The rumor Final Fantasy IX remake has the chance to recover part of the game that was clipped during development. It is common for Final Fantasy games for having clipped content hidden in the files, such as the Easter egg debug space in FF7 where Aerith makes an incredibly sinister comment. These pieces of content were never meant to be discovered by the player, but computer miners have managed to uncover them by exploring the files.
FF9 has relatively little content compared to the other Final Fantasy games on the original PlayStation. FF7 and FF8 both had functional debug rooms that could be visited using GameShark tags while Final Fantasy Tactics was packed with unused battle cards and figures. This is likely to reflect the fact that developers become more comfortable with the PlayStation hardware over time and maximize the available space instead of letting unused assets take up disk space.
A recent leak suggests that FF9 re-recording on the way. If this is true, one of the best JRPGs on the original PlayStation will be revived in a modern form. It is already possible to play the game on modern systems, thanks to the remastered version of the game that is available on most platforms, but time has not been kind to FF9s character models or backgrounds. The rumor FF9 re-recording not only has the chance to bring the game world to life in a way that has only ever been seen in FF9‘s FMVs, but it could also bring back content that was planned to appear in the game, but which was cut during development due to PlayStation’s limitations.
The future of Final Fantasy IX
Square Enix has been on a remaster and remake over the last few years, which has brought obscure games from SaGa franchise to an international audience, as well as revive some classics Final Fantasy games such as Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters. It is not surprising that there are so many Final Fantasy remakes and remasters, given that Square Enix lost the source code for many of its older games. By far the most high-profile of these games is FF7 re-recording, which is to become its own series to retell the story of FF7 over multiple games.
What is surprising is that FF9 appears to be queuing for a remake, even prior to FF8. The reason fans are aware of this is due to the recent leak of the Nvidia GeForce playlist. This was a datamine that revealed the identity of several upcoming games, though Nvidia insists the list is speculative. Square Enix has several games on the list, including a PC version of FF7 re-recording, FF16, Kingdom Hearts 4, and remasters of Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Tactics Ogre. That FF9 re-recording also appears on this list. It is worth mentioning that it has not been 100% confirmed that this leak is accurate, but at least one of the games on the list has been announced (Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – Definitive Edition), and there is evidence of that Final Fantasy Tactics Remaster is in development.
It may seem strange too FF9 to receive a remake, but there is at least one good reason why it could be under development. FF9 is transformed into an animated show where children and young teenagers are the target group. Square Enix might turn FF9 into a multimedia franchise for people of all ages, which means a revival of the video game makes sense. FF9 re-recording may not be exactly child-friendly given some of the darker elements of the story, so it could be tailored to a new generation in the same way as FF7 re-recording cut some of the more problematic elements from the story.
The Cut Elemental Bosses
One of the main reasons why Final Fantasy the series took the leap from Nintendo systems to the original PlayStation because it used the CD-ROM format for its games. CD-ROMs could hold significantly more space than an N64 cartridge, allowing games to include FMVs and higher-quality audio. Square Enix (then known as Squaresoft) quickly filled the mainline Final Fantasy games with FMVs, forcing them to spread the games across multiple discs.
It seems that the available memory on four CD-ROMs was not enough FF9, as the game should still have clipped content to fit on the discs. FF9 Event Designer Kazuhiko Aoki recently told PlayStation Blog about content cut from the game. According to Aoki, the game was originally intended to have four elemental guardians, with the party having to split into groups of two to meet them. In the final version of the game, the player only faces the Earth Guardian, while the other battles take place off-screen. The player fights later upgraded versions of the Guardians, in what is meant as a shout-out to the four devils from the original Final Fantasy game.
Fans already know what these carved bosses would have looked like, as works of art by them have appeared in Ultimania guides in the past. The Fire Guardian looked like a woman whose hair was a massive snake tail, the Water Guardian was a human-like squid in magician robes, and the Wind Guardian was a green dragon. FF9 underwent many changes during development, with the identity of the final boss shifting from Grim Reaper to Hades from FF7, but Aoki’s comments are the first confirmation that the guards were cut due to memory limitations, and not due to a design choice.
The restrictions no longer exist
If the rumors regarding FF9 re-recording is true, then the new version of the game should have no problem implementing the Guardians. Square Enix has not had any issues with games such as FF7 Remake Intergrade has a huge file size. Actually the PS4 version of FF7 re-recording had a disk that was only to install a wealth of data to the system. There is also a chance for that FF9 re-recording can be spread over several games, e.g. FF7 re-recording series, which means developers will be looking for more content to include in the story. The Four Fiends have appeared in various Final Fantasy games and they should have their cut matches restored FF9 re-recording.
Next: FF7 The First Soldier release date, opening movie revealed
Source: PlayStation Blog
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