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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

FINAL FANTASY VIII Released and Deemed Remastered... But Why?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Trying to get attention and it's not working?

Today, Square Enix released the once-thought unportable FINAL FANTASY VIII, as promised from their E3 2019 conference. It's $20 on PC, Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

It's sold as FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered.

There are no press releases for the game. Only Square Enix (instead of the console manufacturers joining in the fanfare) released a half-minute trailer on the FINAL FANTASY YouTube channel:

You'll notice this trailer doesn't focus on any actual gameplay. Just quick cutscene shots and close-ups of character renders. That's because the only thing that got “remastered” were those character renders. Everything else, like the backgrounds and textures and music, were kept the same as they were in 1999, which subjectively makes everything look more ugly because of how contrasting the HD models against the muddy backgrounds are. (I personally like it for gameplay reasons since it distinguishes things like up-resolutioned treasure chests.) This is very similar to the Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX ports earlier this year, but those didn't go around with “Remastered” in the title. 

Actually, for some reason, the game has two title screens:

Final Fantasy VIII Remastered title screens PlayStation original
You get the top title screen. Then you press any button... and then you get the REAL (1999-era) title screen.
I'm pretty sure this is a bait-and-switch, but it's this way on non-Switch platforms, too.

I've been reading some comments and replies about the FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered release on GameFAQs message boards (which is still where you can find the biggest collection of Final Fantasy fans), and their disappointment seems to be that they were expecting more because the game has “Remastered” in the title. (Or, one of the title screens.)

Compare to FINAL FANTASY X/X-2 HD Remaster, which you can also buy on those same consoles and also has the magic word in the title. That's an actual remaster. The graphics are more completely changed. The music is even changed, too. It's $50 to prove its effort.

I wonder if people expected a similar full-fledged remastering effort, unlike the ports of IX and VII. Then again, why is the word “Remastered” actually in the title?

...I have no idea and I can't possibly try to explain it to you. Some fans believe it's so Square Enix will never have to give FINAL FANTASY VIII the treatment that they're currently giving to the super-spectacular Final Fantasy VII Remake, because, hey, it got a remaster, and it's in the title that it's a remaster. Isn't that good enough? I personally doubt that Square is capable of looking that far ahead, especially since Final Fantasy VII Remake probably won't be fully (all parts) complete until, well, a whole other console generation from now. Maybe two.

However, I have no expectations for comparing FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered to its original, since I never played it. Despite basically being a 20-year old game, I was quite satisfied with Final Fantasy IX and how it was brought to the Switch. Sure, having no comparison point to make helped, but on its raw merits, the game is a timeless classic. I have no idea if FINAL FANTASY VIII is the same way. It just was never talked about in the same beloved overtones as VII or IX.

Ludwig wrote an article for FINAL FANTASY VIII but not Astral Chain. If that bothers you, go write a request for Rawk to write an article about the latter, since he's the staff's expert on it. You're free to lobby for Ludwig to buy FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered in this article's comments section whenever it's on a discount, or something. Ludwig doesn't know what the proper capitalisation for these games’ titles are, but he somehow likes the idea of VIII yelling at everyone for attention while the other entries don't need to.

Here's the article for Final Fantasy VII being ported to Switch earlier this year.
Ludwig defines what a remaster actually is over here. By a strict definition, FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered qualifies, but so would Final Fantasy IX.


  1. (shrug) I mean, I'm happy with my ff8 Steam release, and yeah I doubt I'll pick up a remaster if so little was really changed. I do like the game generally though.

    1. Well, that's...sort of an endorsement, I guess.

    2. I understand that ff8 is not among the mainstream popular Final Fantasies and if you don't care for it, you don't care for it. It happens that I do.

    3. I mean, I don't know if I'd care for it or not!

    4. "However, I have no expectations for comparing FINAL FANTASY VIII Remastered to its original, since I never played it."

      Did you interpret that as "Ludwig hasn't played the Remastered version but he has played the original"?

      It should be interpreted as "Ludwig hasn't played any version of FF8."

    5. The only FF I've played through is FFIX.

    6. ...I haven't played it THROUGH but I've played a good bit of it. Would you be averse to trying it via watching someone, to wit perhaps even me, stream it?

    7. Trying it via watching someone else playing it isn't...trying it.

      I personally wouldn't be able to get an impression off that. My other concern is that JRPGs generally aren't fun to watch but they're much better played.

    8. Dangit. I was hoping I'd get an excuse to stream it on Twitch--and by extension, actually get around to playing it.

    9. I shouldn't be your determining factor!

    10. You're not wrong, but that simply illustrates just how few straws I even have to grasp at to be able to stream on Twitch. Like, I'm not going to stream if absolutely nobody is going to show up. I talk to myself while playing games all the time--if that's all that's going to happen I'd just as soon do it normally instead of bothering with recording it.

    11. Folks might just...spontaneously show up.

      Especially as a relatively "new" game.

  2. Point of order though: Is the MUSIC getting remastered at all? Because that would make a case for me getting it. The way for many, many video games to my heart is through my ears.

    1. FFVIII Remastered's music is the same as it was two decades ago.
      “That's because the only thing that got “remastered” were those character renders. Everything else, like the backgrounds and textures and music, were kept the same as they were in 1999” - the article.


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