‘Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core’ gets an unofficial HD treatment

Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core Upscale Project snapshot

Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core, a beloved Square Enix action-RPG title on the PlayStation Portable, is getting an unofficial high-definition treatment in the form of a mod.

Masterminding the endeavor is a hobbyist, Evan Qualls, who claims having had to add programming into his skill set for the project—in particular, learning how to code the Python programming language.

A telecom sales representative by profession, Qualls was considered an “essential worker” during the pandemic, subsequently exposing him to the outside world when most of the populace are stuck indoors.

Worrisome pandemic

Perturbed with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, he was compelled to find an outlet for amusement amid the event. Eventually finding it in the idea of modding a game he previously has not played.

In his own admittance, Qualls states never having experienced the game before, nor did he own the platform that runs it. What led to his interest in the PSP title, however, is his recent involvement in playing Final Fantasy VII Remake on the PS4.

True to its label, the said PS4 title is a remake of the original Final Fantasy VII, which was released back on the PlayStation. The same RPG that has direct ties to the PSP title, essentially as a sequel, albeit in reverse-chronological order.

As a prequel, Final Fantasy VII Crisis Core revolves around the protagonist Zack and the events that took place prior to Cloud’s. It features the game hero’s rise to rank within Shinra’s army, the struggles that follow, and his ultimate demise.

From one event to another

Piquing his interest, Qualls recalls playing the game on an emulator. But later on found the encounter rather problematic, with the text not appearing gracefully on high resolution.

Curious for any potential fix, the will-be modder came across a YouTube video that displays the game’s text according to his preference. He consequently got the answer he’s looking for via a response from the video’s creator.

Learning that what he saw made use of a text mod, subsequent research led to further technical understanding. More importantly, knowing how the entire upscaling works with regards to AI.

From merely wanting to make the game’s texts appear better on high resolution, a new idea had dawned. That is, making Crisis Core look better under emulation. A notion which was partly induced by his recollection of pre-existing mods. More specifically, the FF7 Remako and FF9 Moguri mods whose wonders were made possible through artificial intelligence.

The rest, as they say, is history.

A long, enduring task

To date, Evan Qualls has been working on the mod for the last nine months at 90% completion. A process which came in aid by two significant individuals, Devina and Zakkura.

While seemingly near total completion, the currently three-man team claims that finishing the remainder 10% would still take a lot of time.

Image used courtesy of eqprog/YouTube Screenshot

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