Bring the legends to life
Final Fantasy 7 has enjoyed one of the most... imaginative rumor mills in gaming. Most are just tall tales of multicolored Chocobos and secret limit breaks; but every so often - amazingly - one turns out to be true. Who would have guessed you could actually find Aeris' ghost or that the Japanese-only hidden monster Test-0 was for real? Such revelations gave credence to all other rumors, because if one hoax was true, any of them could be true, right?
A next-generation remake was one of Final Fantasy 7's longest-running rumors. Now it's becoming reality, but why stop there? Square Enix has announced "dramatic change" for the remake. This is the perfect opportunity to give a nod and a wink to the fan community that made FF7 such as beloved success. Here are seven of FF7's most infamous rumors, reworked so that they fit seamlessly into the game.
"You can find and equip Sephiroth's weapon."
The rumors: Sephiroth's hilariously oversized blade, the Masamune, will (not) be yours if you complete one of two tasks. Either earn 10,000 points on the roller coaster ride in Gold Saucer - which is about 2000 points higher than anyone has ever earned ever - or obtain an impossible five pieces of Mythril from an old man who only gives out two no matter how many times you ask. But while the real deal may be unobtainable, a useless Masamune Replica can be won at the Gold Saucer as a consolation prize.
Making it work: It becomes apparent partway through Final Fantasy 7 that Sephiroth no longer needs his signature sword. When you finally fight him at the end, he's a world-shattering super angel who wields supernovas; he doesn't need a fancy sword. Rebalancing the Masamune and having it replace - or surpass - Cloud's Ultima Weapon would add some delicious irony when you finally cut Sephiroth down with his own blade.
"Have you fought Turquoise Weapon yet?"
The rumors: Towards the end of Final Fantasy 7 you have the option of fighting two super bosses: Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon. Both are extremely difficult fights designed to test the most dedicated players, but if you listened to the rumors, they were just the tip of the super boss iceberg: Onyx, Sapphire, and Turquoise (my White Whale) were all supposedly hiding out in the game as well. Turquoise Weapon was rumored to be patrolling the coastline near Costa del Soul. 'Just keep an eye out for its tentacle,' they said. 'You'll see its tentacle waving around in the shallow water,' they said.
Making it work: Square already introduced a few new Weapons in FF7's tie-in games Before Crisis and Dirge of Cerberus. Readapting those creatures as new boss encounters for FF7 would be a fun way to acknowledge these side stories - even if it would screw with the canon a bit. Perhaps you could just explain it away by saying the planet reforged these Weapons. Crazier things have happened.
"Yes, you can ABSOLUTELY join the Turks."
The rumors: I hoped beyond hope this rumor was true. I think we all did. Who wouldn't want to join the Turks, with their cool suits and smooth theme music? All you had to do was learn where they were hiding out in Midgar after the train tunnel encounter, talk to them, and they'd ask you to join their crew. Or maybe you had to talk to them before the tunnel encounter. Or maybe it wasn't Midgar, it was someplace else. At any rate, I'm sure they're out there, waiting for you.
Making it work: Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII lets you do exactly this. It's an episodic mobile game only released in Japan that serves as a prequel to Final Fantasy 7 starring the Turks. Since that itch has already been scratched, it's unlikely we'll see a join-the-Turks side quest pop up in FF7, so instead here's an easy alternative: costumes. Sweet, stylish suits and ties for the whole party, perfect for putting down monsters in style. I wouldn't be surprised if this was already planned to be in some pre-order bundle.
"My cousin knows how to make Sephiroth join your team."
The rumors: Your cousin is wrong, because FF7 biggest bad won't join your team (outside of that one flashback). Even so, this rumor has spawned many variations, my favorite involving two Sephiroths. Sephy A is the one Cloud "killed" five years ago, and Sephy B is the one you're fighting in the present day. Sephy A will join you if you return to Nibelheim with Tifa, encounter an ex-Shinra employee (with a 1-in-50 chance of appearing), purchase a special key from him, enter Jenova's chamber inside the Nibelheim reactor, and finally meet Sephy A. Oh, and if you don't see that ex-Shinra employee the first time, just keep returning until he shows up. It'll happen, eventually.
Making it work: Sephiroth joining your team makes zero sense, but I have a compromise. Sephiroth does join your party during Cloud's Nibelheim flashback, but only for a single battle. Let's expand that section so that we're spending more time with Sephiroth out in the field. This would let players not only enjoy wielding the one-winged angel, but also learn more about his personality before he becomes a world-ending psychopath.
"I know what the 1/35 Soldiers are for."
The rumors: The 1/35 Soldiers are a collection of useless figurines that can be found around Junon or won at Speed Square. They do nothing, and in that absence several rumors have rushed in to fill the void. One states that by collecting all 12 you can display them in your house in Costa del Sol. Another says you can cash them in (along with some other items) for a refurbished Tiny Bronco that can fly, or to unlock an extra unit in the Fort Condor minigame. But alas, the only thing these figures actually do is take up inventory space.
Making it work: Collectibles are one of gaming's most sacred traditions. Including one in your game and not having it amount to something is truly sinful. They could be reworked to represent prominent SOLDIERs in the FF7 universe, like poor old Angeal, and be scattered all over the game world. Collect all 12 and face off against Angeal Penance, or some other holdover from Crisis Core.
"Want the Supernova materia? You'll need a silver Chocobo."
The rumors: The best fake rumors are built on the backs of other fake rumors, such as this method for obtaining Supernova. Its starts with a Silver Chocobo, which you might get by breeding two S-class Chocobos together. That'll never happen, but once it does, ride the Silver Chocobo underwater and fight Alpha-Leviathan. Defeat it and it'll drop the Supernova materia. Simple, right?
Making it work: I think we can go ahead and safely scratch the Supernova materia. Cloud and friends already have one rare materia whose attacks animations goes on way too long. However, expanding the Chocobo racing/breeding system to include new Chocobo types with new abilities would be fun. You certainly end up racing against a lot of different colored Chocobos, so why not let us breed a few for ourselves?
"You can revive Aeris."
The rumors: We've finally arrived at the apex, the creme de la creme of FF7 deception: Aeris. The fact that such a prominent character dies so early into the game led many (if not all) of us to suspect there must be a way - a way, dammit - to bring her back. And in our desperation, we turned to some very far-fetched rumors. Rumors involving leveling the Revive materia beyond its limit (twice), obtaining the Holy materia, believing a supposed member of the development team, and too many others to recount here. Needless to say, it was all for naught. Aeris will never rise from the bottom of that lake.
Making it work: Aeris' death is basically the cornerstone of Final Fantasy 7, and one of the most dramatic moments in gaming. Overturning it would be an insult. Instead, it should be presented as a sort of 'What if?' scenario. What if the FF7 remake included a new game+, and at the end of that mode you could complete some esoteric series of steps, revive a powered-up Aeris, and have her join you for the game's final act? Placing this at the end would keep script rewrites to a minimum, and being part of a new game+ separates it from established canon.