If Final Fantasy 7 has taken anything from Kingdom Hearts since Remake burst onto the scene, it’s cramming additional lore and weird character information into places it has no right to exist in. Much like the avalanche of spin-offs and side projects that came alongside the release of Advent Children in 2005, Remake and Rebirth presented Square Enix with an opportunity to expand on this universe in ways we’ve never seen before.
It’s amazing to see a once polarising aspect of Final Fantasy’s lore return as the three-part reimagining starts to gather steam. Tetsuya Nomura has already confirmed it will end leading into the events of Advent Children, meaning that everything we see moving forward is canon in that universe, and to be considered on equal ground. That’s both a scary and very exciting thought, but we shouldn’t be forced to jump through hoops to attain all the knowledge we need to understand this new vision.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what’s happening with Ever Crisis. The mobile game, which acts as a retelling of Final Fantasy 7, Crisis Core, and other associated projects using a mixture of cute new sprites and reworked Remake assets, launched last month. From what I’ve played, it’s a fun little time if you don’t mind all the usual mobile hang-ups. But I hate the idea of having to commit potential time and money to it in fear of missing out on a major piece of context for Rebirth. Given Nomura is involved, this situation is not unlikely.
Young Sephiroth, or Puppy Sephiroth, as my colleagues and I call him, is set to receive an all-new chapter and backstory in Ever Crisis that seemingly won’t launch anywhere else. This is amazing, and not something I ever expected a mobile game outside the mainline entries to spring on us. Perhaps I’m not giving it enough credit, but this feels like something Remake and its subsequent sequels should be handling as opposed to a side project only the most hardcore fans are likely to play. Even I’m on the fence about grinding to see it for myself.
Many of the narrative implications are also quite satisfying, and do a wonderful job of now making Sephiroth into a more sympathetic character. He was experimented on, forced into joining the ranks of SOLDIER, and had loved ones taken away from him until he was little more than a loyal husk. After finding out the truth behind his own existence, it’s no surprise that he rebelled against his masters and wanted to destroy the planet. Better yet, he talks about his mother – Jenova – in the flashback sequences before holding up a picture, but rather than the twisted bioweapon, it’s Lucrecia, Sephiroth’s birth mother.
This means that Sephiroth is aware of who his birth mother is, turning his eventual appreciation of Jenova into a far more tragic fate. She is missable in Final Fantasy 7 if you don’t dig deep into side quests or experience the spin-offs, so to see her referenced so plainly here brings with it some interesting implications. Hojo has also appeared in previous trailers for Rebirth, so when combined with Sephiroth’s expanded role, will we perhaps see all three of them explored in greater depth in the next two games?
I’m not sure if I’m convinced that turning Sephiroth into a conflicted villain with no ambiguity is a good thing quite yet, and won’t be until I see the new story for myself. But the debut of his younger self alongside confirmation of his knowledge of Lucrecia has me worried Final Fantasy 7 is going to try to answer questions nobody ever had, diminishing so much of its original mystery as a consequence. Remake already made it clear that this trilogy is doing far more than retelling the original story, and I’m along for the ride, but am yet to discover how far is too far. This could be testing my limits, and the fact it’s trapped within a mobile game still
bums me out.
I don’t want a Kingdom Hearts 3 situation where understanding a key moment in the final act hinges on me knowing something about a mobile game roughly ten people bothered playing. It is not good storytelling, and puts a burden on players we don’t deserve. Part of me wants to believe Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is above that, but maybe it isn’t after all.
Next: Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s Open World Has So Much More Life Than 16