Final Fantasy 7 hasn’t aged gracefully, but strip away the low-polygon character models and there’s a world of beauty to rediscover.
Final Fantasy 7 employed a mix of dynamic 2D backgrounds and 3D graphics which look pretty janky today, but at the time we found them incredible. Remember, FF7 came right after FF6, which was made with classic sprite graphics.
What doesn’t look janky is Square Enix’s design. The futuristic city of Midgar was lovingly painted in exquisite detail, and beautifully brought to life with small touches of animation. Take a look:
It’s hard to explain how groundbreaking FF7 was back then. Sony and Square Enix spent big on a marketing campaign showing off the game’s glowing industrial aesthetic – well, the aesthetic of the early Midgar sections – and it drew us in like flies. Games were growing up! Games were cool!
It wasn’t just the tech parts that were lovely – look at the upper streets, and the slums. They feel lived in. The more you look, the more little flourishes you notice.
The rest of FF7’s world isn’t always so compelling. The first place you visit after Midgar is the tiny village of Kalm, which is pretty generically European looking, and was a let down after the glories of Midgar. Things improve from there but to me it never really feels like a cohesive, continuous world – so many different elements, stuck together.
Obviously I still love it. I can almost hear the drums in Cosmo Canyon:
When I look at these next two, I have quite a lot of feelings.
This one’s pretty subtle, just that wisp of smoke in the background. I remember being amazed by the camera angles here, and how well they communicated the proud, military feel of Junon. The architecture really looms.
Want to see more? Imgurian MattPannella uploaded a collection of these about a year ago. It popped up on our radars today, reminding us just how beautiful this seminal RPG was.