Raise your hand if you’re so anxious with Final Fantasy VII Remake release, well then, I’m raising both of my hands. Square Enix perfectly gave us the new updates to devour, from the run-down of English voice actors and actresses, new screenshots, Honey Bee Inn dressing event, to even -ehem- Tifa’s breast size issue, and more.
English voice actors and actresses
Out of the major characters:
- Cloud; Cody Christian (All American, Teen Wolf)
- Aerith; Briana White (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Occupants)
- Barret; John Eric Bentley (Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Independence Day: Resurgence)
- Tifa; Britt Baron (Young Justice, Destiny 2, GLOW)
- Sephiroth; Tyler Hoechlin (Supergirl, Arrow, Teen Wolf, and ironically 7th Heaven)
Both Christian and White spoke on Twitter about the roles. Both discussed how important the roles are to fans, and the effort they would put in:
“Honored and humbled to be able to announce my participation in the @FinalFantasy VII remake as the voice of Cloud Strife. I vow to give nothing shy of 100% and my absolute best to ensure this iconic character’s depth and complexity resonates. Thank you all for the support. [Heart Emoji]”
— Briana White // E3 (@ItsBrianaWhite) June 11, 2019
Other side characters:
- Jessie; Erica Lindbeck (Spider-Man, Persona 5’s Futaba, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, Mortal Kombat 11)
- Biggs; Gideon Emery (Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Crackdown 3, Fallout 76, and many other games- ironically including a movie called Avalanche)
- Wedge; Matt Jones (Dimension 404, Adventure Time, Breaking Bad).
Lastly, Final Fantasy VII Remake director, Tetsuya Nomura, also confirm about any details via an interview with Weekly Famitsu. While the physical magazine has not reproduced online, summaries of the major points have been provided by Ryokutya2089, and Games Talk.
The points translated below:
- The watchmen of fate (the black mist) are strange beings that show up wherever the party goes. I hope that even fans who have played the original game will like the new elements.
- There are quite a lot of dialogue options. We are building it so the dialogue changes pending your responses, so the sheer amount of dialogue has increased greatly.
- The Honey Bee Inn cross-dressing event is still in the game. We’ve made it more modern. If we made the place like we did in the original game, the physical uneasiness would be overwhelming, so that was no good…
- There are lots of additions to the story. While the main story hasn’t changed, there lots of new events. If we did otherwise, we wouldn’t have two Blu-ray discs. (Laughs.)
- Aerith and Tifa are two kinds of heroines. One has a western-style look and the other an eastern-style look.
- We wanted Tifa to have abs, so she now has more of an athletic body type. The ethics department at Square Enix also said we had to tighten her chest so it doesn’t look unnatural during all the intense fighting. Because of that we added black thigh highs and tank top.
- With an emphasis on immersion and excitement, you can fight without added frustration with shortcuts. When you launch the command menu, time slows down and you can fight like a traditional command battle.
- Each playable character now has different enemy affinities.
- There’s an item that is required for MP recovery.
- For the level design, we’re prepping up a few new enemies where appropriate.
One of the most interesting point is the Honey Bee Inn cross-dressing event. If you’ve played the original version, you’ll remember the part where Cloud and Aerith tried to rescue Tifa who -they though was kidnaped- by brother owner crime boss, Don Corneo.
Based on Nomura’s words, it may indicate that the Honey Bee Inn may have had some changes, but “more modern” does not exactly explain how. In real life prostitution is illegal in Japan, though “love hotels” where couples can stay for a short time are permitted. In addition, there are hostess bars and soaplands that also attempt to work-around the laws.
An excerpt from scenario writers Kazushige Nojima and Yoshinori Kitase from the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega explains:
“Kazushige Nojima: What I remember is the Honey Bee Inn, Toriyama [Motomu Toriyama, event planner] was in charge of the Honey Bee Inn’s events, but at first what took place there was more extreme, and everyone was saying “That’s going too far”.
Yoshinori Kitase: Was it really that bad?
Nojima: Yeah… for example, Palmer would emerge from the inn saying “Well, that was refreshing!” *laughing*”
Another interesting point is regarding Tifa’s torso part. Fans seem to have latched onto Tifa’s larger breasted appearance within the latter; despite her chest size being more modest in later media such as Advent Children.
The mention of an ethics committee may allude to Sony’s recent policy on censoring content the believe is explicit to meet so-called “global standards“. This may indicate that the spats, sports bra, thigh-high socks, the size of her chest, and the changes to the Honey Bee Inn may have been made cover as much skin as possible while minimizing outcry from fans and those with delicate sensibilities.