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SYFY WIRE Final Fantasy

Gaming: Dazzling first moments of Final Fantasy VII Remake; Fortnite gets Rickrolled & more

By Benjamin Bullard
Cloud and Tifa in Final Fantasy VII Remake

We thought we knew Midgar, but boy, were we wrong. After seeing the opening cinematic for the Final Fantasy VII Remake that Square Enix released this week, all our preconceptions and pixelated PS1-era memories feel positively quaint compared to the version of techno-dystopian urban jungle we’ll be navigating when the hugely hyped game arrives this spring.

The trailer, touted by Square Enix as the introductory first five minutes of what we’ll see when the game begins, starts with a big-picture, panoramic drop-in on the Shinra-controlled city, before sweeping in closer to lavish dazzling HD detail on everyday NPCs just trying to live their best Midgar lives. And we even get to see the city in the daytime!

The opening half of the trailer’s footage is completely new, and it all makes for one nostalgia-triggering trip — especially when those first few spine-tingling notes from composer Nobuo Uematsu’s iconic opening theme kick in. Check it out in all its HD glory below:

Even though we’re having to wait a little longer to jump back into one of the most memorable places in all of video gaming history, the eye test strongly suggests the month-long delay from the game’s originally-scheduled March release date be worth it. Hold on to your Materia: Final Fantasy VII Remake is streaming like a meteor toward PlayStation 4 consoles everywhere when it arrives on April 10.

Well, just when things over in the world of Fortnite couldn’t get any weirder, Epic Games has come along and given players a way to Rickroll your in-game friends (or at least yourself). The game has just debuted a new emote feature inspired by one of the internet’s oldest bait-and-switch trolls, giving players the option of dancing like singer Rick Astley in his now-infamous “Never Gonna Give You Up” video, while a piece of the actual song itself plays in the background. 

Appropriately dubbed the “Never Gonna” emote, the fun feature is now available for 500 V-Bucks, and you can sample all the meme-able magic in Fortnite’s teaser — hilariously served up in the true spirit of Rickrolling — below (hint — don't be fooled by the friendly bear):

While we’re on the topic of V-Bucks, anyone who’s amassed a ton of them in Fortnite can breathe a little easier knowing that they won’t be getting a visit from the real-life tax man. Via Engadget, the IRS confirmed last week that it’s rescinded a guideline that would have made V-Bucks (and other forms of in-game currency that can be transferred via real-money exchanges) subject to taxation — so long as the “money” stays within its host game and isn’t sold for a real-currency profit

With tax season just around the corner, we guess we’ll consider that a win — even though our battle royale victories are still few and far between.

The first Half-Life game in more than a decade now has a release date. Riding a wave of fan buzz for Half-Life: Alyx, the next chapter in what many critics still hail as one of gaming’s greatest franchises, Valve recently tweeted that Alyx will arrive in players’ hands on March 23.

Setting the game apart from its well-known predecessors, Valve is shaping Alyx as a VR-only experience — a move that puzzled some Half-Life fans who’ve hungered for a proper third installment ever since Half-LIfe 2: Episode 2 suspended Gordon Freeman’s adventures all the way back in 2007. In an interesting twist, USgamer reports that both Valve and Oculus have reported high demand and persistent supply shortages, dating from the game’s original announcement back in November of last year, for compatible VR hardware like the Valve Index and the Oculus Quest and Rift.

Will Half-Life: Alyx become that elusive must-play game that finally breaks virtual reality into gaming’s mainstream? Only time will tell. And with the game hitting SteamVR on March 23, we won’t have long to wait to find out.