Final Fantasy VII: For All Gaia’s Children – A fan project

by January 9, 2016

Back in December of 2011, a couple of FFVII fans (who didn’t know how many better things they’d have to do down the road) had an idea. It had been almost six years since Dirge of Cerberus, the Compilation of FFVII title set the latest in the timeline of the setting, had been released — and it had ended on a cliffhanger. Square Enix seemed to have no interest in finishing the story.

Where most fans accepted this, perhaps with some gnashing of teeth and a gripe or two — or even gratitude, depending on how they viewed other titles expanding on the original FFVII released up to that point — these two fans couldn’t. They couldn’t stop wondering what might happen after Genesis flew out of the caverns beneath Midgar with Weiss the Immaculate.

One of them had a few ideas about this and mentioned the fact in an offhand way. The other took an interest and asked the first to elaborate. Before long, the two had a crazy, eager vision: They were going to finish the Compilation themselves. They were going to make the FFVII game that would serve as the final chapter in the story.

That didn’t come to pass.


Life happened instead. Limitations in time, ability and manpower held the project back. Much was accomplished, but there was always more to be done. Work that would never see completion.

After several years of sharing ideas, refining the story, learning about videogame development, tinkering with gameplay ideas, and enlisting the aid of two or three other remarkably talented FFVII fans willing to lend much needed artistic ability for soundtrack composition and character design — the two fans accepted this reality: The project would never be finished.

And that’s okay. Because along the way, they had a lot of fun. They learned a lot. They forged a mutual respect and admiration for one another. Maybe they even learned some things about themselves.

I’m speaking of myself and FFVII excavator extraordinaire Shademp. Once I shared my initial musings with him about where the story of FFVII could go and he suggested that we could make it into a game ourselves, a fire was lit in us. A fire that became “Final Fantasy VII: For All Gaia’s Children.”

That passion I speak of continues to burn strong. We’ve simply come to recognize that such an end as we envisioned will not come to pass in our lifetime. Not at our hands anyway. Maybe now that Square Enix is working on that FFVII remake, they’ll turn their attention to finishing the Compilation after all.

So, it may yet happen. It just won’t be done by us.

That being the case, and with the 10th anniversary of the cliffhanger Dirge of Cerberus left us with fast approaching (January 26th makes ten years since that game came out if you can believe it!), we don’t want the work each of us has put in thus far — and more importantly, the work we know one another to have put in — to go to waste. We want it to be shared with our fellow fans in some form. Our vision of what could have been.

There are also the amazing contributions provided to us by our three assistants with this project to consider. Those beautiful works of art should be shared with the world rather than locked away due to our inability to complete what we set out to do.

I think those considerations are what kept us unwilling to recognize our limitations for a while: We had such admiration for what one another had created. Shademp has never failed to make me think I’m actually a good writer, even while he has saved my ass in the writing of “For All Gaia’s Children” more times than I can remember. His constructive input has certainly made me understand that the original game was such a success because it was a collaborative work rather than the unchecked whims of a single creator.

Shademp has been the Tim Sale to my Jeph Loeb every step of the way. If you don’t know who those two are, just know that they’re a couple of comic book creators (an illustrator and a writer) who have made amazing things together (e.g. “Batman: The Long Halloween”). Separately, Tim Sale has also done amazing things. Not so for Jeph Loeb.

Without Shademp’s practical mindedness, his keen insight and his unwillingness to let me fuck this up, we would not have something here worth sharing with you. He will disagree with that to no end, I’m sure, but I know it’s the truth.

And the truth is also that we do have something worth sharing with you. Despite its incomplete form, despite our limitations, despite what some (including us from time to time) might call “failure,” we truly created something amazing by working together.

As awed as he has been by what I wrote for a story, I’ve never stopped being blown away by his gameplay ideas — the creativity, detail and just straight-up nostalgic gratification of the thought that went into this. He also understands the “language” of game design far better than I could ever hope to. There are nuances to what can be said through gaming that I never considered even after experiencing them. Shademp recognized those places where it was time to remember that this is a game, and that we needed to let “For All Gaia’s Children” be a game first and foremost.

Don’t let him fool you about storytelling either: He’ll tell you he’s got no eye for writing, but a lot of the best ideas for this thing came directly from him.

I realize this posting is overly dramatic and self-indulgent. I don’t care. We did this for ourselves. We did it for each other. We’re proud as hell of it.

We’re saddened that we can’t share it with you as we had imagined we would, but at the end of the day, I can’t tell you we did this for our fellow FFVII fans. It was constructed every step of the way with how you would receive it in mind, as most things intended for a specific audience are, but we won’t be able to do what people normally do when publishing something and say we did it for a spouse, a sibling or a parent. I can’t even dedicate this to my children.

This was done by two obsessed fans indulging in the ultimate fan service. I do think you, dear reader, as another fan of Final Fantasy VII, will find something to like in it because of that, though. Probably not all of it. Almost certainly not. Something, though.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you, and if you read a little further to see exactly what it was we achieved, I thank you again.

I also want to thank Shademp from the bottom of my heart for all he has done as my partner in this, and as my friend: This endeavor I took with you has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. If that’s sad, I don’t care. It was awesome. You’re awesome. We’re awesome. Thank you.

For all the details we’ve prepared to share with you about this abandoned project, please click this link to proceed to Shademp’s reveal post on the forum. If you have any questions for us about “For All Gaia’s Children,” we’ll be happy to field them there.

We really do hope you get even a quarter of the enjoyment out of looking at what we developed as we had making it. Once again, thank you for reading.