Everything You Need to Know About Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Intergrade Before Rebirth

It’s a whole new Gaia.

screenshot from Final Fantasy 7 Remake
Square Enix

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is almost upon us, and a recent trailer suggests the way it shakes up the original game’s story will be even more significant than the changes in Remake. Playing both the original Final Fantasy 7 and Remake would be ideal before playing Rebirth, since the way the narrative is altered will only fully land if you know what’s being changed. If you don’t have time for that, you should at least keep a few key Remake details in mind, as they’re very likely to pay off in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.

Aerith Remembers the Original Timeline

Aerith knows more than the rest of the party about what they’re walking into.

Square Enix

Final Fantasy 7 Remake essentially establishes a new timeline, not in place of the original game’s story, but in addition to it. We see that most clearly through Aerith, who appears to have memories of things that happened in Final Fantasy 7 before the point when they would occur in Remake. That includes seemingly recognizing Cloud the first time she meets him in Remake and convincing the party that Sephiroth is their real enemy, not Shinra.

She even seems to know that she’s fated to meet her end when she encounters Sephiroth, warning Cloud at one point that he shouldn’t fall in love with her. How that will affect the plot of Rebirth and whether knowing what’s coming will allow her to stop it are still mysteries, though.

Whispers are Controlling Fate

The spectral Whispers are key to Final Fantasy 7 Remake’s timeline.

Square Enix

Throughout Final Fantasy 7 Remake, the party is accosted by creepy robed spirits called Whispers, which Aerith is able to see even when others aren’t. At first, the Whispers seem like just a new antagonistic force in the game, but their role is more complicated than that. When Barret is stabbed by Sephiroth in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, we see the Whispers heal him, meaning they don’t actually have it out for the party.

Instead, as Red XIII reveals, Whispers act to prevent anyone from changing their fate. That’s especially relevant when it comes to Aerith and Sephiroth, since both have very good reasons to want to change their fate — Aerith to survive her encounter with Sephiroth, and Sephiroth to see his plan ultimately succeed. One of the game’s final encounters is a fight against the Whisper Harbinger boss, made up of many individual Whispers. The party’s victory against the Whisper Harbinger suggests that it may now be able to change the world’s fate.

Zack Fair is Alive

Zack surviving his encounter with Shinra changes everything in Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

Square Enix

In the original Final Fantasy 7, Zack Fair is a figure from both Aerith and Cloud’s past. He’s Aerith’s former boyfriend and he fought alongside Cloud before the events of the game. But when Zack and Cloud are captured for experimentation by Shinra, Zack breaks them out and heads for Midgar. As Final Fantasy: Crisis Core and a flashback in Final Fantasy show, Zack passes away in the attempt while Cloud escapes.

That’s not the case in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. In the latest game, he’s shown surviving the attack during his escape from Shinra and bringing Cloud to Midgar himself. A trailer revealed at a recent PlayStation State of Play also shows Zack with an unconscious Aerith, where he tells her, “I’m back.” Zack is a colossally important part of Aerith and Cloud’s stories, and having him alive for Rebirth fundamentally changes what comes next. However, it’s implied that the glimpses we’ve seen of Zack represent yet another alternate timeline, so things could be even more complicated than they appear.

Yuffie Has Beef with Shinra

Yuffie takes a more active role in the plot in Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade.

Square Enix

In both Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth and the original game, Yuffie is a ninja from the nation of Wutai with a vendetta against Shinra. But it’s more personal in Rebirth, where Yuffie has a strong motivation to take action. In the original, Yuffie joins the party almost by accident, after attempting to steal their materia during a chance encounter.

In Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade, Yuffie becomes a playable character on a mission to infiltrate Shinra. She crosses paths with the main party during her time there, but doesn’t make direct contact. Later during her infiltration mission, her partner Sonon sacrifices himself to save her in a fight against Nero, a Shinra supersoldier who originally appeared as an antagonist in Dirge of Cerberus. Yuffie then witnesses Shinra dropping the plate that destroys Sector 7 in Final Fantasy 7 Remake. The game ends with Yuffie vowing to find a new team to take down Shinra, giving her a more active role in the party’s struggle.

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