Episode one of Final Fantasy VII Remake is less than three months away, which makes now the perfect time to start talking about everything we're hoping for from the long-awaited remake.
The installment we're getting in early 2020 year covers just the Midgar portion, which is actually quite exciting. That part of the original Final Fantasy VII moves incredibly fast — too fast, really — yet it hosts some of the most memorable scenes in the game.
Even if the first part of FFVII R is only 20 or 30 hours, that's a lot of time to spend on fleshing out the game's first act. And naturally, we've got some ideas of what we want to see getting that remake treatment.
Here's what we have in mind.
In Final Fantasy VII’s early moments, as we’re still getting used to Cloud and Tifa makes her debut, we see a flashback to an earlier time. It’s not as significant to the plot as later flashbacks from Cloud’s past, but this first Nibelheim flashback does some important things.
It establishes the groundwork for Tifa and Cloud’s relationship (go ahead, choose Aerith now, heartbreaker) and gives some insight into how the world of Final Fantasy VII works, with Midgar’s simultaneous pull and repulsion.
There’s plenty of material to expand on here to drive home how Cloud used to be before, y’know, that thing happened and what Tifa is like outside her relationship to Cloud. That would be pretty important as well, since pre-Shinra Nibelheim is about the only characterization point Square Enix gave Tifa outside Cloud. More of that can only be a good thing.
Though there’s no telling what might change or stay the same with this flashback, It’s pretty unlikely it won’t make it into Remake, especially since we’ve already seen Tifa sitting on the water tower.
Ignore the well-known grammar typo. This scene absolutely must be in FFVII R and not just thanks to Aerith’s infamous grammar error. Finding the guy in the tunnel is a clever bit of foreshadowing that makes no sense whatsoever until later in the game. After that, it’s one of those moments you see again in a new playthrough that gives you the shivers, when you realize that is why he exists in all his misery.
It’s plain from the dialogue that Aerith saw the man being dragged into the tunnel when he was first discovered. A little flashback showing this happening, maybe even showing Aerith involved in helping him out, would increase the poignancy of this moment. Shoot, why not go further? Let’s hope for some kind of quest that makes you confront his “illness” even more and hint at why it matters.
And of course, there’s the plate crash itself. The idea of Shinra callously murdering so many people is pretty appalling on its own, but...you don’t really know anyone in Sector 7.
It’s almost a case of “Well, Tifa wasn’t there, so bye!” especially once a certain small someone is found elsewhere.
Yet Sector 7 is a vibrant slumtown, full of people from all walks just doing their thing. We get the briefest glimpses of that when first introduced to Tifa at the 7th Heaven Bar. She’s well-known and knows everyone else, and it offers a taste of that close-knit community feel that probably would exist in a place like Sector 7.
Imagine that, then imagine watching everyone else there die thanks on a whim of Shinra’s president. Focusing on that community feel and Tifa and Barret’s relationships with the other folk of Sector 7, even if just in an expanded cutscene at the bar, is an absolute must.
This is more of a series of scenes that needs to happen. In the original FFVII, Jesse, Biggs, and Wedge just die, and that’s it. No one really cares at the time, because the goal is stopping Tseng from dropping the plate on Sector 7. It’s odd, especially since they each act like they have some kind of connection to Cloud even though he’s only been with them for two missions.
Fortunately, it seems like Avalanche is getting a lot more screen time in Remake. That’s good. I want dramatic deaths here, Square Enix, where Cloud’s reactions to their individual deaths mean something either way.
Then there’s the aftermath scene. Barret’s desperate rant is poignant, but everything else seems rushed. More importantly, it leaves Tifa’s moral reflections in the dust. Avalanche, as she mentions, kills people and disrupts life. It’s also the only resistance group holding out against Shinra’s tyranny. This seems to be the only time Tifa really considers what Avalanche did and stood for, and it deserves more impact.
This is the brief scene after Cloud tries escaping Aerith’s house. For one thing, it’s too brief; for another, it’s got lots of Aerith potential. Outside the original Final Fantasy VII, Aerith gets the typical kind, smart, and thoughtful girl who loves her friends treatment.
That’s fine, but it overlooks the “girl from the slums” dimension of her personality, the “beat your ass into the ground and not think twice” part Aerith is a girl unafraid of wandering around the Midgar slums. She’ll take on Turks, bravely remains in her church despite knowing full well what danger she may be in, and trusts this strange blonde man enough to give him refuge in her own home.
But she’s also the girl who wants to climb up a slide despite technically being an adult and be whimsical. Basically, she’s the anti-Cloud. All this comes within the first 15 minutes or so of meeting her (outside the initial flower scene) and culminates with Aerith’s decision to chase after the Chocobo carriage carrying Tifa, when Cloud just sort of sits there.
Expanding the playground scene just before that point, where she starts to open up about herself some after forcing Cloud to take her along, is the perfect opportunity to explore these contrasting aspects of her personality. And making Aerith more endearing can only be a good thing, in light of that event that happens later.
We actually know the Honeybee Inn will make an appearance in FFVII R, but in different form. The development team said including it in its original form would be create too much physical uneasy. It’s not hard to see why for a variety of reasons (it’s a Shinra-endorsed brothel, if you’ve never played before).
The “bees” alternate between their work personas and real thoughts, speculating whether Cloud is a violent customer or a pervert. Tifa gets examined by pimp Don Corneo to see if she’s a worthy new girl, and random passersby size up Aerith, telling Cloud he should sell his “heifer” to Don Corneo.
Honestly, all this should stay in. It fits perfectly with Midgar as seedy urban hellhole and still functions as a biting commentary on contemporary social issues.
More problematic, though, would be some of the patrons in the Inn. Yeah, I’m talking about Mukki, whose representation was questionable to begin with, to say nothing of the many implications behind his...reviving...Cloud.
Will we get squishy time with Bubby? Can Cloud finally be a panty-sniffing pervert after all? Only time will tell.
Obviously, Don Corneo’s mansion will be in FFVII R, but there’s one particular scene that really needs to make the cut: the bedroom scene. No, not for naughty reasons. For one thing, the exposition in the original is a bit garbled. The gist is there; ShinRa’s getting rid of Sector 7 and Avalanche. But more talk and really hammering home what dropping the plate means wouldn’t be amiss.
Plus it’s a good opportunity to emphasize what Cloud and friends are up against. Yeah, the “aha! I have a trap door” thing is an awful plot twist, but it does show Shinra and its associates are always one step ahead of Cloud and friends.
There’s another great scene here, but it depends on how the cross-dressing is handled — whether that inscrutable makeup test is still there or if Aerith or Tifa is automatically designated the chosen one by the Don.
My first playthrough had Aerith go in with him. Witnessing Don Corneo’s weird little poik-y poik-y, thrusty thrusty scene before he tries to assault Aerith, then later having her lean forward and demand he tell them what he knows “Or I’ll tear them off” — it really doesn’t get much better than that.
That's our roundup of scenes we want to see in the first chapter of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. What are some favorite parts from Midgar you hope make the final cut? Let us know in the comments!