- Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth needs to find a balance in its open-world design to avoid an empty and unengaging map.
- Elden Ring and Tears of The Kingdom show that small worlds can be packed with content, emphasizing the importance of filling the map with worthwhile content.
- The size of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s map should be around 55 to 65 square miles to create a massive yet manageable world that encourages exploration.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the upcoming second entry in Square Enix’s trilogy remaking FF7, one of the publisher’s most beloved titles. Final Fantasy 7 Remake was launched in April 2020 and immediately captured the hearts of fans with its excellent action RPG combat and unique spin on the original story. FF7 Remake stood out against other major releases at the time, especially Final Fantasy 15, which had a large open world that very often felt far too empty. Instead, Remake was a far more linear experience, allowing it to focus on telling an engaging story that was situated in a deliberately crafted world. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will return to an open-world approach, but going too big could kill its momentum.
Final Fantasy 15‘s open world is an impressive 750 square miles, but it is poorly utilized. If not for the characters having a car to get around in, the game would be extremely difficult to navigate. The size of the map lends to the feeling that the game is a road trip, but it is largely emblematic of a problem many open-world games face. Driving through the world lends to a sense of immersion, but walking around the parts of it that aren’t being utilized for storytelling reveals that it’s actually mostly empty. Just because a game’s world is big doesn’t mean that it feels lived-in or engaging to explore.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Dev Teases Permanent Character Death
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth developer Tetsuya Nomura teases that whoever dies during the game’s plot won’t be revived later on, just like in the original.
Elden Ring and Tears of The Kingdom Show That Small Worlds Can be Packed with Content
Elden Ring has been one of the most well-received games in recent years, and no small part of its acclaim can be attributed to its approach to open-world design. Elden Ring‘s open world is packed with content despite only being approximately 30 square miles. Tears of the Kingdom comes in at just about 50 square miles and is also packed with problems to solve and things to see. In these games, simply walking around seldom feels pointless. Games like FF15 and Ghost Recon: Breakpoint may have much larger maps, but Tears of the Kingdom and Elden Ring show that an open world is only as good as the content that fills it.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Map Must Justify Its Size
Elden Ring‘s open world is compelling because the player is never far from something to do or see. This design philosophy makes moving from one objective to the next intuitive while encouraging exploration. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth must honor the original’s world map by making it one that is visually engaging and filled with worthwhile content. FF7‘s world map is large in theory, consisting of three islands, but there’s no need for it to be totally massive either. The developers must carefully occupy these islands with places both new and old and make sure that players are never trekking long distances with nothing to do or see.
How Big Should Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Map Be?
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth‘s map should probably be somewhere in the realm of 55 to 65 square miles at most. FF7‘s world is filled with different biomes, so plenty of space will be necessary to sell the scale of the islands, but creating another enormous map like that of Final Fantasy 15 would most likely be a mistake. Around 50 square miles is enough space for an open world to feel massive, but it’s not so much that it is overwhelming or destined for large swaths of emptiness. Vehicles are confirmed for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, but it would be a shame for the game to be developed around the assumption that players will simply move through the environments rather than explore them.
FF7 Rebirth won the Most Anticipated Game at The Game Awards 2023, and how its developers have approached open-world design will likely be a large factor in whether it lives up to fan’s high expectations. Final Fantasy 7 Remake was great because it was a tight experience that didn’t waste players’ time in telling its story. Rebirth‘s move to an open-world must maintain that sensibility if it is going to be as good as its predecessor. More important than the square mileage of FF7 Rebirth‘s map will be how it is filled.