The universe of Final Fantasy VII expands far beyond just the first game through books, a movie, and other games. A producer on Final Fantasy VII Remake has seemingly implied that of all the spin-off games, Crisis Core may have had the greatest influence on the new game's development.
Developer Square Enix has been fairly coy about what kinds of storylines or characters from spin-offs like Crisis Core and Dirge of Cerberus might become relevant again in FF7 Remake, but in a Wednesday interview published on the developer's YouTube channel conducted by Kenny Omega, Producer Yoshinori Kitase hinted that FF7 Remake and its sequels might explore more of Zack Fair's backstory than the original game.
Omega mentioned that Zack was his favorite character and that he hoped to see more of him in FF7 Remake. "There are a lots of Zach fans I think," Kitase said with a laugh that may or may not have been a bit coy.
Is Square Enix considering Zack's popularity in the remake? It feels like a strong possibility. Zack appears in the original game later in the story via flashbacks, so it seems possible that he'll appear in FF7 Remake or its sequel(s) in some capacity. Notably, Cloud and Aeris discuss Zack not long after the second time they meet, which is a scene we'll definitely see in FF7 Remake.
Final Fantasy VII was such a success for Square Enix back in 1997 that its universe was expanded with the likes of spin-off games and even movies. This wider universe of FF7 content has been dubbed the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII by Square Enix, and the FF7 Remake series now has the task of condensing all of this into a new series of games. Of all the spin-offs and side stories, the Crisis Core prequel already feels like the one story that's the most important — especially when even the FF7 Remake demo has a few Easter eggs that reference it.
Cloud's Operator stance in combat is identical to Zack's in Crisis Core. (This makes a lot of sense given Cloud's memory problems that relate back to Zack.) The FF7 Remake demo also contains a Crisis Core Easter egg that references something called "dumbapples," so those Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles definitely hold some measure of importance in the new game.
Zack Fair plays a pivotal role in the backstories of both Cloud and Sephiroth. As Sephiroth is going to be making an appearance earlier in FF7 Remake than he did in the original, it's possible that we could see some scenes with Zach, possibly even versions of scenes from Crisis Core, play out. We have not seen any definitive signs of Zach yet, but we won't know for sure either way until the game comes out.
You shouldn't expect every character from the expanding Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series to show up. As was translated by DualShockers, Director Tetsuya Nomura explained to Famitsu that characters from those games won't show up, but certain elements do. He may have been referring specifically to characters unique to Compilation games. Zack, on the other hand, was important in the original game — so there's a key difference here.
"No characters from it appear in this game, but certain elements from it are touched upon in a certain way," he said. "Moreover, it’s not part of Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, but there are characters from Nojima’s side story novel Final Fantasy VII The Kids Are Alright who appear in the game."
The Inverse Analysis
It is all but certain that FF7 Remake will at least reference Zach in some capacity, but if Cloud is already hallucinating memories of Sephiroth, it's possible he could experience a vision of Zack as well this early in the story. Zack just feels too important to leave out. It's also worth noting that this is just the first part in a new series of games remaking the original Final Fantasy VII, so we may see more elements from these Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles play out in the inevitable Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 2.
Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released for PS4 on April 10, 2020.