Square Enix released a big batch of new Final Fantasy VII Remake screenshots today, including one of Carbuncle, who is usually one of the Final Fantasy series’ cutest summons. It now looks like an alien from a 1950s science fiction B-movie.
Is it a fox or a dog? Why is its head so big? Why is it smiling like it doesn’t have a giant gemstone lodged in its forehead? I get that Final Fantasy VII Remake is on the realism train, but that train needs to know when to put the brakes on before it smashes into the Petco from hell. This Carbuncle looks less like a magical being of legend and more like the kind of expensive bag-ridden breeds one percenters schlep into places that pets just don’t need to go.
If you’re struggling to remember what Carbuncle looked like in the original Final Fantasy VII, that’s because the ethereal furball wasn’t in it. It first appeared in Final Fantasy V, casting reflect on your party to send magic spells bouncing back at your foes, and that’s what it’s been doing ever since in the games it’s appeared in. And in each of those appearances, it’s been absolutely adorable, even if the summon’s ability itself has never been that useful.
Here’s Carbuncle in Final Fantasy VI:
Here it is again in Final Fantasy XIII when all of the summons were transformers coming out of a compact disc:
And here it is in Final Fantasy VIII, which Kotaku senior writer Heather Alexandra agrees is the creature’s best-looking incarnation:
I have no idea why Square Enix decided to retcon Carbuncle into Final Fantasy VII other than the fact that the summon’s been getting more attention in recent years, most notably as protagonist Noctis’ photo-bombing pet companion in Final Fantasy XV. Maybe they just wanted to add to the DLC bonuses for pre-ordering the more expensive editions of the game, in which case this Carbuncle is an abomination in both form and purpose.