Siliconera’s Editor in Chief Jenni Lada, and Professional Internet Squatter Lucas White (ya boy), have both been playing Final Fantasy VII Remake. This is the kind of event game you mine for content until it’s bone dry, which is funny considering the game’s themes. Anyway, we were talking about what we like so far last week (at this point I had barely met up with Aerith in the dilapidated church), and realized we had something in common when discussing the game and how best to cover elements of it.
It was a good chat, so we decided to share it with you all. Straight from our super secret Slack channel and edited for reasonable human consumption, here are our takes on one of Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s brand new characters, Roche. We went over who he is, what he brings to the table, and how he works within the game.
Editor’s Note: There will be Final Fantasy VII Remake spoilers for Roche’s initial appearances below, as well as for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
Jenni: Hi, Lucas!
I like Final Fantasy VII Remake‘s Roche!
Lucas: Jenni, Roche might just be my favorite new addition to FF7’s story, and there are a lot of those.
Jenni: That is a pretty big statement on both counts. (Though, I also agree. There are a lot of additions and alterations here that I appreciate.)
Should we start by being silly, so that way everyone who comes to read this (and perhaps tell us we’re wrong) don’t have to worry about any “spoilers” right away?
Lucas: The real “spoiler” is anyone who thinks we’re wrong, is the one who is truly wrong! But it feels like by talking about this dude, we’ve already breached that line (unless he shows up in trailers or something, which I haven’t watched since that one State of Play).
Roche is completely new, like if you’re just popping Final Fantasy VII Remake in blind, he literally appears out of nowhere!
Jenni: He does indeed. And he shows up with so much style. It is, I have to say, an entrance with a Devil May Cry-level of style. I’d say it’s “SSSensational.”
Lucas: It’s almost bad at first; you’re in the middle of a new motorcycle section (which rules by the way), and the camera just awkwardly jump-cuts to this guy you’ve never seen before. It smashes right back before you even have time to process what happened! But then he shows up for real, and it’s like a scrapped member of Organization XIII popped out of Tetsuya Nomura’s sketchbook and forced his way into the FFVII universe, Comix Zone-style.
Jenni: Well, it doesn’t exactly happen out of nowhere. There’s a nifty bit of foreshadowing that I feel really helps start to set up Roche’s character.
Lucas: I must have blinked and missed that–please expound!
Jenni: When Cloud is racing down the tracks, some of the Shinra guards chasing him say they have to wrap things up quick, before “he” shows up.
That “he” being Roche.
While it is a throwaway line to help hint at an impending challenger, I feel like it helps establish Roche could be. Instead of him showing up at the start as a generic Shinra-allied bad guy, it begins by showing hey, he’s not exactly a perfect SOLDIER falling in line too.
Lucas: That’s part of what’s really cool about Roche. He shows up as this goofy midboss-type character, but he immediately establishes himself with more complicated motivations.
And he has excellent hair, in an ensemble cast of good hair.
Jenni: He does. Which is really saying something, since he’s definitely bringing the mullet back.
(As an aside, why do so many Final Fantasy guys, especially in FFVII, have outdated hairstyles? Reno has a glorified rat tail. Roche has a mullet.)
Lucas: To be fair, it’s only part-mullet. The centerpiece is absolutely the pompadour, which is kinda the motorcycle of hair styles.
He also just generally has a good outfit. It’s practical, but cool. His weapon is flashy, yet effective. Even his bike is good. While we joke about Nomura and the various belt and zipper obsessions, Roche is a good example of fashion that is slightly absurd, but makes sense.
Lucas: Also, it’s interesting to see what a “new” FFVII character looks like! You have to assume the wacky hair everyone has came from the original designs needing bright, defining characteristics. Otherwise it might’ve been hard to tell people apart at times. That’s totally unnecessary here, but Roche has inserted himself into the story, and does everything he can to make an impression!
Also, I think it is funny that, given his entrance, that he was designed by someone with the last name Ferrari. (Roberto Ferrari and Nomura designed him.)
Lucas: Also speaking of that motorcycle, the way he… strokes it at one point is a really crucial moment that cements Roche into the Nomura Canon for sure.
Dude is just a whirlwind of classic anime villain homoeroticism, and it only makes him more likable. I’ve only run into him twice so far, but both times felt like a reward for trudging through side quests with Mr. Grumpy.
Jenni: Ha! There is definitely that.
This seems like a good time to start getting into some more details about him that are, well, spoilers.
I think both of the two Roche boss “fights” you are talking about are handled well in game. They change things up in game, they show his range, they offer insights into his personality, and they’re just plain fun. I especially like how he might be one of the first really “challenging” bosses for people in the second fight.
Lucas: Yeah! Even playing on easy (which I’m kind of regretting so far), he definitely feels like he’s there to force you to remember Cloud can do things like block and counter. That fight is also great for establishing how a fight against a character can be part of that character’s development. For example, how instead of the game just refreshing Cloud, Roche dramatically heals him after the battle starts.
I think that’s an important moment. It isn’t just about him playing fair, though he does make a note of that. It is also him acknowledging Cloud as a potential equal. That’s something that happened after the bike race. He makes a big deal about how he’s been searching for someone who is at his level and can match him. Now that he sees he might have that, it’s like he’s showing respect for Cloud by healing him, while also ensuring that the fight has them on equal footing at the start so Roche can better assess him and his abilities.
Lucas: Yeah, this isn’t just a guy doing his job as a SOLDIER, and he isn’t just a loose cannon type with his own agenda or (presumably) a personal grudge. He’s specifically interested in Cloud as a rare challenge and will do whatever it takes to make sure he gets a good fight out of him. That includes running over Shinra property with his bike!
That isn’t exactly a unique arc for a villain, but it stands out at this point in FFVII‘s story, which is largely about establishing the rebellious bodies under a corporate oligarchy. Roche is a new angle there.
Jenni: He also helps with better rounding out SOLDIER and what we know about them.
For example, Reno mentions in our first encounter with him that they have a reputation for being “weird.”
Roche definitely has a “weird” sort of personality.
Lucas: True! Now that you mention it, we don’t really get other examples of SOLDIER beyond Cloud and Sephiroth in the original story, do we?
Jenni: It also helps us have a better barometer of what SOLDIERS are capable of and their strength.
Exactly. And in follow-up games, we have Zack and Angeal
Lucas: Sure, but for Spoiler Reasons those two hardly count, haha.
Jenni: Zack definitely counts. I will fight you on that. So Roche gives us another SOLDIER to really look to.
Since we’re going all-in on Roche spoilers now, I love how the second boss fight with him ends.
Lucas: Yeah, it’s cool because it muddies the water even for the audience. Is Roche more powerful than Cloud or not? Is he trying to groom Cloud to get stronger, or is there something else going on?
Jenni: It does. I also think, for people who have played Final Fantasy VII before and are aware of Cloud’s backstory, that both Roche and Reno’s comments when you meet him offer quite a bit of foreshadowing.
Like I know we’re both veterans. We know what’s coming. But I wonder if those nuances would be picked by someone entirely new to this installment.
Lucas: This is a whole other can of worms, but it feels like there’s some metanarrative stuff going on with a lot of the new content. Like FFVIIR at times expects you to already know what’s coming. And it’s not just so it can surprise you or whatever, it’s like there’s… something else.
Jenni: Right. It’s a game that is very much offering some serious foreshadowing.
Lucas: It’s almost like we’re on some Rebuild of Evangelion shit, but less in your face.
Jenni: Right, haha.
So, opinion time. Why do you think Roche beat up those Shinra robots after that second fight with Cloud?
Lucas: I’m really curious to see if the story provides any sense of what SOLDIER is in an organizational sense. Are they like… Spectres in Mass Effect, where they can just break rules? Will Roche face any sort of Shinra-side consequences for letting Avalanche get away?
So far it’s easy to take the situation at face value, and see it as Roche doing what he did because he wants to force an epic rivalry. But at least for where I am, it’s too early for quality speculation there. I have a feeling the next time I run into Roche, there will be a lot more to go on.
Jenni: I think Roche beat them up because he might have a similar sort of mindset about Shinra. After the Sector 5 mako reactor mission, we know that Cloud knows more about what his future holds as a result of his time with Shinra. Roche is clearly older than him and may be at a different stage of grief over his life and experiences.
It seems to me like he is still “with” Shinra. Enough so that the soldiers don’t both him or step in when he deals with Cloud. But at the same time, he also isn’t “with” Shinra, because he clearly flouts the rules and does what suits him.
I think he did it because Cloud proved himself to him. He wants more opportunities to spar and perhaps acknowledges on some level that sticking it to the man isn’t all that bad.
(In a perfect world, I’d like that to also be foreshadowing that perhaps in a part two or part three, he could become an optional party member along the lines of Vincent or Yuffie in the original game.)
Lucas: Oh please, please let Roche be playable at some point!
Jenni: I think he’d be a good asset and fill a role we don’t see quite yet in the Final Fantasy VII team.
But also, I would just love to see motorcycle limit breaks with him.
Lucas: You mentioned Devil May Cry earlier, and I’d like to note that series has established precedent for weaponized motorcycle mayhem. The sky’s the limit, and Roche should be the next in line.
Jenni: I mean, I think we’ll definitely see him again in some capacity. Final Fantasy VII also, in every entry, has had a lot of motorcycle madness. I mean, look at Advent Children.
As an aside, if they decide to make a Final Fantasy VII Remake Part 3/4 and make the Advent Children storyline playable, Roche should be there too.
Lucas: True! I guess I specifically meant player-guided motorcycle madness. The kind you get combos and special moves with.
Also wow, what the heck would a Remake-adjacent Advent Children even look like??
Jenni: Maybe something like the Persona 3 FES epilogue or Persona 5 Royal third semester?
Lucas: Maybe Roche will get his own transmedia rub, like a novel or manga series.
Jenni: That would make a lot of sense. Square Enix does that often.
Better Roche than Chadley, haha.
Or maybe there’ll be a Final Fantasy VII racing spin-off with Cloud, Roche, Reno, Zack, Loz, Kadaj, and Yazoo.
Lucas: Maybe! But for now, I should probably keep playing FFVIIR to see what happens next with Roche for real.
Jenni: I agree. Don’t be too surprised if you don’t see as much of him, as the focus really is on Cloud, Aerith, and Tifa this time around.
Lucas: Makes sense – I don’t expect him to ever be a major character. But as far as brand new additions go, Roche is an early favorite for sure.
Jenni: He’s definitely my favorite “new” face.
And I’m certain we’ll hear more about what others think about him now too.
What do you think of Roche, readers? And while we’re at it, what did you think of this format? Should we do more conversation-style features like this? We certainly had fun; let us know if you did, too!
Final Fantasy VII Remake is currently available for the PlayStation 4.