Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth's Barret actor on playing the original JRPG: "This is awesome - I've never seen a Black character in an RPG!"

Barret Wallace in a screenshot from Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth
(Image credit: Square Enix)

John Eric Bentley - the actor behind machinegun-armed party member Barret Wallace in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth - has dished on the character's role in the upcoming sequel and his thoughts on the original's depiction. 

When asked about his history with Barret and the world of Gaia, in an interview on the Square Enix website, the actor reveals he's played the original. "I'm playing the game, and I'm like: 'Oh, there's a Black character!' This is awesome - I've never seen a Black character in an RPG," says Bentley. "And then I'm like: 'Oh surely he's about to die' - and he didn't! And I'm like: 'Oh, I'm hooked!'"

Barret has changed dramatically since his polygonal days more than two decades ago, and Bentley is intent on updating his performance to match. "I wanted to make sure that when I portrayed Barret, he wasn't a caricature," the actor continues, as he wanted the audience to see more than "an angry Black man who, like the polygon figures, shook when he got mad."

Bentley partly added new layers to an old character through his relationship with other party members: "Especially with his relationship with Marlene, and the team, and even more so with Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith." Bentley glazes over the character's "fatherly" relationship with Tifa, his leadership over Jessie and Wedge, and his newfound bromance with Red XIII, which should be one of the sequel's most exciting additions. 

In regard to Rebirth, specifically, the team will apparently dive deeper into Barret's sort of sad backstory. "A lot of questions will get answered," Bentley teases, before sharing that the character goes through some "heavy" things in the game.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth should be no stranger to heaviness and heartbreak since the studio keeps teasing fans over the original's most tragic scene. We'll need to wait for the game to release on February 29 before we see anything traumatizing ourselves, though.

Elsewhere, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s director said that Part 3 of the remake trilogy is making progress

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.