The Summer Game Fest 2023 show ended with a brand-new Final Fantasy VII Rebirth trailer announcing its release window and revealing new gameplay elements and story pieces. The trailer was filled with all kinds of revelations about FF7 Rebirth, as the game will be going in new directions that fans might not have expected.
The FF7 Rebirth trailer was the grand finale of Summer Game Fest 2023, following several developer notes uploaded to the official FF7 Twitter page. Fans hadn’t been expecting any major announcements about the game, especially as Final Fantasy 16 is launching soon, and people thought Square Enix wouldn’t want to reveal anything new until later in the summer, but everyone was wrong, and more information about Cloud Strife’s future adventures was made public.
FF7 Rebirth’s Release Window, Platforms, & Discs
The most pertinent information in the FF7 Rebirth trailer involved important details about its upcoming release. According to the new trailer, FF7 Rebirth is launching exclusively on PS5 in early 2024 and will be spread across two discs. Assuming the game isn’t delayed (and that’s a pretty big assumption), it means that fans won’t have to wait too long to play FF7 Rebirth.
All Of The Final Fantasy 7 Characters Are Dead! (Or Shinra Is Faking It)
The FF7 Rebirth trailer opened up with the shocking revelation that all of the playable characters (save for Cloud Strife) are dead! There is news footage where Barret, Tifa, Aerith, and Red XIII have all been killed in a tornado that struck Sectors 1 and 2. Oh no, this means Cloud will be the only character left in the game!
The more likely explanation for this news footage is that Shinra is faking it. They blame Avalanche for the attack on the Shinra Headquarters and claim they died in the process. This is Shinra’s MO, as they did a similar thing for Sephiroth, with most of the world believing that he is dead. What’s interesting about this plot point is that it shows a dead Aerith and Tifa, and if Zack Fair sees this, it may prevent him from following the party out of Midgar.
FF7 Rebirth Has A Much More Open World Than FF7 Remake
FF7 Remake could be quite a claustrophobic game, as it was set entirely within the city of Midgar. The game ended with the cast leaving Midgar and starting a new adventure, with the INTERmission DLC showing them hitching a ride to Kalm, which is likely where FF7 Rebirth will start.
The new FF7 Rebirth trailer showed off a much more open and vibrant overworld, with buildings and landmarks spread across the landscape. The game looks gorgeous, and these open areas might have forced the game off the PS4, as it might be too much for the aging hardware. The question now is how the characters can cross such massive areas on foot, which would surely take forever.
Riding Chocobos Returns In FF7 Rebirth!
FF7 Remake featured chocobos as a fast travel system, but players couldn’t ride, race, or breed them, as they could in the original FF7. This decision made sense, as people weren’t likely to be racing chocobos around the packed streets of Midgar, and players couldn’t access the Chocobo Farm until later in the story.
FF7 Rebirth is bringing chocobo riding back! The trailer showed Cloud and his friends racing across the landscape on the back of their yellow-feathered companions. It’s unclear if breeding will be featured in the game, but at least fans will get more chocobo action this time around.
Red XIII & Yuffie Are Returning Party Members
One of the most disappointing aspects of FF7 Remake was that Red XIII wasn’t a playable character anymore. This decision made sense, as he was introduced so late in the game, but it was a gut punch to fans of the character. As expected, Red XIII is playable in FF7 Rebirth, with his own special attacks and abilities.
Possibly the least surprising revelation in the trailer is that Yuffie is also playable in FF7 Rebirth. Most fans expected this, as she was playable in FF7 Remake’s INTERmission DLC, so the developers already have a move set prepared for her. The fact that Yuffie shows up in cutscenes also suggests that she’s no longer an optional character and is part of the main storyline.
According to one of the battle scenes shown in the trailer, Red XIII has an option called Vengeance Mode, though how it works is unclear. Meanwhile, Yuffie retains her Throw/Retrieve mechanic from INTERmission, and it’s possible she may have added some new powers to her arsenal.
Elena From The Turks & Bugenhagen Will Appear In FF7 Rebirth
The FF7 Rebirth trailer showed the new designs for several familiar characters. This includes Elena from the Turks’ design in FF7 Rebirth, which is practically identical to the one she had in FF7. What is new is that Cloud and his friends will battle Elena in a brand-new boss fight in the Mythril Mine, as she only introduced herself here in the original game.
Red XIII’s grandfather, Bugenhagen, also briefly appeared in the trailer. We didn’t get a good look at him, but his design has been vastly improved over his FF7 iteration, with more thought put into his clothing. Bugenhagen is shown giving a speech about the planet’s lifespan in Cosmo Canyon, which he also gave in FF7.
FF7 Rebirth Will Feature A New Dual-Attack System & New Powers
In terms of gameplay, FF7 Rebirth uses the same foundation as FF7 Remake, with a few new tweaks. It appears that FF7 Rebirth uses a dual-attack/combo system, where multiple characters can team up to perform special attacks. The trailer showed Aerith creating a magical dome with Tifa, who strikes the enemy from above; Red XIII and Yuffie performing several attacks before they leap, she mounts him in mid-air, and they strike together; and Cloud repeatedly slashes an enemy, while Barret shoots it with his arm cannon.
The trailer also revealed that Aerith has a new power called Ward Shift. In FF7 Remake, she has a command called Arcane Ward, and Ward Shift is most likely a new iteration of this power. Arcane Ward created a circle on the ground that strengthened Aerith’s magic, so she might have been given a new ability to capitalize on the larger overworld areas.
More Familiar Locations From FF7 Will Return In FF7 Rebirth
The INTERmission DLC and initial trailer for FF7 Rebirth revealed that Kalm and the Nibelheim flashback would happen, while the Traces of Two Past novel claims the boat ride to Costa Del Sol happens. The new FF7 Rebirth trailer revealed that more returning locations from the original game would make a comeback.
The footage in the new FF7 Rebirth trailer revealed that Kalm, the Chocobo Farm, Cosmo Canyon, the Mythril Mine, Junon, the Cargo Ship, and Nibelheim in a flashback will all appear in the game. The overworld is also part of the game, and it’s much more detailed than the one in FF7, with ruined buildings dotting the landscape.
FF7 Rebirth Could Throw Out FF7’s Big Story Twist
What I found interesting about the new FF7 Rebirth trailer is the more subtle moments involving the story. There is a moment when Tifa outright says that she doesn’t remember Cloud being at Nibelheim all those years ago, a major late-game revelation in the original game. At the same time, Sephiroth claims that he killed “her” in a scene where he slashes Tifa, which is now questioning whether she is who she claims to be.
It bears mentioning that Sephiroth doesn’t name Tifa in this scene, so it’s possible that he could be referring to someone else. Whether this is some huge story twist or just a case of the developers messing with the fans in a trailer remains to be seen.
The new trailer for FF7 Rebirth revealed a lot about the game, confirming that the events will follow the same storyline as FF7, up to a point. The fact that Yuffie joins the party and is with them on the Cargo Ship is a new element, while the scenes with Tifa and Sephiroth suggest a story that could go in many directions. It’s an exciting time to be a FF7 fan, and we can’t wait to learn more about the game in the future.