I’m Convinced FF7 Rebirth Is A Sequel To The 1997 Original

I’m Convinced FF7 Rebirth Is A Sequel To The 1997 Original

With the release of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth only weeks away, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Square Enix is playing fast and loose with the original game’s script. That was true of FF7 Remake, but the most recent State of Play, focused entirely on Rebirth, was a bounty of spoilers and scenes that suggest this game will deviate even more from the expected narrative. That’s because it’s still not entirely clear what exactly this remake trilogy is. A remake or a reimagining? It is equally both of these things and neither of these things. And thanks to one scene from the State of Play trailer, I’m also convinced that it is a sequel to the 1997 original.

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Image: Kotaku Australia

Editor’s note: Oh lord here I go spoiler tagging again. This article contains spoilers for the original Final Fantasy VII, in case you haven’t played that or are ducking anything that might connect to Rebirth. Back out now if you wish to remain pure. – David.

Amongst all of the reveals included in the surprisingly spoiler-filled State of Play trailer is a scene that stands out due to the small details hinting towards something larger going on. It takes place in the iconic Sector 5 Slums Church where Cloud encounters Aerith for the second time after he falls through the roof and lands on a bed of yellow flowers (which have since become a recurring image in the series). The short scene depicting a conversation between Aerith and Cloud only lasts a few seconds but, importantly, Aerith looks slightly different from how we usually see her. Rather than having her hair in a long braid held up with a pink ribbon, her hair falls loosely across her face and back. It’s a minor change but one that immediately alludes to one of the most important moments in FF7: Aerith’s death.

Screenshot: Square Enix

The heart-wrenching moment in FF7 has become so well-known for emotionally scarring a generation of gamers that there were once whispered rumors of a secret way to revive her. Even Robert Pattinson still isn’t over her death. Square Enix has been leaning into the mystery of how Rebirth will handle this moment, teasing fans with the knowledge that Rebirth’s story will end after the Forgotten Capital, where Aerith meets her end—at least, in the original game. In that legendary scene, Aerith falls to the ground after being driven through with Sephiroth’s sword, and as she hits the ground the white materia falls from her hair and her ribbon comes undone, letting her locks free. This is also how she appears in the short scene during State of Play: sans ribbon and hair down. She holds the white materia out toward Cloud, telling him to take it. Then she says, “This isn’t about me though. It’s about saving the world…and you.”

This isn’t a scene from the 1997 game. That alone isn’t surprising, considering how much new content the remake trilogy has added by breaking the story into three parts and fleshing each one out into its own lengthy RPG. But the imagery of Aerith and the white materia makes me think this might not be the Aerith we know in Remake. Instead, this is the Aerith of the original FF7. As an Ancient, Aerith is in-tune with the Lifestream, the energy and memory of all living things on the planet. The expanded FF7 universe has established that certain souls who have passed on to join the Lifestream may still have an impact on the living world through visions or even through physical manifestations. Aerith does this in Advent Children, appearing to Cloud in a field of those same flowers from the Church.

It is possible that the remake trilogy is some kind of alternate timeline that has been messed with by Sephiroth’s consciousness in the Lifestream attempting to rewrite the past, and Aerith’s spirit continues to combat him and is appearing to Cloud in order to help him defeat Sephiroth. If so, that establishes the remake trilogy as not only a retelling but also a sequel to the original FF7. Whatever the truth of this scene is, we won’t have to wait long to find out since Final Fantasy VII Rebirth releases exclusively for PS5 on February 29.

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