Review: Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Image via Square Enix

Tetsuya Nomura Was Right to Be Nervous About the Messy FFVII Rebirth Ending

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is a generational game that fully lives up to the expectations set by its predecessor. In fact, it is a much better and more enjoyable game for me, due to the open-world environments and meaningful minigames like Queen’s Blood. But if there’s one part that sticks with me weeks after beating the game, it is the messy FFVII Rebirth ending.

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Prior to the launch of FFVII Rebirth, legendary Final Fantasy Director Tetsuya Nomura noted his “nervousness” about the title, more specifically, its ending and the fate of certain characters. I feel he was right to be nervous in the end. The ending left me feeling a bit confused and uncertain about major elements of the story. I think things weren’t clear enough about Square Enix’s intent with certain characters and what would happen to them moving forward.

The ending honestly lacked focus and a goal from my standpoint. It tried too much to do a lot without accomplishing much in the process. It felt wishy-washy and like the developers wanted to go a certain route but then also play with a different route. I didn’t appreciate the “have our cake and eat it too” mentality. But it is hard to talk about the ending without going into full spoilers, so let’s dive in if you are ready.

How to play as Sephiroth FFVII Rebirth
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What I didn’t love about the FFVII Rebirth ending

Editor’s Note: Full spoilers lie ahead for the FFVII Rebirth story, especially the ending.

The crux of my issue with the conclusion of this game comes from the obvious part of Aerith’s fate. I’ll be upfront. I wanted Aerith to live in this incarnation and maybe even have another character take her place for a twist. However, I was okay with her dying if the game played with it in some way, such as having Cloud twist the knife. After all, the story even played with that idea for majority of the game.

Unfortunately, the conclusion toyed with both sides and didn’t ultimately come to a focused conclusion. The ending literally begins with Sephiroth about to stab Aerith, Cloud running up, and me as the player supposedly saving her. I was ecstatic when this happened. Then there were all these other timelines and seemingly showing her dead, then alive, then dead again. Then I think she’s dead and she joins Cloud to beat Sephiroth at the end.

It is such a confusing mess. And then when I think she is alive for sure, it switches back to everyone mourning her but Cloud who still sees her. I hated this as well because the mourning felt rushed and not worthy of her supposed death. It almost seems like the developer is trying to tell us she is alive, but she may not be. The fact I walked away from the game having to assume she is dead, at least in the main timeline, is problematic. I would’ve preferred the story just stuck to her living or dying and not making it such a Schrödinger’s Cat situation.

Can you return to Midgar FFVII Rebirth
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Fortunately, not all hope is lost. I know the next game will likely address the ending right from start, but I would prefer to see that happen beforehand in DLC. DLC centering around Zack, an origin story for Sephiroth, or whatever could address this ending. It could even be in the new ending for the game, similar to what happened with Intermission.

My current hypothesis is Aerith is dead in the main timeline, but alive in another one, possibly in Zack’s. This would allow players to play as her occasionally in the final game, but still have the impact of her loss. I wish this was confirmed already, so I’m hoping DLC can shed some light on this matter and, hopefully, fix my issues with this messy FFVII Rebirth ending.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is available right now exclusively for the PS5.

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Cody Perez
Cody is a writer who has been sharing his love for video games and anime since his high school days in 2012. When he isn’t writing about the latest JRPGs and anime series, he can be found in Final Fantasy XIV, occasionally playing some Call of Duty, or lurking on Twitter @SoulcapCody.