Final Fantasy VII Remake: Why Aeris’ Death is Crucial

final fantasy

Back in 1997, Square Enix released the unforgettable journey that is Final Fantasy VII. With the consistent amount of praise that followed its release, Square recently decided to give their fans what they’ve always wanted – a Final Fantasy VII Remake. After we wiped our tears of joy at its announcement at E3 last year, questions arose concerning how this remake would alter the original plot. What aspects would remain the same? Most importantly, what major features would drastically change?

One of the many inquiries revolved around the heartbreaking demise of the beloved flower girl Aeris (or Aerith) Gainsborough. This heartbreaking moment ranked as one of the most pivotal scenes in video game history. Should the remake give players the opportunity to save her from the wrath of Sephiroth?  The answer to that, though it may appear harsh, is simple – no.

Now don’t get me wrong, I adore Aeris just as much as the next person, but reviving her would completely transform the original storyline of FFVII. Aeris’ death is an essential and significant part of the story, and without it, Final Fantasy VII wouldn’t evoke that powerful emotion that grasps the hearts of its players.

What engulfs us is her optimistic and carefree aura, making it impossible to dislike her. Though we unfortunately don’t get a great deal of time with Aeris, the moments we do have are just enough to tear our hearts out when she collapses into Cloud’s shaking arms. Though it’s been nearly twenty years, it still doesn’t hurt any less. We can try to fight back the tears, but they always come.

With that stated, one of the main reasons Cloud and the others crave to hunt down Sephiroth is to avenge Aeris. Of course saving the world is crucial as well, but her death is what drives Cloud and preserves his strength, even when he wants to give up. She bestowed upon him a kind of love he had never experienced, and when it became obsolete, the mission became personal. The death of Aeris creates an everlasting loathing for Sephiroth, because duh, Aeris was supposed to be the one Cloud ended up with. It’s bittersweet, really.


During the final sequence following the rewarding pleasure of defeating Sephiroth, Aeris’ death actually begins to make sense. Not only does it correspond flawlessly with the conclusion of Final Fantasy VII, but it reveals her spirit meshing with the life stream to rescue the planet from the caustic meteor Sephiroth had summoned.  We get a glimpse of her generous face one last time as the screen fades to black. Queue the tears once again, for they are inevitable.

In retrospect, I have come to terms with the actuality that the Final Fantasy VII Remake will most likely have some modified key plot points, but hopefully nothing too radical. Square holds the power to revamp its design entirely, meaning we have no idea what’s in store until we experience it for ourselves. Though I am crossing my fingers and toes in hopes that the remake will customarily mirror the original story, anything is possible.

Published by Amanda Bower

Amanda has adored the video game industry since she battled through countless battles with Doctor Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog. She spends a majority of her time with her gaming computer, otherwise you can find her devouring pizza and watching Shrek.

17 thoughts on “Final Fantasy VII Remake: Why Aeris’ Death is Crucial

  1. People who can’t accept her death as being critical to the entire game are probably noobs anyway. FF7 was probably the first game they played in the series. I guess being around since the beginning I’ve lost enough characters permanently to just accept it. Truth be told, I was way more upset when Palom and Porom were turned to stone. Anyway, it doesn’t matter because it will be a very short amount of time before some hacks-and-patches her back to life again.

    1. FF7 was the first in the series for me, but I am completely fine with her death. Without it the game loses a vast amount of its story

    2. I think it’s a bit unrealistic to suggest that anyone who has been playing any franchise for 19 years is a noob. Different people have different opinions and each person is entitled to think what they want. Just because you think one way does not entitle you to belittle the opinions of others who think differently.

      I don’t think that any aspect of the core story should be changed. I also don’t think that the people who have come back to work on this from the original want to see that either. Everything that has been said in SE press releases points to the expansion of the Ethos rather than the re-writing of it.

  2. wait, did you just say aeris was supposed to end up with cloud? i thought it was confirmed tifa…after all his heart cried out to her in the lifestream. not only that but his heart also proved that he had desired tifa so much for so long it pained and ashamed him.

    then there’s the “famous” highwind scene, then he and tifa moved in together, then the family thing…lol it’s pretty obvious.

    aeris only appeared to be his love. but it was all an illlusion. thought that was well known by now lol.

    and it’s almost rude of you to not even mention zack once, i mean he existed in FFAC/FFACC as well, lol. what about cloud’s feelings for him?

    1. Nah didn’t saw them as a couple more as friends, and still do even more after AC

      Cloud is best if he lives with friends like Vincent… no not like Vincent, more like Laguna from FF8 perhaps

      1. seeing them as friends doesn’t cannoncally make them friends, lol. we must not forget them chocobo cutout scene. it was literally cut out not because they didn’t think it would work, but because it would be too sexually extreme for 1997.

        1. Remember 1997 when things were considered Risque. Now 12 year olds wear lingerie and prance around on MTV. I really feel like we are a few years away from America’s Next Top Model toddler edition

    2. I’m not sure if you’re talking to me, but…

      With respect, I’m going to have to disagree. Kazushige Nojima wrote a novel called “Case of Lifestream” and in this novel he said Cloud and Aerith were “koibito” a Japanese word that means lover, this caused Japanese fans to celebrate that Cloud and Aerith had finally been confirmed. And when Square Enix officially translated this novel into German they said Cloud was Aerith’s “Geliebter” a German word that means “lover”, and then, finally, when it was officially translated into French, Square said Cloud was Aerith’s “amant” a French word that means lover. So that’s three times that Square Enix said Cloud and Aerith were lovers. On top of this, there are THREE official commercials that explicitely describe Cloud and Aerith as a love story. In the North American commercial, they said Cloud and Aerith were a “story of a love that can never be”, in the French commercial it said they were an “impossible love story”, and in the European commercial it said FF7 was a story about a “bitter war of love… and hate”, when the narrator says “love” it shows Cloud reaching for Aerith’s hand and also shows Cloud laying Aerith to rest, and it shows Sephiroth when it says “hate”.

      Furthermore, in the official Ultimanias, Square Enix said Cloud and Aerith have an “affinity” for each other, and said they were “perfect” and that their wedding prediction made Aerith’s death “more sad”. The latest Ultimania book even said Aerith was Cloud’s “aisuru mono”, a Japanese phrase that literally means “loved one”. Lastly, the official Playstation magazine in Japan said Cloud and Aerith were a “tragic love”. Cloud and Aerith were even depicted as Emperor and Empress (husband and wife) for the romantic spring festival in Japan known as Hinamatsuri.

      In regards to the *optional* Highwind scene, Nomura said he had “no idea” if Cloud and Tifa ever got together during or after FFVII. The interview he said this in came out two months after the Ultimania Omega book was published… This is significant because it was the Ultimania Omega that first caused so many Cloud/Tifa fans to misinterpret the Highwind scene. So despite the Ultimania Omega saying what it said about the Highwind scene, Nomura still said he had no idea if they ever got together. If Cloud and Tifa confessed love during the game, then Nomura would know about it and he wouldn’t have said he had no clue. Not to mention, in the Reunion Files book, Nojima said the following about Tifa:

      “Nomura, said he wanted to make sure Tifa wasn’t a clingy woman, but to portray her as though she’s been hurt emotionally in a way that others around her cannot easily detect. But Tifa has expressed her feelings plainly to Cloud a number of times.”

      As you can see, Tifa has expressed her feelings to Cloud and she’s hurt by Cloud. Cloud and Tifa are friends, nothing more.

      As for the “family” issue, Cloud was adopted by Marlene into Barret and Tifa’s pre-existing family. Cloud is as much a child in the family as Marlene and Denzel are. It’s not a romantic-based family. It’s a “family of friends” as Tifa says so herself in the Case of Tifa novel.

      I hope I didn’t offend. ^_^

      1. lol, since when is a family with a mom, dad, and even children not romantic? no offense but we kinda can’t erase that cloud and tifa were supposed to come out of a chocobo stall (or something like that) but it was taken out simple because it was too risque.

        and once again, i think you are pinpointing on areis a bit too much. cloud wasn’t fighting for aeris only in AC. he held his love for zach as well. zach is taking too much of a backsteat when he’s the very person that made cloud snap in the first place. he hold an extremely dear part in cloud’s heart, not just aeris.

        1. No, it wasn’t “taken out”, Kato suggested the scene and Nojima rejected the idea. It never existed. It was an idea that KATO had and when he told Nojima and Kitase about it, Nojima said NO to the idea.

          You can speculate that Zack is in Cloud’s heart, but the creator’s have only said one person en engraved in Cloud’s heart and that’s Aerith. They’ve only ever described Cloud having “undying love” for one person, and that’s Aerith. And in the latest Ultimania it described Aerith as Cloud’s “beloved” or his “loved person”… none of this has ever been stated for Tifa OR Zack.

          As for the family, it’s not romantic because Tifa says herself that they are a “family of friends”, this is why Marlene ADOPTS Cloud into their family and this is why Tifa enjoys feeling like Cloud’s mother. And if you think Tifa and Cloud are together because of that then what does that mean for Barret and Tifa? They were raising Marlene together LONG before Cloud ever got to Midgar. And not to mention, when Cloud finds Denzel he immediately creates a connection to Aerith. Cloud thinks AERITH brought him Denzel and Cloud was going to bring Denzel back to 7th Heaven (where he pays rent) even if Tifa said no.

          From the moment Cloud met Denzel, Cloud made Denzel his and Aerith’s. So in Cloud’s mind, Denzel belongs to him and Aerith. If you think it’s romantic because Tifa adopted Denzel then it’s romantic that Cloud thought of Aerith when he met Denzel because it implies that Cloud sees Aerith as a woman that brought him a child (like wives do).

          1. As far as the game goes, (Not Ultimania or any of that)it is clear Cloud loved Tifa. It is DEFINATELY implied they sleep together before going to fight Sephiroth together also. Cloud doesn’t even flirt with Aerith in the game if you don’t make him. He mourns her most because he felt guilty he couldn’t save her. Based on the game of Final Fantasy, is seems so blatantly clear that the game intended us to see ZACK and Aerith as true loves and Cloud and Tifa as True Loves. Advent Children didn’t seem to make cloud feel anything for Aerith other than the loss of a friend and a huge guilt trip. Once he “forgives” himself, he looks at Tifa and smiles. Sorry mate, I see no evidence that Cloud wanted Aerith over Tifa. Although once again…I am sucked into this debate. know that I don’t give a shit which girl he would have ended up with but based on evidence from the game and movie, it appears it was always supposed to be Tifa. Although if it makes any difference, I like Aerith’s character a lot (She healed me!). It could have gone either way in the beginning of the game but the Life Stream scene seemed to make it clear who wanted who to me. He also seemed to not realize that Tifa liked him back and once he does, he seems to act on that (Highwing scene)As far as Aerith’s death goes, he seems to always act like he felt guilty for not saving Aerith and never seems like he is mourning the loss of a lover. He seems like he feels guilty a friend died that he felt he should have protected better. However we can all have our own opinions. Without different opinions, the world would be a boring suck hole. Imagine the internet if people didn’t argue…….just porn and Amazon.

          2. Except, there’s nothing in the original game to say Cloud loves Tifa, especially since after the Highwind scene Cloud still tells Tifa that he wants to be with Aerith. You cannot ignore this fact. No matter what version of the Highwind scene you see, no matter how you interpret the Lifestream scene, Cloud will ALWAYS tell Tifa at the end of the game “I think I can find Aerith in the Promised Land”.

            You cannot avoid this uncomfortable truth.

            Look, you know what, it doesn’t matter what YOUR *OPINIONS* are, Nojima said Cloud and Aerith were lovers, Square Enix reiterated this fact in TWO other languages—whether you can understand it or not and no matter how much you hate it, that is word of god.

            Cloud and Aerith have been stated to be LOVERS, AMANT, and GELIEBTER.

            End of story.

      2. That was to throw the audience off in the trailers. The lover was ZACK. Cloud’s memories came from Zack not cloud. The game explains that very clearly. Cloud’s affinity for Aerith was from Zack (not to mention the player has control over who he flirts with and who he doesn’t. I find that odd if the game wanted to point Aeris to Cloud.)When Cloud finds himself in the Life Stream, it is Tifa he wants. The REAL Cloud loves Tifa. Commercials and some other novel and all that other stuff does not trump what actually happened in the game. Zack was Aerith’s love. Tifa is Cloud’s. Although I really don’t know why I’m up at 6 am arguing about if a non-existent character belongs with another non existent character or not. Now that I type that and read it……It is I who have lost this debate lol

    3. Yeah the game makes it very obvious that cloud’s memories of Zack and cloud reminding Aris of Zack created a fake connection. The real cloud loves and had always loved Tifa. Tifa is why he joined SOLDIER and TIFA is who he was always trying to get attention from growing up. Aeris belongs with ZACK, ZACK is dead……so sorry people….Aeris has to die not only to save the planet but to be with her true love and let cloud become himself again and be with his true love Tifa. I didnt’ even think it was a debate anymore. Even the movie sealed it. They all like Aeris and all mourned her. I find it also not very surprising that Cloud’s true love just happened to be the HOT chick lol

    4. It was Zach’s memory that loved Aerith. Cloud loved Tifa. We see the game evidence the same way. We are kindred dorks lol

  3. they already said their changing the story, so if they change the story even little bit it may be enough to not have Aerith die at all because its been screamed for years that we want her alive, Aerith is the most cutest character in any final fantasy her death is only emotional on 1 thing and thats cause we were screwed out of a character we loved more then even cloud himself, almost every fan that played back then was sad through out the game after she was gone, plus it matters as the 1st episode of the remake is on midgars fall, it matters if they kill Aerith off again matters if fans like me will buy part 2 of the remake, her limit breaks are healing she doesnt need to die to heal the planet, if they change even the slightest on the story ill guarantee you Aerith will stay alive this time because the 1st thing japanses fans screamed they want is Aerith to stay alive in story and that the original ending isnt enough for a ps4 remake because all it was is cids ship flying away while the planet heals they dont even show Aerith doing it only her face at the very end so what was the point of her death. why not turn her into a living angel like sephiroth became a fallen angel with black wings, it be epic for Aerith to become a real angel with white wings to finish sephiroth and heal the planet while not dying to do so.

  4. Old article but I just wanted to add that there’s more than one reason why Aerith will not be revived. Not only was her death emotional and impactful in driving Cloud, her death was meant to portray the theme of “life”. Nomura explained in “Reminiscence: the making of AC” that FFVII’s theme is about how when people pass, they don’t become nothing and that they are still with us. He explained that Aerith’s consciousness continues to live on in Cloud, which is why he is able to see her. Although she has passed on, Aerith was shown still impacting the living and helping save the planet from meteor. It is important to note that at the end of FFVII, we did not simply see Aerith’s face “one last time” but, rather, there was a close-up shot of her face showing her opening her eyes, alluding to the theme of the game. That theme continued in FFVII where Cloud and Aerith are finally able to reach one another’s hands. It is the moment when Cloud finds his Promised Land that he also realizes that he is not alone, and it can be concluded that he knows Aerith is still with him and the two of them are then finally reunited again in that Promised Land as the Planet told him they would be. To me, FFVII is a beautiful story of a bond/love transcending death. Reviving Aerith would destroy not only that but also the theme/point of the game itself.

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