Square Enix recently released a game called (checks Google) Final Fantasy VII Remake, and per the company’s ongoing PR explosion, it published an interview with Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi and Producer Yoshinori Kitase. Kitase was actually the director of the original Final Fantasy VII on PlayStation 1 (now available on Nintendo Switch), so he was able to give insight into both that version and the remake. So when asked why primary antagonist Sephiroth appears much sooner in Remake than in the original game, Kitase’s answer involved Jaws of course. Yeah, the shark:
You may not know this, but I was inspired by the movie Jaws which took a similar approach of teasing this powerful presence, but never fully showing you the shark until later in the story. We wanted to build him up as this really big, powerful character in people’s minds. By only referring to him indirectly, it created this feeling of fear and oppression – so when he makes his first appearance, it’s a big deal.
But for the remake, that doesn’t work so well – partly because everybody knows who Sephiroth is (laughs)! We didn’t think it would be as effective to have him held back until later on in the story.
He also added that, since Sephiroth is such a driving force of the narrative of Final Fantasy VII, it just made sense to introduce the character earlier.
Approaching Sephiroth as Jaws is a pretty terrific concept, really. But in truth, even in 1997, we all knew who Sephiroth was since his concept art appeared in magazines and his fiery visage appeared in TV commercials. If anything, the modern filmmaking techniques in Final Fantasy VII Remake could have been used to make the first appearance of Sephiroth even more jarring and unnerving, and I honestly don’t agree with the decision to introduce him sooner. Nonetheless, I’d be lying if I said I weren’t enjoying the game to a tremendous degree so far.
What do you think of the Sephiroth / Jaws connection, and do you agree with Kitase’s reasoning for changing things up for the remake?