Final Fantasy VII Remake, but since it hasn’t, fans will have to wait some time to continue an already long-awaited journey.
The next part of the Final Fantasy VII Remake is years away from release. Why was Square Enix not prepared to have it released earlier?