How Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Open World Design is Leaps Ahead of FF15’s


  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth breaks free from Midgar to offer a vast open-world experience.
  • The dense open world of Rebirth rewards exploration with meaningful content, blending real-time action and turn-based commands seamlessly.
  • Rebirth sets a high standard for open-world game design in the series, promising a compelling experience for future installments.

One of the most surprising things about Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the way that the game incorporates some of the best elements of the last decade of open-world game design. After Remake‘s shepherding of players through relatively cramped spaces within the city of Midgar, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth essentially cuts the tether loose to allow the player to explore the wider world of Gaia completely unfettered. Not only is Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth‘s open world one of the game’s greatest strengths, but it also exhibits a massive leap in quality over the last mainline Final Fantasy game to adopt an open-world approach: Final Fantasy 15.

Even though Final Fantasy 15‘s world was large, its design and implementation of gameplay left much to be desired. There was plenty of space to take Noctis and his companions on a road trip of world-saving proportions, but the actual amount that there was to do and interact with within that world left the game feeling unfinished. The negative reaction to Final Fantasy 15‘s open world was so pronounced that Square Enix opted for semi-open “zones” in Final Fantasy 16 to make the experience more cohesive, but Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth proves that open-world game design and traditional Final Fantasy gameplay are a compelling mix.


Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Massive Open World Makes its Map Menu More Valuable Than Ever

Players could realy on just the mini-map in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but Rebirth’s size and exploration make the full map menu a necessity.

The Density of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Open World Makes Exploration Beneficial

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth goes to great lengths to make both guided and unguided exploration through its massive open-world spaces a benefit to the player. Utilizing the game’s highly-detailed map menu emphasizes just how densely packed the open world regions are, and every distraction from the main and side quests serves some purpose that makes venturing off the beaten path rewarding. Though there are towers to unlock and markers to chase (not unlike the common tropes present in most open-world games), completing these activities feels like pieces that contribute to a sum greater than its individual parts rather than a checklist for players to methodically work through.

That Rebirth‘s new improvements to Remake‘s combat system make its blending of real-time action and turn-based commands feel better than ever only adds to the experience, as combat encounters feel like a welcome surprise rather than an unwelcome interruption while exploring the open world. Ultimately, the experience of traversing through Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth‘s interactive spaces feels much less disjointed than time spent wandering Final Fantasy 15‘s large and beautiful, but sparse, open world.

What a Continued Evolution of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Open World Could Mean for a Third Installment

The open-world game design on display in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth sets an undeniably high bar for the eventual third entry to clear, especially considering that Square Enix has already revealed that the Highwind airship will factor prominently in the Remake trilogy’s conclusion. Final Fantasy 16‘s solution to cut down on the bloat of Final Fantasy 15‘s open world was to separate the map into larger semi-open zones, with Fallen ruins acting as the hub and base of operations for Clive as the Hideaway base.

The definitive characteristic of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth‘s open world is that it cribs the best lessons from over a decade of open-world game design to far surpass any modern open world in a Final Fantasy game. Every bit of exploration feels beneficial to the player rather than becoming cumbersome or feeling like a chore, and maintaining that balance moving forward won’t be an easy task as the Remake trilogy’s world continues to grow in size and scope.


Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is the highly-anticipated continuation of the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The story will continue to follow Cloud Strife and may even see appearances from Zack Fair.

PlayStation 5

February 29, 2024


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