The Final Fantasy VII Rebirth Twitter account started sharing tidbits of information again yesterday when it said the development studio is currently nailing down a release date as the game progresses smoothly.
Today, another important (perhaps even more so than the first) tweet appeared on the feed. When asked how the exploration would work outside Midgar, the developers said players will have the opportunity to traverse the 'wide and multifaceted' world with a 'high degree of freedom'. This alone seems to be a clear suggestion that Final Fantasy VII Rebirth will feature open world design.
The latter portion of the tweet makes that interpretation even more likely since it mentions the ability to experience a 'myriad of stories' during the journey. This appears to be a reference to various side quests and activities that players could engage with while roaming the open world.
Fans have long speculated that Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, the second part of the planned Final Fantasy VII Remake trilogy, would have to be translated into an open world. However, this is the first inkling provided by Square Enix that they'll actually go through with it.
Final Fantasy VII Remake, which covered around one-third of the story originally featured in the seventh mainline installment, was a linear affair largely limited to the city of Midgar. It launched on April 10th, 2020 for PlayStation 4, earning rave reviews and strong sales. In Wccftech's review, Francesco De Meo rated Final Fantasy VII Remake 9.3 out of 10.
Remaking Final Fantasy VII properly is something that was always going to be very difficult to achieve. Everything considered, Square Enix did a good job with the first part, but the controversial ending is going to divide the fanbase: some will love it, some will hate it. It is undeniable, however, that the developer managed to make this feel like an epic journey just by using a small slice of the whole adventure.
As for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, it was announced last year during the 25th anniversary of the original game's launch, alongside related projects like the prequel Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII - Reunion. The game is scheduled to be released in Winter 2023 for PlayStation 5, with a PC version likely to follow later, just as with Final Fantasy VII Remake.
We'll see if Square Enix posts other tweets with additional information, though it would be a bit weird to steal some of the limelight from the imminent release of Final Fantasy XVI.