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FF7 Remake’s combat was transformed in 6 months by former Capcom dev

Final Fantasy 7 Remake and FF7 Rebirth have Teruki Endo to thank for their immaculate combat systems, and he got the PS5 games up to snuff in just six months.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth combat system: Cloud next to Sephiroth fighting a large creature

Teruki Endo could very well be the Lisan al Gaib – at least when it comes to building combat systems. Final Fantasy 7 Remake and FF7 Rebirth have quite possibly the best RPG battle mechanics ever, and he’s largely to thank for them. As it transpires, Endo is so goated that he managed to transform Remake’s combat from something that “didn’t feel good to play” into gaming gold on PS5 in no time at all after joining the dev team.

In a new episode of Inside Square Enix, some of the leading lights in the FF7 remake project were quizzed on its latest installment, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. During the hour-and-a-half-long show, both Endo and director Naoki Hamaguchi open up on how the RPG game’s remarkable combat originally came about in Remake. Additionally, Endo touches on the challenges of marrying action with strategy.

“For [FF7] Remake, we had already settled on the core concept of a battle system that merges action and strategy and as we had made previous Final Fantasy games,” Hamaguchi begins, “we were experienced in doing strategy based on menu commands. In a sense, those parts of the system were easy to put together, but after several early attempts at the battles for Remake, it just didn’t feel good to play.” This is where Endo comes in.

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Having just been recruited from Capcom, the former Monster Hunter World design lead immediately got to work. In “just six months,” the Square Enix newbie managed to take Remake’s dysfunctional system and turn it into arguably the series’ best. Though we’ve seen numerous iterations of Square’s Active Time Battle system over the years, this is certainly the closest it’s come to perfection.

“They had built him [Endo] up, saying that this amazing guy from Capcom would be joining us… And we were very anxious about it,” Hamaguchi continues. “But we really did get someone amazing. So it was like, ‘Here comes the action game master!’ Yes. He really was that good.”

When it came to building on Remake’s success with one of 2024’s best games, FF7 Rebirth, Endo cites two major obstacles, the first of which was adding action elements without hampering the strategic ones.

“I did a fair amount of mental simulations in my head, thinking about how adding a new element would change the flow of battles,” Endo explains. “I then moved it around and tested it out, and once I was around 80 or 90% confident about something in my own head, I would implement it in the game. It was quite a struggle to keep doing that.”

Furthermore, Endo had to implement Rebirth’s flashy Limit Break and Synergy Ability sequences while keeping things moving in real-time. This involved “balancing many different moving parts,” while “having many conversations with the programmers about the specifications etc.” Honestly, it sounds exhausting just hearing about it.

Nonetheless, Endo’s efforts have bore more than just fruit. The expansion of Remake’s already-stellar combat in Rebirth truly has taken the open-world game to the next level. Between the aforementioned Synergy Abilities, improvements to aerial combat, and more, I don’t know how Square’s going to be able to top it for the final part of the remake trilogy – I can’t wait to find out.

For more of the latest on the best PS5 games around, check out how fellow PS5 exclusive Helldivers 2 has managed to continue its chart dominance despite its declining playerbase. Furthermore, peep the big new PS Plus Stat that we didn’t want to see.