Square Enix published an interview with Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade co-director Motomu Toriyama on Wednesday, detailing one of the franchise’s most popular scenes — the one in Wall Market. In the interview, Toriyama discusses the process that went into the scene — and it’s a good read.
In the original scene in Final Fantasy 7, Cloud has to put on a dress and pretend to be a girl to get into Don Corneo’s mansion and assist Tifa. As Polygon reviewer Carolyn Petit wrote of the remake, “the original game suggested that Cloud’s need to dress as a woman was something to be discussed in shameful whispers,” noting that the “way it mocked the ‘manly’ men at the local gym for possessing a feminine wig that Cloud must win doesn’t age very well.”
For Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade, Square Enix changed the scene to include a lavish dance number that finished with an elaborate, glamorous makeover for Cloud — a scene that removed any negative connotation associated with Cloud’s cross-dressing.
“An out of touch joke is turned into a sincere and fun moment of growth and expression in the remake, which is quite a tonal shift from the original game,” Petit wrote. “A tremendously welcome one.”
In Wednesday’s interview, Toriyama spoke to why Square Enix decided to change the scene, and went in-depth on the design process. Here are some excerpts:
It’s a very different approach to the original game. Why did you make that decision?
Given how famous the cross-dressing was in the original FINAL FANTASY VII, we were aware that people would have high expectations for the remake. We knew we had to do it in a way that both lived up to those expectations, but took modern sensibilities into consideration.
For example, fans these days expect stories and dialogue in games to go beyond stereotypical depictions of gender. Through Andrea’s lines and the lyrics of the backing track, Stand Up, we tried to build in a positive and supportive message for Cloud during his cross-dressing scene.
So how did you get started with actually making the Honeybee Inn show?
First, we decided the overall structure of the scene, consisting of the opening show, the three stages of the dance-off, and finally the ending scene. Alongside this, we came up with a general outline for each part and how long they would last.
After this, we started work on the music. Once that was done, we began work on the visuals and more specific details. Finally, we began work on the choreography. We gave the choreography team a general overview of what we were looking for, and the dance show began to take shape from there.
The whole scene took a long time, from the initial idea, to composing the music, taking the motion capture, and adjusting the music and motions to fit together. I was incredibly nervous until it finally all came together!
You can read the full interview at Square Enix’s website.