Considered by many to be one of the most influential RPGs the industry has ever produced, the significance and enduring legacy of Final Fantasy VII can’t be overstated.
In many ways, Square Enix’s beloved classic popularized the Japanese role-playing game for those in the west, all the while cementing Final Fantasy‘s status as an international powerhouse. Fast forward to now and, on the verge of the game’s 20th anniversary, Polygon has published an exhaustive long-form feature that documents the history, development, and fallout from Final Fantasy VII. It’s a truly insightful piece, one that’s well worth reading for any RPG fan – regardless of whether you’re a longtime Final Fantasy fan or not.
Buried in that feature is a fascinating exchange between Tetsuya Nomura (Character and Battle Visual Director) and Director Yoshinori Kitase, who reflect on both the decision to kill off Aerith – arguably one of the most memorable scenes in modern gaming history – and how Kitase and Nomura-san came close to killing more main characters in FFVII.
Tetsuya Nomura: OK, so maybe I did kill Aerith. But if I hadn’t stopped you, in the second half of the game, you were planning to kill everyone off but the final three characters the player chooses!
Yoshinori Kitase: No way! I wrote that? Where?
Tetsuya Nomura: In the scene where they parachute into Midgar. You wanted everyone to die there!
Yoshinori Kitase: Really? Wait, I’m starting to remember …
Tetsuya Nomura: Yeah, remember? You and [writer] Nojima-san were all excited about this. I was the one who said “No way!” and stopped you guys. You wanted to kill everyone except the final three characters the player chose for the endgame.
Final Fantasy VII made history when it launched back in ’97, which goes some ways to explaining the level of excitement swirling around Square’s episodic remake. Unfortunately, there’s still a “way to go” before JRPG fans can bask in the nostalgia of Midgar, according to director Tetsuya Nomura, who recently said that the release of the remake won’t be here any time soon.