Did you play Final Fantasy 7: Remake when it came out in 2020, and now you’ve completely forgotten the story? Sure, it’s a remake, but they did change quite a few things for this retelling of the story. Keep in mind that Remake is part one of a planned trilogy.
The story progression is a little different from the original, making the first part of the 1997 version into its own full game. If you’re wondering what happened in the remake, what they changed from the original, and what the heck the ending means, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s double-check our Materia, and check out Final Fantasy 7: Remake, the story so far.
I think to properly cover the story of the remake; we need to explain some of the original games. In the world of Gaia, the megacorporation Shinra rules with an iron grip, exploiting the planet’s resources for profit and power. AVALANCHE, a group of eco-terrorists led by Barret Wallace, seeks to resist Shinra’s tyranny.
Cloud Strife, our protagonist and a former SOLDIER with a mysterious past joins AVALANCHE alongside characters you will meet. The group’s mission is to stop Shinra’s destructive exploitation of Mako energy, which is draining the life force of the planet.
Now that we have the main story from the 1997 version, we can start to discuss how the remake deviates from the plot. Though much of the story remains the same, there are significant alterations the developers made. By the end of this article, you will see just how much the story has changed, and the vision for the future of Final Fantasy 7: Remake.
Aerith possesses unique abilities, including a connection to the planet and the power to communicate with mysterious entities known as the Whispers. She joins Cloud Strife and the group on their mission against the oppressive Shinra Electric Power Company and, eventually, the enigmatic Sephiroth. Aerith’s abilities allow her to perceive the Whispers, entities that maintain the course of destiny. The Whispers were not part of the original game and planted the seeds for what’s coming later.
As a Cetra, a nearly extinct ancient race, Aerith is sought after by Shinra for her connection to the planet’s energy. Throughout the game, her interactions with Cloud, Tifa, and other party members reveal her compassionate and resilient nature. Her character arc takes a turn with a pivotal event that profoundly impacts the story.
Sephiroth – 1997
The remake follows the original story loosely, changing things here and there. In the original, as the story unfolds, we meet the true antagonist. Sephiroth, a former hero turned villain, seeks to harness the planet’s power for his benefit. Cloud and his companions embark on a journey to stop Sephiroth and unravel the mysteries of their pasts.
The narrative takes unexpected twists, including the tragic loss of a party member, a pivotal moment that propels the party toward the final confrontation with Sephiroth. The story culminates in a fight against Sephiroth’s plan to become a god-like entity, and the group’s struggle to save the planet from impending destruction.
Sephiroth – 2020
In the remake, things are a bit different. Sephiroth’s motive is to change fate, aware of his loss to Cloud in the original game. By manipulating the party to kill the whispers, Sephiroth aims to break free from destiny and defeat Cloud.
The team face off against the Harbinger, killing it and granting the party the potential to reshape events, possibly deviating from the original game’s plot. The Harbinger refers to a mysterious and powerful entity associated with the Whispers. The Whispers, also known as Arbiters of Fate, are ghost-like creatures that appear throughout the game and are linked to the concept of destiny and the preservation of the timeline.
The party’s act of eliminating the whispers implies a chance to circumvent or entirely avoid significant events. This was Sephiroth’s plan the whole time though, tricking the party into eliminating the Harbinger. Doing so breaks the predetermined future, allowing Sephiroth to avoid the battle he has with Cloud in the original where he is killed. We will have to see how this plays out in Rebirth, but Sephiroth is not going anywhere now.
The ghostly entities known as the Whispers are prevalent throughout the game, making their first appearance around Aerith in the initial chapter. The Whispers serve as guardians of destiny, tasked with ensuring that the planet’s will unfold as intended.
Their role involves preserving the natural course of events. If someone is meant to die, the whispers intervene to ensure that outcome. If someone is not fated to die, the Whispers act to protect them. This is evident in instances such as Barrett’s survival when stabbed by Sephiroth. Additionally, the whispers actively work to prevent individuals like Aerith and Sephiroth from altering the predetermined course of fate.
In the Intermission DLC, following the bombing of Mako Reactor 5, Yuffie Kisaragi arrives in Midgar with a mission to steal Shinra’s coveted Ultimate Materia. Accompanied by her partner, Sonon Kusakabe, they stealthily infiltrate Shinra headquarters, navigating through opposition forces and crossing paths with the formidable super soldier, Nero.
Yuffie manages to escape, witnessing the heartbreaking descent of the Sector 7 plate. The DLC concludes with Yuffie contemplating the necessity of forming a team to realize her fervent desire to witness Shinra’s ultimate downfall.
The Ending – How is Zack Alive?!
Initially, Zack perishes while battling Shinra troopers in Final Fantasy: Crisis Core. That’s how Crisis Core ended, and that has been the cannon ever since. However, the party’s climactic victory over the Harbinger in the final moments of the FF7 Remake broke things.
Changes occur across the timelines of the past, present, and future. Now that time has been unwritten, this leaves Zack in an interesting spot… Alive. The concluding cutscene of the Remake reveals a shift in events, depicting Zack’s survival in the battle and his subsequent assistance in guiding Cloud back to Midgar.
The story is very intricate and obtuse at times, but thankfully we were able to recap, so you can jump into Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth without being lost. It seems like they are attempting to tell an entirely new story, by changing the past and altering events to come.
Will Rebirth pick up from here? Will Zack play a major role in Rebirth? We’ll find out on February 29!
Did we miss any important story beats? Did you notice any differences between the original and the remake that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!