Game Info

Final Fantasy VII and VIII are on Steam - but will likely never see release

Square Enix has had the PC versions of Final Fantasy VII and VIII uploaded to Steam's online service for months but they are yet to and likely never will be released to the public, RPG Site can reveal.

The PC versions of the game are based off the PC ports released by Eidos back in 1998 and 2000. Eidos were of course later purchased by Square Enix, which presumably meant this code fell back into their hands.

Most interesting of all, the PC version of Final Fantasy VIII appears to have been edited from its original version in an attempt to force the game to run better (or at all) on modern operating systems.

Proof of Final Fantasy VII and VIII's existence on Steam can easily be found by anyone who has Steam installed and up to date - you just need to download the "Steam Registry Toolkit" client. This allows curious types to poke around in Steam's files. We advise you look, but don't change anything - Users who download that merely need to point it to the "ClientRegistry.blob" file in their Steam Install Directory and then open the "ContentDescriptionRecord".

The Content Description Record lists all the games on Valve's Steam Servers and is updated alongside the Steam Client. Once you've got the necessary key open, you merely have to look on the "Application" drop-down menu on the "Applications" tab. The first entry will read "[0] Base Goldsrc Shared Binaries" - but if you scroll your way down to entry [39140] you'll find Square Enix's PS1 Final Fantasy classics listed.

The entries are as follows - and we've included an image for those of you who don't want to go digging yourselves.

  • [39140] Final Fantasy VII
  • [39141] final fantasy 7
  • [39150] Final Fantasy VIII
  • [39151] final fantasy 8 content
  •  
  •  

ff7_ff8_pc_list.jpg


The entries with the roman numerals appear to be dummy files merely pointing to ff7.exe and FF8.exe, but the numbered entries seem to actually contain the game files, with the "final fantasy 7" entry indicating it requires 1.45 gigabytes of space and "final fantasy 8 content" entry requiring 2.4 gigabytes of space.

That stuff anyone can check - feel free to download the Steam Registry Editor and go find the Final Fantasy VII and VIII registry key for yourself using the instructions above - but we've got a little more information from a source who has been able to legitimately access the game files.

The 1998 PC ports of Final Fantasy VII and VIII were notoriously simple and poor ports with only low resolution options and poor performance even for the time, and our source notes that the Steam versions of both games crash out frequently on Windows 7. To reiterate, the versions on Steam are the 2000 PC ports.

ff8_pc_files.jpg

We were provided with proof that the files were from the Steam release and were shown some interesting differences between the files of the Steam version and the original discs. Specifically, the files appear to have been edited in 2010 by Square Enix to try to make the games run better on newer operating systems.

A thriving fan community was built around the PC ports of the Final Fantasy games, and fans continued to patch the games to work on newer operating systems long after Eidos abandoned them. Square Enix appear to have borrowed some of this work in trying to make the Steam release of Final Fantasy VIII work on modern machines.

In 2007 Tobias Sebring - known online by the handle of Magix - created the "Final Fantasy VIII Launcher 1.31." The last version of this launcher was last edited on the 30th December 2007. The software allowed players to launch the game at higher resolutions than the standard 640x480 while also adding effects that could stretch the 4:3 aspect ratio and improve texture quality.

An almost identical file is included in the Steam Version of Final Fantasy VIII, though this time it's titled the "Final Fantasy VIII Launcher 1.32 - Square Enix Edition". It was last compiled in 2010. The options on offer are the same, though the file has also been edited to add the text "FF8 Launcher - V1.32 - Compiled by Square Enix" to the screen that appears when it's booted. Both the original file and the Steam version are titled "FF8_Launcher.exe".

The file size of the Square Enix version is slightly larger, clocking in at 35kb compared to the fan-made patch at 29kb. The DLL file that the Launcher inserts into the FF8 PC boot process is unchanged in the newer, Square Enix version.

This ironically mimics actions taken by Eidos way back in 2000, where they linked to an unofficial patch for Final Fantasy VII's PC version that fixed a catastrophic crash during Chocobo Races on their official Customer Support website. That patch, and the note about its use by Eidos, can be found on Qhimm.com. That patch was not included with the Steam Version of Final Fantasy VII, which seemed to have untouched files, our source tells us.

ff8_pc_edits.jpg

Sadly it appears the Steam releases of these games may have been killed completely - as mentioned earlier, the terrible ports are extremely temperamental in all modern operating systems and often crash to desktop. While Square was clearly trying to do something to fix it, the files available through Steam haven't been updated since early 2010.

Fans have been clamouring for a remake of Final Fantasy VII in particular forever, and a higher resolution PC port would probably make a lot of people very happy. However, given the quality of the original 1998/2000 PC ports of the games, the fact that the Steam release appears to be dead in the water might be more of a blessing than a curse.

Would you be interested in playing a PC port of the original classics if it looked and performed better than the original abysmal PC port? Or would you rather keep campaigning for a high definition remake of these classic FFs?

 

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