Let’s Talk About Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Mind-Boggling Ending

Let’s Talk About Final Fantasy VII Remake’s Mind-Boggling Ending

Now that Final Fantasy VII Remake is out—and given that many of you have been playing it for days thanks to coronavirus-triggered early releases—it’s time we talk about how it ends.

Here is your warning: even if you have played the original Final Fantasy VII, you should not read further until you’ve finished Final Fantasy VII Remake, which comes out today for PlayStation 4.

Seriously, if you read any further, you will be spoiled.

I’m giving you one last chance. Don’t scroll down past Sephiroth or massive game-ending spoilers for Final Fantasy VII Remake will be right in your face.

Man. Man! It’s been a week since I finished Final Fantasy VII Remake, but that ending sequence is still burrowed in my head, refusing to leave. The whole thing is left a little ambiguous, but a few things seem clear to me:

1) Those dementor-like spirits, the whispers of time that chase you around throughout the game, exist to ensure that events in Final Fantasy VII Remake follow the timeline of Final Fantasy VII original. This suggests a few things and raises all sorts of questions—for example, do Cloud’s visions of events like Reunion and Aerith’s death imply that he’s already been through the original game once before? Who knows???

2) By showing us Zack surviving his last stand—and Stamp as a different breed of dog in that split second toward the end—the developers have established the existence of multiple timelines, presumably created when your party defeated the whispers of time. Does that mean we’re going to be playing through alternate realities in subsequent games? Is Zack going to pop back to life in the proper timeline? Why does Aerith miss Midgar’s sky???

3) The title of the game suddenly makes sense. There’s no “part one” on the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake because this is the only part that’s a remake. From here on out, we’re in uncharted territory, and while we’ll certainly see the characters and locations of Final Fantasy VII, from Vincent and Yuffie to Costa del Sol and the Golden Saucer, the events may be completely different.

Or, as the end chyron says, “The unknown journey will continue.”

It’s an audacious ending that will no doubt piss many hardcore purists off, but I absolutely love it. I don’t want to play Final Fantasy VII again with prettier graphics—I want something completely new, and I’m so glad this is what we got. Will Zack join the party? Will Sephiroth turn into a good guy and help us fight Jenova? Will Aerith avoid death this time around? (Hope not.) We have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen in future installments of this game, and that’s more exciting than the prospect of a 1:1 remake ever was.

Now, assuming you can get G/O Media’s broken comments system to function for you, discuss! What’d you think of that ending?

Comments

  • I’m personally confused about the ending, I love it, but it confuses me.

    Mainly because I never understood why the whispers are there in the first place. Who are they trying to stop changing the future? As far as I understood we only fight them because they are there and we can. But who are they there for?

    • I think the whispers were there to make sure the timeline went the way that it was supposed to.

      Things like stopping Wedge and Biggs from dying and Hojo when he was about to tell Cloud his back story ALOT earlier than before Cloud is supposed to know the truth.

      Basic answer, our heroes this time around were changing away from the original timeline, and the whispers kept showing up to make sure that didn’t happen. Think of it like the original has already happened and this is the second time around with it. Its why Cloud keeps seeing the future etc.

      • All of this is true but it is too meta and leaves you thinking about the GAME instead of losing yourself in the experience. If they want to change some elements for the sake of story telling and to flesh out characters then go for it but the whole whisper twist gives the impression that some very, very major departures are planned and this will make many fans nervous. Anger is sometimes a by-product.

        • To be fair, I’m not fussed with the departures.

          If I had to guess, this “new timeline” (or Gaia-Beta/Gaia-2) is being orchestrated by Sephiroth as he’s literally the only one who has anything to gain by it not playing out the way it originally did (except Aerith… wouldn’t it be a twist if she ends up being the new antagonist). They kept being shown snippets of bad shit that happened in their original timeline, but the truth of the matter is, they actually won against the odds and beat the baddies in the original, except they lost Aerith along the way. Would’ve been more interesting if they saw the entire story play out, and had to make the call on saving Aerith and an unknown future vs Aertih dying, but the future being saved….

      • Ah, yeah I guess that makes sense. I guess I was just looking for a more active participant or reason for them being there.

  • “I want something completely new” then why are you playing Final Fantasy VII? If everyone wanted something new why did they rave over and over again that Square should remake VII with new graphics instead of making Final Fantasy 16 and then 17 and 18 if new is what they wanted and not the ability to experience a prior love but with a modern finish.

    But even then, if you wanted something different but wanted 7 for some crazy reason, the ending reads like b-grade Kingdom Hearts bullshit, should have expected no different with Nomura at the helm.

    • Yeah… I must admit, I agree with that comment. “I want something completely new” as they play a game called Final Fantasy VII: Remake.

      Aside from that, the ending to Remake was… interesting, to say the least. I don’t quite know how to feel about it and I suppose I am still absorbing it, but I am intrigued as to see what Square Enix might do for the sequel(s) to this game.

      I am hoping that the adventure continues with one more title, not two more, but we’ll see.

      • It’d be funny if they do a release per disc of the ps1. The third disc of the ps1 was literally just the fight with the final boss from memory wasn’t it?

        • You are correct!

          In the PS1 Final Fantasy VII, disc one contained Midgar and some elements of the world map (basically, when Sephiroth murders Aerith and summons the meteor using the black materia, that’s when disc one ends). Disc two is essentially the remainder of the game, while disc three has the player and their party venturing down into the crater, fighting Jenova and then Sephiroth.

          The reason disc three is so short in terms of content, yet being on its own disc, is because it was crammed full of FMV (full motion video) cinematic sequences.

    • I agree with you!!! I hate the way Tetsuya presented this new element (the whisperers) I hate the changes in the story the rearrangements of the events especially in regards to the shinra section ( the whole part where the party is imprisoned and Sephirots kills Shinra president), I m hate this idea and feeling that they will screw second part… They changed a lot of stuffs already and more seem to be changig.. also this wishpers… Are useless if hey really wanted to tell a modified plot.. why they don’t just do it without giving all this flashing from a future that suppose to never been happening… Crossing fingers for he second part but at this point I feel that the core element that made me love ff7 is blown.. which is it’s story.

  • The ending is absolutely terrible. If they wanted to make it different to ff7 classic then they should have just done so. square enix did not have to go all meta and make an in universe reason for not having to follow the same story as ff7 classic. The writing of this entire plot line was nonsensical and felt underdeveloped. not to mention a lot of the changes that were made to the plot for the sake of the “whispers” killed the emotional impact of many of the scenes.

    Lets talk sephiroth. I imagine there must be major confusion from new players. who is this sephiroth guy? why is he so important to the plot? he is introduced in this game as if he is well established and well known to the player but the game spends no time developing him. Having such a similar fight to the sephiroth endgame fight felt cheap and did not feel earned.

    Overall the game was great but the “whisper” plot line and ending felt truly like poorly written fan service.

    • I did mutter to myself “F me this feels like fan fiction” when the ending started spiralling into Endgame territory.

  • To be honest, I found the whole ending eye-rolling. Just tell the damn story, it works fine on its own without adding multiple dimensions and crap like that. I feel like the dementors distract from the story instead of making it more interesting. I was going to heartily recommend this game to friends, but by the end I was like, nah. The plot is way too much of a wink-wink to people who’ve played the original, as well as Crisis Core. Without this prior experience, the new game makes no sense.

  • I’m in the camp that wanted something new and wasn’t disappointed. Can’t wait to see what they do with this franchise from here.

    I can see how some people might not like it, but I’m more into the setting and characters than just hanging out to see holy and meteor play out again but prettier.

  • I don’t mind them remixing things a little for the sake of variety and I really enjoyed the more fleshed out, expanded take on the story through Midgar. I felt it had a great balance of the beats we know and love along with a bunch of completely new content, characters and locations that all added meaningfully to the overall game while still remaining true to its roots. Saying that, I don’t understand why they couldn’t just continue that idea through to the rest of the story instead of making it the most meta thing ever and setting up potentially re-writing events. I have a bad feeling that they will choose to keep Aerith alive through to the end now. If you want something ‘completely new’ then why bother with a remake at all unless your intention is to bastardize the original material just so you can get name recognition and characters and a world that are already iconic. I will reserve judgement until we get some more information but given the new story developments and Nomura’s track record of confusing, borderline nonsensical plotting I am way more nervous than I thought I’d be.

    • Oh the moment Aerith said “THERES NO FATE BUT WHAT WE MAKE” (or something to that nature) I rolled my eyes and was like – omg they’re going to ret con her death. When they showed Barret die I was like OH DAYUM THATS STEPPING IT UP. Then they did a RoTS and Chewied his ass in the next scene….

      I both loved and hated the new game. They could’ve cut 20 hours of padding, and done an entire story game imo….

      • The game is not perfect but I for one really enjoyed just being able to spend more time in the world. Most of the side missions felt like padding though. The temptation to ret-con further going forward will be very real for the developers. I recall Red XIII saying after one of his visions that “this is what will come to pass if we fail here today”. I was thinking to myself, why is that so bad? They defeat Sephiroth and save the planet so what they have now done has thrown that all into jeopardy. And Red is supposed to sound smart in that moment?

        • I was thinking the same thing… The only bad thing (well depending what you consider bad…) that happened during Gaia Alpha, was that Aerith died. In Gaia Beta (just making up names for the timelines) I think they’re just being shown the “bad” stuff that happens, but not the fact that they actually triumphed over Sephiroth. In fact, if I was to speculate further, I would say this current path they are on is being orchestrated by Sephiroth to avoid his fate. Also the fact they touch on – if you change destiny you will change yourselves, suggest that possibly some of our main characters might go bad? Or maybe I’m over thinking it.

          • Yeah, that makes sense for the most part. However, think about what they were actually shown in the brief glimpses of the future. Especially from the perspective of someone who has never played the original. Why would they be trying to destroy the whispers given the information made available to them? I just don’t think it was quite clear what the main characters were trying to gain by doing what they were doing. It’s easier to understand from Sephiroth’s perspective and the obvious Sephiroth = bad, defeat him = good. I just don’t think it was set up effectively why the characters decided to go against the whispers especially considering that for the vast majority of the game they were helping the party in some pretty major ways.

          • I think its more that the whispers selectively showed them the “bad parts” of the original time line that can be misconstrued, thus it made them think their original destiny was bad and by fighting against the whispers they were making the “right” choice.

            Maybe I’m over thinking it and Square Enix are just a bunch of hacks when it comes to convoluted stories (which they have proven to be in the past) but I like the idea of them changing the course of their fate thinking they’ve done the right thing, but it actually ending up worse for them.

          • That’s why I said that if you look at it through the lens of someone who is new to the story and those flash forwards given no context you would have no real clue as to why they would be trying so hard to change their fate. They just say a few really cryptic things and then go through the portal ready to kill stuff. How is a vision of older Red running with his cubs meant to provoke them into changing their fate? Or is it just the idea that their fate is pre-determined that they don’t like and therefore are trying to alter? It is really not clear but not surprising given Nomura is at the helm.

          • I think the vision of Red running was meant to be them seeing a trashed Midgar (even though we didn’t focus on that part). But yes I agree, it was a bit messy.

  • Maybe its from too many time travel / alternate reality movies, but the first time the dementors showed up and I was going – hang on, things didn’t go this way the first time around, I had the feeling it was doing the ERMAGHAD ALTERNATE REALITY TO THE ORIGINAL.

    Which I don’t mind…. but the game still felt WAYYY more padded then it needed to be. Everytime my character slowed down I would just die internally.

  • I found the addition of the whispers pretty unnecessary. Early on I was ambivalent to them but around the time you hit train grave yard and realize that they’re not really on anyone’s side but are being weird watchdogs of the original FF7 plot they would just rip me out of the story. They stopped being an entity that had an actual motivation and place in universe and started looking like a tool of Square Enix the studio. I was actually rooting for Sephiroth when it looked like he was going to cut them down. Anything to get them out of the story they fit so poorly into.
    The idea of there being a pre-ordained “fate” that is essentially the original FF7 plot felt like the kind of hokey lazy crutch writing you find in FF fanfics and honestly it was totally unnecessary since most of the changes not directly related to these things were totally fine and needed no justification.
    It seems like the purpose they serve is only useful if they decided to mess with the story far more than they need or should to and even if they go that route this is a ham-fisted way to justify it.

  • I’d be interested in a decision based timeline. This would open up the opportunity to play through, just like the original… or make different choices to alter the timeline. Sounds expensive from a developmental perspective, but would please everyone I think.

  • ” I don’t want to play Final Fantasy VII again with prettier graphics”

    Then why are you playing a remake of Final Fantasy VII?
    Everyone was expected a faithful reproduction of a classic, with updated graphics and the ability to expand on the story, not piss on it with KH level fanwank.

  • Just fire Nomura already, I’ve had enough of his shit. And don’t try to sell me something called “Remake” if it’s actually FF7 Reinterpretation, be clear and straight about your work Square, this is bullshit advertising.

  • It’s pretty easy to discredit legitimate concerns about this ending when you put it all down to the complaints of “hardcore purists”. I’m glad some people like the ending – I envy their excitement – but no amount of cautious optimism is helping me accept it right now. Even without the massive implied plot changes, the complete 180 in the quality of the writing, the sudden stylistic shift and the way this ending tosses all the themes and messages so far out the window would have been enough to make me go “um… what” if I was a new player.

    I’ve only been a fan of the original game for 4 years, but it’s been under my skin ever since I played it. If I had known this was FFVII-2, I would have just accepted it and bought something else. But it was sold as a retelling of the original. I hope people find joy in it as it is, but I’m too disillusioned with the old guard at Square Enix to put my faith in them again.

  • The ending is a shoe-horned in Deus Ex Machina. They manifest “Destiny” in order for you to kick it in the nuts, so that they then have a very lame metaphorical reason to do whatever the fuck going forward.

    I was pleased with the Remake. It looked great, felt very good and the combat was fun. And I didn’t mind any smaller changes. If anything, I expected them and was curious about them. But that ending is terrible. The freaking “Moiren” are terrible, because at no point do they feel like anything other than a blatant plot steering mechanic. Which is exactly confirmed with this train wreck of an ending. They literally serve no other function.

    Also, the Sephiroth fan service is through the roof. Sephiroth is way too present in the game for no good reason. And yet, he remains utterly unexplored. For any younger player, who never played the original (a 23 year old game by now) ….. Sephiroth just has to be a cryptic mess in this first installation of the remake.

    Given that jackshit is explained about him, he is way too present. And the information, that this apparently random evil guy want’s to destroy the planet, just falls into the player’s lap …… for reasons. Aerith just happens to know it. Why? She doesn’t know why. But she does know. Because ancient blood and stuff. Hey look, a Moiren!

    That is lame writing!

    All in all I did like the game, but that ending was utter nonsense. Not because they may change stuff, but because their way out is so utterly contrived and uninspired ….. I mean if you have to manifest “destiny” and kick it in the nuts to make things happen, that is the hand of the narrator doing as clumsy and transparent a move as possible. Freaking awful!

    And that is what quite frankly pisses me off. The most radical changes in the story are completely phoned in, uninspired and profoundly dumb. Really left a bad taste in my mouth and remains as an ugly mark on a game, that I otherwise really enjoyed.

  • Overall, I really enjoyed my time with FFVII remake, but I am very nervous about what comes next. Honestly, I’m not fussed about changing the story – what I dislike is the way they went about it. The whispers are a not-very-clever stand-in for audience and presumably studio pressure to keep the game’s story in line with the original. At the end, the characters might as well be fighting a giant copy of the original script for the game. If they wanted to have a different story, they should have be subtle with it, but then again, Modern FF writers don’t know the meaning of the word. I get strong “Kingdom Hearts” vibes from the ending, and I utterly, utterly utterly despise Kingdom Hearts and how completely ridiculous, convoluted, deus-ex-machina over deus-ex-machina that loose collection of semi-random events masquerading as a “plot”, became over the course of the series.

    They got some of the original talent behind FFVII onboard for this. My only hope is that they keep those guys around to stave off some of the more ridiculous ideas the new “talent” a Square-Enix will no doubt try to shove into the game.

    The entire last 2 hours of FFVII remake didn’t sour me on the whole experience – but it makes me worried. Really worried. I…. I don’t like just about anything Square Enix have made since FFXII (and I just tolerated FFXII). I have no faith in their writers anymore, and yes, I am aware that Nomura worked on FFVII originally, but he ALSO worked on Kingdom Hearts. I will not be buying the next part of this remake on Day 1.

    On the other hand… I do have to respect the courage on the team for doing this. I think making serious departures from the original is INCREDIBLY risky, but I’ve got to admire their courage for going for it. They are very brave. But if they don’t pull this off, that bravery may very will sink Square Enix for good. If they screw up the next part, I’m not buying a single goddamn game from them ever again.

  • As someone who was worried Crisis Core would be ignored, I was incredibly impressed. I’m excited to see where this goes.

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