The newest trailer for the Final Fantasy VII Remake delivers some pretty drastic retcons for at least two iconic scenes from the original. This is starting to look like a totally new game in some really exciting ways.
Square Enix released a new trailer for FF7R Friday morning to showcase the new theme song "Hollow" by long-time franchise composer Nobuo Uematsu with vocals by Yosh. The trailer opens with a flashback to Tifa and Cloud as children in Nibelheim, where they sit atop the water tower in the middle of town. She makes him promise to come and save her if she's ever in trouble. We see several private conversations between Shinra employees, namely Heidegger, Scarlet, Palmer, and Reeve which aren't nearly so fleshed out in the original game.
In addition to the first look at both the mad scientist Hojo and the talking red lion/wolf Red XIII (aka Nanaki), there's a noteworthy alteration to the iconic scene where the Cloud dresses in women's clothes to infiltrate the residence of a local crime lord.
Rather than collect items like a dress, wig, and some cologne before getting dressed in the local clothing store, it appears Cloud instead assembles his outfit at the Honeybee Inn, which has been transformed from a sleazy brothel into some kind of swanky burlesque club.
"Welcome to the Honeybee Inn, Cloud," the host says. "True beauty is an expression of the heart, a thing without shame, to which notions of gender don't apply." During this, we see Cloud get a super-fast makeover while a fleet of dancers in bee costumes buzz around like something out of a Baz Luhrmann movie. Cloud is transformed into a woman in flamboyant fashion.
Back when Remake was first announced, fans were worried the sequence wouldn't make the cut due to being a bit cringy and unwoke. Instead, Remake has somehow transformed the sequence into a gender- and sex-positive spectacle. There's also a hilarious moment where Scarlet uses a Shinra guard as a footrest. (They somehow made the kinkiest Final Fantasy even kinkier!)
So much of Final Fantasy VII Remake feels like a really refreshing retcon, be it the presence of Dementor-esque shadow monsters or the brand-new SOLDIER named Roche who threatens Cloud directly in this new trailer.
However, the most noteworthy and potentially confusing scene appars towards the beginning of the trailer and again around the middle.Tifa, Cloud, Aerith, and Barret are looking at what can only be a Jenova specimen, with Sephiroth standing in front of it. He and Cloud clash briefly, before the silver-haired swordsman sending the young SOLDIER crashing into a pit.
In the original, Cloud has visions of Sephiroth periodically. In Remake, it seems he's able to talk and interact with his former mentor directly. Cloud's companions react to Sephiroth too, which feels like a really big deal. In the original, Jenova's remains being held at Shinra HQ shapeshifts into a Sephiroth clone, yet here, both Sephiroth and Jenova appear in the same frame.
So far, Square Enix has said this first installment of Final Fantasy VII Remake will only cover the events that happen in Midgar. Given the design of this particular setting and the characters present, it's very unclear when or where this particular sequence takes place. In the 1997 game, their first conflict against a Jenova creature plays out very differently, and Sephiroth isn't really involved.
Sephiroth seems like a more consistent presence, particularly in the way he seems to haunt Cloud throughout Remake. Surprises like this only heighten the anticipation for what promises to be a really exciting gaming experience for even longtime fans.
Final Fantasy VII Remake will be released for the Sony PlayStation 4 on April 10.