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.