Final Fantasy VII Remake has only been out officially for a few days, but in that time, many people have already completed the game. As such, the ending has become a huge topic of discussion among the fans, and the response is…. polarizing, to put it nicely. The original FFVII saw our characters make their way out of Midgar after a harrowing escape from Shin-Ra HQ. While that’s also the case in the remake, it chooses to take a more unique bend by bringing closure to the “Whispers of Fate” storyline introduced in the first few chapters of the game.
What are the Whispers of Fate?
The Whispers of Fate are a supernatural entity encountered several times throughout the story of FFVIIR. These creatures don’t exist in the original FFVII, but in FFVIIR they tend to show up during the important events in the story. At Shin-Ra HQ, we learn that the Whispers’ purpose is to preserve the flow of destiny, using their influence to prevent alterations to the story.
However, those who’ve played the original FFVII and possess a keen eye will have realized this truth long before it’s said outright, as they always show up when things go off the rails. For example, when Cloud defeats Reno in the church and is about to finish him off, the Whispers whisk him and Aerith away to prevent Reno’s premature death. When Cloud and friends defeat Reno and Rude on the support pillar, the Whispers intervene yet again, giving Rude an opportunity to destroy the plate.
For those of us who’ve played the original FFVII, our knowledge of the story’s events is being used against us. We expect things to play out a certain way, so we become analogous to the Whispers themselves because of these expectations. Consider how strongly some of FFVII’s fans believe that the story should be left untouched. The fandom’s desire for a 1:1 retelling of the story manifests itself into the Whispers, who’ll do anything that they can to keep the story on the rails. When Cloud and the party defeat the Whispers at the end, it becomes a symbolic “breaking of the shackles” for them. With the Whispers no longer there to influence the story and keep it on track, Cloud and the party are free to make their own choices moving forward.
This also symbolizes the development team’s choice to distance themselves from fan expectations and trust in their own vision for the project. Nomura has already made it clear that nobody on this project would be satisfied just making “FFVII with better graphics.”
The ending is less about the events of that unfold, but more so the symbolism behind it. Don’t get too caught up in how these things will tie into the rest of the saga.
The Price of Freedom is steep…
This newfound freedom does come at a cost. It means the remake going forward will be much different from what we’re expecting. Kitase and his team have just pulled one of the most gutsy moves in video game remake history. They’ve used meta-narrative to give themselves the freedom to explore FFVII in a way that wouldn’t be possible if they were beholden to the fans. It’s a risky move, and it shows since the response has been mixed. For the ones who can’t accept what’s being done, I guess this where they get off of the hype train.
This first part of the FFVIIR saga was very much the “fanservice” part of the story, it’s as close to a 1:1 remake of the original as we’re gonna get. Now that the remake has branched off into its own continuity, we go from being Whispers to members of Cloud’s party itself. For the most part, we only know as much as they do about what new things await them in the world outside of Midgar.
Anything goes for FFVIIR-2, it’s scary to think. However, it’s exciting at the same time to re-experience FFVII’s story with completely fresh eyes. If this game is any indicator of things to come, it’s that regardless of where the story takes us, we’re still in for a great Final Fantasy experience with part 2.