There are a number of rooms in Final Fantasy 7 that serve no purpose for the actual gameplay. Functionally, this was no different from the earlier games. Stylistically it was a huge jump as the amount of details in these “”pointless”” rooms was almost too much. It must have taken a lot of hours to get all these rooms made. Ergo, money.
I will have to check in my upcoming replays but I have a feeling that there are less and in the newer games. I am sure there are none in 13.
Which is what makes it so hard for me to separate the business side from the art side, as much as I would like to. Not having a “”gameplay purpose”” should not preclude these sorts of rooms, but the time and money must be the reason. Why there was not just a few Potions or gil stuffed into drawers and bookshelves, I do not know, but it made way for the streamlining that has come into the series.
Which makes the way Blue Dragon handled this. The Nothings for checking various scenery were interesting at first, then quickly became a disappointment[ref]I would have liked at least a Something[/ref], and once again became interesting when it was reveled that you could literally get things for Nothing. It was a brilliant concept that had me checking everything in the game.
Although, I still would have been fine with nothing.