Avalanche is an interesting group in the Final Fantasy VII compilation. The original game only offered a fraction of the story. We had an idea that it was a larger and more influential group, but we only interacted with a handful of people who, frankly, weren’t as impressive or intimidating as an eco-terrorist group. If someone managed to somehow play Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, they’d have a better idea of what a group was like, sure. But it’s the Final Fantasy VII Remake Avalanche incarnation that helps provide the context people worldwide have been lacking.
Editor’s Note: There will be Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII spoilers below.
As with the original Final Fantasy VII, the core Final Fantasy VII Remake Avalanche group is the same small cell we’re familiar with. It’s a wise decision. It stays true to what we know and the original mission. Plus, it helps with context. Cloud is involved with a small offshoot of a larger whole. They’re not exactly condoned by the whole, since they are more extreme and targeting reactors. But they are there. We’re able to see the more personal motivations of everyone involved and understand what they’re doing in a more tangible way that honors the past.
Which is especially important, because Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie were essentially throwaway characters who showed up at a few key critical moments, such as the Mako Reactor 1, Mako Reactor 5, and plate dropping incidents. This isn’t to say they don’t matter, but they don’t have the presence you’d expect. Final Fantasy VII Remake makes all three of these people important. Jessie flirts with Cloud. We meet her family and learn how an almost-actress turned into an activist when her father developed mako poisoning. With Biggs, we see how capable he is in getting Cloud, Barret, and Tifa into Reactor 5 and that he’s able to help Cloud hold up against Shinra forces when acting as a distraction at the warehouse.
And then there’s Wedge, who I feel ends up becoming the most heartfelt and useful member of the Final Fantasy VII Remake Avalanche group. He starts out as someone who might seem like a lovable goof, with his enthusiasm and thumbs up. But his genuine desire to matter and be someone constantly shines through.
It’s because of Wedge that so many lives are saved and aid is arranged. He basically throws himself to the dogs at the warehouse, actually being so injured that the other, larger branch of Avalanche has to save him when it shows up. He’s the reason people are saved before the Turks drop the plate. He reasons with the Shinra soldiers and explains how people are going to die and saves lives, even though it nearly gets him killed in the process. Again, when Cloud, Barret, and Tifa head to Shinra HQ to save Aerith, it is because of Wedge that they have a way out. Even though he’s still injured, he contacted the larger Avalanche branch to secure an “out” for them and arrange a backup.
Speaking of the larger division of Avalanche, Final Fantasy VII Remake finally gives us that look at a larger whole. Like we’re aware of more members. That compilation has provided us with media that suggests former members joined Reeve’s World Regenesis Organization. In Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, we have a larger version of Avalanche that results in the splintering of the Turks due to the revelation of a connection between its leader at the time and a leader of Avalanche. We learn how Rufus Shinra was allied with them in the hopes of bringing down his father so he can succeed him. There’s this idea of where did Avalanche’s remnants go, and this helps explain this by showing, “Okay, there are more of them. They may or may not be getting funding from Wutai, though that could be just a rumor Biggs heard or Shinra propaganda. They’re connected to the Avalanche we know, but not as connected.”
Essentially, the Final Fantasy VII Remake Avalanche depiction offers a better sense of context for the players and doesn’t force them to rely upon additional, perhaps not localized, portions of the Final Fantasy VII compilation to understand things. Someone can hop in right here and better understand who Avalanche is, why they would be notable enough to be on Shinra’s radar, what it might have been involved with in the past, and the kind of influence the portions of the group we aren’t seeing have. And it is because of all of this that the final times we see Biggs, Jessie, and Wedge in Final Fantasy VII Remake hit so much harder.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is available for the PlayStation 4.