When you think of Final Fantasy VII characters, a couple of them are sure to come to mind almost immediately. You might think of Aerith, Tifa, Barret or Cloud, but who remembers the rest of the Avalanche crew: Jessie, Wedge and Biggs? In the original game, the three “extras” in the Avalanche barely had any dialogue and little to no backstory. For this reason, they were mostly forgettable. Even their deaths had little impact since it occurred relatively quickly, and players didn’t have much of a chance to establish any prior emotional attachment.
Fast forward to the present, and Final Fantasy VII Remake goes out of its way to develop each of these characters, especially Jessie Rasberry (even finally giving her a last name!). In the beginning arc of the Remake, Jessie is a pivotal and complex character, presenting a huge improvement over her original iteration.
In both versions of the game, Jessie is the technical expert of Avalanche, providing the group hacking expertise and explosives for the group. In the original game, that’s the majority of her character, though she does express remorse over Avalanche’s role in the destruction caused to the Sectors. In Remake, Jessie is more fleshed out as a character, having a vibrant personality, a backstory and an actual motive for joining Avalanche. All these aspects serve to better establish an emotional attachment with the player and Jessie. It also makes the eventual departure much more painful.
It’s much easier to build an attachment to Jessie because of her interactions with characters and reactions to events. It’s obvious right from the get-go that Jessie is interested in Cloud, and it becomes less and less subtle as the game continues. While this is played for laughs at the beginning, her playful banter with Cloud helps naturally progress his character development. At first, Cloud appears as a stoic and distant “member” of Avalanche. However, as he continues to interact with the cast, especially Jessie, his cold personality gradually beings to thaw. Jessie calls out Cloud when he first smiles at Wedge’s burnt underwear, signaling Cloud’s warmth towards the group. Their relationship becomes close enough to the point where Cloud expresses genuine grief over Jessie’s death on the Sector 7 pillar, epitomized by how he doesn’t allow Jessie’s hand to fall. Without Jessie’s influence, Cloud’s outlook on others likely would’ve remained aloof.
Another aspect of Jessie that is expanded upon is her reaction to the explosion at the first Mako Reactor. In the original, she notes that the explosion is bigger than it should’ve been, but that’s really all there is to it. In Remake, Jessie is haunted by the destruction she has caused. She chalks up the massive explosion to some reaction with the Mako, but eventually admits that it was her fault. Jessie used more explosive material than needed in the first bomb and expresses regret over it, vowing to use less explosive in the next bomb. This emotional thought process is much more developed in the Remake and serves to humanize Jessie more. Her original intentions were to stop Shinra from harming the planet, but her actions ended up hurting unintended civilians. At first, she seeks to shift the blame towards something else, but comes to accept the guilt and changes her actions as a result.
Compared to the original Final Fantasy VII, Jessie has left a lasting impression on all players. Her flirty personality and emotional conundrums helped serve to naturally progress the story and create higher stakes for Cloud and the group. Square Enix did a fantastic job turning a once side character into a character people care about.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is available for PlayStation 4.
Keep Reading: Final Fantasy VII Remake: How to Unlock Hard Mode
Final Fantasy VII Remake developed Jessie, an Avalanche member and somewhat forgettable character, into someone players actually care about.