While 2020’s Final Fantasy 7 remake controversially changed many elements of the original game, the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is expected to significantly alter even more aspects of the classic RPG. In a new blog post, the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth team hinted at how those changes will impact two fan-favorite characters: Sephiroth and Aerith.
In the parts of the original Final Fantasy 7 adventure that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will remake and re-imagine, Sephiroth was still something of a mystery. Though players were aware of the character by that point, he wouldn’t become a larger player in the narrative until a little later in the game. However, the version of Sephiroth that we’ll see in Rebirth will be a much more active participant in that specific part of the experience.
“In the original game, Sephiroth barely appeared during this section, but in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, he is the driving force that pulls the story along to fill that void,” explains Producer Yoshinori Kitase. “He is depicted in even more depth than in the original game, and I think this makes him an even more charismatic and appealing antagonist than before.”
While that may sound ominous and frightening to Final Fantasy fans who are worried about such sweeping changes, these particular alterations don’t sound quite as dramatic as all of that. As Creative Director Tetsuya Nomura explains, many of those changes are largely based on the things that have happened since Final Fantasy 7‘s original release.
“The evolution of the characters wasn’t a sudden mutation – we’ve seen gradual changes over several spin-off titles and in Final Fantasy 7 Remake itself, and they are evolving even further in Final Fantasy7 Rebirth,” says Nomura. “In a certain sense, we are seeing this evolved and in-depth portrayal of Sephiroth as him now ‘returning’ to his roots in the remake series, and so naturally, his presence will be much deeper and clearer than it was in the original. On the other hand, the fans have now a much greater knowledge and understanding of Sephiroth, so I hope the players can see the character’s appeal even more strongly.
While the Rebirth team stops short of detailing how, exactly, the game will alter Sephiroth and the scenes involving the character, they do acknowledge that fans are curious (and perhaps anxious) about that scene involving Sephiroth and Aerith. So far as that goes, Kitase at least suggests that Rebirth will alter our view of Aerith and that sequence rather than drastically alter the scene itself.
“Aerith’s fate is one of the most important themes in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s story. I really want people to play the game and feel it directly, so I will not say too much here,” Kitase explains. “But when comparing this scene to how it was presented in the original, I am confident that the audience will feel a great breadth of emotion from the extra level of detail in how the characters are portrayed.”
Here again, the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth team stops themselves from detailing the specific changes the game will introduce. However, Nomura does say that their overall goal is to ensure that “players experience what waits for them at the end of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and feel it for themselves rather than getting that second-hand.” That seemingly speaks to both the need to avoid spoilers and the idea that these games should be a somewhat fresh experience for new and returning players.
As for the other Sephiroth changes, it makes sense that he will be featured more prominently in Rebirth than in the equivalent section of the original Final Fantasy 7 given the nature of Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s narrative. The same is true of the idea that our perception of Sephiroth (as well as the character himself) has changed since Final Fantasy 7‘s release in 1997. At the very least, it sounds like the game won’t take his appeal for granted nor will it treat him as this unknown entity.
At the same time, the Rebirth team is clearly trying to avoid saying that they’re not prepared to at least alter some major moments involving that character. We’ll see just how bold the team is willing to be when Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is released for PlayStation 5 on February 29.