After a huge wait and massive hype, Final Fantasy 7 Remake most certainly made an impression. For the record, I loved it, and my full review is here.
With massive SPOILERS for both the original Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake, here are the 50 most interesting facts, Easter eggs, references and pieces of trivia we’ve uncovered.
OK, you probably know some of them, but I’m sure there’ll be some tidbits that raise an eyebrow below.
1. It was the first voice acting role for Cloud’s voice actor
Cody Christian didn’t voice Cloud in previous iterations, such as Advent Children, Dissidia and his Kingdom Hearts cameos. In fact, he’d never voiced anyone before. Whatever your thoughts on replacing Cloud’s previous actor Steve Burton, who had the gig for 17 years, I would suggest Christian did a terrific job in his debut VA role.
2. Aerith’s voice actor is a keen gamer with a gaming Youtube channel
Speaking of voice actors, Aerith is voiced by Briana White, who runs a successful Youtube channel called Strange Rebel Gaming. At the time of writing, she has well over 100,000 subscribers, and has included several videos relating to FF7R. She’s also on Twitch with over 50,000 followers. Although her first Final Fantasy game was actually FF14, it’s great to see one of the cast so connected to the industry.
3. Octopath Traveler’s composer worked on Remake’s battle music
Octopath Traveler had one of the best soundtracks of the generation, and the numerous battle and boss themes were especially awesome. In a tweet, its composer Yasunori Nishiki seemed to confirm he worked on Remake’s battle music. It’s unclear which specific track or tracks he was involved with, but I’m sure he made a huge positive impact.
4. It was not Kyrie’s first appearance in the Final Fantasy 7 world
Kyrie Canaan features heavily in the Sector 5 Slums, most notably providing a mercenary quest that takes Cloud and the party back to the Corneo colosseum in Chapter 14. Although she did not star in the original title, Kyrie made her first Final Fantasy 7 appearance in the Compilation novel “The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story”, released in 2011. Set after the events of the original, she teams up with Leslie Kyle (Corneo’s doorman in Remake) as an investigator in a post-Meteor Midgar.
5. The ending song Hollow is written from Cloud’s perspective
The lyrics of the ending theme, Hollow, has provoked much debate about whose perspective it’s written from. In this ‘Making of’ video, Nobuo Uematsu himself confirms his vision was rain pouring over a barren, empty place with Cloud standing there. He gave vocalist Yosh the discretion to “let loose and sing emotionally, instead of strictly sticking to the score”. Yosh himself commented he was honoured to work on such an iconic project. There remains a bit of debate around who the lyrics are directed at, but I’m in the Aerith camp.
6. Aerith drops a great reference to one of Cloud’s famous lines
Cloud and Aerith’s extended climb along the rooftops in Chapter 8 was a nice chance to get to know her, but one of the first lines of this exchange is a neat reference to the original. As Aerith asks “Should we mosey on over?” it’s hard not to remember Cloud’s much ridiculed line “Let’s Mosey” as the heroes venture into the heart of the Northern Crater during the original game’s conclusion. I personally would have loved it if Cloud’s reply in Remake had been “OK, let’s move out”.
7. Hell House posed a creative conundrum
Hell House was an awkward enemy that could be faced in a random battle in the original. With random encounters ditched for the Remake, Naoki Hamaguchi confirmed that no matter how they approached it, they couldn’t come up with a feasible situation where a literal house was wandering around the slums. Thankfully, they also had the idea to introduce Corneo Colloseum as an underground entertainment venue that suited Wall Market’s “adults only” identity. This allowed them to fit in Hell House in a more natural way.
8. Other bosses were also normal enemies
Like Hell House, Eligor was a normal enemy that could be fought in the Train Graveyard of the original. This time, he’s been promoted to a tricky boss who holds the Bladed Staff, one of the game’s only missable weapons (in the original, he held the Striking Staff). Swordipede, the boss at the end of Hojo’s drum segment, had the same treatment, and could initially be fought in random encounters towards the top of the Shinra building.
9. Rude had a reason for not shooing Tifa
Cloud and Tifa’s epic ascent up the Sector 7 plate in Chapter 12 was one of the best parts of FF7R. New players may have wondered why Rude’s aim suddenly deserted him. Original veterans may remember an optional scene at Gongaga where he is heard confessing to Reno that he likes her. I guess Tifa’s looks (and personality, I’m sure) are important to the plot. Tseng, on the other hand, is apparently Team Aerith.
10. Valkyrie was fought in the original
If the boss of Chapter 15, the Valkyrie, looked familiar, that would be because it was in the original. However, rather than fighting it on the elevators of the Shinra building as the party attempt to escape, within the same battle as the Arsenal, the battle of course takes place separately on the climb to Shinra’s headquarters.
11. Sephiroth is voiced by Superman, again
As a huge Arrowverse fan, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Cloud’s famous nemesis is voiced by none other than Superman himself, namely Tyler Hoechlin. Interestingly, it’s not the first time Sephiroth has been voiced by Superman – he was previously played by George Newbern, who also voiced the man of steel in numerous animated shows and video games.
12. Biggs and Wedge are a tribute to Star Wars
Now an admittedly well-known piece of Final Fantasy trivia, Biggs and Wedge show up in multiple titles as a nod to the minor characters of the same names in Star Wars. They always take a different form, such as Blitzball players in Final Fantasy X and doomed soldiers in the prologue section of Final Fantasy 6. In fact, Remake probably gives the characters their biggest roles of any Final Fantasy game.
13. Aerith has good reason to miss the steel sky
Aerith’s final line sees her comment “I miss it. The steel sky” and Nomura has confirmed her meaning – “The sky sort of symbolizes sadness for Aerith. Zack and her mother were both taken away to the sky, the sky above the slums is covered by Shinra, and the calamity that destroyed the Ancients, Jenova, also came from the sky. Knowing all of that, Aerith prefers the artificial steel sky.”
14. There’s a Seventh Heaven in Seventh Heaven
A neat Easter egg in Remake can be found above the kitchen door of Seventh Heaven, where there is a picture of… Seventh Heaven. This is a screenshot of the original game, where – unlike Remake – Cloud was actually invited into the secret depths of the bar beneath the pinball machine.
15. Pizza is important in Final Fantasy 7
The inspiration for Midgar was a pizza, which Barret himself points out in the original game. Another pizza reference comes in the form of the Midgar mayor, as Domino actually had his name chosen based on the famous Pizza brand. The name of his assistant, Hart, who gives Barret a powerful weapon in Remake, derives from “Hut”, as in Pizza Hut. It can easily be assumed Jessie’s strong connection to pizza probably came from the same thought.
A connection between the character named Shinra in FF10-2 and the evil corporation in FF7 has long been theorised, with the obvious matching name along with some of the former’s dialogue. Adding even more Mako fuel to the fire is a picture contained in Chapter 16’s Shinra museum. A masked person in the front row bears a striking resemblance to FF10-2’s Shinra. Could this just be a fun Easter egg, or is it the clearest indication yet that the worlds of FF7 and FF10 are linked? After the craziness of the ending, I wouldn’t even rule out a FF10/FF7 crossover where Sephiroth and Jenova take on Seymour and Sin, or something.
17. The final battle party is determined by the battle before it
Anyone who has replayed the final chapter may have noticed the oddity that your party to face Sephiroth can change. Rather than a game-long calculation based on dialogue choices and quests, this is actually all down to each party member’s performance in the battle against the Whispers immediately beforehand. Points are allocated for things like finishing off one of the Whispers and using limit breaks, and the distribution of points is actually pretty biased against Barret.
18. The PHS in Hojo’s lab is an Easter egg to the original
Chapter 17 saw the gang switch around constantly to overcome Hojo’s frustrating puzzles. Those with keen eyes would have noticed the terminals used show the letters “PHS Terminal”. PHS stands for “Party Hensei System” (‘Hensei’ means ‘editing’) and was the menu option used in the original to switch party members around on the world map or at save points.
19. Cody Christian didn’t even know what he was auditioning for
In landing the part of Cloud Strife, Cody Christian auditioned for an unknown character in an unknown project at the end of 2018. He didn’t hear anything for a couple of months and was sworn to secrecy whilst he worked on the game during 2019.
20. The Mayor can be mistaken for Mayo
One of the more bizarre pieces of dialogue is contained in the segment where Cloud wanders around the Shinra building’s 64th floor saying “The Mayor”, completely out of context and with no explanation. Most people react with understandable confusion, but the cafeteria waitress actually thinks he’s saying “Mayo”. It turns out, there is no mayo.
21. A FF7R café was opened in Japan
On the subject of cafes, there were actually pop up FF7R café opened in Tokyo and Osaka to celebrate its release. It turns out I’ve actually been to the Tokyo café! But when I went (in 2017), it was just a good old normal Final Fantasy/Square Enix themed café. Honestly, it was a little overpriced.
22. There was a robot arm in the original, but with no mini game
The robot arm mini game wouldn’t have been so bad if the arms weren’t so painfully goddamn slow. Well, the origin of the robot arms dates back to roughly the same section of the original, where Cloud and Aeris take the considerably shorter trip from the slums to Wall Market. A familiar-looking robot arm can be seen right there, but mercifully aren’t required to progress.
23. The bodybuilders are based on real people
Wall Market’s gym saw Cloud compete at squats and Tifa at pull ups. The latter was actually one of the most common rage-inducing sections of the game. What you may not know is that the gym’s competitors Jules, Ronnie and Jay are based on real life bodybuilders Jules Bacon, Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler. They’re no match for Big Bro, but I’d of course never say that to their face.
24. Wedge is Badger from Breaking Bad
The members of Avalanche all had far more screentime in FF7R and Wedge’s distinctive voice would quickly pique the interest of any Breaking Bad fans. Matthew Lee Jones was Badger, one of Jesse Pinkman’s friends.
25. FF7R sold 3.5 million units in the first 3 days and is now in excess of 5 million units
The expectations were certainly high, and it would seem FF7R has performed well. As of 7 August 2020, an official tweet from the Remake team announced that sales of “over five million copies worldwide” had been achieved. This is the highest selling Square Enix digital release on a Playstation system. FF15 reached the same milestone within 24 hours, but was a multi-platform release. It’s also hard to know how the coronavirus pandemic affected sales, for better or worse.
26. Aerith and Cloud are interrupted by fireworks again
If you were diligent enough to complete all of Chapter 9’s mercenary quests, you’d have seen Cloud rendered speechless by Aerith in her beautiful red dress. The fireworks going off in the background seems a happy coincidence, and it’s surely a callback to the time Cloud and Aerith see an equally dazzling display during their Gold Saucer date in the original game. Being shortly before her death, and with the touching track ‘Interrupted by Fireworks’ playing, this was a pretty emotional moment. Another similarity here is the running joke that Cloud and Aerith are on a date during this part of Remake.
27. The developers made a big story change to soften Avalanche’s image
One of the more divisive plot changes was that Shinra actually ended up being the ones who used Avalanche’s actions to destroy the reactors. This doesn’t exactly paint Avalanche as saintly, since they still clearly had the intent of committing these acts, but it was a conscious decision co-director Motomu Toriyama confirmed was made to soften the extremist image of the protagonists.
28. The purple blood was to ensure a lower age rating
Meanwhile, a widely unpopular creative choice was the change made to the ominous blood trail in the Shinra building, which culminated in the discovery of President Shinra’s impaled body. Instead, FF7R contained purple Jenova… stuff (and President Shinra was still alive). The developers have confirmed what we all suspected – this was to ensure the age rating was lowered, widening the target audience. Unsurprisingly, the same issue stopped Madame M’s provocative hand massage scene going any further.
29. Corneo always chooses Cloud, unlike the original
Chapter 9’s Wall Market section was significantly changed. The original saw Cloud run around in search of a dress, a wig, makeup, lingerie and a tiara. The choices made and the items obtained determined what happened when he stood in front of Don Corneo, and it was possible for Tifa or Aerith to be chosen. In FF7R however, Cloud is always picked regardless of the respective dress combinations. This was actually done to reduce Square Enix’s workload. At least they were honest about it!
30. You can beat the final boss as a toad
Insane speed runs and challenge runs are part and parcel of gaming these days. Just when you feel proud of yourself for beating the game on hard mode… you find out someone’s gone and beaten Sephiroth as a toad.
If you want to feel bad about your skills (or lack of), take a look here.
31. “Remake” has a double meaning
Tetsuya Noruma confirmed there is a double meaning behind the word “Remake”. He stated the first reason for it was to ease the doubts of fans who may have thought the title was simple remaster. He remained coy on the second reason, but having now played through the game we can perhaps surmise it relates to the way the timeline of the original is being ‘remade’ within the narrative.
32. Johnny was a minor character in the original
Johnny was not my favourite character in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but a closer look at the original shows us he was there all along. A man wearing the same clothes can be seen standing outside Seventh Heaven when Cloud first reaches Sector 7. What’s more, at Costa Del Sol he can be found in a room with Tifa reminiscing over old times. If you approach them as Cloud, Tifa actually sends Cloud away! How rude.
33. There was nearly a section originally dedicated to Tifa’s dress choice
Yoshinori Kitase and Kazushige Nojima have touched on some other scenarios that were eventually chopped. They mention an original idea to include a sub-scenario for the Turks, but also a chapter following Cloud’s fall from the Sector 5 reactor where Tifa picks her Wall Market dress. Perhaps this was for the best, as a scene with Tifa trying on dresses may have broken the internet.
34. The Whispers feature in the opening cutscene
In FF7R’s brilliant introduction cinematic, Aerith notices something down the alleyway and starts running away. Nojima has confirmed this was in fact the presence of the Whispers. This makes sense, as they are circling her shortly afterwards when Cloud encounters her for the first time.
35. FF13 heavily influenced the battle system
If, like me, you were a bit disappointed with Final Fantasy 13, you’ll perhaps afford it a bit more respect due to its considerable influence on Remake’s excellent battle system. In particular, the stagger mechanic was introduced first in FF13, and although it operated a little differently it formed a key component to the combat tactics. The influence in other areas actually worked the other way – Lightning’s character design was modelled on a modernised version of Cloud.
36. Red XIII is Ryuji from Persona 5
You’d certainly be forgiven for missing this one, but JRPG fans may be surprised to learn that Red XIII’s English voice actor, Max Mittelman, also voices one of the Persona 5 (and Persona 5 Royal) main characters, Ryuji Sakamoto. The characters actually couldn’t be more different – unlike the calm wisdom within Red XIII’s dialogue, Ryuji is known for being hot-headed and not particularly bright.
- RELATED: Persona 5 Royal Review
37. And Jessie is Futaba from Persona 5
Another Persona 5 link comes in the form of Erica Lindbeck, who voices otaku nerd Futaba Sakura as well as FF7R’s Jessie Raspberry. Again, the characters are hugely distinct – Jessie’s outgoing, theatrical personality completely contrasts with Futaba’s reclusive nature.
38. President Shinra references an important Crisis Core plot point
The degradation of SOLDIER agents injected with JENOVA cells is something that features heavily in Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core, causing sufferers to display symptoms of premature ageing. This ominous condition is referred to by President Shinra just prior to the Airbuster battle, who comments on Cloud’s Mako-infused eyes. This wasn’t really a feature of the original story and at this point it’s unclear whether future Remake instalments will see Cloud display any of these symptoms. I hope not!
39. It’s possible to get Cloud in a dress for the whole game
If it floats your boat, there’s a mod that can actually get Cloud in his Chapter 9 dress for the entire game. This even makes some alterations to the gameplay. Apparently the same can be done with Tifa and Aerith, which may prove even more popular.
40. Chadley’s battle simulator was inspired by Playstation VR
Final Fantasy isn’t a stranger to product placement, with Cup Noodle snagging a disproportionate amount of screentime in Final Fantasy 15. In a Playstation blog, Naoki Hamaguchi admits they actually drew some inspiration from Playstation VR when it came to battle simulations. This is actually pretty understandable, and it at least gave us a way of battling the summons. Hamaguchi also cited the design as a tribute to Crisis Core where they had the idea to train SOLDIER operatives with this system.
41. The battle against the Whispers is a nod to Advent Children
It was initially theorised that the three entities of fate fought in Chapter 18 called Rubrum, Viridi and Croceo could have been distorted versions of Cloud, Tifa and Barret, given their similar fighting styles. However, it seems apparent these are actually twisted versions of Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo from Advent Children. Given one of Croceo’s moves, Velvet Nightmare, shares the name of Yazoo’s gun, this is effectively confirmed. Their official descriptions state they are entities of a future timeline.
42. The original ending is open to interpretation and Kitase thinks humanity was extinct
The notion of defying fate and changing the timeline begs one simple question – why? Well, according to director Yoshinori Kitase it may not be the worst idea – his interpretation of the original ending, which is no longer fixed by fate, is that “all the human beings are destroyed”. It should be noted this isn’t a canon confirmation of anything, and he actually thinks this is a happy ending.
43. The materia system was changed to achieve a better difficulty balance
Any materia mastered in the original would be duplicated, and the developers were keen to avoid this in order to retain character distinctions by only having a set number of certain powerful orbs. For instance, ‘All’ materia was one of the most overpowered tools in the original. Not only did it provide huge benefits in battle, but it was incredibly easy to master (which could fetch a whopping 1.4 million Gil if sold). Magnify is a watered-down version, which reduces the potency of the magic and only has a single orb in the whole game. Harsh but fair.
44. Hollow is also in English in the Japanese version
The ending theme, Hollow, is in English in the Japanese version as well. This was to keep a consistent image between the two games, and actually isn’t unheard of. Many RPGs retain Japanese songs in their Western releases, and vice versa. The Persona series, mentioned above, is one of the most notable examples of English songs being contained in Japanese games.
45. The initial title of Hollow was “Empty Sky”
The original translation of the title, written by Kazushige Nojima (along with Uematsu), was literally “Empty Sky”. This could fit with Aerith’s line of dialogue about missing the steel sky, or could simply reference the ’emptying’ of the heavens via pouring rain. However, after the full lyrics were translated the name was obviously changed to Hollow. They also experimented with the title “Hollow Cloud”, further emphasising the song’s perspective.
46. Aerith actually moves the debris from Cloud’s way in her house
If, like me, you were too clumsy to sneak out of Aerith’s house at the first time of asking, you may have noticed the obstacles reduce with each failed attempt. Well it’s been confirmed this is Aerith’s doing. After catching Cloud she does a spot of cleaning, perhaps with the very intention of letting him escape into the night. Just when we thought we couldn’t like Aerith any more…
47. Aerith’s “You can’t fall in love with me” line was almost cut
According to Kazushige Nojima, Aerith’s line in her Chapter 14 resolution scene had a huge amount of pushback due to fears it may seem as though she was looking down on Cloud. They had the opposite concern over Jessie’s dialogue, adding her regular “Psyche!” lines for worry she may appear too persistent. For the record, I’m not sure adding “Psyche!” helped address that too much…
48. The developers don’t know how many parts there will be
One of the more concerning revelations is that the FF7R development team are non-committal on how many parts will actually complete the project. Kitase has stated no concrete decisions had been made at the time of the first part’s release. More comforting was the news that Part 2 is in full development, so hopefully we won’t have to wait as long.
49. Nomura apparently reined in some potential story changes
It’s common for FF7R’s detractors to cite the Kingdom Hearts mess of a storyline and point the finger at Nomura. But if Nomura himself is to be believed, he was actually the one who “put a stop on several ideas”. Since we ended up with a battle against fate and alternate timelines, it only begs the question of what on earth did they cut?
50. The final battle with Sephiroth remains an official mystery
Lots of interesting facts come from Final Fantasy VII Remake Ultimania, and one of the neatest features was its explanation of Sephiroth’s various appearances. They are generally confirmed as hallucinations, illusions, or black-robed men with Jenova cells. The exception is the final battle, where Sephiroth’s appearance is labelled with a question mark. His appearance, and what it really means, is still unclear.
And there you have it. 50 bits and pieces that were hopefully interesting. Were there any facts there that surprised you? Please comment below!