Before the announcement was made, here was the best case scenario I had been hoping for:
With the small release of my sector 5 slums scenes, try to get on some "advertising campaign" in order to have people joining the project. As Kaldarasha and I sorely found out last year, merely advertising for TA can turn out to be a very difficult exercise (actually, back then most of the people outside qhimm had a very negative prejudice about it, with reaction ranging from "leave that game in the past where it belongs" to "nobody's ever going to join a project which is doomed to meet a Cease & Desist
by Square at one point or another"). Anyway, the goal would have been to try to form a team of at least 10 productive people, shift up the gears and have a cruise speed of 10 scenes per year per person, and complete that in 5-6 years. That schedule would be pushing hard on everyone, and going at it with a professional attitude where deadlines would have to be set and met. And that would have been the very best case scenario.
I could see myself being committed to something like that if it were the only possibility to have some kind of "remake", but now its purpose would just be (at best) an attempt from an amateur to leave a mark which Square would have to surpass. Let's face it, it's not a kind of purpose which would have me motivated for working hard during the next 5 years, and I don't see that kind of scope motivating anyone else for that much time either. I'm not preventing anyone from working on it (hell, I can still be of advice on the modelling side), but personally I see very little point in it.
Of course, the remake will be different from what we do here. But why "being different" would necessary be "worse"? After all, the trilogy of the Lord of the Rings movies was an adaptation of the books, and I believe it was an adaptation for the better
. In all my time working on TA, I've been often thinking "how can I make that scene actually better than what it was, and not just a an upscaled replica?". I would hope that idea of improvement would animate the devs. I believe that plenty of aspects can be made differently from the original, and better. For example, what if you could roam around the entire city of Midgar like in an open world game, where you could visit Sectors in the slums or on the Plate, whereas the original game didn't get you to see any of that? What if the game started around the times where Tifa finds Cloud on the train platform, and then you spend some time free roaming in Midgar doing small jobs before joining Avalanche for the Bombing mission? What if you'd carry out the first Bombing mission with Biggs, Wedge and Jessie as additional party members? All this would certainly be different from the original game, but wouldn't these changes actually be cooler? It's in the hands of Square to make things like that happen (or not), and in any case such changes are way beyond our capabilities.
I believe that many fans feel a sense of ownership over the game. The idea of being able to mod the game probably strengthened that feeling. It seems many are upset by the announcement of Square because it would deprive them of that sense of ownership, because a different version would not conform their own vision. But the game has to change, in my opinion. A lot of elements in the original game were acceptable back then, but they would feel lousy now (examples: the split/merge of the characters for dialogs, random battles, how Cait Sith joins the party, the hard baked chibis in FMVs, etc.) - wouldn't we better off without these? I personally see no sense in sticking to every aspect of the original game (as a seasoned RPG player, I've always found it somewhat depressing that many players consider turn-based system - a transposition of old D&Ds mechanics - as the alpha and omega of gameplay). However, everybody can have a different opinion of what should be kept, what should be edited, what should be removed, what could be added (hell, maybe I should make a huge poll about it
). I think people fear having these decisions out of their hands. Personally, I do not have the pretension that what I can do would surpass what Square can do on the artistic side, so I prefer to just let go.
So, what now? I guess all we can hope for is that Square decides to interact with its fan as the development is underway, and look for constructive advice us fans would make.