Title: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
Developer: Square Enix | Publisher: Square Enix | Initial Release: 10th June 2021
The long awaited return of one of Final Fantasy's most revered entries took its place amongst the biggest PS4 releases of 2020 and, as of Sony's most recent State of Play presentation, we now know that the fan favourite JRPG is also coming to PS5 this year on the 10th June.
At least we seem to be free from any dreaded character orbit tether...
"Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade" is quite literally the upgraded form of the 2020 title and brings with it a brand new story episode featuring the poncho-sporting Materia hunter, Yuffie. As well as this Final Fantasy XV-style character-focused expansion, the PS5-exclusive update includes various graphical upgrades, faster loading times, plus the option to switch between 4K Graphics and 60 fps Performance modes.
Admittedly the improved texture resolution, volumetric fog effects and enhanced lighting don't come across too clearly in the compressed YouTube trailer, and the game doesn't appear to be using ray-traced reflections, but there is a visible improvement that is most obviously apparent in the detail of the various characters' hair.
Naturally though, if you are visiting this website, then the feature you are most likely interested in is the addition of a photo mode. As a headline feature within the trailer, we are actually given quite a good look at what the update will bring for virtual photographers.
Entered via the pause menu, a very minimalistic photo mode UI reveals 5 main feature sets that include angle (field of view), camera tilt (roll), exposure compensation, and a host of 22 colour filters. Camera positioning, crucial to how any virtual camera handles, is labelled with "slide" and "rotate" inputs and from the brief movements that are shown in the trailer, these appear to behave as lateral truck / dolly and pivoting pan / tilt. The full extent of the camera freedom remains to be seen, but at least we seem to be free from any dreaded character orbit tether.
That leaves at least one glaring omission...
Separate options to reset camera position and altered settings, as well as the ability to hide the party from shot, appear to round off the available features, and that leaves at least one glaring omission. No, not the option to hide individual party members, though that would also be nice, I am actually talking about the complete lack of any focus adjustment or depth of field control. As something that I would consider essential to be able to produce authentic photographic shots, this really would be a huge loss and is something that I can only hope will be added between now and this summer's release.
The final point worth clearing up is whether the photo mode will be available for players on PS4. The short answer to that is no; the photo mode is part of the PS5-exclusive enhancements of Intergrade and has not been announced for the standard FF VII Remake.
However, that is not to say that owners of the original release have been completely overlooked as there is a free upgrade path to the PS5 version for anyone who has already bought a digital or physical copy of the game. This will enable access to the enhanced version and you will have the option to purchase the Yuffie story episode separately.
NB - With the PS4 edition heading to the PlayStation Plus monthly games for March, this may seem like the perfect road in, but Sony have been quick to clarify that "the version of Final Fantasy VII Remake available to PlayStation Plus members is not eligible for the PS5 digital version upgrade".