In the realm of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the producer Yoshinori Kitase and director Naoki Hamaguchi have embarked on a grand adventure, eager to shake things up and take players on a wild ride. As we sat down for a chat, their weariness was evident, but their enthusiasm shone through. They revealed that Rebirth would not only pay homage to the original game but also introduce new elements that would keep fans guessing.

At the heart of this transformation lies the return of Zack Fair, a beloved character from Crisis Core and a close friend of Cloud Strife. In the original canon, Zack met a tragic end, mourned by Aerith and his family. However, in Rebirth, he takes on a significant role, leaving us all wondering how and why. Kitase and Hamaguchi remained tight-lipped about the details, leaving us to speculate and eagerly anticipate the game's release.

Rebirth is not content with being a mere expansion of the narrative; it aims to redefine the Final Fantasy franchise by offering a vast open world and an engaging storyline. The team drew inspiration from games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Ghost of Tsushima, but they were determined not to copy these influences outright. They sought to create unique side content and activities that would captivate players and set Rebirth apart from its peers.

With approximately 100 hours of content, there is a valid concern that Rebirth might become repetitive. However, Hamaguchi assures us that each side quest has been carefully crafted with its own storyline. Characters from the main narrative and even from the Compilation and spin-off titles will make appearances, adding depth and variety to the gameplay experience.

For Hamaguchi and Kitase, revisiting the Final Fantasy 7 universe is a strange and nostalgic journey. Some of the original development team members worked on the remake projects, while others found inspiration from them as younger gamers. Their unique perspectives contribute to the growth of the universe, allowing them to honor millions of fans worldwide.

Rebirth also aims to forge stronger connections between players and iconic characters like Cloud, Barrett, Tifa, and Aerith. Through the main narrative and new affinity gauges, players will delve deeper into their relationships. Side quests will pair Cloud with different characters, providing opportunities to explore their dynamics and shed light on their roles within the game's world.

And let's not forget the Golden Saucer, where players will embark on a date with one of several characters. In the original game, this surprise event gained a cult following. Now, with expectations high, players anxiously anticipate adorable dates with their favorite characters, eagerly pursuing their desired companions from the start.

Kitase acknowledges that the element of surprise surrounding the dinner date event may be diminished this time around. However, the team recognizes players' desires and ensures that the experience will be just as enchanting, allowing players to prepare themselves for the romantic rendezvous ahead.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth promises to be an epic and captivating journey through a beloved universe. With its melodramatic narrative, massive open world, and delightful character interactions, it is poised to leave a lasting impression on fans old and new. So gear up, brace yourself, and get ready to embark on this extraordinary adventure that will redefine the realm of Final Fantasy.

Now Playing: Top 16 Best New PC Games of September 2023