WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Final Fantasy VII Remake, available now.
For the most part, Final Fantasy VII Remake follows its predecessor pretty closely, but towards the end of the game, things start to fly off the rails, and there are several hints suggesting the game actually takes place in an alternate reality. Here are some of those hints.
One of the most peculiar and consistent parts of the game are the Whispers, creatures that appear to be wearing a similar cloak to the Sephiroth reunion clones. Once encountering Red XII late in the game, however, the player is finally given an explanation as to what these creatures really are.
Red XII explains the Whispers are agents of destiny, sent to make sure certain events happen as they were supposed to. They appear at several key points, like to save Aerith from dying in the church in Chapter 8. Aerith needs to survive this chapter of the game to be a key player in later events, hence why the Whispers intervened.
Essentially, the Whispers exist to make sure the events of Final Fantasy VII Remake follow the original game. But the presence of the Whispers in general generates one question: What changed that forced the Whispers to start meddling in the game’s timeline in the first place?
The fact the Whispers exist in this game but not the original implies Final Fantasy VII is the blueprint and the remake is simply an alternate timeline.
Throughout the game, Cloud seems to have “flashbacks” to events that haven’t happened yet.
For example, in the Church sequence in Chapter 8, Cloud sees a scene play out of the White Materia falling down the temple steps. This is a clear reference to Aerith’s death scene from the original, but there’s no way Cloud at this point in the game could have this memory. So why is he “remembering” something that hasn’t happened to him yet?
Aerith herself sees her own death, showcasing the Forgotten City and the shot of her kneeling by the altar. But again, this hasn’t happened to her yet, and she seems to know a bit more than she’s letting on.
Like Aerith and Cloud, Sephiroth appears to be knowledgeable about future events. However, he seems to weaponize this knowledge, more aware of what’s going on than Cloud or Aerith.
During the game’s surprise final battle between Cloud and Sephiroth, at one point the two lock weapons and the cutscene appears to show them traveling through a vacuum of time and space. They sit at the Edge of Creation, in a sequence that is reminiscent of Cloud and Sephiroth’s final duel in the Northern Crater in the original.
At the Edge of Creation, Cloud has another headache, which usually signifies a memory flash is coming. Sephiroth smirks, saying, “Careful now. That which lies ahead…does not yet exist,” implying that he knows there are certain events that are meant to happen. He then says, “Our world will become a part of it someday, but I…will not end. Nor will I have you end.” Sephiroth beckons Cloud to “defy destiny together,” echoing Aerith’s previous words of going up against destiny itself to save the planet.
This interaction implies that not only does Sephiroth know he will die, but he is actively trying to prevent his own end. Cloud and his allies vs. Sephiroth isn’t just a fight to save the planet anymore, it’s a fight to keep destiny itself intact as Sephiroth alters past events.
After the Whisper Harbinger duel, Aerith notes that what lies beyond is “boundless, terrifying freedom.” The rest of the game may not be chained to the canon of the original Final Fantasy VII anymore. This could mean drastic changes are on the way — some huge changes might have already happened.
Through the Whispers and (supposedly) Sephiroth’s meddling, several key events might not happen. At the very least, the game developers want us to question whether events like Aerith’s death will happen this time around. After all, it was her death that had huge consequences for Sephiroth the first time, allowing her to create the White Materia that assisted in his eventual downfall.
Zack’s death scene was also left eerily vague in the remake. Originally, Zack died while facing off against Shinra troops. However, the remake plays this scene out a bit differently. A battered Zack Fair fights off the troops, but he doesn’t die. Instead, he helps Cloud, and the two seemingly make it to Midgar. But peculiarly, he’s not ever seen in Midgar afterward, which might mean he died after all. It’s possible that the game is just teasing his survival, but the fact his death wasn’t outright shown means there’s a question as to whether he’s still alive.
The Whispers, who are noted in the Enemy Intel journal as entities “from a future timeline that [have] manifested in the present day…to protect the future that gave shape to it,” appear in this scene, meaning Zack’s death was almost certainly meddled with. Whether the Whispers succeeded in making sure he died or if he truly survived in the end, remains to be seen.
Either way, it seems like the gloves are off for future installments and plenty of huge shake-ups may be on the way. By defeating the Whisper Harbinger, which is essentially destiny itself, nothing seems set in stone for the future of the story anymore.
Final Fantasy VII Remake's explosive ending seems to hint the game somehow takes place in an alternate different from the 1997 original.