As its worldwide launch approaches, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth draws closer and the hype machine has begun to go into overdrive. Square Enix has released trailers, demos, and dazzling key art that is sure to get fans and newcomers interested. But hold your horses, cowboy… hype kills.
There has never been any instance where hype has ever met expectations. In the latest batch of trailers and the demo build of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, a team of scientists have discovered cause for alarm for fans who know the real Final Fantasy VII from 1997.
Back in April 2021, I correctly predicted several bespoke qualities in the real Final Fantasy VII that would likely be cut or censored. Regretfully, the sum of all our fears is coming true and there is no stopping the plane from hitting the skyscraper. Now that I have previewed Final Fantasy VII Rebirth (the second part of three), I have been able to confirm what exactly has been cut.
Cid Highwind’s Smokes
This cut actively damages the character of Cid Highwind. Cid is a destructive and volatile man who is rough around the edges. He has character flaws like his abusive attitude towards Shera and is a lovable boorish aeronautics engineer with a penchant for violence and stabbing scrubs with a long pointy stick.
A defining characteristic of Cid was his nicotine habit. After battles, he would take long drags from his cigarettes and would even incorporate his smokes into his combat moves – like how he lights dynamite with the red cherry embers of his lit stick. He was never seen without a pack and they were always nestled on the side of his head between his goggles.
Losing the cigarettes is a bizarre choice since Final Fantasy XVI also features a Cid who also smokes, albeit much larger cigars. It’s likely Square Enix wants children to play this game and wants the rating to stay in the T range and tobacco is a bridge too far.
Softening the violence in Final Fantasy VII Remake hurt the tone and atmosphere of the story. Characters would get savagely wiped out with huge guns and swords and there wouldn’t be a drop of blood at all. INTERmission managed to have some guts (pun intended) by showing some blood but this likely got by due to the technicality of DLC not having to follow the same rating guidelines.
Regretfully, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth is going backward on the promises made by Yuffie’s chapter and fans are going to have to settle for lame PG-rated violence. This decision will compromise the drama in the story. Having characters bleed can make situations feel as dire as they need to be.
The flashback sequence in Rebirth showcases an infamous scene from the original story where the villain razes an entire town and cuts people up with a razor-sharp blade. This scene is reimagined to be more violent but less bloody which is frustrating because now people’s heads are getting chopped off. The game lacks the conviction to show the effects of when a person is decapitated and not having the appropriate splash of blood distracts and diminishes the intended dramatic effect.
Panty Raid in Tifa’s Bedroom
Of all the cuts seen in the demo build of Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, this one may be the cruelest cut of all. In the real Final Fantasy VII, during the flashback sequence after escaping Midgar, Cloud explores his hometown and can even sneak into Tifa’s bedroom. The main order of business here is to investigate her piano for later when trying to acquire her final limit break, but naturally, the developers in 1997 understood the temptation of exploring Tifa’s panty drawer.
Maybe the developers are embarrassed by this now under the threat of thuggish HR breathing down their necks, or maybe this is just who they were at the time. Art is partially a time capsule of the artist’s sensibilities and state of mind of its time and the way Rebirth attempts to reference this sequence is pathetic.
In the real Final Fantasy VII, grabbing Tifa’s laundry was a gag and was a moment where gamers could roleplay a little in a game that was intensely scripted. Allowing players to indulge in this temptation was an honorable choice and showed that the people making it understood who their customers were.
This was also one of the few lighthearted moments in a sequence that quickly turns dark and climaxes with many people dying or getting hurt. In Rebirth, Cloud merely opens a cabinet and quickly closes it. There is no indication that Cloud saw anything and he steals no underwear either. The only thing that happens is Tifa calls him an asshole as he recounts the events.
Only time will tell what else gets cut from Final Fantasy VII‘s story. At the very least, the Rebirth demo does attempt to compensate by having more complex gameplay and further fleshes out the cast for every cut made. When Final Fantasy VII Rebirth does come out, we’ll be sure to take note of any omissions and additions to the story and beyond into part three.