“You travel through the slums [in the original game] quite a lot,” explains Nomura, “but it didn’t really feel like we used the upper city all that much, and I thought we should have done that. Of course, you do go back to Midgar later and see some different scenes there, but I felt it would be nice if we could see more of the upper layer in the earlier part of the story.”
It seems, then, that we’ll be seeing entirely new parts of Midgar in the course of the remake: “I thought it would be good to open up some of the locations, so players could explore more of those places that they wanted to see when they played the original”, Nomura continues. “People wanted to go into this building or see that facility. So I think you will get even more of a feel for Midgar than you did the first time.” You can see a brief clip of Cloud in the upper city in the video for our hands-on preview of the game.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake Midgar Locations
Nomura does make clear that that wider scope of the exploration doesn’t mean the game has become open world, and will still direct you through locations as the original did: “In Final Fantasy VII Remake
you can’t go everywhere in the city, but the area you can walk around in has expanded a lot.”
Environment director Takako Miyake adds that the world isnt just wider, but denser. “The main theme for the design of the world is what would happen if Midgar existed in real life” she explains. “So, for the parts that were left to players’ imagination, or that were off screen in the original, we added in a lot of convincing, realistic details to make them work as believable locations.”
Presumably, these new or expanded areas will tie into the game’s new sidequests. Locations aren’t the only major changes in the game – the game’s altering how certain set piece events take place, such as changing the entire Sector 5 reactor section.
After a delay, Final Fantasy 7 Remake will arrive on April 10, and will remain PS4 exclusive until April 2021. You can play a demo featuring the game’s entire first chapter right now – and we can tell you how you get a secret ending.
Joe Skrebels is IGN’s Executive Editor of News, and he accidentally writes ‘Midgard’ at least once per FF7R article. Follow him on Twitter.