After hearing the great news that the original Final Fantasy VII will be releasing on iOS this Summer, those who follow the Japanese gaming scene (and some of our forum users) recalled some interesting 2013 Square Enix statements on the possibility of FFVII coming to mobile. Takashi Tokita, Square Enix executive and current head of the company's Business Division 9, had said that even though Square Enix was considering porting FFVII to mobile devices, the actual release of the game was years away because of the platform's space limitations. With the 2013 PC re-release of the title weighing in at 3GB, Tokita's worries were certainly not unfounded, especially back in 2013. Even though issues of device space aren't as acute as they used to be - with Apple expanding its selection to include 128GB devices - the base model of both iPhones and iPads is still the 16GB model, so Tokita's point about FFVII is still a valid one.

However, App Thinning, an iOS 9 feature recently announced at Apple's WWDC 2015, has handed developers like Square Enix a tool that has perhaps allayed most worries over the capacity of mobile devices. App Thinning, in simple terms, allows the App Store to deliver to a user's device only the parts of the game that are needed by his or her specific device (it's like being able to eat from a buffet at a restaurant rather than have to devour the WHOLE menu). If the player has a 32-bit iPad 2, he'll only get the art assets and the code for that specific screen resolution and processor; if another player has an iPhone 6 Plus, she'll only get the art assets and code for that specific screen resolution and processor. This will shrink down a game's size tremendously because your iPad Air 2 won't be getting all the assets that an iPad 2 requires. Prior to iOS 9, users would have to download ALL of the art assets and the WHOLE code for each game they downloaded, leading to huge install sizes despite the fact that a player's device could run the game perfectly with only a small percentage of those 3 gigabytes. Additionally, with iOS 9 the App Store will have the ability to only send the resources for the first game level - which will allow for faster downloads - and subsequently send more levels as the player approaches them in-game (this is called "On-Demand Resources").

app_thinning

With App Thinning, developers like Square Enix, which primarily develop big console and PC titles, will probably be able to port their games onto iOS without having to worry too much about a game's footprint. I hope that in the near future we won't  be having so many discussions in our forums about a game's install size, and, hopefully, we'll stop performing the never-ending song-and-dance of deleting old games to install new ones. I am hoping that iOS 9 will enable more companies like Square Enix to port big console and PC games to iOS devices, and maybe we'll see more games like FFVII dropping onto our devices not with a thump like before, but with a whisper.

  • Zerol3onheart

    This is the first thing I thought of when it was announced this morning. Thank you iOS 9, thank you Square Enix, and a special thank you whomever found all 7 dragon balls that made all of this FF7 goodness happen these past 2 days.

    • Alexythimia23

      Haha

      • Anonomation

        It was probably secretly maybe Eli probably.

  • curtneedsaride

    Square-Enix could also break it up by the original disc, allowing for in-game episode downloads, just like Chaos Rings III used.

    • zergslayer69

      This would make the most sense, and the easiest to implement maybe.

    • Matt Burkey

      The original game isn't as big as it seems, if you've ever seen the content on the original discs you'll see that the entire game and all locations are stored on all 3 discs as well as frequently used videos such as the ascent and decent to Gold Saucer. It's technically possible to play the entire game from start to finish on disc 1, 2 or 3. The difference is actually the larger 1 off movie sequences. For example intro and Midgar reactor bombing sequences are only on disc one and the North crater and ending sequences are only on disc 3. The same applies with final fantasies 8 and 9. Disc 4 doesn't spend as much time in the consoles as the former discs as they are mostly full of the lengthy ending video sequences even though, videos aside, pretty much the entire game exists on all discs.

      In theory, I imagine the game could remove and download the videos it will need as you progress but if you go too fast and don't have a net connection will it prohibit you from progressing? Also, if you're right near the end and suddenly decide you want to load up a much earlier save would that cause big delays in re-downloading the content it needs?

      It's a good idea though. Apple needs to stop charging so much for it's memory or at least give us the option of add in memory. I don't care if it's a custom Apple card rather than an SD I'd like the option and no before anyone suggests it I don't want to move to an Android handset 😉

  • scottsoapbox

    I'll be interested to see how much the thinning helps.

    • Azzak27

      Thinning doesn't help believe me *slaps bald head* -.-

  • eventide

    I'll just wait for the remaster

  • MrThickDick

    Why do people buy 16gb iPhones, especially if you're going to play games on it. I guess that's why people want new phones every year, they buy the cheapest thing they can.

  • demod1

    Great news all around! Bring on FF7!

  • visualplayer

    Would you still have the choice of downloading the entire game assets so you could play offline? This seems to make users even more dependent on bandwidth.

    • visualplayer

      Specifically meaning levels, not unneeded device specific files.

      • Agkelos

        I was thinking this also. Maybe do it the way chaos rings III is currently where you can chose to download everything at once or as you along.

  • rayray307

    Maybe if this happens I'll finally play final fantasy VII. Theonly final fantasy game I ever completed was X and that game was so awesome.

    • curtisrshideler

      I've been considering getting it. While everyone played X and X-2 I was playing IX. So, I've been considering getting the HD remasters for this Summer. Even more reason to finish it ASAP.

  • Psac42

    Do we really think Square Enix would use this advanced feature when they couldn't make a simple coding change to keep TWEWY working? Hopefully a different dev team...

    • xxAcesHighxx

      Good point. Do we know if Square is like to ever bring TWEWY back to the App Store?

      Also, does anyone have any idea how much App Thinning will actually help? Do we expect install sizes to halve, for example, or is that asking too much?

      • curtisrshideler

        With my coding experience, I'd estimate around 25%. But I have no coding experience.