Final Fantasy VII Remake isnâ€™t a complete story. Instead, the game explores the beginning of the classic RPG, with later chapters planned to finish the narrative at some point in the future. This means youâ€™ll meet most of the main cast, but certain characters havenâ€™t yet made an appearance â€” which turned out to be helpful when co-director Motomu Toriyama started thinking of the gameâ€™s first add-on.
â€śWe were going to depict a side of Midgar that took place during the same timeline as the Final Fantasy VII Remake base game, and so I thought Yuffie, who was an optional character [in the original game], was the logical choice,â€ť he tells The Verge. â€śEven in the source material, she makes an appearance in the middle of the journey, but the events of her journey were never depicted, so I took the liberty to create this new story.â€ť
The result is a short add-on called Episode Intermission, which recently launched alongside an enhanced PS5 version of the game. It stars Yuffie Kisaragi â€” a fan-favorite ninja obsessed with materia, FFVIIâ€™s strange magical orbs â€” as she heads to the sprawling metropolis of Midgar to meet up with the Avalanche and seek out a particularly powerful magical item. The story takes place concurrently with the main game; youâ€™ll even see characters like Barrett and Jessie in brief snippets and hear about the impact of events that they were involved in. Episode Intermission only lasts a few hours, but itâ€™s designed to show the story and world from a different perspective.
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â€śPlayers can see a new side of Yuffie, the Avalanche members living in the slums, and the dark side of Shinra, allowing them to immerse themselves even deeper into the world of Midgar,â€ť Toriyama explains. â€śBy getting an understanding of FFVIIR Intermission, I think players can further enjoy the relationships between the main characters and more of the world of Final Fantasy VII Remake opening up.â€ť
Yuffie wasnâ€™t the only optional character in the original Final Fantasy VII that launched in 1997. Players were also able to recruit Vincent Valentine, a gunslinger with a dark, mysterious past. And while his dual-pistols would probably be a lot of fun with FFVIIRâ€™s more action-oriented combat, his backstory made it a more challenging fit. Yuffie, on the other hand, had a less-defined history, making her an almost ideal candidate.
â€śIf, for example, this were Vincent, he would have been sleeping in a coffin in the Shinra mansion, so we couldnâ€™t move him around; but Yuffie was traveling the world as a materia hunter,â€ť Toriyama says. â€śBy having the events from Midgar depicted in FFVIIR Episode Intermission be a part of her travels as a materia hunter, we are able to see the emotions beneath her fun character, which will then connect to the story.â€ť
Aside from the new story elements, the new episode also has some gameplay tweaks as well. One of the highlights of FFVIIR is how each character has a very different feel; combat is completely different if youâ€™re wielding Cloudâ€™s comically large sword or Tifaâ€™s kickboxing skills. For Yuffie, her ninja background means she moves incredibly fast and can attack both from up close and afar, giving her a distinct style among the cast.
She even moves through the world quickly outside of combat. Intermission has a number of environmental puzzles that involve clambering up pipes and running along walls. â€śThe controls focus on leveraging the lore of her being a ninja, so we were very particular about making Yuffieâ€™s movements fit that unique characteristic about her, with having her deftly move across latticed walls and poles,â€ť says co-director Naoki Hamaguchi.
The new episode is relatively brief â€” you can probably experience all of it in around five hours â€” but it manages to cram a lot into that small package, from gigantic boss battles to brand-new characters. And while we still know very little about when the next main part of FFVVIIR is coming or what it will actually entail, it sounds like this isnâ€™t the last players will see of Yuffie.
â€śWith this episode, we were able to delve further into Yuffieâ€™s back story, have her go through an experience similar to Cloud and his team, and leave Midgar at around the same time,â€ť says Toriyama. â€śThis will then lead to her encounter them â€” as an ally â€” in the story down the line.â€ť