First and foremost, this is about the ending of the Final Fantasy VII Remake. I can’t emphasize this more: IT IS FILLED WITH SPOILERS!!!!!!
If you don’t want spoilers, quit now. Here’s disc 2 of the soundtrack. Check that out while you read other articles which are not about to spoil the ending. If you are okay with spoilers, or it’s not a spoiler for you because you beat it, then feel free to listen to the music while reading. Very thematic.
Now, let’s get into it.
In chapter two you meet Sephiroth, way earlier than you should have. He tried really hard to make you remember your past, though from Cloud’s perspective, he remembered everything he felt he already knew. The big take away? Sephiroth has one request. Just one. Run. He wants Cloud to run away from it all. To leave and not come back. Don’t rejoin Avalanche. Don’t meet up with the random flower girl again. Just run away from all of it.
Just before that, you notice Aerith because she’s waiving away the whispers. They’re “chased away” when you show up, even if you can’t see them yet. When Aerith is trying to be overly friendly, and Cloud isn’t walking off, the whispers chase Aerith and bring the cops over to pressure Cloud into running.
Cloud was given the revelations sooner, revelations which we already knew. He wasn’t a soldier, he was a grunt. His identity has a lot of issues. That’s great. It’s a retelling, and they’re letting us know what we already know a little early.
But the hints were all there.
They kept Barrett alive. They kept the blown up bridge from falling on the group. They were fate, a very heavy handed fate, and in that moment, I realized we would eventually have to do something about fate. I just didn’t realize it was within the next hour.
What are the Whispers
That’s it. They’re fate. The game, the history, has been played out a million times. The whispers made sure they happened every time. The group can’t die yet. Wedge was supposed to die, so he was thrown out the Shinra building, I’m pretty sure. There was the whisking away, shattering, and it would make sense if they’re fate that killing Wedge, especially in that manner, would allow fate to be righted.
When you fight the final battle against fate, the three beings you battle are from the future, fighting to ensure they will still exist. Some suggest, since their weapons pair with Cloud, Barrett, and Tifa, that they are the future versions of those three. I disagree with this. Every step the whispers take is to make sure the game’s events come to pass.
From the beginning Sephiroth knew what happened. Now, this is hypothesis, but based on Sephiroth in the beginning telling Cloud to run, I have to imagine Sephiroth knew all of it. When Cloud, stunned, says he killed Sephiroth, and Sephiroth says he doesn’t need to be reminded, I believe Sephiroth wasn’t just talking about Niflheim. He was talking about the final battle that hadn’t happened yet. After you defeat Sephiroth at the end, he gives a lot of talk about a future that won’t happen.
He showed Aerith dying. He showed meteor crushing Midgar, but left out the hope of the life stream saving the planet. Fate tried to show the positive. Red was shown with his grand kids 500 years later. Cloud saw the final showdown with Sephiroth. But it was too late. Sephiroth sent them into the rabbit hole, and they were not going to turn back. Even Aerith wanted to shatter fate and pushed Cloud. Did she know everything that happened? Or did she just know she died, and she didn’t want to?
Alternate Time Lines: Zack
I thought it was really cool when Cloud fights fate. With fate released, Sephiroth actually has a shot at killing you before any of this gets off the ground. He fails, mutters something about what will be will not be, the world will die in seven seconds, what will you do about it? Which, I’m really wracking my brain on the seven seconds.
Anyway, more importantly, we go back to seeing Zack finish up Crisis Core. A bunch of Shinra soldiers go to kill him, he dies, Cloud is given his mantle. Cloud forms the majority of his identity from his time with Zack, and if Zack is around, Cloud won’t have the same identity crisis.
Zack finishes the killing, picks up Cloud and his sword, and goes to Midgar. What was moments earlier swarmed with whispers, was no clear.
However, in the game’s timeline, if this was retroactive in their world, Cloud and the team should be undone. Zack would be with Aerith. Cloud would be struggling with mako radiation and be able to have a stronger guiding hand on his sanity. So, theoretically, they cannot coexist. But to show us Zack surviving alongside the group would tell us they intend for that turn of events to matter.
I’m afraid this is going to take us into weird, reality jumping, surrealism. Instead of simply going through the story, we will jump from reality to reality in the hopes to stop Sephiroth permanently throughout all realities. With the whispers gone, we’d become the whispers.
These are rarely done well. They jump too much. It becomes too self aware. The thought makes me extremely uncomfortable.
But the remake was magical. It was nearly perfect. The Honey Bee made me blush as much now as a grown man as it did when I was in 7th grade. Tifa became charming. Aeris had a flourishing personality. I knew the people who lived below the big pizza in the sky, because I shared and lightened their burdens.
Most importantly, anything can happen. Once you beat the game, you realize there is no discussing how they’ll cut up the story. The story hasn’t been written yet. SquareEnix gave themselves terrifying, beautiful freedom. They’ve also been hitting grand slams between FFXV and the remake. So I’ll trust them and their beautiful, crazy, terrifying future for FFVII.