During Square Enix’s E3 event that was held this morning, the company announced plans to bring iconic game Final Fantasy VII to iOS “before the end of summer” this year. Little detail was made available on the game aside from an upcoming release date, but it appears it’s a port of the original PS1 game and not the Final Fantasy VII remake that was announced by Sony earlier this week.
Square Enix has made the first six Final Fantasy games available on iOS devices, but Final Fantasy VII for iOS will mark the first Final Fantasy port coming from a PlayStation game. Released in 1997, Final Fantasy VII was the first game in the Final Fantasy series created for PlayStation and it quickly became one of the most popular Final Fantasy games.
In 2013, Square Enix producer Takashi Tokita said in an interview that a release of Final Fantasy VII was “years away” from release on iOS because of the space limitations on the platform. “It’s that currently, space will be an issue,” he said. “Phones won’t be able to contain the space it takes. It’s over a gigabyte. People are probably going to have to wait for a few years.”
Prior to 2015, Apple limited the size of apps to 2GB, but in February, that limit was expanded to 4GB, perhaps making games like Final Fantasy VII more feasible on iOS. A PC port of Final Fantasy VII comes in at over 3GB, so it’s possible that the 2GB size restriction was the limiting factor.
A game that’s 3GB in size will be a tough sell to customers who have 16GB iPhones and iPads, but upcoming features in iOS 9 could help slim down the install size of Final Fantasy VII and other games that take up a lot of storage space. App Thinning, a feature Apple introduced at WWDC, allows developers to optimize apps for specific devices for the first time. For example, a game being played on the iPhone won’t be required to download all the iPad art assets, saving much needed space.
The App Store and operating system optimize the installation of iOS and watchOS apps by tailoring app delivery to the capabilities of the user’s particular device, with minimal footprint. This optimization, called app thinning, lets you create apps that use the most device features, occupy minimum disk space, and accommodate future updates that can be applied by Apple. Faster downloads and more space for other apps and content provides a better user experience.
Square Enix also gave an update on Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ, its upcoming smartphone game. Unchained χ was previously announced in May, but as of today, Square Enix has confirmed that it will be available worldwide when it launches.