Final Fantasy VII is a role-playing game developed by Squaresoft (now known as Square Enix) and originally released for PlayStation in 1997. Square also published the game in Japan, but its release in North America and Europe was handled by Sony Computer Entertainment. The story follows Cloud Strife, an aloof mercenary hired by an eco-terrorist group known as AVALANCHE. This tiny resistance group struggles to protect their world (referred to simply as "the Planet" or "Gaia") from ruthless exploitation by the megacorporation Shinra, pitting the ex-SOLDIER Cloud and his companions against Shinra's heavily armed security forces.
Final Fantasy VII is generally credited for popularizing the role-playing genre outside of Japan, thanks in part to its extensive use of pre-rendered cutscenes, and its overwhelming critical and commercial success helped to pave the way for the rise of cinematic storytelling in the video game industry. Because the game's pre-rendered video content requires a significant amount of storage space, the PlayStation release of Final Fantasy VII consists of three discs which are swapped-between at certain points over the course of the story.
Final Fantasy VII has also been acknowledged for boosting sales of the PlayStation, helping to cement Sony's dominant position over other fifth-generation console manufacturers. This was especially true in the case of Nintendo 64, as Final Fantasy VII first began development in 1994 as a Nintendo platform exclusive. However, due to the technical limitations and higher manufacturing costs associated with the N64's cartridge-based format, the game's development was eventually transitioned to Sony's PlayStation hardware, causing a rift between Square and Nintendo that put an end to their working relationship for several years afterward.
Final Fantasy VII's opening cinematic depicts the disc-shaped city of Midgar, an industrialized dystopia built atop the convergence of several older villages (now known only as "Sectors") and powered by convenient Mako energy. The city is controlled by the Shinra Electric Power Company, an oppressive megacorporation headquartered in Midgar that leverages their global monopoly on basic utilities, as well as a powerful standing military, in order to exert their authority over much of the world's population. Shinra's Mako reactors create power by extracting "Lifestream," the physical form of the Planet's spiritual energy, directly out of the earth. Their unchecked harvesting and conversion of Lifestream into expendable Mako energy has led to widespread ecological decay, potentially threatening all life on the Planet.
The story follows detached ex-SOLDIER member Cloud Strife, a mercenary seeking employment in Midgar. He is hired by the tiny resistance group AVALANCHE, who set out to destroy Shinra's Mako reactors with guerrilla strikes in an attempt to slow the Planet's decay. Although their first two bombing missions succeed, Cloud is separated from his companions by a Shinra trap and falls into the Sector 5 slums located beneath a section of Midgar's upper plate. Here he meets a flower girl named Aerith Gainsborough, and after Cloud saves her from capture by the elite Shinra operatives known as the Turks, Aerith decides to accompany Cloud on his way back to AVALANCHE's hideout in Sector 7's slums. However, Shinra forces soon track down and eliminate most of the rebels by dropping an entire section of Midgar's upper plate onto Sector 7's slums, killing many innocent civilians in the process. Aerith is also abducted by Shinra during the attack. President Shinra believes that Aerith possesses special powers as the last surviving Cetra, and that she will help secure his company's future by leading Shinra to the mythical "Promised Land," allegedly a source of boundless Mako energy.
Surviving AVALANCHE members Tifa Lockhart and Barret Wallace join Cloud as he climbs up Midgar's supports to reach the towering Shinra Building at the city's center, where Aerith is being held as a test subject by the twisted Professor Hojo. After infiltrating Shinra headquarters and rescuing Aerith (as well as Red XIII, another test subject), Cloud reaches the top floor and discovers President Shinra's corpse with a long katana embedded in his back.
Cloud and Tifa both recognize the sword as belonging to Sephiroth, Cloud's former commander in SOLDIER. Both party members are surprised by Sephiroth's appearance in Midgar, since he was declared "missing in action" and presumed dead after suddenly going rogue and razing Cloud's hometown of Nibelheim during a mission five years earlier. Escaping from the Shinra Building, Cloud's party leaves Midgar and chases after Sephiroth in order to prevent him from reaching the so-called Promised Land, as well as to take vengeance for Nibelheim's destruction.
As Cloud and company pursue Sephiroth across the Planet, they eventually learn that Lifestream is not only the source of all life, but also acts as a sort of planetary immune system. When their world is severely "injured" by a cataclysmic event, an abundance of Lifestream energy coalesces around the injury to "heal" the Planet. It is revealed that Sephiroth plans to cause just such a catastrophe by summoning Meteor to crash into the Planet, allowing him to absorb the enormous amount of Lifestream energy gathered at the point of impact and gain the powers of a god. Sephiroth also brings to light a series of unsettling revelations about Cloud's past, causing Cloud to question his own memories and even his identity as an individual.
Although the game's audiovisual presentation is significantly updated, Final Fantasy VII hews fairly close to its role-playing precursors in terms of core gameplay. Players explore a large world with their party of one or more playable characters, fighting enemies in turn-based battles (many of which occur via random encounters) and interacting with NPCs via text-based dialogue. However, unlike its 2D predecessors in the same series, Final Fantasy VII is not strictly limited to an overhead perspective while exploring environments such as towns or dungeons, and often uses different fixed camera angles in the prerendered backgrounds that make up these areas. The game's discrete locales are connected by a fully 3D world map, and the battle screen is also rendered with full polygonal graphics.
Combat employs an updated form of the same Active Time Battle system first introduced in Final Fantasy IV. By default, enemies will continue to attack regardless of whether any commands have been issued to party characters, requiring players to act quickly in executing their battle strategies. The maximum party size for Final Fantasy VII is limited to three characters, with main protagonist Cloud typically locked-in as a mandatory party member.
One of Final Fantasy VII's most notable new gameplay features is the Materia system. Throughout the game, the player's party can collect spheres of crystallized Mako called "Materia" containing the essence of magic, with a total of eighty-three different varieties of Materia in all. Most of the game's equippable weapons and armor feature slots into which Materia can be inserted, granting the wearer powerful spells or other special abilities. Just as in previous Final Fantasy titles, using spells and certain abilities in battle also requires MP.
By wearing equipped Materia into battle, it can gain Ability Points (or "AP") and level-up just like a playable character, potentially unlocking new and stronger abilities. Once a single piece of Materia reaches its maximum level, it is "Mastered" and produces a copy of itself, which can be equipped and leveled-up in the same way. Certain pieces of equipment feature double or even triple "growth rates" for AP, allowing the wielder to level-up equipped Materia more quickly. Conversely, equipment with zero growth rates or even a total lack of Materia slots can also be found.
Some equipment features pairs of "linked" Materia slots, which can allow compatible types of Materia to be paired together for increased effectiveness. For example, pairing a "Lightning" Materia with an "All" Materia allows the wearer to strike all enemies simultaneously with the elemental "Bolt" spell in a single turn. Certain advanced combinations of Materia can also be used by linking multiple copies of the same Materia (all equipped on the same character) to other compatible Materia types, often to devastating effect. For example, if a character pairs a "Lightning" Materia with "All" and a second copy of "Lightning" with "HP Absorb," they will be able to cast "Bolt" on all foes while simultaneously regaining HP based on a percentage of the total damage inflicted.
There are five different color-coded categories of usable Materia in Final Fantasy VII: Magic (green), Command (yellow), Summon (red), Support (blue) and Independent (purple).
Green-colored Materia allows the wielder to cast magic, including healing, damage-dealing or status-inducing spells. With the exception of "Master Magic," equipping Magic Materia also affects the wearer's attributes, typically lowering physically oriented stats such as Strength and HP while boosting Magic and MP.
Several varieties of Magic Materia have associated elemental or status-effect properties, which can be only be utilized when the Materia is paired with either the "Elemental" or "Added Effect" Support Materia. While active on a weapon, these properties can add Elemental damage types to standard Attacks or gain a chance to inflict status effects; conversely, their presence on armor increases the wearer's resistance to the paired Elemental damage type or grants immunity to the paired status effect.
Added Effect: Stop, Petrify, Confusion
Added Effect: Death
*Note: Instant kill versus Undead
Added Effect: Confusion, Berserk
Elemental: Poison | Added Effect: Poison
*Note: Deals damage against Undead
*Note: Instant kill versus Undead (Life 25% chance, Life2 100% chance)
Added Effect: Sleep, Silence
*Note: Incompatible with "All" Materia
Added Effect: Slow, Stop
Added Effect: Small, Frog
*Note: Multi-target; incompatible with "All" Materia
*Note: This Materia does not gain AP or levels
*Note: This Materia does not gain AP or levels
*Note: HypnoCrown accessory increases Manip. chance to 100% unless target is immune
*Note: Characters may only mimic their own Limit Breaks
*Note: Enemies with over 30,000 HP are immune to Sense
*Note: Replaces the Attack command; Flash replaces Slash-All at Lv.2
*Note: Mug replaces Steal at Lv.2; success rate depends on character's level versus target's level
*Note: Replaces the Item command
*Note: Replaces the Magic command
*Note: Replaces the Summon command
*Note: This Materia does not gain AP or levels
Red-colored Materia allows summoned creatures to be called during battle for a variety of effects, which usually target all enemies or allies simultaneously. Summon Materia alters the wielder's attributes, typically lowering physically oriented stats such as Strength and HP while boosting Magic and MP. The number of times that a given Summon can be used in a single battle is equal to the Summon Materia's current level (i.e., Shiva can be summoned once per battle at level one, twice at level two, etc.). With the exception of the "Master Summon" Materia (which does not gain AP or levels), every Summon Materia becomes Mastered at level five.
As with Magic Materia, several varieties of Summon Materia have associated elemental or status-effect properties that can be applied to equipment, which can be only be utilized when the Materia is paired with either the "Elemental" or "Added Effect" Support Materia. While active on a weapon, these properties can add Elemental damage types to standard Attacks or gain a chance to inflict status effects; conversely, their presence on armor increases the wearer's resistance to the paired Elemental damage type or grants immunity to the paired status effect.
*Note: Summon uses one of two abilities; usually DeathBlow!!, with 6.25% chance for Fat Chocobo instead
Added Effect: Poison, Sleep, Confusion, Silence, Frog, Small
|Knights of Round|
Added Effect: Death
*Note: This Materia does not gain AP or levels
Blue-colored Materia can be paired with Magic, Command or Summon Materia in order to enhance their capabilities. Support Materia is only effective when paired with a compatible Materia type in pieces of equipment featuring linked Materia slots.
|Causes character to Attack target after paired Materia is used; multi-target abilities select one random target||Magic Materia, Summon Materia, Deathblow, Manipulate, Mime, Morph, Sense, Steal, Throw, Master Command|
|Equip on weapon to inflict paired statuses with ~20% of standard Attacks; equip on armor to gain immunity to paired statuses||Contain, Destruct, Mystify, Poison, Seal, Time, Transform, Hades, Odin|
|Allows paired Magic Materia to target all enemies/allies at two-thirds normal power; Materia level indicates total number of available uses per battle||Barrier, Destruct, Earth, Fire, Gravity, Heal, Ice, Lightning, Mystify, Poison, Restore, Revive, Seal, Time, Transform, Master Magic|
|Chance to counter with paired Command Materia when attacked; activation rate increases with Materia level||Deathblow, Manipulate, Mime, Morph, Sense, Steal, Throw, Master Command|
|Halves/nullifies/absorbs damage from paired Materia Element when equipped on armor; adds paired Materia Element to standard Attacks when equipped on weapon||Earth, Fire, Gravity, Ice, Lightning, Poison, Alexander, Choco/Mog, Ifrit, Phoenix, Ramuh, Shiva, Titan, Typoon|
|Uses paired Materia if character is inflicted with Death; Materia level indicates total number of available uses per battle||Magic Materia, Summon Materia, Deathblow, Manipulate, Mime, Morph, Sense, Steal, Throw, Master Command|
|HP Absorb||Lv.2/100,000||Absorbs 10% of damage dealt by paired Materia as HP; if enemy is healed by the action, character is damaged instead||Magic Materia, Summon Materia, Deathblow, Manipulate, Mime, Morph, Sense, Steal, Throw, Master Command|
|Chance to counter with paired Magic/Summon Materia when attacked; activation rate increases with Materia level||Magic Materia, Summon Materia|
|MP Absorb||Lv.2/100,000||Absorbs 1% of damage dealt by paired Materia as MP; if enemy is healed by the action, character MP is reduced instead|
|Spell power and MP cost are both raised by a certain percentage for paired Materia; percentage increases with Materia level||Magic Materia, Summon Materia|
|Spells on paired Materia can be cast four times per turn at half power; Materia level indicates total number of available uses per battle||Magic Materia, Summon Materia (except Knights of Round)|
|Chance to preemptively use paired Materia at the start of battle; activation rate increases with Materia level|
|Steal as Well||Lv.2/200,000||Causes character to Steal from target after paired Materia is used; multi-target abilities select one random target|
Purple-colored Materia grant passive support abilities to the wearer, but unlike Support Materia, they don't need to be paired with other types of Materia to be effective.
|Attracts Chocobos; Lure rating increases with Materia level; stackable||Luck+1|
|Chance to counter with Attack command when attacked; activation rate increases with Materia level||N/A|
|Chance to take physical damage in place of allies; activation rate increases with Materia level||Vit +1|
|Reduces encounter rate by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||Luck+1|
|Increases encounter rate by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||Luck-1|
|Increases equipped character's experience points gained after battle by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||Luck+1|
|Increases Gil gained after battle by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||Luck+1|
|HP<->MP||Lv.2/80,000||Swaps HP and MP levels; MP cap increases to 9,999, while HP is capped at 999||N/A|
|Increases maximum HP by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||N/A|
|Long Range||Lv.2/80,000||Removes Back Row penalties on character's standard Attacks; all commands can hit out-of-range targets||N/A|
|Increases Luck by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||N/A|
|Increases Magic by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||N/A|
|"All" effect available on all spells and commands; Materia level indicates total number of available uses per ability per battle; does not apply to E.Skill or natively multi-target abilities||N/A|
|Increases maximum MP by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||N/A|
|Increases pre-emptive attack rate by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||N/A|
|Increases Dexterity by a certain percentage, which increases with Materia level||N/A|
|Underwater||N/A||Removes timer on underwater battles (specifically against Emerald Weapon); does not gain AP or levels||N/A|
Cloud Strife, 21, lives the life of a mercenary for hire. Due to his experience as an ex-member of SOLDIER, a group of elite fighters affiliated with Shinra, his fighting skills are in high demand. The game opens soon after Cloud has joined a rebel group called AVALANCHE. With Cloud's help, AVALANCHE has plotted an attack on a Mako Reactor situated within the confines of Midgar.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Cross Slash||Climhazzard||Finishing Touch|
Barret Wallace, 35, is the leader of the rebel group AVALANCHE. The sole purpose of the group is to stop Shinra's Mako Reactors from sucking up Mako. Their quest is to save the planet, but because of his determination to dismantle Shinra he is portrayed to be abandoning his daughter Marlene. His motives are unclear, but it is believed that he holds Shinra responsible for the death of his wife.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Big Shot||Grenade Bomb||Satellite Beam||Catasrophe|
Tifa is a 20 year old fighter. Tifa and Cloud were friends during their childhoods but eventually separated when Cloud had dreams of joining Shinra's elite, SOLDIER. When Tifa's parents died she had to leave her hometown Nibelheim, and later headed to Midgar. The first thing she did when reaching Midgar was open a bar called 7th Heaven. It was in Midgar that she met Barrett and ultimately joined the rebel group AVALANCHE. When she reunites with Cloud, she persuades him to join AVALANCHE and makes sure to keep an eye on him during their first mission attacking the Mako Reactor.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Beat Rush||Waterkick||Dolphin Blow||Final Heaven|
Aeris Gainsborough ("Aerith" in Japan) is 22 years old and lived in Midgar selling flowers in the slums below the Mako Reactor that was AVALACHE's first mission target. Aeris sells Cloud flowers early in the game and a chance encounter brings them back together later on. Her background is very mysterious and is apparently intertwined with Shinra as she was pursued by them most of her life. As the mystery of her past unwinds, Aeris must fight against those pursuing her and, most importantly, destroy what she holds most dear.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Healing Wind||Breath of the Earth||Planet Protector||Great Gospel|
|Seal Wind||Fury Brand||Pulse of Life|
Red XIII, 48, may seem like a wild animal with his fiery red fur and his bestial form. Despite this, he has a very high intellect; well above that of most humans. Red XIII's origins are unclear but when the party first encounters him at Shinra HQ he is being held captive as a test subject by Professor Hojo, a Shinra scientist.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Sled Fang||Blood Fang||Howling Moon||Cosmo Memory|
|Lunatic High||Stardust Ray||Earth Rave|
Cait Sith is first encountered during the party's visit to the Golden Saucer where he tries to impress Cloud and the others using his fortune telling abilities. He joins the party with great enthusiasm. It is unclear what his origins and motives are but he seems happy enough trying to make his fortune as a traveling soothsayer.
|Level 1||Level 2|
Cid Highwind, 32, is first encountered during the party's journey to Rocket Town. Cid is an expert pilot who dreams to be the first man in space. His dream was in reach but he was grounded due to a slight obstacle, aborting the launch in order to save one of his crew members. He now spends his days trying to repair the damaged space shuttle that was his ticket to fulfilling his dreams. He hopes Shinra (who funded the original project) will one day reinstate the space program giving him another chance to reach the stars.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Boost Jump||Hyper Jump||Dragon Dive||Highwind|
Yuffie Kisaragi (optional character) is 16 years old and is a ninja who spends most days on the hunt for Materia. Her preferred method includes preying on helpless travelers and either stealing or tricking them into giving her Materia. This changes when she meets Cloud and friends who are very far away from being helpless. Having clearly met her match, she decides to join AVALANCHE. One thing is certain, she will either be a valuable asset to the team or a major pain in the neck.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Greased Lightning||Landscape||Gauntlet||All Creation|
|Clear Tranquil||Bloodfest||Doom of the Living|
Vincent Valentine (optional character) is a dark and disturbed individual who has a gloomy past which he prefers to keep to himself. While he may seem like an evil person at first glance, he is actually a kind soul deep down. Vincent's pain, like almost everyone Cloud meets, is all thanks to Shinra who used him as an experiment.
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4|
|Galian Beast||Death Gigas||Hellmasker||Chaos|
Sephiroth is the antagonist in Final Fantasy VII and is widely considered one of the best villains in gaming. He was revered as the best that SOLDIER had to offer and was hailed as a hero for his service to Shinra. Sephiroth fell from grace when he discovered his true origins and the circumstances surrounding the way he was actually 'made'. While he was in the womb of Lucrecia (his mother) he was injected with Jenova cells - Jenova being an alien life form that is often mistaken as a member of the Cetra, or the first humans to have lived on the planet. When Sephiroth found out he was a creation of Shinra, he lost his mind. He assumed himself to be an Ancient as Jenova was his actual mother. With this in mind he plotted a scheme to become a god and exact his revenge on mankind. He planned to do this by calling Meteor (the black Materia) to destroy the planet. When Meteor hits the planet, the Lifestream will expel an incredible amount of energy to heal the shattered planet. Sephiroth's goal is to become one with the life energy, thus becoming a god. It is up to Cloud and his friends to stop this from happening.
Jenova is a alien life form that is considered 'Mother' by Sephiroth, the main antagnosist in Final Fantasy VII. Two thousand years before the games main events Jenova crash landed on the planet on a meteor. On the planet the Cetra, i.e. the ancients, were inhabiting at the time, Jenova used its abilities to trick the Cetra, killing them off one by one. In a desperate struggle, the remaining Cetra used all their power and locked away the life form in the Northern Crater (which was created when Jenova landed there in the first place). In the present day Jenova was rediscovered by Professor Gast and mistook as a Cetra. He used the Jenova life form in a project called 'The Jenova Project' where Jenova Cells were infused inside Lucrecia's womb. This is when Sephiroth was born. Jenova was stored at the Shinra Headquarters at the start of the game, and from there Sephiroth dragged it away and kept the head with him.
Rufus Shinra was 25 years old at the start of Final Fantasy VII. He is the son of President Shinra. When President Shinra was killed by Sephiroth at the Shinra Headquarters, Rufus Shinra took his place as the heir of the Shinra empire. He makes many appearances in the game, he wants to find the Promised Land, which Sephiroth also wants to find. This means he has interest in what Sephiroth is doing, and also Cloud and friends also.
Professor Hojo is a scientist who works for Shinra, where he uses test subjects for his sick experiements. Examples of test subjects he has used are Red XIII, Vincent Valentine and even his son, Sephiroth. Professor Hojo and Lucrecia were dating during their time in Shinra, and had a baby, called Sephiroth. He used his own unborn son as an experiment, using Jenova Cells to infuse them directly into Lucrecia's womb. His goal was to see if his own would become a Cetra, which could lead him to the Promised Land.
- Scarlet ( Shinra Co.)
Scarlet is the Head of Weapons Development for Shinra. She is most noted for her strange laugh 'Kya ha ha' which is very similar to colleges Heidegger. They both work closely with each other, both having a similar goal, but Scarlet thinking him being a total idiot.
- Heidegger ( Shinra Co.)
Heidegger is Head of Public Safety for Shinra. He is most noted for his strange laugh, similar to Scarlet's one 'Gya ha ha'. He works closely with Rufus Shinra and acts like a lap dog for him. He often slaps people Rufus Shinra hates, and also abuses his power as a Shinra Executive. He works very closely with Scarlet, even though she thinks he's a total idiot.
- Reeve ( Shinra Co.)
Reeve is aged 35 during the events of Final Fantasy VII. He is Head of Urban Development for Shinra. He actually controls the the robotic Cait Sith, which is a playable character in Final Fantasy VII. While his intentions for joining Cloud and friends was a bad one. He soon gets emotionally attached to the party, and fights alongside them, instead of against them.
- Palmer ( Shinra Co.)
Palmer is head of the Space Program for Shinra. This program was a utter failure, when Cid Highwind had to stop the launch to save a friend of his from dying. He is first encountered during a meeting that was held at Shinra Headquarters, which was being eavesdropped on by Cloud. He makes numerous appearances in Final Fantasy VII, notably at Rocket Town where he was a major boss battle wielding a Mako gun and also tries to steal to Tiny Bronco from Cloud and friends.
- Tseng (Turk)
Tseng is the leader of the Turks, a group of individuals who carry out horrible acts like theft and murder. Tseng and Aerith Gainsborough have a past, they have known each other since they were kids. Since one of the Turks' missions is to capture Aerith since she is the last remaining Ancient, he is reluctant in bringing her in. He feels she is special since her powers of the Cetra could be the planet's savior. He also has feelings for Aerith but never gets round to expressing them.
- Reno (Turk)
Reno is a part of the Turks. He works closely with Rude who act as a double team. He is known for being reckless and clumsy. He uses a electro magnetic rod in battle and is often seen gossiping. He is first encountered by Cloud at the Church where he comes to kidnap Aerith.
- Rude (Turk)
Rude is a part of the turks and is the second part of the Turk double team, the other being Reno. Rude is more of the tactician compared to Reno, he is a strong physical fighter, much like Tifa. He has feelings for Tifa during the game which he never expresses.
- Elena (Turk)
Elena is a part of the Turks. She is a newbie in the Turks, since the Turks at the time were under staffed so she was hired, because of this is is very inexperienced. She has a crush on Tseng.
Bugenhagen is aged 129 in Final Fantasy VII. He is Cosmo Canyon's village elder and is very knowledgeable. He is known as 'Granpa' by Red XIII. Obviously not by blood, but he did care for Red XIII was a child. He has a tendency to say 'Ho ho hoo' when something interests him.
- Dio ( Gold Saucer)
Dio is the owner of the Gold Saucer (a type of theme park in Final Fantasy VII). He is first encountered at the Gold Saucer where he calls Cloud 'Boy' each time they meet each other. Dio provides the party a buggy which is used to travel across the sandy plains. The buggy was a form of apology for throwing the party into Corel Prison under false pretenses. Dio stands for God in Italian, which is quite fitting since he is the owner of the Gold Saucer.
Biggs is a part of AVALANCHE, a rebel group who is trying to save the planet from Shinra by taking down the Mako Reactors. First seen at the start of the game when they take down Mako Reactor No.1.
Wedge is a part of AVALANCHE, a rebel group who is trying to save the planet from Shinra by taking down the Mako Reactors. First seen at the start of the game when they take down Mako Reactor No.1.
Jessie is a part of AVALANCHE, a rebel group who is trying to save the planet from Shinra by taking down the Mako Reactors. First seen at the start of the game when they take down Mako Reactor No.1.
Series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi noted that the game's central theme of "life" dates back to when his mother passed away while he was working on Final Fantasy III, after which he always wanted to explore the theme of "life" in a "mathematical and logical way" maybe "to overcome the mental shock" but it was not until Final Fantasy VII that he explored the theme of "life" for the first time in the series.
Soon after the release of FFVI, Square started pre-production on FFVII in 1994. The game was originally planned as a 2D game on the SNES, that was not the only major change to how the game eventually turned out. The Creator of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi originally intended for the game to take place in present day New York City. Development on the game was stalled, due to priority going over to the Chrono Trigger project that was being developed at the same time.
Development recommenced later on in 1995. The original script saw a major overview, with a detective story theme being cast aside and co-director, Yoshinori Kitase, pushed for the game to go 3D for concerns that the series would be left behind back in the 2D era. Also, it was decided to make the game for Nintendo’s next console, the N64. Though due to FFVII’s ambitious design, Square expressed concerns to Nintendo over their decision to use cartridges instead of a new format capable of storing much more information, called CD-ROM’s, on their new console. This dispute continued and led to Square announcing on the 12 of January 1996, that it would be dropping relations with Nintendo and developing FFVII on Sony’s debut console, the Playstation. A reported $45,000,000 was spent over the extent of the games development.
Development required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage 3D software. This was the largest game development team at the time, and included Japanese CG artists working alongside Hollywood CG visual effects artists, such as Ron Sabatino (see Computer and Video Games, issue 174, May 1996, pages 106-111), former British ILM artist Paul Ashdown who worked on Star Wars and Jurassic Park, and artists from Digital Domain who worked on Terminator 2 and True Lies (see here). Final Fantasy VII was the most expensive video game of its time, with a production budget of around US$45 million, equivalent to $66 million in 2015.
An early tech demo featuring Final Fantasy VI characters was unveiled in August 1995 at the SIGGRAPH show, where many incorrectly assumed it to be for the Nintendo 64. Sakaguchi stated that they were also considering the Sega Saturn and personal computer as possible platforms for the game, before eventually deciding on the PlayStation as "the right machine" for the title. In early 1996, when Final Fantasy VII was around 15% complete, Square unveiled screenshots of the game, including the characters Cloud, Barrett, Aerith and Red XIII (see Computer and Video Games, issue 174, May 1996, pages 106-111).
The game's marketing budget amounted to $100 million, equivalent to $147 million in 2015.
Final Fantasy VII was a huge commercial success. In Japan, the game moved 2.3 million units in three days. The game's demand in Japan exceeded that of the PlayStation's Japanese user base at the time.
In the game's debut weekend in North America, it sold 330,000 copies and grossed $16.5 million (equivalent to $24 million in 2015), setting an industry record and earning more than the top-grossing film G.I. Jane during Labor Day weekend. The game sold a million copies in the US in its first four months.
Final Fantasy VII is the highest selling Final Fantasy game with sales reaching over 9.8 million as of December 2005, and over 10 million by 2010. The game's success made it a killer app for the PlayStation.
|Computer and Video Games||5/5||9/10|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||38/40|
|Official PlayStation Magazine|
|PC Gamer (US)||90%|
Upon release, the game received widespread critical acclaim. In North America, GameFan called it "quite possibly the greatest game ever made," a quote which featured prominently on the back cover of the game's jewel case. Electronic Gaming Monthly's panel of four reviewers gave the game scores of 9.5 out of 10 each, adding up to 38 out of 40 overall (see Electronic Gaming Monthly, 1998 Video Game Buyer's Guide, page 72). GamePro praised the "massive world," experimentation "with spells and weapons, encounters with weird creatures," and "soap opera-ish story line", concluding it has "classic" written "all over it." In Japan, Famitsu's panel of four reviewers gave it scores of 9, 10, 9 and 10 out of 10, adding up to 38 out of 40 overall, making it their highest-rated game of the year, their highest-rated Final Fantasy game at the time, and one of their eleven highest-rated games up until 1997.
Following its European release, Edge noted, "The ‘interactive movie’ has long been a dirty term to anyone who values a playable videogame, but FFVII succeeds in coming closer than any title yet," with the "highly complex, melodramatic story and excellently orchestrated chip music" combining "to make players feel real empathy with the characters," a "task usually shied away from by the action/comedy-orientated western graphic adventures." Paul Davies of Computer and Video Games magazine described it as "truly unique" and "an incredible new era of interactive entertainment" that could "revolutionize" belief of "what a video game can achieve", with arguably "some of the best moments in entertainment history", including "excitement" and "heart-rendering" emotional scenes, concluding that, with a "thrilling" storyline "brought to life with ingenious" gameplay, the "future of PlayStation is assured by this key to the future of games." Alex C of Computer and Video Games stated that the characters "are well developed," comparing their "ups and downs" to a film, and that the "structure of the story is such that, just when you think you've seen it all, something even more awesome comes along to totally knock your socks off."
Final Fantasy VII won many Game of the Year awards for 1997. It won an Origins Award in the "Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1997" category. At the second CESA Awards (now Japan Game Awards), it won the "Grand Prize" and the "Best Scenario" and "Best Sound" awards. At the first Japan Media Arts Festival, it won the "Excellence Prize" in the "Digital Art (Interactive Art)" division.
It was also awarded the Readers' Choice awards for "All Systems Game of the Year", "PlayStation Game of the Year", "Role-Playing Game of the Year", "Best Graphics of the Year" and "Best Music of the Year" by Electronic Gaming Monthly (issue 104, March 1998, pages 100-102), as well as their Editors' Choice awards for "Role-Playing Game of the Year", "Best Graphics" (issue 104, March 1998, pages 86-96), "Hottest Video Game Babe" (for Tifa Lockheart), "Most Hype for a Game", "Best Ending", and "Best Print Ad" (1998 Video Game Buyer's Guide, pages 16-36), in addition to Readers' Choice nominations for "Most Original Game of the Year" and "Best Sound of the Year", and Editors' Choice nominations for "All Systems Game of the Year" and "PlayStation Game of the Year".
In 2013, GamePro included Final Fantasy VII in its "20 most innovative games ever made" list. They stated described it as "a classic that touched an entire genre of gaming" and "an entire generation of gamers." They also stated that its "status as an early PlayStation One exclusive gave Sony the edge it needed to compete in and eventually dominate the video game industry."
Final Fantasy VII has also often placed at or near the top of many reader polls of all-time best games. Most recently, in 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment conducted a poll with over 10,000 Japanese fans, where Final Fantasy VII was voted the second favorite PlayStation game of all time (behind Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride), the second best game that impressed "more than a movie or a novel" (behind Final Fantasy X), and the most wanted remake.
Availability on the PlayStation Network
On April 10th 2009, Final Fantasy 7 was released onto the Japanese PSN Store for 1,500 Yen. On June 3rd 2009, Final Fantasy 7 was released for the European and American PSN stores for €9.99 and $9.99 respectively. This announcement was made days before during Sony's press conference of E3 2009. June 4th Marked the release of FF7 on the UK PSN store for the price of £7.99.
PC Releases and Requirements
Final Fantasy VII was published for Windows 95 by Eidos not long after the original Playstation release, in June of 1998, coming on multiple CDs like its console counterpart did. This version was largely intact in comparison to the console release, with a few differences:
- Polygonal graphics were smoother, employing texture filtering and taking advantage of the PC's higher resolution, with a 3D accelerator.
- Pre-rendered graphics appeared grainier due to the low resolution of the renders juxtaposed with higher native resolution of computer monitors.
- Soundtrack was output in MIDI format; quality of orchestration was thus dependent on the PC's sound card (a hack was later made available to import the Playstation sound file library such that the music was rendered to sound exactly how it did on consoles).
- Localization was cleaned up, removing the poor grammar, missing words, and misspellings of the original console release.
- Game's aesthetics were moddable, thanks to homebrew hacks, such that different character models, combat areas and sound themes could be applied providing for a more modern look and feel.
Square Enix then re-released this PC version in August of 2012, exclusively from its online store as a digital download. The differences between console version and initial PC release apply with this re-release as well; in other words, backgrounds are still low-res and music is still MIDI. With this re-release, the following further changes apply:
- 36 achievements are integrated into the game.
- Character booster gives players the option to increase their character stats and money without restriction should they desire to just play through the plot (i.e. cheat through the game).
- Support for cloud saves.
- The game is no longer moddable natively and must undergo a total conversion process to the "old" version of the game in order to be modded (doing this removes the achievements, character booster, and cloud saves).
Original Windows requirements (1998)
- Windows 95 with DirectX 5.1 installed;
- Pentium 166 (without 3D accelerator card), Pentium 133 (with 3D accelerator card);
- 260MB Hard drive space (standard install), 460MB (maximum install);
- 32MB RAM;
- 100% DirectX 5.1 compatible SVGA video card;
- 100% Windows 95 compatible 4x CD-ROM drive;
- 100% DirectX 5.1 compatible sound card configured to playback digital and MIDI audio.
Re-release Windows Requirements (2012)
- Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 (32/64-bit)
- At least 2GHz CPU
- At least 1GB RAM
- DirectX 9-compatible GPU
An iOS port of Final Fantasy VII was released on August 20, 2015. It requires an iPhone 5S, iPad 3, or iPad Mini 2 running at least iOS 8.0 with 4GB of free space. Aside from control optimisation for touch devices, the iOS release also includes a maximum stats setting and the ability to disable all non-scripted combat encounters. Using these two features together allows players to experience the story without level grinding and frequent encounters.
Final Fantasy VII is a popular game in the series, and due to this rumours of a remake to the next generation consoles was imminent. In 2005 at the Sony E3 Press Conference, Square-Enix showed of a tech demo showing the opening intro sequence of the game on the PS3. Due to this a lot of buzz was being created around the subject, and individuals were getting excited at the notion of a remake.
Soon after Square Enix made an official statement clearly stating that there are no plans for a remake to hit the stores any time soon. There has been even more speculation from the game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII that was released late 2007, which depicted the characters Zack and Cloud in CG scenes towards the end of the game. To add to this, during the end credits it stated 'To be continued in FINAL FANTASY VII'.
The remake was confirmed at the 2015 Square-Enix E3 press conference. Final Fantasy VII Remake was released worldwide for PlayStation 4 on April 10, 2020 as a timed platform-exclusive. Xbox One and PC versions are expected to be released sometime in 2021.
Due to the popularity of the original Final Fantasy VII game released in 1997, Square Enix have released other forms of media based of the world the original game was set in, using the same characters and places as reference points. First of which is the movie Advent Children released in 2006, which was a CGI film based years after the events of the original game. Next was the game Dirge of Cerberus released in 2006 on the Playstation 2, which describes the story of optional character Vincent Valentine. It takes place before Advent Children and describes his relationship with Lucrecia Crescent (Sephiroth's mother) in detail. Next was the game Crisis Core released in 2007 for the Playstation Portable. It takes place before the original Final Fantasy VII, with the main protagonist being Zack Fair. Zack had a intimate relationship with Aerith Gainsborough and was best friends with Cloud. It shows the story of his struggle and also how Cloud ended up in Midgar for the start of Final Fantasy VII. Relating to the game Crisis Core, there also was a OVA (original video animation) of the stories of Zack and Cloud, and how they managed to end up in Midgar. It is a 25 minute video which basically shows the ending the Crisis Core in anime form. The ending for Crisis Core was different from the Last Order OVA which was released first.