One of the most surprising details about Final Fantasy 7's upcoming remake - entitled simply Final Fantasy 7 Remake - is that it's being released as several parts rather than as a full game. Today producer Yoshinori Kitase wrote a letter to fans explaining the controversial decision.
Kitase explained in his letter that their goal with Final Fantasy 7 Remake is to "go beyond" the original in terms of the "story, world and experience." He says that breaking the game into parts allows them to make each section of the game denser and feel like a proper modernization of the RPG:
The biggest reason why we haven’t done a remake until now is because it’s a massive undertaking to reconstruct Final Fantasy VII from the ground up with the current technology. Producing a proper HD remake of Final Fantasy VII that maintains the same feeling of density of the original would result in a volume of content that couldn’t possibly fit into one instalment.
My main concern with splitting up Final Fantasy 7 into multiple parts is that it's a decision driven by business concerns rather than the wishes of the designers. What I really don't want to see is the game equivalent of The Hobbit movie trilogy: a story stretched out to an ungainly length just so it can be sold to us several times over. Kitase's statement doesn't really alleviate that worry but I guess the final product would be able to do that.
Still, Kitase does make that final product sound promising. It's true that a remake that simply told the exact same story in the exact same world but with shinier graphics would've been a huge disappointment. There's definitely room for improvement in the original game so I'm looking forward to seeing how Square Enix evolves the story and gameplay for the remake. The first gameplay trailer suggests the company's on the right track. If they're successful at making the old classic feel new again, I doubt anyone will be complaining too much if the remake released in three (or however many) parts instead of one.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake's release date is currently unknown. Kitase simply said that the development is "going well" and is "further along" than most people expect. The only platform announced thus far is PS4 but Square Enix is building the remake in Unreal Engine 4, which would make PC and Xbox One ports viable.