What Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s ending Means and How it Impacts the series
The Final Fantasy 7 Remake has been out for two weeks now and the fans that had been anxiously waiting for its release have jumped all over it. 3.5 million copies of the game were moved in the first weekend, putting it in position to become PlayStation’s fastest selling exclusive release. Given that most of the world is in some form of quarantine, many players have already blitzed through the entire story and reached the endgame. At the time of writing this the PlayStation Trophy for completing all story chapters has been earned by over a quarter of the active players. Theories about the ending’s meanings are starting to pop up all over the place now. With that being the case, now is the time to share my perspective on what the game’s ending means. To put it like Meek Mill, “there’s levels to” these spoilers ahead. If you have finished the remake and the original Final Fantasy 7 you have nothing to worry about. Feel free to read on with no fear. If you’ve only finished one version or the other then you’re gonna want to step lightly through this spoiler minefield. If you have no knowledge of Final Fantasy 7, why are you even here?
The remake followed the events of the opening Midgar arc of the PS1 classic. By the time credits rolled you had carried out the mako reactor bombings, fallen through a church ceiling, put on a drag disguise, seen Sector 7 destroyed, pulled off the Shinra rescue mission and had a sweet high speed escape just like the original. The majority of the new additions to the story mainly added deeper connections to the characters or higher emotional stakes to the events of the original. If Square Enix had left it at that for the additions the ending would be pretty straight forward, however the decision was made to throw spirits into the mix and that is where things go a little left.
Throughout the game swarms of spirits, that the characters referred to as whispers, popped up and caused confusion, then vanished. Their presence in the game was just as puzzling to the players as it was to the characters. That changes towards the end of the game when Red XIlI joins the party and explained that the whispers were “arbiters of fate” trying to ensure that what was meant to happen actually happens. That revelation makes everything that the whispers did click into place. They had been ensuring that the remake stuck to the script of the original and any time the game went off the rails they showed up to stop it. From small changes like Cloud meeting Aerith after blowing up the first sector reactor, to possible major ones like Tifa stopping the Turks from dropping the sector 7 plate, and outright bringing Barret back to life. Realizing that made so much sense that it couldn’t be considered mind blowing. However, Sephiroth’s appearance took that twist to the next level though.
After the whole crew escaped from the Shinra building, Sephiroth just casually appeared, cut open a rift to another dimension and challenged Cloud to come and fight fate. Aerith delivered a pep talk for the team where she said that if they go through the portal and succeed “boundless terrifying freedom” will be what they can expect. This was another unsurprising reveal and a bit of a 4th wall break moment. She was saying that if the team can be successful in the battle ahead against fate itself, there will be nothing guiding the events of the future down any specific path. The only option the game gave you was to go forward with the battle and destroy the force of fate. Now that fate has been dealt with, the rest of the games in the Remake series have the “boundless terrifying freedom” of changing the events as much as they want and dealing with the reactions of the fans that have loved the source material for over 20 years. Still though, it gets deeper. The game’s conclusion did have at least one legit twist to it.
To put it simply the Final Fantasy 7’s remake created a Final Fantasy 7 multiverse. For now Sephiroth seems to be at the center of it. During battle the whispers formed together into one giant entity, and created fighters that were some kind of dark representations of Cloud, Tifa and Barret. If you used the access ability on any one of the three though the description called them entities from a future timeline. That future timeline they were from was the original game’s. Head’s up, this is where those 20 year old spoilers come in. The whispers hit the team with mind blasts that showed scenes from their timeline all of which were moments that happened in the original game. You see the games ending with Red XIIl and his children running in the wild, the meteor headed toward collision with the world, and an obscured view of Aerith’s final moments. All of that confirmed everything about the whispers trying to make sure that the events of the original game happen again in the remake, but it doesn’t prove that there is some kind of larger multiverse at play. Sephiroth makes the multiverse idea come together.
The remake did very little to reveal Sephiroth’s motivation or overall plan. Aside from Aerith saying he is the biggest threat to the world no other details were given. The safe assumption though is that his plans are still very similar those in the original game, which boiled down to becoming a god. The original game ends with Sephiroth’s plans being thwarted, and him defeated, a fact that remake Sephiroth appeared to know. He goaded Cloud and the rest of the heroes into fighting the whispers, who are trying to make sure that things follow the course of the original story, and once the fight ended, he was smugly satisfied with the outcome. The only explanation is that this Sephiroth knew of the events that already happened in the world of the original, and was actively working to prevent them from repeating in the remake. In order to do that he knew the forces of fate had to be removed, and like a true villain he tricked the heroes into doing the task for him. He even pulled Cloud away into another dimension to pretty much confirm that up to that point he had them all dancing to his rhythm and that his success is now locked in. All of these details make sense but don’t entirely add up to there being a multiverse. Sephiroth simply knowing the future also explains his actions just as well. There is one last detail that helps seal the deal though, a bag of chips.
The final scenes of the game showed a character on the outskirts of Midgar, that returning players are very familiar with: Zack Fair. Zack is a character of great importance to the overall story of the game but for right now only two things in his scenes matter; the fact that he was still alive, and a bag of chips. In the world of the original game Zack died after facing an overwhelming number of Shinra troops just outside of Midgar. What we saw at the end of the Remake was Zack beaten and battered after battling the Shinra troops, but he very much alive and victorious. As he walked toward the city with an unconscious Cloud on his shoulder, an empty chip bag caught in the wind blew past. The logo on the bag supports the idea that we are looking at some alternate reality. Upon close inspection we can see that Shinra’s cartoon mascot, Stamp the Dog, is now a completely different breed of dog from the one that was featured throughout the rest of the game. It may be a small change that could easily be ignored and considered nothing, but all too often it’s the subtle changes that are key to spotting differences between realities within a multiverse. Put it all together and it’s fair to think that the ending set up an uncertain future, and a multi-verse with three possible realites: the original game, the remake, and the Zack Fair reality for the remake series.
We didn’t want to completely spoil the story so a few details were left out. What do you think of the idea of a Final Fantasy 7 multiverse and that story could go off in completely new directions? Share your thoughts, theories, and opinions on Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s ending and this article in the comments section. All pictures are courtesy of square enix games.