It shouldn’t be a surprise that JRPG Final Fantasy VII is a big deal back in 1997, even up until now. And yeah, its 10th anniversary spawned a bunch of side games and a “hit” CG movie.
One of the side games is a prequel for the PSP called Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. It was the best of the bunch because it fleshed out Zack Fair and arguably set the gameplay & action RPG combat template for future Final Fantasy games from Final Fantasy Type-0 to Final Fantasy XV. A pity Square Enix didn’t bother going back to it, so fans took it upon themselves to give it the HD remastering it truly deserves.
The FF7 Crisis Core Upscale Project is basically a Crisis Core mod that runs on PC and looks darn good with more than 5,000 overhauled textures. Upscaling a game back in the PSP gaming era isn’t that easy since the mod had to factor in RGBA images that come with alpha channels used for transparency, and there’s a lot of that in Crisis Core that needs to be converted properly for a PC display. In other words, a lot of the upscaling work for this project had to be done by hand; all 6,000 of them.
Here’s what Evan Qualls, one of the modders working hard on the game in his spare time, had to say about this homebrew effort (via PC Gamer):
“I saw it as a chance to teach myself a new skill and entertain myself during the coronavirus shutdowns. It was nice to have something to actually look forward to doing at home to take my mind off of questions like ‘I wonder if I was exposed to the virus today?
As I was playing through it I got stuck at some part and looked up a YouTube video and noticed the text looked better and the creator mentioned he was using a text mod. So I looked it up and saw how the mod worked with the PPSSPP emulator. Then I remembered the AI-upscaled FF7 Remako mod and the FF9 Moguri mod and thought ‘why hasn’t someone just dumped all the textures in a PSP game and used AI to automate upscaling them?’
Next thing I know I was teaching myself Python and the project just went from there.”