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Final Fantasy VII Rebirth: The Popularity of Remakes in Streaming

Remakes feed our desire for nostalgia. At their best, remakes allow developers to draw from the wellspring of gaming history’s finest titles and reinvent them for a modern audience. There’s something comforting about tuning into a stream to reinhabit our favorite worlds; to see our favorite characters once more. Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (FF7 Rebirth) delivers on this feeling.

FF7 Rebirth is a particularly special remake, the second entry in a Remake Trilogy of the original Final Fantasy VII for PlayStation. While the first entry, 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake, took place in the much-loved Midgar portion of the original game, FF7 Rebirth covers the events leading up to one of gaming’s most iconic moments: The death of Aerith at the hands of Sephiroth. However, the Remake Trilogy has established an alternate timeline from the original game, fuelling fans with hope that, this time, Aerith might be saved. 

This refreshed narrative gave viewers a reason to tune into the game with their favorite streamers. FF7 Rebirth performed admirably on streaming platforms in the first week of its release, driving Final Fantasy fans to streams and proving that remakes continue to drive viewership.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Drives Viewership on Streaming Platforms

Streamers flocked to FF7 Rebirth, with 17K unique channels streaming the game on the second day after its release. At its peak, 162K viewers tuned in across all platforms, but Twitch was by far the largest contributor with 84% of all viewership. The Remake Trilogy has clearly got fans excited, hoping to see a continuation of the storyline with its time-traveling divergence from the original game. 

Maximilian_DOOD was the most popular streamer covering the FF7 Rebirth hype with 711K hours watched – almost three times the next most popular streamer CohhCarnage at 250K hours watched. Chinese-language streamers, however, were the main creators driving the amount of FF7 Rebirth content being produced. Chinese-language streamer 蝦愛橘子 (shuteye_orange) alone aired 119 hours of FF7 Rebirth content in the first week to become the 3rd most popular FF7 Rebirth streamer with 234K hours watched.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Holds Its Own Against Other Final Fantasy Titles

Given the lofty legacy which FF7 Rebirth had to live up to, it has performed admirably against other recently released Final Fantasy titles. With 8.1M hours watched in its opening week, FF7 Rebirth’s performance is on par with the most recent mainline entry in the series, Final Fantasy XVI, which drew in 12M hours watched in its opening week. However, it pulled in only half the viewership of its predecessor Final Fantasy VII Remake, which generated close to 17M hours watched due to hype around the revival of the original game. Regardless, this impressive performance proves that fans are still interested in seeing game director Naoki Hamaguchi‘s direction for the Remake Trilogy.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Outperforms Recent JRPGs

The name brand reputation of the Final Fantasy series has helped carry FF7 Rebirth to the top first-week viewership of any recently released JRPGs. The next best competitor, Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, racked up 4.8M hours watched, thanks largely to streamers in Japan. FF7 Rebirth’s performance could be due to the sheer number of streamers covering the game, with 429K hours streamed compared to just 111K for Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. JRPGs have always performed well in Asian markets, but Final Fantasy is one of the few franchises to spread to Western audiences as well.

Final Fantasy VII Remake Trilogy Proves the Power of Remake Nostalgia 

We’re currently in a golden age of video game remakes. While players may be divided on whether this is a good thing for originality, there’s no doubt that these remakes continue to drive viewership. As a prime example, the 2023 Resident Evil 4 Remake was a big event for the gaming world, generating 54M hours watched in the first 30 days of release. Although Final Fantasy VII Remake generated less than half of this viewership with 25M hours watched in its first 30 days, the impact is no less impressive when compared to original AAA titles.

Disclaimer: This chart is not an exhaustive list of all remakes/remasters that have been released each year. Full list here 

As the backlog of classic video games increases, so too does the number of remakes and remasters hitting consoles. While the decrease in remakes in 2022/2023 is most likely due to incomplete reporting of new titles, it may also be a result of publishers running low on a backlog of IP to recreate.

Some critics consider these games to be cash-ins on nostalgia which stifle originality by diverting budgets away from new titles. However, remakes and remasters hold a place in preserving gaming history. Simple graphical updates make older titles more palatable to a modern audience, while making their stories and gameplay mechanics accessible to a modern audience by shifting onto new platforms.

Further, a remake does not necessarily mean a lack of originality. Bluepoint Games have rightly received praise for their remakes of Shadow of the Colossus and Demon’s Souls, stripping the original games back to their core before revamping them for modern sensibilities. Similarly, the Dead Space remake brought in high viewership thanks to crucial narrative design changes such as giving once-silent protagonist Isaac Clarke voice lines. These polishes strengthen the original intent of the games from a contemporary standpoint.

Remakes are here to stay, growing bolder by experimenting with their divergence from the source material. The final entry in the Final Fantasy VII Remake Trilogy, now confirmed to be exclusive to PlayStation consoles, will prove whether Square Enix can stick the landing by creating an altered yet similarly satisfying experience to the original. Stream Hatchet will continue to track the progress of Final Fantasy and other ambitious remakes moving forward.

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