Square Enix has revealed that players’ decisions in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth may spare Aerith from her original fate.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth director Naoki Hamaguchi mentioned in the game’s exclusive State of Play on February 6 that Square Enix focused on depicting how Cloud’s group bonds during the game’s events. They also stressed that these same bonds will also decide whether Aerith lives or dies at the hands of Sephiroth, like in the original 1997 game.
Thankfully, Square Enix’s showcase provides some detail on how to improve the bonds Cloud has among the members of AVALANCHE. The choices players make throughout Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth dictate how the members of AVALANCHE feel about Cloud. Interestingly enough, these feelings will decide who gets to join Cloud on a date at the Gold Saucer, much like in the original game.
However, with the remake of Final Fantasy 7 and Square Enix’s altering the fates of certain characters in the game’s retelling, it is now possible for someone else to take Aerith’s place as the one fated to die by Sephiroth’s hand. And, just like in the original game, whoever dies by Sephiroth’s hand will be permanently removed from the game.
This character permadeath is something the game’s creative director, Tetsuya Nomura, confirmed in an interview with Game Informer. According to them, they knew the game’s team had to depict life and death, and that “loss is something that happens unexpectedly.”
“[Loss is] not something so dramatic or drawn out, but is something in which a person that you have just conversed with is suddenly gone and never to come back,” Nomura explained. As a result, the person Sephiroth kills in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will be gone for good in players’ playthroughs, just like in the original game.
Whether this new character will be the one players – and Cloud, by extension – has the most “affection points” with is something players will find out once the game’s out. Whoever is fated to die will likely meet their fate at the Forgotten Capital – the place where Aerith died in the original game and where Cloud and his group will eventually end up in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
Either way, Sephiroth is sure to come for Cloud and his group; players can expect to see the One-Winged Angel plunge his blade into Aerith (or whoever the game chooses) in 4K, thanks to the PlayStation 5’s capabilities. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s ESRB rating mentioned that it would feature cutscenes where characters get impaled or slashed by swords, sometimes with slow-motion effects – possible hints to Aerith’s/chosen character’s death.
Regardless, fans of the original 1997 game and the remake will have to wait and see if they’ll lose Aerith or someone else during their playthrough when Square Enix releases the game on February 29. Those who can’t wait can play the demo the developer released after its State of Play showcase to see what’s new in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.