New Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth trailer further fuels a wild - but plausible - fan theory

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth hero Cloud shown against purple light
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Fans are digging into the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth trailer for clues about where the Remake saga heads next, and the possibilities are just as out there as I was hoping for.

For the benefit of those needing a reminder, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is a largely faithful retelling of part of the original. I say 'largely', as this time we sporadically see spectres – called Whispers – who ensure fate flows correctly. Remake ends with a heap of those arbiters of time getting clobbered, which means all bets are off as to where we're going over the next two games in the trilogy. 

Some fans have also taken the ending as a meta-narrative from Square Enix to those worried that the remake wouldn't be a simple graphical update. After all, when the remake was first revealed, the trailer's narrator said, "The reunion at hand may bring joy, it may bring fear. But let us embrace whatever it brings." 

All of that context is important to keep in mind when viewing the new Final Fantasy Rebirth trailer and what fans are theorizing about it. One of the biggest teases from the end of Remake is that Zack Fair is still alive. As both the Soldier that Cloud thinks he is and a love interest of Aerith before she met the brooding blonde, you can imagine what kind of difficulties that throws up.

The start of the new trailer depicts shots of Midgar following the events of Remake, though this time Aerith, Tifa, Barret, and Red 13 are being stretchered away. It's interesting when you remember that the post-credits scene of the Intermission DLC sees Zack rushing back to Aerith's church only to find people in mourning – significant as that's where he was headed at the end of the prequel game Final Fantasy 7 Crisis Core, which itself got a remaster last year, before he met his end.

Considering Cloud isn't among them, and that we've seen the party alive and well elsewhere in this trailer and others, fans reckon the ending of Remake has resulted in a timeline where Zack lives and Cloud never joined Avalanche as a result, leading the group to fail to beat the final boss of the previous game. How Aeirth would end up with the group without Cloud requires some explanation, but it's a sound enough bet that she might make her way to them some by some other route. Another fan thinks that's just one of two timelines we've created, which explains why Cloud is seen elsewhere with the classic party.

Continuing the links to Zack and Crisis Core, there's also this shot of Sephiroth on the phone saying, "Please, pick up". Who he's phoning is up for interpretation, though plenty assume it's Gackt – someone else who died in the prequel game. Alongside another Soldier called Angeal, the trio enjoy a friendly rivalry while working with Shinra before going rogue. 

Choice bits of dialogue have also thrown up more theories, and plenty don't point to a happy ending for Tifa. Sephiroth says, "You know I killer her, so who is she?" That comes after we see the baddie slice Tifa with his blade, so fans theorise that Sephiroth is trying to convince Cloud that Tifa is an imposter. The Japanese trailer is reportedly more direct about 'her' being Tifa.

"This is genius! Tifa will question Cloud on Nibelheim and he'll be manipulated by Sephiroth, thinking she's a fake," a fan says.

How fatal Tifa's wound is remains to be seen. She does end up hurt in the original game, so it could be a matter of the visual upgrade of the segment teasing something that isn't there, or we could be getting a cruel twist on Aerith's demise in the original – for the sake of the CloTi stans, I certainly hope not.

So what does all this fan speculation tell us about Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth? Simple. It's Kingdom Hearts now. 

Jokes aside, all your questions will be properly answered when Final Fantasy Rebirth releases early next year.

Deputy News Editor

Iain joins the GamesRadar team as Deputy News Editor following stints at PCGamesN and PocketGamer.Biz, with some freelance for Kotaku UK, RockPaperShotgun, and VG24/7 thrown in for good measure. When not helping Ali run the news team, he can be found digging into communities for stories – the sillier the better. When he isn’t pillaging the depths of Final Fantasy 14 for a swanky new hat, you’ll find him amassing an army of Pokemon plushies.