Gamer’s Diary: Where Does Final Fantasy VII Remake Go From Here (Part 2)
I speculate on Remake Part 2’s possible plot, gameplay aesthetics, and some hints on the series’ future story structures and possible directions to its conclusion
WARNING! (MUCH LIKE LAST PREVIOUS TIMES) THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR NOT ONLY FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE BUT FOR THE ENTIRE COMPILATION OF FINAL FANTASY VII SERIES INCLUDING THE 1997 ORIGINAL VIDEO GAME. IF YOU’RE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT REALLY (x3) HATES BEING SPOILED (even though this is a 23 year old series) THEN TURN AROUND NOW, SHIELD YOUR EYES AND BAN YOURSELF FROM THIS ARTICLE. If you don’t care, then just keep that in mind and proceed with caution. Okay? Cool. Moving on then.
Hello folks! Welcome to Part 2 of my analysis of Final Fantasy VII Remake’s ending. Last part, I focused on what exactly happens at the ending, what it meant, what may have influenced its twist ending, and my personal thoughts about it. Now that’s over with, I will go into detail on what I expect to see in Remake Part 2, what I hope to see, and some speculations on how the series might go from here on out. I can’t think too far ahead in regards to how each episode will play out because I honestly don’t know where the heck the story is going, neither do I want to spend the next few years thinking about it without much info to go on. I can only speculate based on the available quotes and information we have on hand. These are not guaranteed answers. These are just guesses. So I could be wrong (but I’m more than likely right given to how much I’ve played these ridiculous games in the past).
So here are my predictions for Part 2 of FF7R:
Remake Part 2 will begin in the midst of the Kalm Flashback Sequence
This would be a great, intriguing way to open Part 2 to throw the player off. Newcomers will be confused by the nature of the scene while veteran players of the original game will be surprised that instead of a simple introduction to Cloud and Sephiroth’s relationship like in the 1997 game they are immediately thrown right in the midst of Cloud’s story. As you recall, Remake ended with the sky raining and the party leaving to find Sephiroth. The flashback sequence in the OG game begins with Cloud riding in a truck with Sephiorth as the weather is raining outside. It’d be a great transition sequence.
Still, that doesn’t mean Tetsuya Nomura will take this approach and could start off the story the same way as it did in the original to bring a “false reassurance” that the plot beats are going to remain the same but I think it would be interesting if he took a different approach to it.
Remake Part 2’s plot will still somewhat follow closely to the original game
This is the question everybody is essentially wondering: does this mean that the plot beats are going to be the same or are we going into an entirely different direction? The answer — in my opinion — is a “yes and no.”
Yoshinori Kitase — Remake’s producer — has already stated that the Remake’s story will still follow FF7’s original story beats despite the changes. Now most people assume he’s lying but I think it’s more like a “half-truth.” He’s not necessarily lying but he’s not showing all the cards either. It’s like asking him if it’s going to rain today and he’ll say yes but won’t mention that it’s only going to rain for a couple hours and then it’s sunny for the rest of the day. He only told you part of the truth.
As far as the story goes, it’s not like the party is instantly going to go to a whole new location just yet. Remake’s ending still technically concludes the same way the Midgar Arc did in the original video game. The next town near Midgar is Kalm which is where the party decides to eat and rest up before planning their next move. Cloud still needs to tell them who Sephiroth is and what exactly is a “Jenova.” They are still on the pursuit for the Seph-Dawg so that would mean they still need to go through the marshes, grab a chocobo from the farms, face the Midgar Zolom, head to the Mythril Mines, and then straight to Junon for Rufus’s Presidential Coronation. Then they have to go across the sea to get to the Western Continent and so on because that’s the path Sephiroth took in the original game.
Unless there’s a dramatic shift in terms of the party’s goals other than saving the world from a megalomaniac with a god complex, then I don’t see them deviating from the same story beats anytime soon. They more than likely will be expanded upon here and there much like Part 1 and some deviations will happen to not only further integrate other plot elements from the Compilation series but also to make it a far more interpersonal story.
Yuffie and Vincent will be integrated to the main story
Fun fact: despite being seen in a whole bunch of promos for the original Final Fantasy VII game, Yuffie and Vincent were never important characters to the main story. They were optional characters who had some sidequests linked to their back stories and that was it. They only went along with Cloud and the others because it wasn’t like they had anything better to do. Yuffie wanted to steal the party’s materia to help her homeland Wutai but grew to care for Cloud and the others and continued to tag along to help them defeat Sephiroth. Vincent wanted vengeance on Professor Hojo and figured Cloud was his best bet to get his sweet revenge. Like Yuffie, he wanted to make sure Seph-Dawg didn’t have his way of destroying the planet and continued to roll with the others on their journey.
This is definitely going to change in Part 2 now.
There have been several foreshadowing events linked to Yuffie and Vincent throughout Final Fantasy VII Remake and it’s obvious they are going to have larger roles in future episodes of this Remake series. Heidegger has been spreading war propaganda throughout Midgar about AVALANCHE being affiliated with Wutai. Biggs also mentioned that the “old guard” of AVALANCHE supposedly cut a deal with Wutai to use all their weapons and gear by providing them materia. Wutai, of course, is Yuffie’s hometown.
In Chapter 13, Cloud, Tifa, and Barret discover a secret lab hidden underneath the ruins of Sector 7. This secret lab is nicknamed DEEPGROUND. DEEPGROUND were the antagonists of the Vincent spinoff game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. Plus, the boss fight of this level had abilities similar to Vincent’s transformations. Yuffie will most likely get involved with Cloud’s group since they’re technically AVALANCHE and they are on the run from Shinra. Not to mention, Vincent has a major connection to Sephiroth and Hojo so there’s no question that he’ll definitely be playing a key role in the story.
Barret will have a breakout role in Part 2
Barret had plenty of shining moments in Part 1 and you can count on his character going through the most change in Part 2. Since the game will likely follow the same skeletal beats of the original 1997 game, the party is likely to head into Barret’s hometown in Corel. They will learn his backstory, his mistake of trusting Shinra, and the tragedy that turned his world upside down and lead him to the path of vengeance. Since the story is being expanded upon, we’ll likely run into AVALANCHE HQ and learn about the falling out between Barret and the organization. Since Biggs is now alive, it’s likely that he will meet up with the party again and can serve as the link that will clarify the relationship and why he decided to join Barret’s extremist sect of AVALANCHE as opposed to staying with the old guard. Story and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima has expressed that he wants to expand the personalities and characterizations of the cast in FF7R. So don’t be surprised if Barret has one heck of a transformation by the end of Part 2.
The game isn’t going to be open world
I don’t know where the assumption came from that now that the party has left Midgar it automatically means that FF7R is going to turn into The Witcher III or Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. It’s pretty clear that Nomura and his team found a structure that ultimately works and will likely expand upon it in future installments. The game will continue to have a linear, chapter-to-chapter story structure but the world itself will likely be built as large zones or interconnected hub worlds similar to Final Fantasy XII, the upcoming The Last of Us Part II, or the Yakuza series. With the upcoming next generation consoles, you can definitely expect a more detailed world with numerous sidequests and activities to boot.
Roche probably won’t be back in Part 2
This one I’m sincerely hoping I’m wrong but given the nature of the story and its structure, I doubt that we will be seeing our beloved “Speed Demon” in Part 2. If so, that would be a shame considering he made quite an impression on fans due to his “balls-to-the-wall,” anime-style personality and pretty damn good boss fight (not to mention he’s voiced by Kenta Miyake in the Japanese dub, who also happens to be the voice actor for the superhero All Might in My Hero Academia so already he’s whole levels of awesome). Nomura already stated that this character was primarily created to serve as an antagonist for the side mission of visiting Jessie’s parents in Chapter 4. It was believed that he was under Shinra’s custody for his actions and considering Part 2 is likely going to be a more personal affair I doubt we’ll be seeing this fella anytime soon. Then again, he could always make a cameo appearance at Junon and maybe he’ll be a fun, recurring boss fight similar to Gilgamesh from Final Fantasy V. Here’s hoping that Nomura brings him back as fans have a mission to “push past the red line!”
Gold Saucer will be the Disneyland version of Wall Market and it’ll be awesome
Wall Market was easily the most anticipated area fans of Final Fantasy VII wanted to see fully realized in the Remake and Square did NOT hold back at all. They went all out during this section and instead of cutting content out they went in even harder. Whether it was the red light district, the massage parlor, the underground coliseum, or the insanely-entertaining Honey Bee Inn nightclub Square made sure that our imaginations were fully realized during this whole segment.
Now imagine what they’re going to do for the Gold Saucer, the next great area anticipated by fans to see how it’ll be handled in the Remake.
Gold Saucer was hinted throughout Part 1 including references to its (infamous) theater play. It’s literally the perfect place to include a bunch of sidequests and minigames the player can enjoy. Plus, they can let their imaginations run wild for this one and come up with a bunch of minigames that will surely force players to spend tons of “GP” to complete them all.
Not to mention, fans of the old game will also anticipate meeting a certain anthropomorphic robot cat in this level.
Bugenhagen will clarify the plot to some degree and may make the party realize the mistake they’ve made
Other than the Gold Saucer and Costa Del Sol, one of the more hotly anticipated areas fans are looking forward to see is Cosmo Canyon. Aside from the very cool, unique “hippie-like” vibe with the area, it’s Red XIII’s grandfather Bugenhagen that people are expecting to see the most. He’s technically Final Fantasy VII’s version of Yoda from Star Wars, a wise old sage who has a thirst for knowledge and helps people learn more about the planet and themselves. He is also something of a fatalist. He strongly believes in the “Will of the Planet.” He blatantly stated in the original FF7 that if the Planet wanted humans gone then that’s the way it has to be. Gaia rules the humans not the other way around.
We can imagine how he’ll react if he learns that Cloud and his friends defeated the Whispers. The twist will not be that they didn’t stop their bad future but Sephiroth’s. Obviously Bugenhagen won’t have a full understanding per say but he can create a sense of dread which should make for some good drama. Cloud and the others may have to reckon with the fact that they gave their fated foe a clean slate to accomplish his goals and possibly doomed not only the planet but possibly the entire universe and this may not sit well with the group. It’ll be fascinating to see what the developers do here.
More fanservice (not that kind)
Part 1 had a lot of love and care in terms of its development. Each Sector had a specific theme, lore, and personality that made you believe that Midgar was a living, breathing cyberpunk metropolis. The game also contained a great deal of references and Easter Eggs from the Compilation series that were added and retconned to give more depth to the game and put smile on fans of the series but at the same time didn’t feel overbearing to newcomers (at least until the final chapters of the game). You can expect Part 2 to follow suit as well. Don’t be surprised if you happen to see Kunsel or Cissnei make cameo appearances or have more references from titles such as Before Crisis and Advent Children. We will also see the new member of The Turks, Elena and you can bet she’ll be a cool boss fight especially when she teams up with Reno and Rude. You can also expect some fun moments as well such as “Sailor Barret” and other neat details that will make players have fun with the game.
More fanservice (yes, THAT kind)
Despite having some serious themes throughout the game, Nomura and his team made sure to go out of their way and then some to turn FF7R into an over-the-top, harem-anime comedy. A lot of fans have been surprised by the sexual overtones throughout the game. It’s almost like Nomura knew people were expecting to see those things and decided to include them in as much as possible (keeping it PG-13 of course). Fans so far have been eating it up (just one look at the Deviantart website should tell you enough) and you can expect on Square to capitalize on it in Part 2, especially since the party are likely to end up in Costa Del Sol, the obligatory “Beach Episode” of Final Fantasy VII. It’s a possibility that they may include more sidequests for the player to do. Plus, fan favorite Johnny takes up residence there in the original game so you better believe our beloved “bro” will likely have us helping him out again.
Not to mention, the Gold Saucer date scene could happen much sooner than later since we’re expecting to go there. It should be a fun time of trying to go on a date with Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie, or (if you’re a person of high taste) Barret. It should be fun!
On a sidenote, if Square decides to give bikinis to Aerith and Tifa and swim trunks to Cloud and Barret so they can show off their physique, I can guarantee nobody will ever talk bad about Nomura ever again. I don’t make the rules. I just highlight them.
Zack will be a playable character in Part 2
Arguably the biggest twist at the conclusion of Part 1 is that Zack Fair is alive (or at least some version of Zack Fair). For those who don’t know, Zack is an important person to both Cloud and Aerith in the Final Fantasy VII series. He was Cloud’s best friend during their time with Shinra and Aerith’s first boyfriend. In the original game, he died at the hands of the Shinra Infantrymen while attempting to escape from the company with Cloud to Midgar. Before he died, Zack passed on his Buster Sword to Cloud and told him to live on as his legacy. Unfortunately, the trauma of losing his best friend and the damage done by the experiments he endured shattered Cloud’s mind and he goes all “Don Draper” and takes on Zack’s identity entirely, adapting it into his own and forming the version of Cloud we have been seeing throughout FF7. Since Zack is very much dead in the Remake Timeline, it’s assumed (and sort of confirmed by Square) that the version of Zack we see at the end of the game is of an alternate timeline. It’s likely that we will be shifting playing between Cloud and Zack similar to what Square did in Final Fantasy VIII where you control both Squall and Laguna at different points throughout the game since their combat skills are identical. This should make for an interesting gameplay experience and narrative choice.
Genesis and Angeal will make an appearance in some form in Part 2
Part 2 is more than likely going to lean in heavily on Crisis Core so you can expect the primary antagonists of that game to make some sort of cameo appearance as well. While it’s unlikely that they will actually show up since they’re dead (well one of them is…maybe), you can expect Sephiroth to create some sort of manifestations of them for the party to fight. It’ll be similar to the Whispers’ Rubrum, Croceo, and Virdi, who’s fighting styles and techniques were references to Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, the main antagonists of Advent Children. I wouldn’t be surprised if they manifest the same way as well for the party to confront, especially if it’s the end game boss fight.
Part 2 will likely end in Nibelheim
Here’s a very controversial opinion: Part 2 will still focus on the Disc 1 segment of the original Final Fantasy VII’s plot. Most people assume that this game will lead up to Aerith’s death and while it is possible that Square could go for that, there’s also the fact that it’ll take longer to develop and fans could be waiting for another few years or so before Part 2 is completed (especially considering the weird circumstances we are living in right now). Nomura and Kitase have expressed that they want to get the next part out as soon as possible while looking for ways to push out content. If I had to guess, that means that you can expect another 40 hour campaign much like Part 1 and the cutoff point will likely be at Cloud and Tifa’s hometown Nibelheim.
It’d be the perfect stop gap since the next time the party sees Sephiroth after their fight on Rufus’ ship is at the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim. Plus, it’ll be great way to call into question of Cloud’s memories and further emphasize his role as the “unreliable narrator” much like the original game with some new twists added in there. Not to mention, Vincent will be there and he could potentially turn up as a boss fight as opposed to some mere sidequest and it should make for an interesting experience.
The next game won’t be called Final Fantasy VII Remake: Part 2
As most people have figured out, the subtitle of “Final Fantasy VII Remake” is in reference to Cloud and Sephiroth “remaking the timeline.” Now that the event has taken place it wouldn’t make sense to call the next game Part 2. The remake thing has been done. You could probably expect the next naming themes to go some thing like this:
Part 2: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth/Resurgence
Part 3: Final Fantasy VII Reunion
Part 4: Final Fantasy VII Resolution/Renewal/Revival
Part 5 (maybe): Final Fantasy VII Revolution/Resolution (assuming it doesn’t conclude in Part 4)
Keep in mind, this is me banking on the series being a four part saga (though it could end up being five but I doubt it will go beyond that).
The Remake Project will likely end up being four to five parts
This one’s a stretch but I’ll bet it’ll end up being a four to five part saga at most. If Square were to take pieces of the story to fit within a construct narrative of a multipart series, it would probably be fitting for it to be four or five parts. This would fit two particular styles of Japanese storytelling: “Kishōtenketsu” and “Jo-Ha-Kyu.”
If you take apart Final Fantasy VII’s original story, you could break it down into these arcs:
- The Midgar Arc
- The Hunt For Sephiroth Arc
- The Last Cetra Arc
- The Reunion Arc
- The Final Battle Arc
That’s five parts right there (essentially five seasons of a television show). That’s perfect for a video game story structure. I wouldn’t be surprised if Square used these storytelling models to complete the Remake Project in this manner.
And that’s it! I doubt I’ll be talking about this series for a while. This game was a blast to play and I had fun with it. I’m sure they’ll be discussions on what the future parts might hold but for now I think I’ve said enough in regards to it. While it will be quite a wait until the next part, there’s no question that Square has people’s interest in the series again.