Final Fantasy VII Remake is by far one of the most anticipated remakes in all of video game history, coming out 23 years after the original on the first Playstation, after the slew of HD remakes of later games such as X and XII earlier this decade.
Remake however, is a bit of a misnomer, as the term ‘reboot’ may be more appropriate since we have since learned that by the end of the average 40 hour playthrough of part one of this “remake” that we only get to the end of the Midgar segment. Midgar in the original was only a portion that is usually completed in a couple hours.
Extended Honeybee Manor scenes, in depth character development and lengthy side quests are abundant here, but whilst playing these, I began to have a sinking feeling.
If they’re willing to extend and change so much of the story portions of the game, what is this going to mean for the most iconic scene in Final Fantasy VII, no, Final Fantasy history as a whole. By this, if you truly do not know, I mean Aerith’s death scene at the end of disc 1 of the original.
Fans of the Persona series may be getting flashbacks to when Persona 3 FES was released, which drastically changed the narrative and tone of the original game. Such as Shinjiro’s death scene. A lot of veteran players were angry at the release, and some of the tonal shifts in Final Fantasy VII Remake are hitting the same beats. Where would this all culminate in the terms of the arguably more mainstream Final Fantasy VII?
Even Disney made reference to this scene in their 2012 movie “Wreck it Ralph”, and there was a book published in 2005 called “The Maiden Who Travels the Planet” by Benny Matsuyama that documents her journey through the lifestream after her encounter with Sephiroth.
I fear that Aerith will live and SquareEnix will end up retconning this entire branch of the Final Fantasy franchise. Not that I necessarily enjoy the trope of “woman dies to further man’s emotional plot” at play here, but her death is an integral part of Advent Children, and adds depth and weight to Crisis Core, both necessary parts to enjoy the entire “Final Fantasy VII franchise”.
“But Myff,” I hear you say, “you love Kingdom Hearts, and Aerith is alive and well there!” and you would be correct! I do love Kingdom Hearts, but when we have Cloud as an adult and Zack Fair as a young child in the exact same game, I’m certain that we can all agree that Kingdom Hearts canon cannot interfere with the original canon just because it fits your personal narrative.
The question though, still remains. How can we negate having Aerith die for modernization’s sake, while still maintaining the emotional integrity of the original game?
Easy, put someone else in her place.
Final Fantasy VII has always had a hidden affection feature. One that ultimately only affected a single scene in the game; the infamous ‘Gold Saucer Date’ scene. A scene that ultimately had no bearing on the outcome of the game or it’s ending, but was a cute little feature nonetheless. A cute scene that had many of us scrambling to figure out what dialogue choices adjusted what in order to get the scene with different characters, one of whom was Barrett.
So by making the affection a more prominent feature of the remake, they could utilize it in a way that adjusts just who Sephiroth kills in the Forgotten City. This way, you still get a heavy and deeply emotional scene, with the freedom to adjust the story based on your choices, but also get the brand new Final Fantasy VII experience that we are now facing.
In act one of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Aerith’s tragic end is foreshadowed, but given how lengthy these acts are, and how much has already changed, I would not at all be surprised to find out in act 2 or 3 here that we witness one of our other beloved party members taking her place.
Which only begs the question, which affection feature would change it? I’m certainly inclined to believe that it would be based on the party member that we have the highest affection with, simply because that was the feature that changed the Gold Saucer scene in the original, and how common Aerith is in that scene.
That and of course if it were the opposite, a lot of us would see Cait Sith die and that’s just too much of a cause for celebration than a somber tragedy.
This has been a guest post by our super talented writer friend, Myff!
Myff is a huge fan of JRPG’s, especially Final Fantasy and the Tales Of series. They are currently living dual lives in Animal Crossing and becoming a pirate on Mêlée Island. Find them on Twitter @MyffanwyAbber!