Final Fantasy VII G-Bike
Final Fantasy VII G-Bike[a] is a free-to-play video game for Android and iOS platforms. Available between October 2014 and December 2015, the title is a racing game with role-playing elements. Based on Square Enix's role-playing game Final Fantasy VII, the player controls the protagonist of that game, Cloud Strife. While riding on a motorcycle, Cloud battles enemies with melee weapons and magic with help from other Final Fantasy VII characters. Players can modify Cloud's weapons, clothing and motorcycle, and perform powerful attacks known as limit breaks.
|Final Fantasy VII G-Bike|
Promotional artwork for Final Fantasy VII G-Bike featuring Cloud Strife
|Release||October 30, 2014 – December 15, 2015|
|Genre(s)||Racing, hack and slash|
Square Enix and developer CyberConnect2 conceived of the game as a series of titles for mobile devices that would see the Final Fantasy VII mini-games remade. In the development process, they settled on only the most popular title, G-Bike. Developers expanded on the original idea for the mini-game in areas such as customization and gameplay but did not add an overarching story.
Critics had mixed reactions due to it not being the remake of the original Final Fantasy VII for which fans had been hoping. However, they still found the game visually appealing and faithful to the original mini-games aesthetic. Square Enix shut down the game in 2015.
Final Fantasy VII G-Bike is a free-to-play racing game involving Cloud Strife, a young mercenary and protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. The game involves Cloud riding a motorcycle while fighting enemies as he travels the roads around the city of Midgar from Final Fantasy VII as well as other locations. Besides attacking with his weapon called the "Buster Sword", Cloud can perform magic with items called "Materia". He is capable of performing a series of powerful attacks known as "Limit Breaks". Players can summon supporting characters from the original Final Fantasy VII such as Tifa Lockhart. Bosses drawn from Final Fantasy VII are encountered at the end of stages, including Reno and Dyne. Players are awarded a ranking at the end of each stage based on how well they did.
Players can customize Cloud's weaponry and clothing to resemble either his original Final Fantasy VII look or a new look by visiting shops in-between missions. Players can customize their bikes as well as purchase new ones. In a 2015 event, players were able to replace Cloud's Hardy Daytona bike with one called Phoenix, which was more powerful and gave a boost to the characters' magical powers.
Development and releaseEdit
The idea to create a mobile game based on Final Fantasy VII came from Square Enix producer Ichiro Hazama. He suggested partnering with a company known for action games. For this reason, Square Enix chose developer CyberConnect2 to make the game. They chose them because the developer company's staff had a close relationship with character designer Tetsuya Nomura, who worked with them on earlier projects. Square Enix designated Hiroshi Matsuyama of CyberConnect2 as the game's director with oversight by Square Enix executive producer Yoshinori Kitase. Nomura became the creative director, and in this role, he created a new design for Cloud Strife.
The initial plans were for G-Bike to be the first in a series of mobile games based on the minigames of Final Fantasy VII. Of the title's several minigames, G-Bike was decided upon because of its popularity. In order to expand upon it, new gameplay was developed, such as weapon modifications and new forms of combat. The team decided not to develop an elaborate story around the game because it would necessitate more playable characters. For this reason, Cloud is the only protagonist in G-Bike. Besides the original minigame, another inspiration for G-Bike's development was the 2005 film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. In that film, Cloud fights enemies while driving a vehicle named Fenrir, which Hazama thought was "very cool, and radical", and influences from the title went into the game. During production, CyberConnect2 was given access to production assets from both Advent Children and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII by Square Enix. That way, the developers' aesthetic matched the software publishers' previous works. Matsumaya described the early submission and evaluation processes with Square Enix's newly-established game screening department as "bumpy". Matsumaya claimed that he refused to make a mobile game that requires money to enjoy, so they decided to make the game free. During development, the staff felt pressured by the high expectations of Final Fantasy VII's massive fan base. The staff did, however, express that Nomura and Kitase were supportive during that time.
G-Bike was announced in June 2014 by Square Enix. After some initial confusion, Hazama cleared up misconceptions that the game was going to be Final Fantasy VII and stated that it would be its own game. Moreover, while it shared aesthetics with Final Fantasy VII and spin-off series Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix stated that the titles are not connected. In an aside during an interview, Matsuyama revealed that he asked Square Enix producer Shinji Hashimoto if he was interested in a Final Fantasy VII remake, but Hashimoto was not. Matsuyama interjected, "Well, if G-Bike is released and becomes a hit, let's make a Final Fantasy VII [remake]".
Square Enix released the game's first trailer in September 2014. Players who registered early for the game received a "Comet Materia" in-game item as a bonus. G-Bike was released in Japan on October 30, 2014. The game was released for free with in-app purchases. At release, G-Bike had problems downloading to players' devices. While technically available, a glitch disrupted the games service until November 1. In June 2014, Square Enix stated that the game would be released in Western regions. However, they later canceled it for unspecified reasons. Pocky maker Glico launched a special event to promote the game, and created collectible cards for the occasion. In September 2015, Square Enix announced they would shut down G-Bike, but gave instructions to help gamers keep playing if they had already downloaded it.
G-Bike received mixed reviews from critics. Japanese website AppGet praised the title as a quality remaking of the original minigame and its original aesthetic. Ishaan Sahdev of Siliconera praised the game for its graphics, which he called "gorgeous". Toshi Nakamura of Kotaku was optimistic about the game's announcement and thought the game's trailer looked appealing. He believed that it could lead to the release of other possible remakes from Square Enix. Kyle Hilliard of Game Informer concluded that fans would not be upset that Square Enix announced G-Bike's release instead of Final Fantasy VII Remake.
Some critics were displeased and bewildered by the game's announcement. Jason Schreier of Kotaku claimed that the initial public reaction was general surprise upon hearing Square Enix was announcing a new minigame. Mike Wehner of Engadget pronounced that people would be disappointed that Square Enix was not ready with the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Nikola Suprak of Hardcore Gamer went so far as to call the developers "trolls" for even working on a minigame with the main Final Fantasy remake unfinished. Hidetsugu Naya of AppGet had more typical criticisms and noted the frequent load times and the many hours of gameplay required to unlock supporting characters. In retrospect, Kat Bailey of USGamer stated that because Square Enix has not localized the game into English, the title would stay obscure as most players will never hear about it.
- Schreier, Jason (July 23, 2014). "Nine Things You Should Know About The Next Final Fantasy VII Spinoff". Kotaku. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Sahdev, Ishaan (October 28, 2014). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Rides Out In Japan This Week". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- FF7のバイクミニゲームが超進化！クラウドを操り、敵と戦いながら走ろう. AppGet (in Japanese). 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- 「FFVII Gバイク」は“1つのRPGとして完結”させた期待作！. Game Watch Impress (in Japanese). September 21, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Siliconera Staff (October 28, 2014). "Watch Cloud Use A Limit Break In Final Fantasy VII G-Bike". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Square Enix Staff (June 8, 2015). 討伐ミッションイベント開催予告！(6/8). Square Enix. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Siliconera Staff (September 22, 2014). "Tetsuya Nomura Made Cloud A New Costume For Final Fantasy VII G-Bike". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike: New Details on Controls, Customization, Limit Break, Outfits and More". Square Portal. September 1, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
- Sato (July 1, 2015). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike's Latest Event Adds Phoenix And A New Bike". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- 【インタビュー（完全版）】『ファイナルファンタジーVII Gバイク』 いま明かされる開発秘話. App Famitsu (in Japanese). June 27, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Sahdev, Ishaan (June 12, 2014). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Could Lead To More Final Fantasy VII Games". Siliconera. Archived from the original on July 11, 2014. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
- Sahdev, Ishaan (June 10, 2014). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Coming To Smartphones [Update]". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Square Enix Presents (June 26, 2014). "SEP E3 2014 - Day 2 [#04] - Interview: FINAL FANTASY VII G-BIKE". YouTube. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
- Loo, Egan (September 21, 2014). "CyberConnect2's Matsuyama: If Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Is a Hit, Let's Make a FF7 Remake". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Sahdev, Ishaan (September 17, 2014). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Gets A New Trailer". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Sato (October 31, 2014). "Final Fantasy Agito + For PlayStation Vita Delayed". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Priestman, Chris (October 28, 2014). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike is releasing in Japan for iOS and Android this week". PocketGamer. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Wehner, Mike (June 11, 2014). "Square Enix prepares to disappoint Final Fantasy fans with Final Fantasy VII G-Bike". Engadget. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Sahdev, Ishaan (June 10, 2014). "Final Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Coming To The West, Looks Gorgeous". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Priestman, Chris (September 14, 2015). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike won't be heading west after all as it's being shut down". PocketGamer. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Siliconera Staff (October 24, 2014). "Buy Pocky, Get Final Fantasy Explorers Or Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Items In Japan". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Sato (September 14, 2015). "Final Fantasy VII G-Bike To Shut Down In December". Siliconera. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Nakamura, Toshi (June 12, 2014). "Final Fantasy VII Bike Game Could Pave the Path to a Full Remake". Kotaku. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Hilliard, Kyle (June 23, 2015). "Square Enix Announced A Final Fantasy VII G-Bike Mobile Game Right Before E3". Game Informer. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Suprak, Nikola (June 10, 2014). "E3 2014: Square Enix Now Openly Trolling FFVII Fans, Will Release FFVII G-Bike On iOS and Android". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Bailey, Kat (March 12, 2020). "The Final Fantasy 7 Spinoffs You Never Knew About". USGamer. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
- Official website (archived)