The Honeybee Inn sequence of Final Fantasy VII Remake is probably one of the more memorable moments in the reimagined game. An interview with Remake’s co-director, Motomu Toriyama, revealed that moment could have been catapulted from merely memorable to the greatest video gaming moment of all time had they not decided to cut a pole-dancing sequence that was already in mid-development.
In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Cloud, assisted by best girls Tifa and Aerith, must infiltrate Don Corneo’s lair in order to tease information out of the lecherous mafioso. Before the trio is granted an audience however, they must complete a series of quests satisfying the whims of one of Corneo’s three lieutenants. One of the lieutenants, Andrea Rhodea, runs the Honeybee Inn and invites Cloud on stage to compete in a dance-off.
Toriyama explained what went into creating that dance sequence. “We commissioned a team of professional dancers that create burlesque shows and choreography,” he said. “They proposed changing the concept and choreography for each section of the dance-off.”
One of the proposed changes was a pole-dancing sequence that apparently got as far as “filming” (presumably motion capture) before being cut out of fear that it would impact ratings.
Oh ratings, we meet again. Once again worries about “ratings” conspire to deprive me of the sublime joy that would have come from watching Cloud drop it from the ceiling. Imagine Cloud, in all his twink-y glory, grinding his buster sword on a pole before putting his thang down, flipping, and reversing to wild applause. That’s what we could have had were it not for “ratings.”
The Honeybee Inn event in Final Fantasy VII Remake was already a much-improved departure from the original. Instead of a series of quests that traded on homophobic and transphobic jokes, Remake treated us to a campy, if anodyne, celebration of queer people. During the dance-off we’re treated to a magical girl transformation sequence, stripping away Cloud’s gear and putting him in one of three ornate dresses depending on which quests you completed. Cloud rocks his dress with quiet confidence, remarking later that he knows he killed it.
Why not, then, solidify his bad-bitch status by having him pole dance? I will concede that Toriyama didn’t explicitly state it was Cloud doing the pole dancing, but c’mon. We’ve already seen he’s got moves and we also know he has the strength and athleticism required to be a pole performer. My plea to you is this, Square Enix: Release the Pole Dancing DLC! You could even make it a mini-game. It’d fit right in with a game whose original incarnation allowed you to race chocobos, breed chocobos, snowboard, submarine dive, mountain climb, and twirl guns. This is your chance, Square Enix, to be on the right side of JRPG history. Reject tradition, embrace modernity, give me pole-dancing Cloud!