We all knew Final Fantasy 7 Remake was just the beginning but had no idea how long we would have to wait for the next part, or even how many parts this incredibly ambitious project would end up spanning. Since fans have been begging Square Enix to remake what is quite possibly the most popular and important JRPG of all time for years, there was obviously a lot of pressure on them to get it right. While there was plenty of skepticism for the first part changing so much about the core formula, once we had it in our hands, it became almost universally praised.
After Remake, there was next to no news on when Cloud and his ragtag team’s adventure would continue. That is, not until the 25th anniversary of the original PlayStation 1 game, when Square Enix dropped a ton of info on us all at once. The biggest news was obviously the official reveal of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the second part in what we now know to be a trilogy of titles. After beating the first part, you should know that your knowledge of the original title will only serve you so well going forward, so here’s everything we know about Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
Note: There will be spoilers throughout for both Final Fantasy 7 Remake and the original Final Fantasy 7.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth was revealed with just a release window for now. As of the time of this writing, it is scheduled to come out “next winter,” meaning the winter of 2023 running into early 2024. Considering Final Fantasy 16 is slated to release sometime in the summer of next year, we’d imagine Square Enix would want to give a good amount of space between these titles, so our bet is that it comes either very late in 2023 or, more likely, January or February of 2024.
This is another interesting aspect of the whole Final Fantasy 7 retelling trilogy. We all remember the first part, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, being a PS4 exclusive at launch, then later getting a PS5 upgrade as well as a PC version. However, that game has still not yet come to any other platforms. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, at least as far as the reveal trailer indicates, will follow the same formula, though skipping the PS4. When it comes out, you can only play this game on the PS5.
We suspect that, again, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth will come to PC within a year of the PS5 version, if the same type of deal between Sony and Square Enix exists for this game as it had for the first. As far as Xbox players are concerned, while we knew that Final Fantasy 7 Remake was only a timed exclusive, the fact that it still hasn’t shown up on that platform yet indicates that either the deal keeps the games exclusive to Sony consoles until the next game in the series comes out or even possibly until the entire trilogy is out. That’s pure speculation, but is the only thing that makes sense when it has been over two years without it coming to Xbox.
Our first look at Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth was in a quick trailer that revealed the game during the Final Fantasy 7 25th anniversary event in 2022. It opens with Aerith stating that while the past may be set in stone, the future can be changed, even if it has been “written.” This is clearly referencing the last game where notable changes to the story weren’t just made but were actually a plot point that we’ll go into a bit more later.
We get a shot of the iconic meteor crashing into the planet with the simple question posed, “What will become of the planet?” From there we see Cloud for the first time walking with Sephiroth toward a forested area as he states that “he wants to finish what he started — reclaim his birthright and rule over the planet with Jenova at his side.” This scene is almost certainly from the flashback that occurs right after Cloud and his team leave Midgar and he explains his past with the villain in his hometown.
As the two continue walking, we hear more conversations, with Cloud most likely talking about how he thought Tifa was already dead after Sephiroth went mad, burned down their hometown, and attempted to steal Jenova from the reactor. Tifa stops him and asks what he means and if he thinks she’s an imposter. This is heavily foreshadowing the twist that Cloud’s memories of this event are not accurate, perfectly leading into the next block of text asking, “What is fact and what is fiction?”
Next, we see the change that could have the most major implications for this new timeline going forward: Zack. We see Zack carrying Cloud toward Midgar instead of Cloud making his way on his own after Zack died to protect him. Cloud says, “You were here with me … five years ago. Where are you? What happened to you?” This raises many questions about when this line is delivered since the original Cloud didn’t realize he and Zack were different people until after he fell into the lifestream much later in the game. Aerith stating, “I’m trying so hard to find you,” makes much more sense since she never knew Zack died at this point and the two were in a relationship before meeting Cloud. Zack’s only line, which could very well be to either Cloud or Aerith, is, “Sorry … feel like I failed you.” And then we cut to the new title of Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth.
We don’t want to go too deep into what happened in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, especially not theories here, but there are a few things worth noting that will be important for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. First, the only gameplay we see is Cloud and Spehiroth apparently on their way to the town or reactor in the mountains of Nibelheim. This implies that the events of this flashback won’t change — not because Sephiroth, or another force, can’t or won’t interfere with what occurred there, but because this is Cloud’s incorrect recollection of those events. This story is told in the first city you visit after leaving Midgar, Kalm.
Zack is the other major player to consider. His survival could be the biggest change to the story yet and seriously impact not only the narrative but also character relationships. We are very curious to see what happened to him after reaching Midgar and how, or why, he was separated from Cloud and never reunited with Aerith.
Of course, there’s the big question: Will Aerith survive this time around? This is impossible to answer right now and could easily go both ways, which is exciting in its own right to not know what’s coming. Since we know that this series will be three parts long — based on storytelling techniques, anyway — the second part is typically where our heroes are at their lowest point, so while it may not happen to the same person, or in the same way, odds are that something will happen at the conclusion of this game that puts Cloud and the others at a low point.
As far as where the story will go, we can only guess based on the original game, but because they have essentially broken free of the bounds of that game, who knows how much things will change. For fans of the original, that is perhaps the most important part of this new telling of events.
OK, so while we did see gameplay in the initial trailer, it was nothing more than walking around. That leaves a lot of questions in mind, the most prominent being about how they will handle the open-world aspect. Now that we’re out of Midgar, things will vastly open up if the game is anything like the original. In the original, moving around the overworld was represented by a big model of Cloud walking over the terrain, which wouldn’t stylistically fit with the hyper-realistic models and environments we have in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. This could be fixed once you start traveling with vehicles, however, so perhaps traveling early on will be more truncated or automatic until you get your first Chocobo to ride.
In terms of combat, again, nothing was shown, but based on how well-received the new action and turn-based hybrid system was in Final Fantasy 7 Remake was, it would be silly to think they would move away from that. Obviously, they will expand it, not only with new materia but also with new party members. Red XIII, for example, should finally be a playable character, plus Yuffie, Cait Sith, and hopefully Cid and Vincent, too. Each one will no doubt have their own systems. In that regard, we anticipate minor alterations at the core but more variety via new characters, equipment, and materia.
Outside of the main story, we’re a little curious as to how much side content to expect. Final Fantasy 7 Remake added in a ton of side quests and filled in a ton of gaps to make the Midgar section last a full game, but now that we’re out, there’s already a lot of main plot, open-world areas, and dozens of large locations to get through in just two titles that, if they put in as much side content as the first game, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth could easily balloon up to a 100-hours-plus game. While some may love that, it might not be realistic.
Even though it technically hasn’t been stated, we feel confident in assuming that Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, like Remake before it and the OG title before that, will be single-player only. There are ways we could see some odd multiplayer-type things added here and there, like leaderboards or games in the Golden Saucer, but we are pretty confident that Square Enix wants to keep this a pure, single-player experience.
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth was only just revealed and is still quite a ways off. Once the release window of “winter” gets focused down into a date, we expect the pre-orders to start popping up. When they do, we’ll fill you in on all the editions and details you need.