ファイナルファンタジーVII Fainaru Fantajī Sebun ) is a role-playing video game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and published by Sony Computer Entertainment as the seventh installment in the Final Fantasy series. It was originally released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation and was re-released in 1998 for Microsoft Windows-based personal computers and in 2009 on the PlayStation Network. The game is the first in the series to use 3D computer graphics, featuring fully rendered characters on pre-rendered backgrounds, and was the first game in the main series to be released in Europe. Final Fantasy VII follows protagonist Cloud Strife, who, at the beginning of the game, joins the rebel organization AVALANCHE in their quest to stop the world-controlling megacorporation Shinra, which is draining the life of the planet for use as an energy source. As the story progresses, Cloud and his allies become involved in a larger world-threatening conflict and face Sephiroth, the game's main antagonist.
Development of Final Fantasy VII began in 1994 and the game was originally intended for release on the SNES, but was later moved to the Nintendo 64. However, since the Nintendo 64's cartridges lacked the required storage capacity, Square decided to release the game for the PlayStation instead. The game was designed and produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi, while the actual direction was done by Yoshinori Kitase. The music was scored by Final Fantasy veteran Nobuo Uematsu, while the series's long-time character designer, Yoshitaka Amano, was replaced by Tetsuya Nomura.
Helped by a large promotional campaign in the months prior to its release, Final Fantasy VII became an immediate critical and commercial success. In the years following, it has continued to sell solidly—10 million copies worldwide as of May 2010, making it the best-selling title in the series. Final Fantasy VII received significant praise upon its release for its graphics, gameplay, music and story. There was also criticism pertaining to its English localization. It has retrospectively been acknowledged as the game that popularized the role-playing video game genre outside of the Japanese market, and has frequently ranked highly on numerous professional and fan-made "greatest games of all time" lists. The popularity of the title led Square Enix to produce a series of prequels and sequels for different platforms under the collective title Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. An enhanced remake for the PlayStation 3 has been rumored since 2005, though Square Enix has formally stated no such product is in development at the time; however, in March 2010, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada told the media the company would explore the possibility of a remake.
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