Final Fantasy VII (7) [Beta / Tech Demo]

Final Fantasy VII (7) [Beta / Tech Demo]

Final Fantasy VII (7) [Beta / Tech Demo]

Planning sessions for Final Fantasy VII began in 1994 after the release of Final Fantasy VI. At the time, the game was planned to be another 2D project for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi intended the story to take place in modern New York City in the year 1999. Several of the staff members were working in parallel on Chrono Trigger, and development for Final Fantasy VII was interrupted when the other project became important enough to require the help of Yoshinori Kitase and other designers.

A rumor taken from Gamefan vol. 3 March 1995 says that the Super Famicom (SNES) version of Final Fantasy VII was going to use a Donkey Kong Country-style SGI graphics and the game was suppose to be on a 64 Megabits cartridge ( 8 MB ).

FFVII early concept (with characters from FFVI) taken from Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania books:

FFVII early concept with characters from FFVI

Some of the ideas originally considered for Final Fantasy VII ended up in Chrono Trigger instead. Other ideas, such as the New York setting and the sorceress character Edea, were kept unused until the later projects Parasite Eve and Final Fantasy VIII respectively. The original script of Final Fantasy VII, which was written by Sakaguchi, was completely different from the finished product. Tetsuya Nomura recalled how Sakaguchi “wanted to do something like a detective story“. The first part of the story involved a character named “Hot Blooded Detective Joe” who was in pursuit of the main characters. The main characters managed to blow up the city of Midgar, which had already been developed for the story.

Development of Final Fantasy VII resumed in late 1995, and required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage|3D software and a budget of more than US$30 million. Final Fantasy VI’s co-director and scenario writer, Kitase, returned to direct and co-write Final Fantasy VII and was concerned the franchise might be left behind if it did not catch up to the 3D computer graphics used in other games at the time. Production began after the making of a short, experimental tech demo called “Final Fantasy SGI” for Silicon Graphics, Inc. Onyx workstations. The demo featured polygon-based 3D renderings of characters from Final Fantasy VI in a real time battle. [Infos from Wikipedia]

In these early beta screens from the game, we can see some interesting differences, especially in the design of the characters and in the graphic style (less definite than the final version). Ian has made us to notice some of these differences:

  • First what’s with the Names on top of the screen? I though they were just names but it appears those are on the status bar too.
  • Also Barret in the first few screens, is much taller than he should be.
  • Also Barret uses Hammerblow as a regular attack, maybe at one point in development he only used his gun for limit breaks.
  • When the close up on the character models is shown all Characters and summons lack eyes.
  • Red XIII is shown, but He wasn’t supposed to be a playable character at that point( It was originally just supposed to be Cloud, Barret and, Aeris) but he has a high-res model so maybe he was a boss or a summon.
  • And instead of having Portraits they have actually sprites.

Thanks to Ian for the contribution, to Celine for the Gamefan rumor and to Andy Harrington for some of the screenshots, some scans by DarkMirage, on X-Cult Forum. ProgrammingAce has posted some high-res quality FF7 concept arts on the GamerHistory Forum, you can check them all in here! Also, a beta analysis of FFVII is available here.

In a video below recorded by Ace.Dark you can see a “beta” fight against a pyramid who seems to be immune to most status’ and just says things like “Not a probrem” “That’s too bad” “i’m sorry” “please call staff”. It is a place holder and very incomplete. As Robert Seddon has explained, it’s a remnant of the debugging process: you sometimes get this fight if something goes wrong with the game (hence ‘ENCOUNT[er] ERROR’). There’s a similar fight against ‘test’ pyramids accessible from the debug rooms (with a unique background in a demo and the original Japanese release, for some reason taken out in later versions).

In another video from TheLittleCuteThing’s Youtube Channel there are various differences found in the FF7 Beta 1.9 (the last beta disc printed before the final offical print of FF7 for japan and america): “text on the CGI intro, The Final Fantasy logo says 1996 instead of 1997, The guards that ambush you are for some reason wearing black outfits instead of red, You start out with Aeris and Barret in your party, instead of being alone, CGI`s are ALOT smoother to load on this part, Not all grainey and choppy, You dont talk to jess or anyone to open the doors, You go straight to them, The summon intro was slightly different and you dont get summons this early in the final, the boss is no longer a red scorpion, You have 3 minutes to escape the reactor instead of the massive 12 that you normally have.” Thanks to Zyniker for the link!

Also, Brad linked us to The FF7 Citadel, in which we can read some interesting articles about various unused items and models that are hidden in the game’s code, as the “Letter to a Daughter” and the “Letter to a Wife” that were related to a traveling salesman in Gongaga, from a removed sub-quest. There’s a sound track named “COMICAL.mid” that was never used in the final game, that was probably related to a removed humorous scene. A weird “red guy” (a placeholder / test character) can also be found in there.

Shademp, BrutalAl, and GlitterBerri comments on the differences between Final Fantasy VII prerelease screenshots and the final version of the game can be found in this page!

As we can read on Kotaku, in a Weekly Famitsu magazine from May 2012 there are some preliminary plot notes with some ideas that were never used in the game. One such plot note covers details about meeting the character Yuffie Kisaragi:

*Initial Plot*
About Yuffie
(Prep) From the opening and forward, wanted posters for Yuffie can be seen in town here and there.
Yuffie is a fugitive. Her age and what she looks like is different for each poster.

(How to make her join)
Random encounter.
Or, she will attack Cloud when he is sleeping in an inn.
Either event can happen anywhere.

(Any time)
From this point, Yuffie can be recruited at any time.
The Wutai event requires Yuffie and therefore, she must be recruited in order to complete the Wutai event.
What Yuffie looks like (and her level) is determined when she first joins.
(This is based on the last wanted poster that was viewed)
Therefore, by selectively choosing which wanted poster you look at last, you can recruit the Yuffie that suits your liking.
*end*

More info on the unused FF7 text and other unseen features can be found at Glitter Berri’s website and Vanished One’s Blog.

Images:

Videos:


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U64 Staff & Contributors

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Since 2001 Unseen64 archive beta and cancelled videogames, till the 7th generation of consoles. There are too many unseen games to preserve, but many people help us with their contributions, screens, videos and descriptions. Do you want to help too?
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28 thoughts on “Final Fantasy VII (7) [Beta / Tech Demo]

  1. Ian

    Some Things:
    First what’s with the Names on top of the screen? I though they were just names but it apears those are on the status bar too.

    Also Barret in the first few screens, is much taller than he should be.

    Also Barret uses Hamerblow as a regular attack, mabye at one point in devolpment he only used his gun for limit breaks.

    When the close up on the character models is shown all Characters and summons lack eyes.

    Red XIII is shown, but He wasent suposed to be a playable character at that point( I’t was oringialy just suposed to be Cloud, Barret and, Aeris) but he has a high-rez model so mabye he was a boss or a summon.

    And isntead of having Portrats they have actually sprites, so possibly long long ago it was 2D based.

  2. Zyniker

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOE341lN3WQ

    If not already seen this then i say give it a quick look.

    “This is the last beta disc printed before the final offical print of FF7 for japan and america, Quite possibly the only one in existance today. Below I will list all of the changes between beta 1.9 as seen in the video, And the offical games release, As well as points in the timeline where the changes are noticed.

    Enjoy!

    ———————————
    Differences throughout the video:

    00:20
    There is text on the CGI intro
    01:42
    The Final Fantasy logo says 1996 instead of 1997
    02:34
    Instead of finding a poton, You find nothing on the guards and can walk through them.
    02:42
    The guards that ambush you are for some reason wearing black outfits instead of red.
    02:50
    You start out with Aeris and Barret in your party, instead of being alone.
    03:49
    You dont have the option to name Cloud or Anyone.
    03:51
    CGI`s are ALOT smoother to load on this part, Not all grainey and choppy.
    04:45
    You dont talk to jess or anyone to open the doors, You go straight to them.
    06:40
    Battles have alot tougher enemies, Im guessing to compensate since you have 3 in party.
    07:37
    Jess just kind of stops and doesnt continue from the base of the ladder. Remaining there.
    07:56
    I could not press circle on the ladder…Instead I had to run down it.
    12:00
    The summon intro was slightly different..And you dont get summons this early in the final. AND the boss is no longer a red scorpion.
    12:55
    You have 3 minutes to escape the reactor instead of the massive 12 that you normally have.
    14:26
    Jess is Way up there in some weird spot, instead of her normal place further down.
    15:39
    For some reason he managed to get over there, I guess he wanted to slide down it and fell?
    17:07
    As usual you only need to goto the doors, if you dont get jess and whatshisname, You cant.

    Overall differences:
    In the beta, You started with 3 characters, a load of materia, even a summon, The enemies are abit tougher, And when you try to leave but forget to grab one of the characters, That 3 minute timer REALLY screws you over. (and yes, the timer is invisable, they do give you popup message updates on how much time is left though) You also start out with several limit breaks instead of just one.”

  3. Celine

    Square was developing Final Fantasy VII for the Super Famicom utilizing Donkey Kong Country-style SGI graphics.
    The game was suppose to use a 64 Megabits cartridge ( 8 MB ).

    Information taken from a Gamefan vol. 3 ’95 .

  4. Celine

    I don’t think so. The next sentence talked about the development of Seiken Densetsu 3 for the Super Famicom.

  5. Robert Seddon

    Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an SFC FFVII…

    [Links which I’d post if the spam filter didn’t block everything with several links in it; you’ll just have to check the FFVII section on warmech.fantasyworldxd.co.uk]

    …but those scans are reported to be conceptual mock-ups made by the magazine, not Square. So if such a project ever did exist then, as with the supposed Famicom Zelda 3 project, nothing’s ever been seen of it and we don’t know how much progress was made.

    1. monokoma

      More than the SFC FFVII rumor (that was already in the description from the Wikipedia entry), i’m a bit skeptical about the “graphic like Donkey Kong Country” part :P

  6. Celine

    Oh never saw them. Thanks Robert.
    These made-up screenshots look indeed FF6-based.
    Just wonder what Square would have done with a Super Mario RPG-type of Final Fantasy but with twice the memory…

  7. Robert Seddon

    Well, when you consider that (as Celine mentioned) Square made Super Mario RPG, and they were the publishers for Treasure Hunter G, CG doesn’t seem all that unlikely.

  8. Celine

    Why ? It fits perfectly imo.
    Square at that time was developing Super Mario RPG that employ pre-rendered graphics and what is known as Final Fantasy 7 nowadays sure use lots of pre-rendered backgrounds.

    IMO Final Fantasy 7 on SNES ( surely different from what is the PS1 version ) wasn’t feasible for economical reasons ( it would have been released probably in 1997 when the market for the platform was almost gone ).

  9. yota

    here some ffvii rumors.. i don’t know if they are true or not..

    Originally the game was going to end at the 1st visit to north crater and Aerith would die there in that ending, however Square thought the game was too short so they basically killed Aerith sooner and filled disc 2 explaining clouds past clearer and making you fight shinra til disc 3. Then you go to the crater and kick his ass again

    i think that aeris was meant to die in this game. I heard that they originally planned to do it at the northern crater but some reason, move it earlier. which explains the dialogue here.

    actually there was a file left on the FFVII database that was basically aeris’s text and sprite if you hacked her back to life in disc 2 oddly enough they never removed this factor and nobdoy even knows why it’s there. Maybe to foreshadow a future FFVII event?

    There is still some parts of Disc 2 and 3 where she speaks if you have her in the party, this is simply because it wasn’t always the plan to kill her off, it was a decision made later in the game and some speach boxes still survive.

  10. Robert Seddon

    As I recall, the idea that the Northern Crater was originally planned to be her place of death is a theory (written up in articles on FFVII Citadel) based on those extra bits of dialogue, and the existence of an apparently unused Northern Crater map with her music theme playing–but the latter later turned out not to count as evidence, because it was discovered that that map doesn’t have a music track specified, and so the game defaults to the first item on the playlist, which happens to be Aeris’s theme. So the jury is still out, except that we know from an interview that Aeris’s death wasn’t planned from the very beginning of development. But then, at the very beginning Square were thinking about New York and Hot Blooded Detective Joe…

  11. Celine

    About the N64DD development ( Level, issue 1)

    Kitase on FFVII’s initial development: “Our first plans were interrupted, since we had to help out with Chrono Trigger, which had turned into a huge project. But as soon as we had done what we could with that game, we started over from the beginning with FFVII. And back then we were fully focused on the disk system that was gonna be released for the Nintendo 64 (the 64DD). We never actually received a working prototype, but we did everything according to the planned specifications.”

    Nomura on experimenting with the N64 analog stick: “We had an idea about how you would be able to look around in the dungeons with the help of it, but we never really got further than that.”

    Kitase: “We actually began work from the ground up on three separate occasions. First directly after FFVI, then again after Chrono Trigger, and finally when we decided that CD-ROM technology was going to be a necessity and that it would therefore be released on the PlayStation.”

    Nomura: “But some of the ideas we had been discussing from the beginning are actually still intact in the finished game. And other ones, like Edea, ended up in FFVIII.”

  12. Mike

    I got ahold of “Final Fantasy VII Interactive Sampler CD” so if anyone is interested give me a shout and I’ll post the disc image link here :)

  13. raregamecollector.com

    Trying to add this early Midgar sketch but it’s telling me “the post you are attempting to edit is invalid” :/

  14. raregamecollector.com

    The VHS video “MTV GameBrain” has extensive footage recorded from what looks to be a beta English version of Final Fantasy VII. There are some non-final names shown (“Ramu” instead of “Ramuh”). Later footage from the game shows garbled/corrupted text, probably from forcing the Japanese character set to display in English.

    Video rip here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3j2B-TyJ7I&feature=player_detailpage#t=4802

    On a side note, the WordPress login for this site has been incredibly glitchy for me lately. It took me 5 minutes and multiple attempts to log in.

  15. Rob Sellmansberger

    Can you post the ISO? I’m highly interested in helping to develop an idea for the unreleased Mother 3 since this was also another unreleased RPG with similar graphics. What if a much better 3D version of it came out eventually for Wii U? That would be something.

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