The Final Fantasy VII Remake is just a couple of months away, but in the meantime, the game that started it all is celebrating a birthday. The original FFVII launched on the PlayStation 23 years ago, and a new trailer for the Remake pays homage with more characters and scenes we remember so fondly–along with a few surprises. We’ve noted some of the most important, silliest, and coolest takeaways about the upcoming game. So far, the game is certainly shaping up to be quite the revisit to classic adventure, taking familiar elements from the original while also not hesitating to offer some refreshing new changes. If the full game’s rendering of classic characters and moments proves as well-executed as what we’ve seen in trailers so far, then it just might be one of this year’s finest.
For more about FFVII Remake, be sure to read our feature covering everything you need to know about the game. You can also read our impressions detailing our time spent playing the game at E3 2019–one of the few moments where Square Enix offered a hands-on with the remake. If you’re keen to grab yourself a copy, you can also check out our pre-order guide. In the meantime, be sure to watch the new trailer in the player below and let us know your thoughts about how the game is shaping up so far in the comments.
Reeve Clashing With Heidegger And President Shinra
The new trailer makes a point of introducing a host of executives from the corrupt Shinra corporation, but none have the vast implications that the appearance of Midgar’s city planner, Reeve, does. The trailer shows him arguing with President Shinra and begging him to reconsider. The scene is reminiscent of one in the original game when Reeve learned of Shinra’s plan to bring down Midgar’s Sector 7 to crush a section of the slums below, complete with the militaristic Heidegger mocking his cowardice. Given what happens with Reeve’s story arc much later, this scene is laying significant groundwork. We won’t see the full payoff for Reeve until a sequel is released, which could be years away.
Palmer, Scarlet, And The Shinra LeadershipAlong with the debut of a reimagined Reeve, the new trailer also revealed scenes with Palmer and Scarlet–two other key figures on Shinra’s board of executives. In the original game, these two were the heads of Shinra’s abandoned space program and its weapons development, respectively. Though they didn’t have many scenes in the original game, the moments these two characters did have still made it clear they were among the most despicable members of the company, which made it satisfying to see them get their comeuppance. Though, anyone who’s familiar with the plot will know that a confrontation with these two will come sometime later in the game. Still, it’s interesting to see that they’ll have increased presence in the earliest parts of the main story, and perhaps that could lead to new encounters with them.
The Honey Bee Inn and Cloud’s Makeover
Surprisingly, the new trailer offered a glimpse at one of FFVII’s most memorable portions, which remains essentially intact. When Cloud and Aerith go to rescue Tifa from the lecherous Shinra informant Don Corneo, they learn that only ladies make the cut in his brothel, the Honey Bee Inn. So Cloud takes his clean-shaven good looks and poses as a woman to gain access to Corneo’s hideout. This trailer shows Cloud’s full and fabulous makeover. In the original, some parts of Don Corneo’s vice den have a tinge of gay panic and might be tone-deaf for modern audiences. Hopefully, Square Enix understood what was unreasonable about the original scene and changed it for the better.
Motorcycle Soldier: Here Comes A New Challenger!
It appears Cloud is getting a new rival in addition to big baddie Sephiroth: this fancy-haired motorcycle-driving scoundrel overtakes Cloud, Wedge, and Biggs as they’re infiltrating what appears to be a Shinra base. Based on his attire, he’s a part of SOLDIER, and if we’re going off the color-coding seen in previous FFVII games, his blue uniform potentially indicates he’s third-class. However, the character’s outfit makes it hard to say for sure, as he seems to be wearing the SOLDIER harness over standard Shinra trooper fatigues.
This mysterious Shinra SOLDIER’s presence could introduce an interesting layer to the proceedings, as he may challenge Cloud’s understanding of his true identity. That line about having a “second dance” also seems to allude to an established relationship between the two, but given what we know about Cloud’s mysterious past, it’s possible that dynamic isn’t what it seems.
Hey Kids, It’s Red-XIII!
The cast of Final Fantasy 7 is memorable for a lot of reasons, but even in that storied company, Red-XIII stands out as one of the all-time best character designs. The Final Fantasy series had always centered on human (or at least humanoid) protagonists, but Red-XIII, a crimson hybrid of wolf, fox, lion, and shaman, was something completely different. It stood to reason that we’d see him in this first episode of the Remake, since he first appears as a specimen in Hojo’s lab in Midgar, and our first glimpse from the trailer didn’t disappoint. He looks just as intriguing as ever.
Meh, It’s Professor Hojo AKA The Worst
We finally get a glimpse at Professor Hojo, who continues to be the awful human being we know him to be. He seems to be observing Cloud via security cameras, which leads us to think he’ll likely be a more persistent threat throughout this first part of the Remake.
Jenova’s Debut And New Boss Fight (Also, Hello Sephiroth?)
The infamous Jenova appears, and as you’d expect, the sight of her instantly triggers traumatic visions of the past in Cloud. While seeing Jenova is to be expected, the most intriguing detail seen later in the trailer is the confirmation that you’ll also get to fight her. Since the first part of the FFVII Remake covers the story up until the end of Midgar, this fight comes as a shock. You don’t technically fight Jenova in the original game until you get to the ship in Costa del Sol, which is a few hours after leaving Midgar, so this encounter is totally new.
Another important detail is that it appears the party seems to actually see Sephiroth when they find the tank holding Jenova–at least, if their body language is to be believed. In the original, Sephiroth only appeared as hallucinations in Midgar and didn’t actually show up in person until that first fight with Jenova in Costa Del Sol.
Bust Through The Front Door Or Take The Stairs?
One thing all FFVII veterans will remember is the classic scene where you have to choose whether to break into Shinra HQ by sneaking in and taking the stairs or busting through the front door. Both options are equally viable and entertaining in their own right, but whether you can do both in a single playthrough still remains to be seen. But we all know taking the stairs is the best way, though. Poor Barret.
Climactic Battle Against The Heli Gunner
A little after the halfway point of the trailer, we see Cloud, Barret, and Tifa fighting the “Heli Gunner” boss. This iconic boss originally was part of the climax of the escape from the Shinra HQ as Aerith, Barret, and Red XIII took the elevator to the entrance while Cloud fought Rufus. Here, it looks as though this could be one of the final fights in the game, with the sunrise and highway in the background reminiscent of leaving Midgar in the original. Perhaps once you defeat the first phase of this fight, the Heli Gunner follows you from the Shinra Building?
It’s also worth noting that none of the weapons that Cloud, Barret, and Tifa are using during this fight were available at this point in the original game. However, it does make sense that new weapons will be available in the remake, considering the only weapon upgrades you previously could get before leaving Midgar were Barret’s Assault Gun and Cloud’s Hardedge. This first part is a full 40-hour game, after all, so they probably had to add more!
More Summon Monsters: Leviathan and Chocobo/Mog
In previous trailers, we’ve seen some of the summon materia you can find in the first part of Final Fantasy VII: Remake. In the latest footage, it was revealed that the fan-favorite Leviathan and Chocobo summons are back in full force. What’s interesting about summon monsters in this game is that you’ll actually be getting them much sooner than in the original, which could have more to do with how the remake has a more fleshed-out Midgar arc. Like the original game, you can conjure up a massive tidal wave with Leviathan or a stampede of chocobos led by the recurring Final Fantasy character Mog. Both summons have been recreated in the Remake, and they look stunning in action. It’ll be interesting to see if there will anymore summon characters making an appearance in the first part of this reimagining of the game.
You Might Recognize Who Made That Theme Song…
If the sweet theme song playing during the first part of the trailer really got you in the mood for FFVII Remake, there’s a good reason for that. The track was written by none other than classic Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu, who stopped writing music for the series after FF10. While his involvement is not a full-on return to the franchise, this contribution to the project is still a nice touch.