Making Sense Out Of The Ending Of Final Fantasy 7 Remake – What Actually Happened?

Making Sense Out Of The Ending Of Final Fantasy 7 Remake – What Actually Happened?
Credit: Final Fantasy Via YouTueb

This article features MAJOR SPOILERS for Final Fantasy VII Remake. 

By and large, Final Fantasy VII Remake stuck to the original story. There weren’t a lot of surprises popping up for anyone who had ever played the original at any point in the past 23 years.

The only major difference throughout the majority of the game were the Whispers, or Arbiters of Fate. They’re the ghost-like spectres that keep popping up at key points throughout the remake, sometimes opposing the party and other times helping them out.

You later discover that these Whispers are manifestations of fate itself and intervene throughout the game in order to make sure that the story progresses the way that the original played out.

In some ways, this was Tetsuya Nomura having some meta-style fun at the expense of the Final Fantasy VII fanbase. Anytime the story tries to go in a new direction, these Whispers show up, freak out, and put everything back on track. It’s a lot like classic fans who want this story to play out in the exact same way.

At the end of the game, after the party has dispatched the Motorball and gone through the super fun motorcycle chase minigame, they’re confronted by Sephiroth. This is something that most certainly did not happen in the original. The instant Cloud draws his sword against Sephiroth, a massive tidal wave of Whispers rush in to intervene.

Sephiroth responds by slicing a hole in the wall of whispers and asks Avalanche to help him challenge fate. This is the first area where people are getting confused.

Clearly, Sephiroth knows what the Whispers are. He also seems to know that his plan to use Meteor to become a god is destined to fail. Throughout the game, he plagues Cloud with visions of Meteor and the death of Aerith, likely in an attempt to make Cloud believe that the future is horrifying. Whether this means that the Sephiroth we see in this game is from the future or an alternate timeline is anyone’s guess.

Regardless, Cloud and company take the bait and challenge the Whispers, defeating them once and for all, ensuring that their fate is once more their own.

What does this mean for the game going forward?

Basically, fate has been defeated. The Whispers are no more and events going forward are going to differ from the original game.

This is smart for so many reasons. For one, nostalgia only lasts so long. If they want to tell this story over two, three, even five games, they can’t be slaves to a story that most people played to completion many times over the last 20-plus years.

But the true brilliance of this ending is that it changes the way we look at Final Fantasy VII Remake as a whole. It’s not just a remake. It’s now both a remake and a sequel all rolled into one. Now that the timeline has changed and events can play out differently, we’re going to see Sephiroth try his master plan once more, but in what is likely to be a completely different way.

To that end, the title Final Fantasy VII Remake works on a few different levels. It is a remake of the original, but the story is actually remaking the world of Final Fantasy VII into a whole new timeline.

Does this mean that we might not see Aerith die? Part of me sure hopes so. Could someone else die in her place? It’s a question that is burning in the hearts and minds of everyone after that ending.

Then there’s Zack.

While the party is challenging the Whispers, we see Zack Fair from the end of Crisis Core, in the scene where he is supposed to die. Because we’re told that the Whispers exist in the past, present, and future simultaneously, their defeat in the present wipes them out in the past. This means that Zack can and does actually survive his fight with Shinra forces. We then see him stumbling toward Midgar with Cloud.

Ok, so does this mean Zack is alive?

There are a few theories.

When Zack survives, the game makes sure to show us a picture of Stamp, the Shinra dog mascot. We’ve seen Stamp throughout the game up to this point, and this version of Stamp is completely different. So, it’s possible that this Zack is from an alternate timeline where events play out differently.

It’s also possible that this Zack and Cloud made it to Midgar, but perhaps Zack met with some other fate. Since Zack was also a subject of Hojo’s experiments, perhaps he is alive in the main timeline and is being controlled by Sephiroth? Zack could be a major enemy in the sequel game.

Either way, the ending of Final Fantasy VII Remake completely shatters the established canon, opening the universe of this iconic game up for a dramatic retelling. Nomura has been tight-lipped about the meaning behind the ending since the game released, so it’s likely that we will have to wait for the next chapter of Final Fantasy VII Remake to find out for sure.