The recent release of Final Fantasy 7 Remake is only the last part of a very long story, but marks the start of a new one at the time. Final Fantasy 7 was one of the most important releases in the PlayStation library, it redefined the canons of JRPGs by combining pre-rendered wallpapers with real-time 3D graphics and incredible CG video footage. But on top of the technical factor, the game’s world and characters had a much wider impact than any previous or previous Final Fantasy, which inevitably spurred the birth of different ports for other platforms, spin-offs, and movies. theme. A game, this one, which lends itself very well to the Digital Foundry Retro section, but to face the project we had to go beyond our standards.
You can see the results in the video below, but before any technical analysis, there’s the fact that it’s a role-playing game, and it’s a genre we’ve never discussed at DF Retro before. It took over 20 hours of video capture from the PlayStation version just to get representative samples of the entire game, plus an additional 10 hours of capture from the PC version.
As you’ll see in the video, the endgame itself has an interesting technical cut, which required us to access a game save for PS1. Having effectively lost all of our original bailouts from the time, Coury Calrson of My Life In Gaming came to our aid, providing us with her original bailout stored on the same memory card as when he was playing FF7 as a child. The file was sent to us via the internet and we used a PS USB to memory card adapter to transfer it from the PC to the PlayStation 3 and then to the PlayStation 1, so that it arrived on the original hardware.
But another problem is that there is not a lot of photographic and video capture material archived for this project, a problem that is common to our other DF Retro projects. In practice, many assets just don’t exist in decent quality – they’re only available at very low resolution or in analog format which can deteriorate over time. For the first time for a DF Retro project, we therefore experimented with a new set of AI scaling tools to increase the quality level.
These programs are interesting: AI is “trained” to recognize objects or filter out artifacts, and in many cases it can make a difference. AI scaling was also used to improve the quality of Final Fantasy 6 CG images and the best quality material we found in an old Japanese demo disc included in Final Fantasy 7. And it was also interesting to trace a few development images distributed around the web. over the years. They seem to come from a disc released to the press during ECTS 1997, in fact we were able to find it thanks to an image published on archive.org. This disc also contained video resources, albeit at a resolution of 120 × 88, and there was not much to extrapolate due to the poor quality.
At DF Retro we always strive for the best possible quality for our video captures. There was no PlayStation 1 model that offered better quality than the others, so all of them are valid. We captured the 240p signal via RGB SCART via OSSC (Open Source Scan Converter) in a Datapath capture card. On the PC, we had an original version of the game for Windows that ran on an older Pentium 3 PC, hardware for which over time we slowly recovered a bunch of video cards. In this case, the Vodoos were the best accelerator cards and we captured the gaming session using a Micomsoft XCapture-1 USB 3.0 via VGA, a method by which the best results are achieved, even better than the OSSC. Finally, the images of Crysis Core for PSP were taken from the original equipment, with the console connected via a component cable to the OSSC.
Additionally, for those who want to learn more about how Final Fantasy 7 technically works and its various engines (yes, there are five engines in the game), we recommend reading Joshua Walker and Qhimm’s Gears PDFs. Team’. This project for the DF Retro was very useful, but we only dug the surface, and in these pages you will find many more detailed details.
Finally, still within the framework of this project, we took an interest in Square’s cinematographic initiatives. It was without a doubt the adoption of Final Fantasy 7 CG films that paved the way for the creation of true CG films. With today’s judgment, we believe that asserting that Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, released in theaters, does better than Blu-ray FF7: Advent Children. These films also give us an idea of how much the quality has increased over the years. Watch Final Fantasy 7 Remake run at 1080p in real time on a consumer hardware console that’s now seven years old. Obviously there are tradeoffs, especially in the complexity of the polygons, but the lighting, materials, and effects are much, much better. So we can’t help but look forward to the next chapter of the remake, especially with the transition to next-gen consoles.