One of the most enduring elements of the original Final Fantasy 7 is the in-universe play (and poem) Loveless. While a poster for the show is one of the first things we see in the opening cutscene, we never really learn much about it. Over the years, new entries into the FF7 universe have expanded our understanding of Loveless, and Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth looks to be another major step for the fictional show. Putting Loveless center stage in the Golden Saucer will also mark a return to one of the best long-time obsessions of the franchise: Theater.
During the 2023 Game Awards, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth debuted its’ theme song in a gorgeous trailer that placed the game’s cast in a theatrical production that was inter-spliced with gameplay footage. At the time it just seemed like a comical bit to go along with the live performance at the awards show, but the official Final Fantasy 7 Twitter account revealed on December 13 that this theatrical showcase will be a new addition to the ever-expansive remake project.
“Introducing a theatrical production based on the classic epic poem Loveless.” reads the Twitter post, “Thanks to the latest in VR technology, the Gold Saucer's Golden Theatre brings the play to life like never before. The person playing Princess Rosa may even change, along with parts of the script.”
We already knew Rebirth’s re-imagining of the Golden Saucer — the mini-game-filled locale — would dial things up to eleven with Like a Dragon levels of variation to enjoy, but the addition of the Golden Theatre is even more enticing.
Final Fantasy has a long history of openly expressing its theatrical influences and putting theater directly into games. One of Final Fantasy 6’s most iconic moments takes place in an opera house and requires the player to complete a minigame to put on the best operatic performance. Final Fantasy 9’s opening hours include a similar scene, in which players must help Zidane pull off his theatrical troupe’s production of the in-game play I Want to Be Your Canary.
Bringing this type of mini-game into FF7 Rebirth feels like a welcome return to a classic series feature. Furthermore, it is a delightful treat for those who are deeply knowledgeable about the world of Final Fantasy 7.
Loveless started as nothing more than an in-game poster but evolved over time, as future Final Fantasy games expanded on details. The spinoff title Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII depicted antagonist Genesis obsessing over the epic poem upon which the theatrical production is based. Crisis Core reveals the entirety of the five-act poem and informs players that the show is based mostly on Acts II & III.
The show also has many connections to the story of Final Fantasy 7 itself, with the three main characters acting as parallels to several characters throughout the series. Cloud, Aerith, and Zack can especially be read as fill-ins for the three lead roles. FF7 Rebirth seems to make this even more explicit with Aerith and Cloud taking on the main roles in screenshots.
Something interesting in the initial announcement of Loveless’s inclusion in Rebirth is the idea that the story can change with new actors filling the main roles or parts of the script being different. Rebirth — and the remake trilogy as a whole — is about rewriting and changing the story that we think we know: the original story of Final Fantasy VII. Remake made that incredibly clear with the inclusion of the Whispers.
Rebirth will likely take this even further as we approach the moment Aerith is supposed to perish. But going forward, who knows what will change in this retelling?