Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Crow’s Nest Could Be The Key To Everything

Final Fantasy 7 Remake is far longer than the section it draws from in the 1997 original, but still feels like it tells the same story. The phantoms that float through each scene remind you that you are rebelling against destiny, and interfere to keep things the same as (or to force diversion from) the existing narrative, but it still feels like walking the same footsteps, only longer, and with more time to smell the lilies. Rebirth may not be the same.


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There’s an organic feeling to the extra areas of Remake. The game remains in the same places now and then, but with more avenues to explore, and more time getting to know the people who dwell within them. Like most triple-A games, some of it feels like padding, but Remake feels like a remake. Rebirth, fittingly, looks to be far more of a rebirth.

From left to right: Cait Sith, Tifa, Aerith, Cloud, Barrett, Red 13, and Yuffie, all with their back to the camera

The ending of Remake set the stage for Rebirth. Not only is Zack back, but the tweaks to the plot in Remake echo louder, meaning it cannot just take the next chunk of Final Fantasy 7 and expand that in the same way Rebirth does for the opening hours. Broadly speaking, this is a good thing. Game remakes are all well and good, but they can get tired very quickly. They don’t often have much else to say, they just look better and cater to modern gaming conventions.

The Final Fantasy 7 experiment is different – it’s not just a graphical polish relying on a name-brand, nor is it even a switch from turn-based combat to action combat to bring newer players along for the ride. It’s both of those things, and so much more.

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It’s one of the few gaming ‘remakes’ that is closer to a movie remake; like John Carpenter’s The Thing, it’s a reinterpretation of the source material that changes things not dependent on how the original looked or what it might have done with modern tech, but based entirely on the tale this version wants to tell. Aside from the meta inclusion of the phantoms, the old version might as well not exist.

Rebirth’s challenge is in how it diverges with far more open road to drive into, how loyal it stays to the original, and how it bridges the gap between these points. It seems one of these ways is via Crow’s Nest. Revealed in Game Informer’s recent preview, Crow’s Nest is a new town added to Rebirth that was not present in the original game. Director Naoki Hamaguchi says. “We reach this area after completing a quest, and then this place unlocks. The residents already know Cloud and the party are a part of Avalanche.”

Cloud and Sephiroth performing a synergy attack whilst covered in blue and purple light

Perhaps similar to Final Fantasy 16’s Hideaway, Crow’s Nest could be a place we return to over and over, levelling it up to become a base of operations where we get to know each character there, fulfilling repeated side quests that develop our connection to the world and the party’s place in the community. Or like the various locations of Remake, it could be a town to breeze through quickly if we wish, only doing the basics that take us fleetingly to each corner, with the depth of the stories only revealed if we look for them.

Hamaguchi goes on to say that these side quests are crucial to your understanding of the game, and that also shows a lot of trust in the audience. In a lot of games, the extra content is filler designed to lengthen runtime or keep feeding hidden algorithmic loops aimed at keeping players plugged in at all costs. Here, there is an understanding that to appreciate the game fully, you need to seek out why it matters. So if you hear of people needing help, your Cloud has to want to help for you to be telling the story right.

Crow’s Nest feels like it has extra importance because it defines the direction of the series. Rebirth will not be as organic as Remake. It will not be simply plugging gaps or pausing the linear journey of the original to add a side quest. It will be a completely new journey with some familiar characters heading in vaguely the same direction. I was pleasantly surprised by the risks of Remake, and love that Square Enix has doubled down on that with Rebirth. How Crow’s Nest (and settlements like it) are executed will be crucial to taking the audience along for the journey as it drives further off the beaten track into the untouched weeds.

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