Opinion | Trials of Mana is a perfect example of what a more faithful Final Fantasy 7 Remake could have been like
April has been a big month for Square Enix. Not only did they finally release Final Fantasy 7 Remake as a modern update to the original 1997 version, but they also released Trials of Mana as a modern update to the original 1995 game. These two remakes, however, couldn't have been more different in their approaches to reviving their respective classics.
Without going into spoiler territory, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is essentially a complete re-imagining of the original story and its environments with major plot twists and quests unique to the title. The developers have injected so much resources and production value to the game that it is a completely new title in its own right in contrast to most other remakes or remasters like Warcraft III Reforged or Crash Team Racing: Nitro Refueled.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Trials of Mana remake which, unlike Final Fantasy 7 Remake, has opted for a more budget-friendly anime style while sticking very closely to the original story. We're halfway through the game already and most interactions line up almost 1:1 with the 1995 original. In fact, the dialogue and pacing are so alike the original that many reviewers have actually blasted the game for its cliché plot and awkward dialogue even though both are hallmarks of most JPRGs from that era.
Square Enix could have approached Final Fantasy 7 Remake with the same aesthetics as Trials of Mana while following the original story arc beat for beat. The undemanding graphics engine would have also likely allowed the entire story to fit onto one game instead of multiple parts spread over several years. This isn't to say that fans would prefer one style over the other as the current Final Fantasy 7 Remake is an excellent title worthy of its name, but it's an interesting "what if" scenario to ponder had the developers wanted to budget the game and its visuals in a less grandiose manner than what we actually got.