Square Enix hosted a 25th anniversary stream last week for Final Fantasy VII† The first big announcement of the evening came with the revelation that Crisis Core was supposed to get a remake this winter. However, the drop-the-mic moment came at the end of the short stream when a trailer for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth was shown. The sequel to Final Fantasy VII Remake seems to push the meta-story of this remake project even further, and clues hidden in the trailer reveal that this project has always been bigger than just a remake. The only difference is that Square Enix has finally come to embrace a truth that, in retrospect, has always been the case.
The FF7 Remake series is actually a sequel trilogy.
In the unveiling trailer, Cloud says: “You were here with me 5 years ago. Where are you? What happened to you?” He speaks (perhaps rhetorically) to Zack Fair, the SOLDIER who stood by Cloud’s side before returning to Midgar for the start of the original FF7 like FF7 Remake† Cloud finally remembering Zack is integral to the character development of the original for Cloud, something that doesn’t happen until much later in the game. Cloud has amnesia for a long time in the game and mistakenly remembers some of Zack’s experiences as his own.
After experimenting on Cloud and Zack, Hojo and Hojo are confronted by a huge group of Shinra soldiers before re-entering the city of Midgar. This is where the stories begin to diverge and play apart. In the original, Zack dies while fighting to protect Cloud. At the end of remake† however, this same scene takes place. Zack still fights the Shinra soldiers, but survives.
This change in fate is only shown to the player after the last battle in remakewho opposes the Arbiters of Fate, who represent the strict path of the original FF7† The arbitrators push the story of remake follow the original as much as possible, but when they are overcome, anything is possible. The Rebirth trailer opens with Aerith saying so much: “The future, even if it’s written, can be changed. So focus on the future, not the past.”
This is where things get complicated, even by Final Fantasy standards. Zack’s story and downfall are largely in the past. By the time both variants of FF7 start, he’s dead. So how can this past event be changed? Well, because it’s someone’s future.
Hints have been laid out like breadcrumbs in FF7 Remake that show someone going through this story with more information than they let on, information gained from previously living this story as it was intended. The bad guy? aerith.
In the original FF7, Aerith and Cloud have a momentary meeting immediately after the first bombing mission. Not much happens between the two, and they won’t meet again until Cloud later falls into her church. During the redo, the two paths intersect as in the original, but this time Aerith offers Cloud a flower. “Loved ones always gave these when they were reunited,” she says. Those who play the original will know that Aerith and Cloud are in a romantic relationship, though tragic circumstances never fully resolve it.
This refers to Aerith have some sort of knowledge of her history with Cloud, something she could only know if she had some insight into her past life as depicted in the original Final Fantasy†
In the same scene, Cloud experiences a hallucination of Sephiroth, something not seen in the original. Sephiroth also references the events of the original game, telling Cloud that he is “too weak to save anyone.” Both Aerith and Sephiroth act in ways that suggest knowledge of future events. The Rebirth trailer asks “What is Sephiroth’s Endgame?” However, this should be obvious. Cloud even says Sephiroth’s plan from the original game right before this text appears. It seems Sephiroth is trying to change the course of events rather than just redoing the events that defeated him in a past life.
In the fight with Sephiroth in remakehe asks Cloud to help forge a new destiny.
What connects Aerith and Sephiroth is their connection to the Lifestream, the physical essence of the planet itself. It also serves as an afterlife through which people’s memories return to the planet. Beings such as Aerith and Sephiroth have such a strong connection to the Lifestream that they can maintain some consciousness and influence changes in the physical world. The incendiary incident for FF7 remake and the sequel could be that part of Sephiroth that dissolved into the Lifestream at the end of the original Final Fantasy 7 is looking for a way to change his destiny.
The lifestream runs through the core of the planet, so it seems possible that those powerful enough can go back through the planet’s memories and influence past changes. Sephiroth has been known to carry out his plans under a facade while in completely different places, so who’s to say he couldn’t do the same at a different time? If so, Aerith may have followed Sephiroth in the past to thwart this exact plan.
Leave it to the legendary Tetsuya Nomura to create a sequel that takes place in an alternate past while also influencing the story of the original.