Mon, 4 April 2016
Crisis Core began development as a PSP port of the FInal Fantasy VII Mobile Phone Japan-only game “Before Crisis”. Hajime Tabata, event Director for Monster Rancher 2, and the creator of “Before Crisis” was chosen as director of the port. It would also be produced by Hideki Imaizumi, the score by Takeharu Ishimoto, written by Kazushige Nojima, and art designed by Yoshihiro Imaizumi.
Soon into production of the port, however, when it was decided that the port was going to center around the mythical character of Zack, they opted to create a brand-new game instead.
They titled this new project “Before Crisis Core” and eventually shortened it to “Crisis Core”, and drew upon the artwork and back story left over from the development of Final Fantasy VII. Despite having plenty of backstory for FF7 filled in with this game, they initially wanted to include more, but were restricted by the size of the PSP’s UMD’s. Much of Cloud’s involvement was cut in order to focus the game on Zack.
The game's antagonist, Genesis, was brought over from the development of Dirge of Cerberus, and made the main baddie, in an attempt to cohesively connect the games. That and the Rock Star voice actor, “Gackt”, wanted a bigger role, so Producer Hideki Imaizumi gave him one.
The team behind Crisis Core had some hurdles to get over in development. With Zack as the main protagonist, the regular “RPG” style of gameplay wasn’t going to work, and so they opted for a more fluid Action style of gameplay, with little exploration. There was some fear that such a departure from traditional gameplay and leveling would alienate fans, as well as concern over retconning certain elements of Final Fantasy 7. Square, at this time, was receiving a lot of backlash over the Animated short film, Last Order, and were trying to make up for it. Too late into development, the team realized that the player’s inability to skip cutscenes was a huge oversight that they couldn’t fix, and the luck-based leveling, meant to keep gameplay from growing stale, had its problems as well.
Despite all this, Crisis Core’s demo was released in 2006 at Jump festa, and in may of 2007 Tabata stated that the game was 90% complete (Tabata loves his percentages). In september of that year, Crisis Core was released to Japanese audiences, and in the spring of 2008 it made its way to western shores. Note that 2007 would have been the 10th anniversary for FF7, and a lot was made of Crisis Core and other projects of Square’s Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, the others being Before Crisis, the shooter Dirge of Cerberus (our next game), and the CGI movie Advent Children.
Crisis Core would be released with a bang, well reviewed by most (metacritic has it at 83/100), it ended up being the 6th biggest selling PSP game ever, selling 3.1 million copies worldwide. It’s definitely one of the more successful FInal Fantasy Sequels/Prequels, praised for its focus on the Final Fantasy VII backstory, although faulted sometimes for it’s DMW or “randomized as hell limit break system” RAHLBS, it remains a beloved addition to the FFVII universe, and has been called one of the most tear-inducing game of all time.
Crisis core takes place 7 years before the events of FFVII, and focuses the story around a Shinra Soldier named Zack Fair, as he explores the dark roots and experiments of Genetically modified Soldiers like himself.
It begins with Zack and his mentor Angeal being dispatched to support the Shinra war against the nation of Wutai, during which Angeal disappeared. Later it’s “revealed” that Angeal and another soldier named Genesis, have somehow betrayed shinra, and Zack and Sephiroth are sent to kill him.
At this point, Genesis and a dude named Dr. Hollander, throw a clone army Shinra’s way. Sephiroth attacks Genesis, and Zack goes off to find Hollander. Angeal, however, stops Zack from killing Hollander by knocking him into the abyss, as Hollander must be kept alive if they are to have any hope in finding a cure from being turned into a monster, something that happens when potential Soldiers are exposed to too much of Jenova’s genetic Material, an amount had by both Genesis and Angeal, as well as Sephiroth.
Zack wakes up, having fallen into Aerith’s church, and they spend some quality time together while Zack heals. When Zack returns to the ever-being-attacked Shinra building, he is convinced to side with his friend Angeal, who has become disillusioned with Genesis. But once again, Angeal disappears, and Zack is ordered somewhere new, Modeoheim, where Genesis was last seen. On route he meets a young Cloud Strife, and their brief friendship begins. Zack does end up fighting Genesis, but Genesis throws himself into a Mako Reactor in the end.
On that same trip, Zack finds Angeal is fusing with his own clones, being overtaken by the monster inside of him, and eventually Zack is forced to kill him, inheriting his mentor’s sword in the wake of his death.
After all of this, despite the fact that Genesis’s clones still fight Shinra, Angeal’s have become some sort of protector for Zack and Aerith. Still in search of answers ;regarding Genesis’s whereabouts, Zack, Sephiroth, and shinra troops that include Cloud, go to investigate the Nibelheim Reactor. And it’s here that Sephiroth finds out about the experiments that created him, and he goes absolutely fucking nuts, destroys a town, and attempts to take Jenova’s body. Zack fails to stop him, and in a crazy feat of strength, after being stabbed by a huge fucking sword, Cloud throws Sephiroth into the lifestream below the reactor.
Later, Zack finds himself and a very weakened Cloud in Hojo’s lab, as part of the Jenova experiments. So he freaks out, takes cloud, and gets the fuck out of there. This causes Shinra to pursue Zack and Cloud ruthlessly (Cloud, because he’s the last experiment to hold Sephiroth’s cells, who is the one who reacted with the most stability with Jenova’s cells).
Hollander tries to get Cloud, but Zack makes quick work of him, and aligns himself with Dr. Lazard, who is turning into an Angeal Clone, and sends Zack to go to Banora to defeat Genesis. After a super-monstrous Genesis is killed, Zack returns to Cloud and finds a note from Aerith that revealed a 4 year gap that took place between the incidents at Nibelheim, and him waking in Hojo’s lab.
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