In honor of SegaChief releasing version 1.5 of the celebrated New Threat Mod for Final Fantasy VII (which means that once I finish the game I’ll have to start over and see what changed in the areas I’ve been through) as of me starting to write this article, I decided it would be interesting to look at some of what I’d love to see or create in a future FFVII mod. The FFVII modding community doesn’t seem to be as large as it is for some games; certainly, there are less mods that outright alter the gameplay than there are for games like Skyrim. Still, I think all of these things are doable, though without any training or practice myself, I have no idea how long they would take – though I imagine each one would take a lot of effort from a highly motivated modder. Here are my Top 7 Mod Ideas for Final Fantasy VII.
7. Game of Thrones – This keeps moving farther down the list as I realize different reasons why it should be a terrible idea, but if someone dedicated enough were to complete it, this would be awesome. Replace Sephiroth with the Night’s King, Rufus with Joffrey, and change all of the in-game models and every bit of dialogue (not difficult at all, right?) and you can inject the drama and history of Westeros into the brilliant combat and storytelling engine of Final Fantasy VII.
6. Alien – This is another theme mod, and one that would still be very difficult, but since it’s more about a theme than a story, it would require (very) slightly fewer changes. The point of this is simply that Sci-Fi horror is one of my favorite things, and FFVII skirts around the edges of this genre. Making everything slightly darker and grayer and replacing some of the boss sprites would be enough, but there are levels to what you can do. Want to make everything into a truly bleak dystopic Alien setting? Make Tifa an android, Aerith a Predator (this is for the bleakest possible universe; Yuffie or Barret would be a slightly less bleak swap), you get the picture. Ultimately all that’s needed is a dark visual palette, queen alien Jenova, and an alien shoving its tail through Aerith’s chest with whatever changes you choose for flavor.
5. Character Depth – This would expand each character’s individual stories. There are a lot of ways to do this, so what I’ve done here is come up with a few examples:
· Story-based Limit Breaks – Each character’s final Limit Break is usually based on their individual story, and this is even expanded on in some mods such as New Threat. Giving each character six Limit Breaks based on when their story progresses would make players feel much more involved with characters, especially some that are often neglected due to being received so late after work is put into other characters.
· Gondola ride conversations – When I found out that you could have a “date” even with the character you didn’t get the best score with, I was eager to try it out. Imagine my disappointment, then, when the person I rode with didn’t even talk to me, except about how pretty things looked. What I’d like to see is Barret talk about how he got into AVALANCHE, or Yuffie talk more about the circumstances that led her to become a materia thief.
· Extra cutscenes – This is probably the hardest of these suggestions to implement (and would require a good writer), but I know it can be done. I’m not talking FMVS, but just more dialogue scenes with characters. The Gondola rides are an example of this, but there can be others; a good example of this would be giving Tifa a chance to talk about her past during the visit to Nibelheim.
4. More Full-Party Missions – One of the things that completely changed the way I play Final Fantasy VII was when I realized that I could keep all of my materia and accessories for whatever 3 party members I’m using at any given time. One of the ways I challenge myself in games is to level up and prepare party members that I’m not required to use. Still, wouldn’t it be cool if this were required for more than one fight? Implementing this would essentially mean more forced party member changes (and making them less predictable), making it harder to switch materia and equipment between party members, and things like that. Some of the sections where the party splits up (North Crater, Great Glacier) could involve having multiple party leaders (no longer can you send one person to go north on their own while your party of three goes south and laughs!). Another thing that I think would be interesting would be a Boss Rush section, where each of the member of your party tries to take down as many monsters as they can on their own without switching equipment in between.
3. Sequels – I get the feeling that changing the post-Safer Sephiroth code is one of the most difficult things to do, as any mod that I’ve seen has only added things before this fight. Perhaps the key to doing this, then, would be to have the end-game fights and cinematics happen before you actually reach them, and then make the boss at the bottom into something else. In either case, there is now a wealth of content set after Final Fantasy VII. Advent Children and Dirge of Cerberus are the biggest and best-known bits of story, but there are also OVAs and comics. Imagine, for a second, if all of this was included on the Final Fantasy VII engine. Playing through Advent Children instead of just watching it. That would be glorious.
2. Before Crisis – This prequel game is so dense that including references to it makes it worthy of its own inclusion. There’s a lot to go over here. Being a prequel, this would include a ton of what I mentioned in entry 5: extra flashbacks, character dialogue, backstory, things like that. Adding in what Cloud experienced in Before Crisis (and Crisis Core) would definitely help make the game’s world feel more connected. On top of that, there’s all the characters. Imagine meeting Cissnei in Gongaga, where she now stays with Zack’s parents (and has a heart-to-heart with Aerith)! You enter Wall Market during Disc 2, and find Gun (using Elena’s model), who asks you how her sister is doing (after you fight her). In every town you have new interactions with former Turks, some of whom try to hunt you down, some of whom help you, and some just adding to the local flavor. And, of course, Jade Weapon. This would require the most research and unique writing of any of these mods, but I think it would be one of the most rewarding.
1. The Yuffie Story I Wrote in High School – A lot of people probably wouldn’t care if this was ever made, but I can’t help but put it as number 1. The first thing I did after completing Final Fantasy VII for the first time in high school was to write a sequel. Parts of it were rubbish (for some reason I was really intent on including a sex scene that you could walk in on, because I was an idiot), and parts of it are ideas that I still think are great (the main cast returning as summons). The main idea was that Yuffie returned to live in Wutai, until a new disturbance caused her to collect the friends she had grown up with (a samurai, a more traditional ninja, a spellcaster, etc.) to travel the world and see what was the problem. In the end, Yuffie discovers that one of her friends has become obsessed with power, fused with what remained of Jenova’s power, and is threatening to become the new Sepiroth. After I saved all of this information on a Zip disk, sure it was the storage format of the future, I went out and promptly was informed of trailers for a new movie coming out – a sequel to Final Fantasy VII, and one that ignored all the story I had written (I had mixed feelings). I spent way too long modifying weapon properties and not enough time writing what happened between Wutai and the Northern Cave, but seeing this realized in game form would fulfill a life-long dream for me.