The weird connection between all Final Fantasy 7 games? The sky

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth poses a ton of questions, after which it doesn’t depart gamers with very many solutions.

Questions pertaining to the sudden look of the once-dead character Zack Truthful, or the destiny of Aerith, have implications that might change the sport’s total world and the story individuals have cherished for many years. Nevertheless, after letting these huge questions dangle in entrance of gamers, the ending of the sport nonetheless doesn’t give a clear-cut reply or decision for any of them.

As I depart the sport behind, I’ve resigned myself to not figuring out the whole lot; after all, the third recreation within the trilogy is but to return. However even then, one small element has continued to gnaw away at me. It’s a query that doesn’t simply contain Rebirth, but in addition spans different media, like Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Disaster Core: Final Fantasy 7. It’s turn out to be the worm I can’t get out of my head.

My huge query? I need to know what the hell is up with the sky within the Final Fantasy 7 video games.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for the endings of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, as well as discussion of plot points from Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7.]

Graphic: Julia Lee/Polygon | Supply pictures: Sq. Enix

I’m speaking in regards to the precise sky on this planet — or worlds — of every recreation. Lots of the time, it’s simply your run-of-the-mill sky with, you realize, a vibrant blue shade and clouds. However in the event you begin to analyze the way in which the characters point out it within the story, it turns into clear that the sky performs a a lot bigger function within the symbolism of the sport and is among the solely recurring motifs that branches throughout a number of Final Fantasy 7 compilation titles.

The very first time the story introduces Aerith Gainsborough in Disaster Core: Final Fantasy 7, she talks about dwelling within the slums in Midgar metropolis and the way she’s afraid of the sky. She tells Zack Truthful, her past love and buddy of Cloud Strife, that she’s not regular. She says, “The sky… frightens me. It’s like it’s sucking me in.” Zack appears considerably confused but in addition doesn’t look like a man to evaluate, so he guarantees to indicate her a sky that’s stunning. Later, Zack reveals that he’s a SOLDIER and has mako-infused eyes due to it. In these moments, he likens his eyes to the colour of the sky, and Aerith says, “Uh-huh… but not scary at all!”

The normal concept then comes again full circle with the large ending of Disaster Core, when Zack dies after he rebels towards Shinra. In his final moments, he lays on his again and appears up on the clouds. As he begins to go away, his voice narrates, “She said that the sky frightened her. But it must feel so good up there.” Then, as his physique lifts into golden, heavenly gentle, Zack says, “It does feel good.”


An image of Zack and Aerith staring into each other’s eyes in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion.

Picture: Sq. Enix by way of Polygon

The symbolism of the sky appears considerably extra easy in Disaster Core. The builders use it as a option to spotlight the contrasts between the assured Zack and, on the time, the extra timid Aerith. The sky additionally seems to signify a way of freedom — Aerith doesn’t depart the slums till she meets Zack — in addition to the final word freedom from the shackles of life itself, when Zack passes away. Nevertheless, this idea solely will get increasingly sophisticated because the story chronologically progresses and we get into the primary occasions of Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Rebirth.

Remake has one of the vital clear — and to me, most compelling — makes use of of this motif. The overwhelming majority of the sport takes place within the slums beneath Midgar. The residents of the slums don’t get to see the sky, however as an alternative look as much as the huge metal infrastructure often known as the higher plate. There’s a literal, bodily class division between the sectors, and an enormous means the sport illustrates it’s by displaying that the slum-dwellers don’t even get to lookup on the sky. Nevertheless, after introducing this idea, the symbolism then will get muddied once more on the finish of the sport, which takes a semi-fantastical flip.

Within the ultimate cutscenes of Remake, Aerith, Cloud, and the others stand on the dusty outskirts of Midgar after beating Sephiroth. The ultimate scene then cuts away to indicate a unique second, maybe in an alternate actuality, the place we see Zack carrying Cloud on his again, having survived after all — and apparently, now in the same location simply outdoors of Midgar. Zack wasn’t actually part of Remake, however that recreation did have a scene with a quick glimpse of his ultimate battle scene towards the Shinra troopers in Disaster Core. Nevertheless, on the finish of Remake, on this alternate scene, Zack appeared to have survived that battle. As Zack and Aerith seemingly go by one another, every of them in numerous worlds, she says, “I miss it, the steel sky.”

Aerith’s line clearly connects to her first dialog with Zack, and presumably speaks to her bigger discomfort round lastly leaving Midgar. It additionally may hook up with her embracing her destiny — to die as a way to save the world — with the blue sky she now sees being symbolic of her future loss of life in FF7 Rebirth. That is all fantastic and is smart, however then the builders went and altered the road a number of years after launch. Roughly 4 years after Sq. Enix launched Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the workforce edited the road in a patch. Within the new, present model, Aerith says, “This sky… I don’t like it.”

An image of Aerith looking up to the sky in Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

Picture: Sq. Enix by way of Polygon

The change seemingly got here out of nowhere, substituting a extra generic assertion in lieu of 1 that extra instantly related to Aerith’s story in Disaster Core. The change may virtually be interpreted as some type of meta-developer commentary about how the sport has a number of worlds — perhaps there was a world in Remake the place Aerith stated her unique line as an alternative. Nevertheless, the developer additionally launched different adjustments to Remake in that replace that had nothing to do with traces of dialogue, corresponding to redesigning Tifa’s cowgirl outfit. So it’s potential that they only needed to alter the road of dialogue for stylistic causes.

However issues then solely get weirder with Rebirth, because the sky performs into a bigger, complicated story that ties into the sport’s total multiverse idea. In Rebirth, there are (at the very least) two worlds: one the place Zack Truthful dies identical to he did in Disaster Core, and one the place he lives on to avoid wasting Cloud and Aerith, who’re each in comatose states. We primarily play on this planet the place Zack is useless, however we do get snippets of the world the place he lives. As we play by way of these sections of the sport, one of many first issues we see is that the sky on this world has glittering golden rifts throughout it, and in accordance with Elmyra, individuals say its look means the world is ending.

We don’t know what this sky means, however it clearly appears dangerous. Towards the top of the sport, Aerith and Cloud go on an ungainly date collectively on this alternate world the place Zack lives. They don’t stumble upon him, however Aerith calls the world her “dream,” the place she apparently is happening one final date earlier than her inevitable loss of life. Nevertheless, earlier than the 2 of them depart the home, Aerith makes Cloud promise to not lookup on the sky, as a result of she’s “pretty sure” he gained’t like what he’ll see. The scene leaves the point out of the sky at that, however then the subject of the sky comes up once more on the finish of the sport.

An image of Cloud looking up to a sky with a glittering gold rift across it.

Picture: Sq. Enix by way of Polygon

After Aerith seemingly dies in the primary world of the sport, the gang heads out to their subsequent vacation spot. Previous to their leaving, we’re handled to a melancholy scene throughout which Cait Sith, Cid, and Barret put together the airplane for takeoff as Tifa, Yuffie, and Nanaki grieve the lack of Aerith. Cloud can nonetheless see Aerith, for some purpose, however that’s not all he sees in another way. Simply earlier than leaving, he tells the group to not lookup on the sky. From his vantage level, he can see glittering rifts within the sky that resemble these in Zack’s world, however when Barret seems, he simply sees an everyday blue sky.

We don’t get any express affirmation of something at play right here, actually. The gold rifts may signify the upcoming doom of the world. Nevertheless, the modified sky may even have one thing to do with the lifestream or Cloud’s multiverse journey. I personally assume it’s solely potential that it has some type of connection to Sephiroth summoning Meteor, which he does on the finish of the unique Final Fantasy 7 to wipe out all life on the planet. These gold rifts may simply herald the start of his plot to totally destroy the whole lot. Nonetheless, although, it’s not clear what the sky means now when it comes to the higher story.

With the fixed repeated mentions of the sky, and significantly with the edited line about it, the event workforce is unquestionably going for one thing right here, however it’s not clear what. Every thing else on this sequence tends to be extra direct, and different factors of symbolism within the recreation are likely to lack any type of subtlety. Whereas earlier than, the sky may have been interpreted as a normal image of freedom (and loss of life), it now has some bigger half to play into the general logic of the story and the multiverse/multiworld confusion. For sure, the very first thing I’ll be doing when the subsequent recreation comes out is taking a superb lookup on the sky.

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