It has been confirmed that Red XIII will not be playable in Final Fantasy VII Remake, and only act as an AI controlled guest character.
In an interview with VG 247, Final Fantasy VII Remake Co-Director Naoki Hamaguchi, he confirmed their suspicions that Red XIII would only be a guest character, due to how late he appears in the game.
“You’ve picked up some really good points here! [laughs] You’re exactly right. We felt the point at which Red XIII joins the party in the story is very late on so we thought okay, if we’re gonna have him as a full character and try and get the player to enjoy his character development arc and growth as a character through that, it’s not really enough time to do that.
So we thought that the best way to have him involved was as a guest character. Normally throughout the game you’ll be playing as a three-man party, but you will have him as a guest character that fights alongside you during the the last part of the story there. He’ll be using all of his old really nostalgic moves, and you’ll see that. We felt that was the best way of showing him off as a character and who he is. That’s why we felt that was the best way to include him.”
Compared to the events of the original Final Fantasy VII, this would include the escape from Hojo’s lab, the subsequent escape from the prison cells, discovering what happened in Shinra Headquarters, and the party’s subsequent escape from Midgar.
This also includes several bosses; including Rufus with Dark Nation, the Heli Gunner, and the Motor Ball. The Heli Gunner specifically is fought with Barret, Aerith, and Red XIII. If battles are intended to only grant control between three characters (out of Cloud, Barret, Tifa, and Aerith) it seems that battle may be different.
As Red XIII is permanently with the party after escaping the lab and the escape from Midgar (not including when the party splits up), it would also seem likely the entire sequence will be linear (and one of the last in the game), with no chance to do side-quests. Then again, depending what changes have been made, there may be other reasons Red XIII will not be freely controllable or accessible.
In addition, the ESRB rating summary for Final Fantasy VII Remake makes no mention of blood. Due to the scene after the party escape their prison cells, it is surprising that the ESRB made no mention of it- assuming it is the same as the original. It does note “Cutscenes also depict instances of violence: characters impaled by swords (off-camera); a man shot repeatedly while on a stairwell. “
We will keep you informed as we learn more.
In case you missed it, the demo is now available, and you can find the the main theme Hollow trailer here. This includes footage of Red XIII, the Shinra executives, Leviathan, the Honey Bee Inn, and Cloud in a dress.
The game’s timed exclusivity was also revealed to have been extended. While originally stated to last until March 3rd, 2021, updated box art showed the exclusivity will now end April 4th, 2021.
Final Fantasy VII Remake is launching for PlayStation 4 on April 10th, 2020. The console exclusivity ends April 4th, 2021.
Image: Press release