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Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is great on PS5 — transferring save data is not

final fantasy vii remake intergrade
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 7 Remake was, surprisingly, one of our favorite games of 2020. While the game could have easily been little more than a graphical upgrade to an old favorite, it instead reworked the gameplay from the ground up, and built on the original’s story in subversive ways. Now, Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is here, bringing enhanced graphics and gameplay on the PS5, as well as a whole new story chapter for fan-favorite ninja Yuffie Kisaragi.

It’s a shame, then, that getting started in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is such a time sink. Before I ever hit “New Game,” I had to dedicate about three hours to making sure that my save data transferred over intact. The process isn’t difficult, but it’s incredibly convoluted — and if you’re on an Internet plan with a data cap, then it’s downright wasteful.

As more PS4 games get PS5 remasters and upgrades, transferring save data will be an integral part of the experience. If developers can’t implement a simpler solution than FF7R Intergrade’s, however, it’s going to cost gamers a lot of time and bandwidth.

How to transfer Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade save data 

final fantasy vii remake intergrade

(Image credit: Square Enix)

First off: The Internet is choc-a-block with multi-step guides on how to transfer your FF7R save data from PS4 to PS5. This suggests (correctly) that it’s not an easy, intuitive process. Without going into exhaustive detail, here’s how you do it:

  • Download Final Fantasy 7 Remake for PS4 from the PlayStation Store
  • Boot up the game and select “Upload save data” from the main menu
  • Choose your file and wait for it to upload
  • Close FF7R and go back to the PlayStation Store
  • Now, download the PS5 version of the game
  • Boot up FF7R for PS5 (make sure it’s not the PS4 version!) and select “Download save data” from the main menu
  • Ensure that your save file transferred properly
  • Uninstall the PS4 version of FF7R (make sure it’s not the PS5 version!), unless you have about 100 GB of SSD space to spare

Compare and contrast to a game like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, where the save transfer process is “Install the PS5 version” and “Load your save game.”

Remember, too, that this whole process assumes you’ve already transferred all of your PS4 saves to PS5, which is a time commitment in and of itself.

The drawbacks of data transfer 

final fantasy vii remake intergrade

(Image credit: Square Enix)

Granted, this won’t be a problem for PS5 players who are coming to FF7R for the first time. They can simply download the game and start a fresh file. But it’s not unreasonable to say that Final Fantasy has a pretty passionate fan base, many of whom bought and played the game the second it went on sale last year.

As such, many (if not most) FF7R owners played through the game on PS4, and were already finished with it by the time the PS5 debuted late last year. That means that before they ever start FF7R Intergrade, they have to redownload the PS4 version — then download the PS5 version on top of that. Each game is just north of 80 GB. This process took me about three hours, and I have a pretty strong Internet connection. If you have slower service, you may as well just set a whole day aside.

I’m also lucky enough to have an Internet plan without data caps. In many parts of the United States, however, ISPs start throttling your service (or charging you extra) after you download 1 TB of data. If you want to hit the ground running in FF7R Intergrade, that’s more than 10% of your monthly cap right there.

The upside of transferring save data to Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is that the process is relatively foolproof, and you have to do it only once. Furthermore, the process requires only about five minutes of user input; the rest is passively waiting for games to download and install. But it’s still a pretty big time investment, considering that, ultimately, all you’re doing is uploading a single save file to a Sony server.

FF7R isn’t the first PS5 game to make you go through this process. Spider-Man: Remastered required the same thing. But we’ve also seen PS5 improvements for games like God of War (2018) and Ghost of Tsushima, which didn’t require convoluted save transfers at all. Of course, God of War and Ghost of Tsushima are still patched PS4 games, not true PS5 games, but the point stands: There’s probably a simpler way to do this.

Maybe the “save data transfer” issue will simply go away over the next year or two, as PS5s become more widely available (we hope) and developers focus less on cross-gen releases. But in the meantime, using entire 80 GB games as glorified data transfer programs is bound to frustrate players — and maybe make their ISPs a little richer in the process.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.