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What if Final Fantasy VII Remake is a surprise sequel to the compilation? (Spoilers!)

Worn Out Gaming
Original Article on Worn Out Gaming.

Final Fantasy VII Remake took the world by storm, inviting fans old and new to experience part 1 of an epic saga. By the game’s end, though, people were left wondering what the future would hold. Not only do we not know how many chapters Square Enix will release; We’re not certain it’s a true remake, to begin with. At the very least, we get a glimpse at the future with Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergade, the PS5 upgrade to FF7R.

Wutai’s Yuffie Kisaragi will be featured in a brand-new episode that sees her infiltrating the Shinra Corporation alongside Sonon, a member of a different Avalanche cell. Players will control Yuffie but may only give Sonon commands. Yuffie’s chapter will be free, but existing PS4 owners will get a free upgrade to the PS5 version of the base game. If you have the disc version, you must insert the disc to play the upgraded one. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade will cost $69.99, while a Digital Deluxe Edition will go for $89.99. The Digital Deluxe will include a soundtrack and digital artbook, so of course, I’m shelling out for it when I get a PS5.

A closer look at Intergrade – The Compilation returns?

I wanted to dive deeper than the announcement, and I found some interesting details about the PS5 version of the game. Thank the AitaiKuji blog for the translation of Famitsu’s interview with Nomura.

Square Enix will feature Weiss from Dirge of Cerberus in the Yuffie DLC as a secret boss. Nomura specifically wanted Weiss in the remake since the PS4 version, and now he gets his wish. Weiss is in the game because Nomura wanted a formidable boss aside from Sephiroth, the strongest antagonist in the FF7 universe. What’s important about Weiss’ inclusion is the fact that Deepground exists! Genesis must exist, too, meaning Square Enix is not ignoring the compilation in the remake!

Deepground Soldiers (FF7R Intergrade)

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Barret briefly talks about different cells of Avalanche. In Intergrade, Yuffie becomes wrapped up in a mission with a separate Avalanche group while Cloud and the team are doing their own thing. Finally, fans will learn more about a different group than Barret’s Avalanche. Narratively speaking, Avalanche labels Barret and his Avalanche cell extremists, so it’ll be interesting to see the other team’s philosophy. 

I don’t expect Yuffie to meet the main cast until Chapter 2 of the remake. It wouldn’t fit with the original game, and though not every detail remains the same, Square Enix sticks pretty close to predetermined events. Yuffie’s episode will enhance her story, making her more than an optional side character like in Final Fantasy VII. Let’s hope Vincent Valentine gets the same treatment!

Look for Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade on June 10, 2021, on PS5 only!

Heavy Spoilers beyond this point for the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and the Remake! If you would like to play through the entire Final Fantasy VII Universe with a clean slate, don’t read.

I repeat, do not read if you’d like to play without knowing massive plot points.

You’ve been warned!

What Weiss’ inclusion means for Final Fantasy VII Remake | A Theory

Final Fantasy VII Remake: Intergrade is the bridge between chapters 1 and 2 of the remake. Therefore, it’s appropriate to think the stories and elements introduced in Intergrade will affect chapter 2. The most apparent continuation from Intergrade will ultimately lead to Yuffie meeting Cloud Strife and the gang in the next adventure. What’s not clear is why Weiss appears in the game. I do have a theory for that, but I’m wading into spoilery waters to explain it.

To be clear, I believe that Final Fantasy VII Remake is a sequel, not a true remake.

Who is Weiss?

Weiss - Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade
Weiss the Immaculate – Square Enix (FF7R Intergrade)

Dirge of Cerberus introduces us to Weiss the Immaculate, another product of The Jenova Project. More specifically, Project G, which exposed him to Genesis’ cells – more on that later. He and his Brother Nero were both SOLDIER, first class, thanks to their superhuman abilities. Weiss wields two gunblades, weapons made famous by Squall Leonhart in Final Fantasy VIII.

Chronologically speaking, Weiss first appears at the end of Crisis Core with his brother. After Genesis’ battle with Zack leaves him near death, Weiss and Nero retrieve him. Though they don’t know Genesis, they’re aware that Shinra spliced them with his genes. For that reason, they attempt to persuade him to join their cause, a growing rebellion against those they swore loyalty to – the Restrictors. Genesis refuses, feeling a deep shame about his actions, and seals himself away.

Players first encounter him in Dirge of Cerberus, many years after the events of Crisis Core. He leads a top-secret military organization created by the Shinra Electric Power Company. After Final Fantasy VII, Weiss, his group of Tsviets, and Deepground are buried in the reactor until they escape three years later. Tsviets are elite soldiers who lead Deepground, each adopting a ‘color’ to their title – like Rosso the Crimson – and all spliced with Genesis’ cells.

Rosso the Crimson, Tsviet – Square Enix (Dirge of Cerberus)

Weiss’ story is a wild one

While once a Shinra dog, he and the Tsviets did not take kindly to their forced obedience. Shinra assigned Restrictors to the Tsviets and installed chips within the Tsviets that made them unable to attack the Restrictors. After Genesis refuses to join them, Weiss uses a player controlled Tsviet from the JP multiplayer mode in Dirge of Cerberus to defeat the Restrictors. Unfortunately, killing the Restrictor leader activates a failsafe virus in Weiss that causes his body to deteriorate. He laughs at his impending demise.

Here’s the twist! Professor Hojo, one of the ‘brilliant’ minds behind The Jenova Project (and Sephiroth’s father), is killed in the original Final Fantasy VII. However, he manages to upload fragments of his mind to the Worldwide Network. The WWN shutdown after the end of Final Fantasy VII, but once restored, Weiss decided to perform a synaptic net dive. The SND allowed him to push his consciousness into the WWN through virtual reality to search for a cure for his virus. What he finds instead is Hojo’s mind, which promptly takes over his body.

Hojo - Final Fantasy VII Remake
“S” and “G” Types – Sephiroth and Genesis cells – Square Enix (FF7R)

Hojo uses Weiss to abduct people who are not infected by Geostigma (see Advent Children) – a disease that spread after FF7’s ending. People who contract Geostigma are exposed to Jenova Cells, and their immune system fails slowly. Their bodies secrete black ooze, and some hallucinate and experience seizures. In the end, Geostigma is invariably fatal. Hojo needs people to serve as incubators of pure mako to summon a being known as Omega Weapon and absorb it.

Weiss (possessed by Hojo) vs Vincent Valentine (Chaos Form) – Square Enix (Dirge of Cerberus)

Shocker: The bad guy loses. Hojo dies. Weiss’s body is left behind, but Genesis awakens from his slumber, picks up Weiss, and tells him they “still have much work to do.”

Genesis Rhapsodos and the Gift of the Goddess

Dirge of Cerberus came out before Crisis Core, but it’s Crisis Core that showed us who Genesis is. Beforehand, the secret ending of DoC was his first appearance. Genesis Rhapsodos’ story never touches upon the events after his return. We see why he seals himself away. He regains his honor, seals himself away, wakes up to grab Weiss, and never appears again. No game speaks about what happens after.

Genesis reading LOVELESS – Square Enix (Crisis Core)

In Crisis Core, Genesis is obsessed with a poem called LOVELESS, and he intends to recreate the conditions of LOVELESS to gain the gift of the Goddess. He believes this gift will cure him of his cellular degradation, which he suffers due to Project Jenova. Genesis becomes privy to the details of the project, and Crisis Core dictates that Genesis revealed the ‘truth’ to Sephiroth. He pushed the legendary SOLDIER to the madness we’ve been aware of for years.

Genesis encounters Minerva – Square Enix (Crisis Core)

After his defeat at the hands of Zack Fair, the ‘Goddess’ Minerva appears to him in the Lifestream. The Crisis Core Complete Guide states that Minerva judges him, believing he has yet to complete his duty as a SOLDIER and revives him. So, he immediately seals himself away out of guilt and emerges to carry out an agenda that Minerva – likely a personification of Gaia (FF7’s planet) or the Lifestream – may have given him.

What could be fan-service may be more

Here’s where I believe the Final Fantasy VII Remake is going.

Intergrade will include a secret boss fight with Weiss. Yuffie and Sonon will not fight him. Instead, Cloud and his team will be the ones to face him. It appears as if Weiss’ battle will take place in the Shinra Combat Simulator, but I could be wrong. Regardless, his appearance in the simulator or otherwise means that he exists in the new canon. In the past, Square Enix stated the compilation of FF7 is not canon. Well, it may not be entirely canon, but the events hold significance.

Fans note that Weiss is fully clothed now. Due to the Remake’s story pacing, Hojo is very much alive at this point, so the Weiss we face is pre-Hojo’s hostile takeover of his body. It could be fan service, but what if Weiss’ inclusion breaks Final Fantasy VII Remake wide open?!

Final Fantasy VII Remake – The Whispers change the game

Tetsuya Nomura is the director of Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 1. He is well-known in the Final Fantasy community, as well as Kingdom Hearts. Anyone who follows Kingdom Hearts knows the man names his video games with a purpose. ‘Birth by Sleep,’ ‘Dream Drop Distance,’ and other names speak directly to those video games’ themes. For that reason, I’m looking at the ‘Remake’ with suspicion.

Events in the Remake are honoring the original FF7, but there’s an entire subplot that throws everything into chaos. Players encounter Whispers throughout the Remake. Whispers did not appear in the original game, but they mysteriously appear whenever the Remake’s events start to divert from the original’s plot. Whispers will block specific pathways, guide the characters when they leave their ‘intended’ path, and fight those who push too hard to change events.

The Whispers - Final Fantasy VII Remake
The Whispers – Square Enix (FF7R)

Later, the game reveals that Whispers are arbiters of fate, making sure that Final Fantasy VII Remake’s events match the original Final Fantasy VII. In the end, they all merge into a gigantic Whisper Harbinger. Once the Whispers are defeated, Sephiroth takes Cloud to a place called ‘the edge of creation’ and asks him to ‘forge a new destiny’ together. 

Final Fantasy VII Remake is a sequel, not a traditional remake

I know it took forever to get here, but stick with me! Final Fantasy VII Remake is a sequel to the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Tetsuya Nomura use of “Remake” implies the remaking of FF7’s history.

Zack Fair’s Death | Square Enix (Crisis Core)

Cloud refuses Sephiroth’s offer, but with the Whispers defeated, characters who died in the original FF7 live. Biggs and Wedge live after the Midgar plate collapse, and Zack Fair survives the last stand he takes to protect Cloud (an event seen briefly in FF7 and covered entirely and tearfully in Crisis Core). The past and present are indefinitely changed, and the future is uncertain.

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Zack survives The Last Stand – Square Enix (FF7R)

Both Sephiroth and Aerith, throughout the game, seem to know more than they let on. In fact, they both are aware of the actual events of FF7 in some capacity. What if Genesis Rhapsodos and Minerva, in the original timeline, are directly responsible for remaking destiny? He wants to make amends, so what better way than undoing the damage Shinra and Project Jenova caused?

How did he pull it off? I wouldn’t know, but Minerva is part of the Lifestream. In the original timeline, Aerith and Sephiroth’s will remain undiluted in the Lifestream. Thus they remain aware of themselves even in death. Is it too much to assume that Genesis and Minerva are manipulating the Lifestream, allowing past versions of Sephiroth and Aerith to see both timelines?

Evidence that Aerith knows the future in Final Fantasy VII Remake

Saving Marlene

Aerith makes comments here and there that speak volumes about her unsaid knowledge. At one point, Wedge is at the bottom of the plate tower. Aerith persuades him to keep fighting, saying, “I can’t let anything happen without knowing I didn’t do my all to help.” As I stated earlier, Wedge is supposed to die when the plate collapses, and Aerith’s words indicate that she knows but will try to change fate regardless.

Later on, during the chaos of the Sector 7 Plate, Tifa is worried about Marlene’s safety. Tifa says “I need you to- ” readying a plea for Aerith to save Marlene, but Aerith interrupts with, “Get Marlene to safety. Right?” Tifa looks stunned at first and then is relieved that Aerith is such a wonderful person. In the remake, Tifa mentions Marlene once at the Train Graveyard, and that’s it. However, in the original Final Fantasy VII, Tifa finishes talking about Seventh Heaven and says, “There’s a little girl named Marlene there.” 

Aerith and Tifa - Final Fantasy VII Remake
Aerith knows too much – Square Enix (FF7R)

Without ever instructing Aerith about the exact location, her worry, or who Marlene is, Aerith knows precisely where to go. She’s aware of Marlene’s connection to Barret, and when she touches Marlene’s hand, a strange visual cue happens, and Marlene immediately feels safe with her. Hmmm.

“Don’t fall in love with me.”

Cloud Strife can have a dream about one of the other three party members, depending on in-game choices. When he dreams about Aerith, she shows more signs of knowing the future. This time, though, it’s a little vaguer. Fans of the original don’t find anything ambiguous about the dialogue.

Final Fantasy VII Remake
Cloud’s Aerith Dream – Square Enix (FF7R)

First, Aerith is killed by Sephiroth in the original as she prays for the Holy Materia. In the dream sequence, she holds her hands in the same prayer stance when looking out in the distance and says, “Everyone dies eventually.” Uhm… She goes on to tell Cloud, “I’m grateful for all the words we’ve shared. For all the moments and the memories. You’ve made me more happy than you know and I’ll always cherish what you’ve given me, but whatever happens, you can’t fall in love with me.”

Aerith - Final Fantasy VII Remake
Aerith’s plea – Square Enix (FF7R)

Too late. “Even if you think you have… it’s not real.”

What Aerith’s words actually mean

It’s not a stretch that Aerith knows Cloud is falling for her. However, the way she confronts Cloud speaks more about a later revelation in the original FF7. Cloud was never a SOLDIER First Class. Instead, he was a grunt who happened to accompany Sephiroth and Zack to Nibleheim. There, Sephiroth went mad, set fire to Nibelheim, killed the citizens, and attacked Cloud, Tifa, and Zack in the Mako Reactor. Cloud managed to toss Sephiroth into the mako below.

Professor Hojo experiments on the survivors of Nibelheim by injecting them with Jenova Cells. Cloud and Zack, too. Meanwhile, Shinra rebuilds Nibelheim and plants actors as civilians to cover up what happened. Zack manages to break them out, but Cloud is mostly unresponsive due to experimentation. So he talks about his life, including the love of his life, Aerith. SOLDIER finds them, though, and Zack makes a last stand. He’s gunned down, but Cloud lives. As Zack is pulled into the Lifestream, he tells Cloud to take care of Aerith if they meet. In the US version, he says “If you see Aerith, say hi for me.”

Square Enix (Crisis Core)

Cloud snaps to and continues to Midgar, but his shattered mind held onto all the stories Zack Fair told. To Cloud, HE was everything that Zack Fair had been.

When Aerith tells Cloud, in Remake, what he feels isn’t real, I’m convinced she knows about that plot twist. He does remind her of Zack, sure, but she had no way of knowing about Cloud’s psychological trauma. 

Aerith’s dialogue with Sephiroth

At the final battle, Aerith tells Sephiroth, “And you. You’re wrong. Everything about you is wrong.” She knows something is going on with Sephiroth. The area covered in Part 1 of the remake did not feature Sephiroth in the original. Square Enix stated they included him so part 1 could have a main villain. I think Aerith is also aware that Sephiroth’s intrusion has come much too soon.

When it comes to Sephiroth, I think he’s taking advantage of the change of fate. He knows he fails in FF7 and FF7: Advent Children. So, he looks to Cloud to change his inevitable defeat. Meanwhile, the planet speaks to Aerith through the Lifestream, as it always has. The original Aerith could be talking to her, noting key differences in FF7R’s timeline to Aerith. Perhaps it’s Minerva instead?

Final Fantasy VII Remake features four Sephiroths

The game developers admit that four types of Sephiroth appear within the game. There’s “Illusion,” whom Cloud can only see, “Black Hood” that looks like Sephiroth, “Flashback” Sephiroth, and the final one is called “Unknown.” Cloud and his friends perceive the “Unknown” as Sephiroth. While the Ultimania tells us exactly when each Sephiroth appears, I’m interested only in the Unknown form.

Sephiroth Unknown’s behavior is unlike any he has exhibited in Final Fantasy VII lore. As soon as the Cloud crashes at the end of the highway and the illusion Sephiroth fades, the new Sephiroth is all we see. According to aitaikimochi’s translation, the Ultimania notes that this Sephiroth refers to himself with a different pronoun in the Japanese game – one he only used before Final Fantasy VII’s Nibelheim incident.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
Sephiroth and Zack work together against Genesis – Square Enix (Crisis Core)

“Who exactly is the Sephiroth that appears at the end of the game?” is the name of the Ultimania section detailing his appearances. I’ll make my prediction now: This Sephiroth is composed of the remnants of ‘sane’ Sephiroth from the past, twisted in part because Jenova influences him. Either he’s in league with Genesis or is using the opportunity to change everything so he wins. I feel the latter would be too simple for such a complex villain.

Final Fantasy VII Remake - Seven seconds till the end
‘Unknown’ Sephiroth – Square Enix (FF7R)

Genesis and Minerva may be the masterminds in the background, trying to avert the original crisis. Though they can’t change everything, creating a different ending to Final Fantasy VII could erase Geostigma and alter the events of Deepground. The developers admitted that Zack Fair survives and is MIA rather than KIA in the Remake. His survival is but one way Genesis is trying to make up for the shitstorm he had a hand in creating.

Or I’m looking FAR too deep into throw-away lines and fan-service. 

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