Today is a special day for Final Fantasy VII. As the 27th anniversary of the original game, it marks Final Fantasy VII Day, an officially registered occasion in Japan. And for Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, it marks the release of more information about the roles of Sephiroth and Aerith in the upcoming title.
Alright, so technically The PlayStation Blog posted the info two days ago, but today felt like a more fitting day to share. Sephiroth, the silver-haired antagonist of the role-playing game, returns. Obviously. But like his expanded role in 2020’s Final Fantasy VII Remake, he’ll also appear much more in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.
In the post, Creative Director Tetsuya Nomura talks a bit about Sephiroth’s expanded role:
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.
For Remake, which covered the early events of the original game taking place in Midgar, many players were surprised to see Sephiroth at all. In the original, Sephiroth never appears in the Midgar section. Only his sword shows up upon reaching the top of Shinra tower.
Players do see Sephiroth in a flashback when reaching Kalm, which looks like it will occur at the start of Rebirth. But he’s only seen sporadically after that until halfway through the game. Producer Yoshinori Kitase acknowledges that “Sephiroth barely appeared during this section” in the original game. But in Rebirth, “he is the driving force that pulls the story along.” The goal is to make him an even more “charismatic and appealing antagonist.”
But he’s not the only character getting an expanded role. Nomura and Kitase hold their cards a little closer to the chest when talking about Aerith, the flower girl who spurs on the quest to save the planet. Still, they hint at major events to come.
Kitase remarks coyly on Aerith’s role in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, saying this:
Aerith’s fate is one of the most important themes in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth’s story. I really want people to play the game and feel it directly, so I will not say too much here, 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.
Notably, the line about comparing the new scene to that in the original and an “extra level of detail” implies that Aerith’s big scene will remain the same in Rebirth. Add on to that the previous news that Rebirth will link up to Advent Children, and it seems her fate is sealed.
Still, there could always be misdirection at play. Kitase also remarks that if the game stays the same, “it would only appeal to people’s nostalgia.” In Remake, the team added the Whispers, ghostly apparitions that played with fate, as in, the narrative of the original game. Kitase notes that the feeling of change “has already proved to be appealing to the fans.”
So there we have it. Sephiroth and Aerith will play new, or at least expanded, roles in Rebirth. Sephiroth will appear more often, and Aerith may feature in some story changes as well. As for the big scene between the two? It seems like that will likely play out the same, but we’ll find out.
And we’ll find out fairly soon, as Final Fantasy VII Rebirth arrives on PlayStation 5 on February 29th.