Naoki Hamaguchi, the co-director of 2020’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake, says he was greatly influenced influenced by Horizon: Zero Dawn, an action RPG developed by Guerrilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2017.
In an article published on the PlayStation Blog, Hamaguchi said Zero Dawn’s world and visuals were s big influence on Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and he expects the game to have a similar evolution to the forthcoming sequel Horizon Forbidden West, scheduled to be released for PS 4 and PS5 this year.
“Horizon Zero Dawn, the first game of the franchise, left a huge impression on me as a game creator. I was taken by the deep immersive experience provided by the unbelievable graphics as well as the unique world I found myself in, a future where civilization has collapsed,” Hamaguchi said.
“In the sense that the next [Horizon] title is expected to evolve even further, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which I’m in charge of is expected to do so the same way. For that I have a personal affinity for Horizon (laughs). As a fan, I’m very much looking forward to Horizon: Forbidden West,” he added.
Final Fantasy 7, which was praised for its graphics, gameplay, narrative, and music, is set in the dystopian cyberpunk city of Midgar, where players control mercenary Cloud Strife, who joins AVALANCHE, an eco-terrorist group trying to stop megacorporation Shinra from exploiting the planet.
“The structure of the original Final Fantasy 7 story is designed to be fairly linear up until the escape from Midgar, so we were always conscious of the risk of undermining the innate sense of tension and suspense if we introduced more open-endedness to how it played,” Hamaguchi told Games Radar.
“A game design[ed] with only linearity and no degree of freedom tends to be perceived negatively by players. Accordingly, we put some freedom of movement into the scenario in the settlement locations, so that players can enjoy the side content within the story at narrative-suitable points, without risking a loss of the sense of urgency within other sections,” he added.
Hamaguchi discussed a possible sequel to the game during a CEDEC conference talk last month, Hamaguchi said he aims to create a similarly immersive world as the one that exists in Midgar. “We want to take that type of detail and allow users to experience how they experienced Midgar in the Remake but with the rest of the world,” he said.
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