The Final Fantasy VII Remake has added a new co-director mid-development, as Naoki Hamaguchi will take on the new role and work with existing director Tetsuya Nomura. Hamaguchi will now share directing responsibility with Nomura after previously serving as the game’s development leader.
Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s director position is one that comes with a lot of added pressure, given the status of the remake. Final Fantasy VII Remake was announced during E3 2015, nearly four years ago, and there has been next to no information regarding the game’s development since then. Outside of a few brief gameplay demos and discussions about the design direction of the game, fans have been largely left to their own devices when it comes to imagining what a completely remade version of Final Fantasy VII might look like.
Hamaguchi will assume the role of director for the first time during his time with the Final Fantasy franchise, according to Square Enix Japan‘s official statement. The reason for Hamaguchi’s promotion was not stated, although its likely a move from Square Enix in an attempt to both shift the game’s development in a different direction and, perhaps, speed it up so that it begins to yield visible results. Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s new director was also the staff member who announced the game was parting ways with its external studio CyberConnect2 back in 2017, so Hamaguchi already has experience making big announcements and being involved in major decisions.
Hamaguchi stated on the Square Enix Japan website that the Final Fantasy VII Remake is progressing smoothly, with a development workflow that’s already been shifted toward in-house development. Hamaguchi also stated that the team’s overall efficiency has already improved, although that’s been the sentiment from developers working on the project for the better part of a few years now. Still, Hamaguchi’s experience on titles like Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XIV, and Mobius Final Fantasy show that he’s familiar with the various flavors the franchise comes in, meaning he’ll likely be unafraid to push the remake in the direction that best suits it since he has so much experience.
Until fans see tangible results, though, its unlikely Hamaguchi’s words or promotion will carry much weight. Final Fantasy VII Remake is beginning to resemble Final Fantasy XV in the way that its development process seems to be undergoing constant change, and the latter game took the better part of a decade to finally make and release. Hopefully fans aren’t subjected to the same kind of torment this time around, and Hamaguchi manages to avoid Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s…lofty release date target of 2022 or sooner.