‘Final Fantasy VII Remake’ Lead Battle Programmer Wants Next Project To “Surpass” Gambit System Of ‘Final Fantasy XII’

Cloud (Takahiro Sakurai/Cody Christian) arrives at the Sector 7 slums in Final Fantasy VII (2020), Square Enix

Satoru Koyama, Lead Battle Programmer for Final Fantasy VII Remake, wants to surpass the Gambit system of Final Fantasy XII.

Source: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (2021), Square Enix

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The programmer had discussed battle systems in an interview within the Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ultimania guidebook released in 2020 in Japan. Fans have been chipping away at translating the various insights into the development of Final Fantasy VII Remake into English.

ResetEra user Dreamboum notes that Koyama was asked the types of challenges he’d like to tackle in upcoming projects.

“This time around, we had it so AI teammates could only perform the Attack command in order to allow players to switch between characters as they fight,” Koyama prefaced. “However, next time, I’d like to create an AI that can juggle a variety of techniques and magic.”

Source: Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade (2021), Square Enix

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“My goal is to surpass Final Fantasy XII’s Gambit system,” Koyama explained. “I’d also like to focus more energy into aspects that support player control, such as Classic Mode, where characters fight automatically. I think it’s a shame when people can’t play a game they’re interested in just because they aren’t skilled with action-oriented mechanics.”

In Final Fantasy XII, the Gambit system was essentially programmable AI for party members, asking them to perform certain actions if certain events occur. For example, they may prioritize attacking flying enemies, or use a healing potion on an ally when their health falls below a certain threshold. There is also a priority list, to ensure certain Gambits are executed though other conditions have been met.

Vaan, Balthier, and Fran face off against a King Bomb and it's brood, while the party uses Gambits via Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (2017)

Vaan, Balthier, and Fran face off against a King Bomb and it’s brood, while the party uses Gambits via Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age (2017)

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Koyama was the Lead Battle Programmer on Final Fantasy VII Remake and, while unconfirmed, could be so again for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. Considering that FF7 Remake was promised to be a trilogy, it would make sense to keep as many staff onboard throughout the projects.

Producer Yoshinori Kitase will return in the same role, while Director & Concept Design Tetsuya Nomura shall return as Creative Director, and Co-director of Game Design and Programming Naoki Hamaguchi will return as Director. The above was all confirmed via the game’s official Twitter account, and so short-hand titles may have been used.

Whether this possible change to the combat system would be a good fit, one person delighted about the prospect is YouTuber Cult Classic Cage. Cage felt VII Remake tried to mix action and turn-based gameplay, only to wind-up milquetoast in an otherwise “genuinely good game.” Meanwhile, Final Fantasy XII was the first title in the series she played, and it’s depth blew her away.

“Honestly, while the battle designer is aiming high with a Gambit system, this doesn’t appeal to everyone,” Cage relents. “This is why Final Fantasy XII isn’t very popular because the way you do battle in this game isn’t the most trendy thing, or just simple to do by any means. This is, in my opinion, gonna be dumbed down.” She supported this theory with how Final Fantasy VII Remake aimed for a wider audience than fans of the series or JRPGs.

Cage added the caveat that simplifying the system wouldn’t necessarily a bad thing, as even a basic system could dramatically improve how the AI handles party characters in battle, improve the action and turn-based fusion gameplay, and improve Final Fantasy VII Rebirth by “leaps and bounds.”

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