SPOILERS LTD Remake — It's like New Coke except ... no, it's exactly like New Coke

Eerie

Fire and Blood
Hi Ryu, long time no see! I was reading a lot of the first and bit of the second LTD threads here for the past few days, and I was thinking about how you only showed up once in a while now XD For the rings, I think Cloud gave his to Denzel, and Barret also has one. I still don't know why Marlene hasn't gotten one, but it seems to me to indicate that at first, it was a form of the extended family with Barret, and Cloud giving his to Denzel probably to make him feel more like a part of the family, since he's a late addition. Hard to tell since they didn't dwelve on this at all - I wish they did! Also because Marlene hasn't got one, I kind of wished that it's her who gave them the idea, to bind her three parents to her.

Also forgot to say that these old threads kind of gave me the intention of writing a long comparison post between the OG and Remake that will probably end up here even though it will have non-LT elements - but it will be central to how romance is handled in Remake.
 

Ahkseum

Lv. 1 Adventurer
Alright, new guy here. Who is winning now?

At this point of the remake...
Who loves Cloud more?
Who does Cloud love?
If Cloud loves both, who does he love more?
 
Hi, welcome to the forums!

At this point of the remake...
Who loves Cloud more?
Who does Cloud love?
Is clearly his mother, Claudia. Sephiroth taunts him with her dying words and he even dreams of his time with her after meeting Elmyra. He misses her dearly and is shown multiple times.

(At this point of the story he doesn't remember his crush for Tifa and he barely knows Aerith...)
 

KindOfBlue

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Blue
Alright, new guy here. Who is winning now?

At this point of the remake...
Who loves Cloud more?
Who does Cloud love?
If Cloud loves both, who does he love more?
Cloud has been crushing on Tifa for years but his memories of those feelings are all jumbled up at the moment, some of those feelings seem to seep through in his current state and at the same time he’s showing signs of attraction to Aerith but ultimately, there’s a lot more going on right now than who Cloud wants to do the nasty with. I don’t imagine we’ll end up in a place that’s too different than where the OG goes in that regard, but that remains to be seen.
 

Ahkseum

Lv. 1 Adventurer
User warned: Trolling
So who won in OG?

Surely someone's winning in the REMAKE too. Even if Cloud is confused, one of the girls must like him more than the other. It can't possibly be a perfect stalemate. Can it?
 

KindOfBlue

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Blue
So who won in OG?

Surely someone's winning in the REMAKE too. Even if Cloud is confused, one of the girls must like him more than the other. It can't possibly be a perfect stalemate. Can it?
Depends on how you define winning I guess, but the only way Aerith could’ve “won” after disc 1 of the OG is if somehow Cloud pledged some sort of exclusivity to Aerith and rejected Tifa which definitely didn’t happen, so I wouldn’t call it a matter of winning or losing but rather a matter of opportunity
 

Lex

Administrator
So who won in OG?

Surely someone's winning in the REMAKE too. Even if Cloud is confused, one of the girls must like him more than the other. It can't possibly be a perfect stalemate. Can it?
You're treading on thin ice with your two post account and dodgy LTD-only posts.
 

Ryeleigh

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
Rye
Cloud has been crushing on Tifa for years but his memories of those feelings are all jumbled up at the moment, some of those feelings seem to seep through in his current state and at the same time he’s showing signs of attraction to Aerith . . .
I know your comment is a bit old, but I'm curious: in what moments do you think Cloud showed signs of attraction to Aerith? To me the only moment he seemed to be aware of her as the opposite sex was during the dress reveal. Other than that they gave (me) an almost sibling vibe; in that Japanese media way that Aerith is the ditzy flirty big sister type and Cloud is the long-suffering little brother who yells at her to put her freaking pants on.

(Which, just to reiterate, is how they seemed like to me. I'm not trying say it's correct or debate it, I'm just curious to hear what others saw.)
 
I definitely got the same vibes as KindofBlue, and when I played the original game I was a idiot teenager diehard Cloti who disliked Aerith.

I got the sense Cloud has the connection to Tifa, and is attracted to her, but because his brain and identity is a soup right now, something probably feels weird and off about it.

Meanwhile Aerith is a pretty girl who is hitting on him with apparently (at first) no strings attached, of course that's gonna seem appealing.

I mostly got those vibes in the walk across the rooftops, as well as the whole hi-five back and forth, plus ofc the dress reveal. He fancies her, it makes sense for his character at that point in the story to fancy her. Things with Tifa are deeper, but also a lot more confusing/threatening to his sense of self.

Or that's how I see it at the point we currently are at in remake.

Alternatively:
Everyone is in a perfectly happy polyamorous triad and nothing hurts
 
I know your comment is a bit old, but I'm curious: in what moments do you think Cloud showed signs of attraction to Aerith?
I know the question was not directed to me, but if I may answer, I would say Aerith's resolution was pretty romantic, even from Cloud's end, that is IF I didn't know better (there is a lot of context involved, which has yet to be addressed).
 

Ryeleigh

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
Rye
I know the question was not directed to me, but if I may answer, I would say Aerith's resolution was pretty romantic, even from Cloud's end, that is IF I didn't know better (there is a lot of context involved, which has yet to be addressed).
Oh, right. I kind of forgot that Aerith's resolution could be seen as romantic because my initial reaction was: "Ooookay you crazy person I've known approximately for two hours", lol XD After that initial reaction, it felt like meta-commentary to the player.

But anyway, thanks for the replies!
 

KindOfBlue

Pro Adventurer
AKA
Blue
I know your comment is a bit old, but I'm curious: in what moments do you think Cloud showed signs of attraction to Aerith? To me the only moment he seemed to be aware of her as the opposite sex was during the dress reveal. Other than that they gave (me) an almost sibling vibe; in that Japanese media way that Aerith is the ditzy flirty big sister type and Cloud is the long-suffering little brother who yells at her to put her freaking pants on.

(Which, just to reiterate, is how they seemed like to me. I'm not trying say it's correct or debate it, I'm just curious to hear what others saw.)
Pretty much what Leaf and Phantasia said (though Ody’s got the right idea lol).

The dress moment’s a good one, but also the thing about Cloud’s heart beating in one of the descriptions of the lead up to Evergreen Park, and the suggestion from Madame M about Cloud being interested in a woman or maybe two.

The biggest one I would say is Aerith’s resolution, but not for the reasons I’ve seen people celebrate it for (omg it’s actually Cloud’s resolution he confessed his love for her yada yada yada). Unless there’s something else that we’re not seeing yet, Aerith quite plainly says “you can’t fall in love with me, even if you think you have, it’s not real”.

As far as I can tell, that line only works if Cloud is developing feelings for her, but with the caveat that his true self, including his feelings and memories regarding Tifa, are being suppressed. It’s a Cloud who isn’t aware of who he really is that’s developing feelings for somebody else. Hence, it’s not real because he isn’t himself yet. UNLESS if there’s something else the devs had in mind with that moment, that remains to be seen.

I’m sure Cloud still has some kind of affection for Aerith even after he gets his memories back, but compared to years of being in love with Tifa, then having both of their feelings revealed in the Lifestream, then under the Highwind, then Case of Tifa, then AC, it’s just…well, him and Aerith just didn’t get to go that far. Far enough for him to clearly value her and feel tremendous guilt, but not far enough to actually be together. That’s what defines that ship, it sunk before it got to reach its destination.
 

Ryeleigh

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
Rye
@KindOfBlue

Thank you for the reply!

The funny thing is... to me Cloud seemed to spend most of the time irritated with her? In this bratty little brother way? And not considering her a love interest, aside from the dress reveal. Oh, but I think the park scene also gave off this "awkward teenage romance" moment? After Aerith was done talking about her dead (ex)-boyfriend, that is, lol.

As far as I can tell, that line only works if Cloud is developing feelings for her, but with the caveat that his true self, including his feelings and memories regarding Tifa, are being suppressed.
I don't think his feelings for Tifa are all that suppressed, lmao xD

Unless there’s something else that we’re not seeing yet, Aerith quite plainly says “you can’t fall in love with me, even if you think you have, it’s not real”
But I had an interesting thought, in regards to this. From what I've seen most "clotis" dismiss the resolution by focusing on the "it's not real" part or by saying that Aerith's talking about/to herself. But the Aerith in the resolution is Aerith from the future, right? So wouldn't that mean that in the future there might come a moment when Cloud thinks he might be falling in love with her?

But on the other hand, I feel that they went so heavy with the "cloti" stuff in Part 1 that to then focus on seemingly romantic development *between Cloud and Aerith (which kinda doesn't go anywhere) would feel like a derailment? Oh, and I guess Aerith's resolution could be interpreted in two ways: one) there will be more light Cloud/Aerith stuff or two) all Cloud/Aerith stuff was already "resolved" in her resolution.

I think I'm more interested in seeing Aerith develop her friendships more with all the casts than any romantic stuff. But my stance with romance has always sort of been "if I want a romance, I go read a romance".
 
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But the Aerith in the resolution is Aerith from the future, right? So wouldn't that mean that in the future there might come a moment when Cloud thinks he might be falling in love with her?
I think it might happen in all honesty, but, lest not forget that is a fantasy JRPG... and of course there ir more to it than just "falling in love". There is the whole Jenova situation and her minic abilities (and her cells within Cloud's body); that fact that Aerith is the last Cetra; the whole Zack situation (which we don't know where they are going with it, but they are definitely going somewhere). There is A LOT going on for us to try to simplify things, and is just the first part.

I mentioned it a while back, but after hearing Aerith's voiced actress say the "you can't fall in love with me" ties Cloud's and Aerith's back stories... How do I put it...? We already know their back stories, and we know that literally only ONE thing ties them (a certain man). Even in the most recent book, Aerith's half had nothing to do with Cloud.

What I want to say is that they have the foundation to do many things with the next installments, but I do not think a “tragic love story” is on the Gantt Chart.
 

Ryeleigh

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
Rye
I think it might happen in all honesty, but, lest not forget that is a fantasy JRPG... and of course there ir more to it than just "falling in love". There is the whole Jenova situation and her minic abilities (and her cells within Cloud's body); that fact that Aerith is the last Cetra; the whole Zack situation (which we don't know where they are going with it, but they are definitely going somewhere). There is A LOT going on for us to try to simplify things, and is just the first part.

I mentioned it a while back, but after hearing Aerith's voiced actress say the "you can't fall in love with me" ties Cloud's and Aerith's back stories... How do I put it...? We already know their back stories, and we know that literally only ONE thing ties them (a certain man). Even in the most recent book, Aerith's half had nothing to do with Cloud.

What I want to say is that they have the foundation to do many things with the next installments, but I do not think a “tragic love story” is on the Gantt Chart.
Oh, no. I didn't mean Cloud would actually "fall in love with her". I mean, I'm actually one of the people who thinks there never was a love triangle. But that there might be a moment where Cloud thinks that? Because of the whole "even if you think you have, it's not real"? Though, I don't remember if she said the same thing in Japanese?
 
Though, I don't remember if she said the same thing in Japanese?
She said something along the lines of "it's you imagination" if I remember correctly.

They could have put on the script "pointless" or something like that, alluding to her death, but they wrote "your imagination/not real", so I think she's talking about something else. (She talks about her probable death when she said "everyone dies eventually" and yadda yadda yadda.)

This is my interpretation because of the context, but I still think the scene was painted in a very romantic way though.
 

Eerie

Fire and Blood
I've been wanting to write this for a good two weeks now I guess, so bear with me. It's a special collage of observations I did make here in this very thread, and elsewhere, from a long time ago until now. My opinion definitely changed a bit since the beginning of the thread, I will admit to this.

1. The OG's shortcomings:

The OG, as we all know, had many problems, while telling the LT. This is probably why people are so divided about it more than two decades after; I know that some cleriths consider that they "won" already because it's widely accepted that Aerith was pushed as the main love interest during the OG - and this is where the OG failed its storytelling, because the story only makes sense if you go the Tifa route, while at the same time making Aerith's GS date the most coherent in its storytelling (otherwise Aerith has no way to tell Cloud her feelings, and to finally let go of Zack). But to have Aerith's date, you have to go the Aerith route, which is super easy to get anyway. However, once you reach the Northern Crater... it simply does not make sense at all for Tifa to desire to search for Cloud. Like, at all. If you go the Aerith route, Aerith is super bold, Cloud pretty much ignores Tifa... so why does she bother? Why does she abandon the mission to nurse Cloud in Mideel? All of this only makes sense if Cloud tries to please her in the first disc. Many players absolutely missed it (because the Aerith romance was pushed in the forefront) and refused Cloud's choice in the Lifestream (it's in the past!).

However where the OG failed, Remake does try to amend. I'll just add for fairness that some of the OG bad storytelling on this is due to its own limitations, which Remake does not have anymore. I will say this, but characters-wise, Remake is way better and way ahead of its predecessor; Cloud and Aerith were given a big lifting especially, and we should be thankful for that.

2. Remake and the girls: a change of presentation

All of this leads to a great change; the goal is not to make the players attached to Aerith through Cloud as a love interest (I will come back to this). The game is now multiple parts, and the least thing Remake needs is a LTD that will last forever after its creators' deaths. They were honest when they said in the OG that Aerith is like the new transfer student, and they used the pairing to push the illusion of Cloud, ex-SOLDIER. But in Remake, that's different; first in the presentation - I will note that this matches Nojima's presentation of Tifa in a video "she's the heroine, look up for when she shows Cloud the place where he'll sleep". There is intent there to make fans *want* to meet up with Tifa, to look up with her interactions with Cloud. And the game double down on this.

In the OG, the first girl you met was Aerith, and subconscienly, since you just saw her pray in the video of introduction, it makes you want to know more, especially since she fits the fantasy trop of a mage with her pink dress and her pretty hair and eyes, and you can either tell her to get in a secured place, either buy her a flower. Then you meet up with Tifa, but Cloud doesn't seem especially happy to have to follow her based on an old promise - and it was easy enough to avoid all the shippy hints because everything was "an option" (and IIRC a lot are actually pushed down the options, so you get the impression that it's not the preferred option?). So this is the presentation of the two girls, through Cloud's eyes... and we see that there is one that seems more interesting. Tifa seems a bit bitchy, to force him to act on a promise he doesn't care about, and there's a cute girl waiting for you somewhere... You get your hopes up for Aerith right from the start, just from the way it is presented.

Remake is another beast altogether, because even though you still see Aerith in the intro, right in chapter 1, you are asked "what is your relationship with Tifa?" and you do get a flashback (manipulated by Jenova) of Tifa as a kid. Then you meet Aerith, whom you have no other option than to get a flower (and the overarching plot under the form of Sephiroth and the Whispers actually point at her involvement there), but then Barret reminds you to go see Tifa, which is another building towards making the player want to see the mysterious girl you've been hearing about since chapter 1. Then you finally meet her but... what is important when you get to see Tifa? You are given a breather, and all the talks between the two. You then have a full chapter with her, which ends up in a special alone at last scene where they decide to... have a date together (and yes, he's quite happy about it). The presentation of Tifa is all about her and Cloud's relationship with her. We see Cloud being jealous, admirative of her fighting skills, learning how to navigate in sector 7, flirting with her.

The presentation alone is incredibly different between the OG and Remake, and quite announces what's to come, LT-wise. It also very clearly tells you what roles the two heroines have: Aerith is important to the overarching story, Tifa is important in the intimate story. As it always was. You cannot switch those two roles, so SE have expanded on them.

3. Cloud

As I said, Cloud and Aerith's characters were given a lot of thoughts regarding the LT; not that Tifa wasn't, but what they needed to do for her was much less compared to the other two, and not really LT-wise tho they did tone down her jealousy. Remake spanning over several years, it was important to think about how to present Cloud: he could not be the arsehole you thought he was for a good part of the game, not when the game itself included a whole 180 but your Remake is far, far away from that turning point.

Everyone noticed this, including the Ultimanias: while in the OG, Cloud begins to open up with Aerith, in Remake, that's with the Avalanche trio that this happens. So the change to a kinder Cloud happens much, much faster, and in fact even Barret aknowledges that he was wrong about Cloud in chapter 5, before Cloud even falls in the church. But even then, you can't help but notice that... yes, he does open up thanks to the trio, yes, even Tifa notices this... but Cloud was already treating Tifa differently in chapter 3 compared to Avalanche. Which incidentally is very telling about what the devs are trying to do with Cloud's personality in Remake.

We often forget about this, but at this point in the game, Cloud lives his dream. He is Cloud of Nibelheim, ex-SOLDIER, a hero, who just reunited with his childhood friend he was close to, and to whom he made a romantic promise under the stars (but he doesn't remember that from the get go). His memories (minus the promise, which is the only non-modified flashback he has) and even dreams are modified by Jenova - remember the dream of his mother, he was wearing SOLDIER clothes there, and that is Jenova's doing! He gets to play hero with her and other girls, finally gets close to people around him. He's cool (or what he thinks is cool). He also is really adorable in a way, because he's a 16 years old trying desperately to catch up those 5 missing years, and it shows in his interactions with people, his reactions. He's doing his best :')

We know that he tries very hard to be that cool ex-SOLDIER for Tifa - he even used a Zack move on her to impress her! Around Tifa, he can relax, and be more like himself; it's actually clever from the devs, because the true Cloud will only pop up in a long while, and while the bonds he makes with his fake personality are important, one can easily argue that for a lovers' relationship, there is a need for a solid base, something rooted in truth. And that is why Cloud is drawn to Tifa, why his true self emerges to embrace her in chapter 14, allowing him to be her hero for once (and yes it was very romantic, since he crossed the boundaries of friendship himself there). Tifa's resolution is also the one that is the most hinted at, with his desire to help her shown right from Jessie's death scene. His desire to keep her safe also is the top priority, which shown in chapter 18 during Aerith's speech and which is why he manages to save her against the giant Whisper (whose name escapes me both in English and French lol cause I've nicknamed him giant Whisper from the start). We see them touching each other... A LOT. Like, truly a lot, I did not believe my eyes at first lol. And Cloud's hands tend to linger on her back very often. We see the attraction, the caring, and we know that this is all rooted in his true feelings for her because while Jenova makes him confused about what his feelings for her truly are, they are so powerful that they can help him break his mask around Tifa. The Cloud we see around Tifa, especially starting chapter 5 after he remembers the promise, is the closest to "true Cloud" that we can get at this stage. And that is important because it is what will make the resolution of Cloud's inner conflict *real*. Because instead of shocking players to reveal his true feelings and how they set everything in motion, we will understand why Cloud has acted this way throughout the games (because yes, I predict that the next games will have roughly the same trajectory, LT-wise).

4. Aerith

With Aerith, things get more complicated; first, Remake covers only a few days, and there's no love at first sight between them. Aerith notices the Buster sword immediately on his back, and he is wary of her. This is their first meeting, where he refuses the flower at first - it makes totally sense given their convo later on when they reunite and she asks him to whom he gave the flower - but ended up accepting it when she mentions that it'll make his girlfriend happy. You know lately, I thought about what a certain someone who must not be named kept saying, how Jessie saw the flower in the wagon. This is clearly true, and an effect from what they decided regarding the LT: there are much, much less choices all around to get "the" scene with your favourite girl. Jessie probably wanted that flower - the way it is filmed certainly attests that she does notice it - but Cloud doesn't say a thing about it. When Cloud and Aerith meet again, it is very clear that the girl knows more than she lets on... and this honestly puts Aerith in a difficult position, LT-wise. It's something I keep commenting about in this very thread because Aerith understands very early that Cloud and Tifa are going to be an item. There's no mistake about it, the first time she hears Tifa's name, she enquires what kind of relationship Cloud has with her (it's as if the developpers want the player to ponder about that, eh). As Cloud denies, it takes her chapter 12 where she sees the flower on Tifa's counter to understand that she was right - which leads to her resolution.

We know that the resolutions are things that the characters want to share with Cloud. For Barret, it is memories of his comrades. For Tifa, it is the need to mourn everything that she's (and Cloud) lost, again - it is the first time that she can truly mourn her father, the villagers, everything, with someone who has lost them too, but also their friends, and her rebuilt life in sector 7. For Aerith, I did say in another thread that Nojima had been extremely compassionate towards her in his writing. Kitase mentioned that to be able to speak with Cloud, Aerith, who is locked in the Shinra tower, pulls a version of herself from the Lifestream in the close future. And I'm sorry but a lot of fans didn't pay attention to this line. Who is the Aerith in the Lifestream from the close future? It's the Aerith who has died. Hence why her resolution immediately gives, for anyone who has played the OG, that heavy feeling of "OMG she knows!" (which is what I yelled when I saw it for the first time; yet her part 1 self is not aware of this fact, I believe).

And what does she want to tell Cloud in her resolution? That whatever he might feel, these feelings are not real. This is a throwback to the OG, of course; some might wonder why Cloud's feelings aren't really mentioned anywhere, guilt aside in AC/C, but that's because of the very nature of the OG, where you could court whichever girl you wanted until well... the GS date? Those feelings are manipulated by the player, and as such, they do not count - it could be Aerith, it could be Tifa, it didn't really matter what you chose in the first disc because those feelings were not "real", it was just a fun trick for the devs to make you care about Aerith. In the end, Cloud had his own feelings, which he made known in the Lifestream scene. This is what Aerith is referring to in her resolution. Just like the OG GS date with her, her resolution hints that Cloud is not himself... but unlike the OG, she warns him to not fall in love with her (which confuses him greatly, as a reminder they've known each other for like 2 days at this moment). And with that warning comes a self warning of not falling in love with Cloud, because his feelings are elsewhere and she's extremely well-placed to know that. This is why I say there is a lot of compassion and this scene is very thoughtful of Aerith; we know that in CoLW she still has feelings for Cloud. But... what does she think herself of this situation? How does she feel about it? I've noted quite a few times, it does suck tremendously to fall in love with a guy only to find out that he has those huge feelings for your BFF - that's what happened to Aerith in the OG. And this is why Nojima wrote this scene this way too, because he is giving the players the hint about "look beyond and think about Aerith and how she must feel about the whole ordeal".

In the OG, Aerith was put in a "better" position as she didn't know Cloud's feelings, which allowed her to flirt relentlessly with him. In Remake, she does know them! Not only her future self knows, but she herself has been guided by the flowers and that question has been answered. She knows! And the worst part is that this guy completely resembles Zack in his mannerisms - and it kills her because she is so attracted to him. In chapter 9, when Cloud dances, the Ultimania states that he draws his attitude from Zack... and Aerith has the time of her life there! Why? Because, ZACK! In the OG, she could finally decide to move on, but in Remake, her decision is far more complicated. First, her being still in love with Zack is much more developped than what it was in the OG, where Zack was a late addition to explain the plot. Her love for him was developped in CC, but now in Remake, after 5 years of absence, we can still see the Aerith who longs for Zack, and who sees him in Cloud. How hurtful her situation is? Quite frankly, she must be heartbroken. In her resolution, the Aerith we see hurts. She hurts because she has those feelings for Cloud, and it hurts because they've never been truly returned. No matter how much the OG player manipulated those feelings, they were trampled on as soon as Cloud recovered his own true self. And her resolution does push the same idea that was already present in the OG: clerith pushes the illusion of ex-SOLDIER Cloud, even if here Aerith breaks the fourth wall to warn the player about it.

This is why I especially like to look at Aerith and wonder what will happen next. We know her connection with the visions has been cut, and she doesn't have access to them (apparently). Since then, Aerith has tried to act (to help Zack?), and there was a bizarre air between her and Cloud as very obviously, once her resolution happens, the clerith scenes nearly disappear. I still think, despite all of this, that in the next game(s), we will see them becoming closer, and we will see Aerith falling in love with him again, because that's the story the OG told. However, I am also persuaded that Aerith's true love is Zack, and they are the lovers reunited beyond death, and I feel that despite her feelings for Cloud, we will get a Zerith reunion down the line. Seeing her resolution made me sure of this; Nojima will not let her hurt like this.

5. Tifa

I've already talked extensively about Tifa and how her relationship with Cloud has been put under the spotlights; however, aside her jealousy being toned down, her worry for Cloud is made very apparent, especially in Shinra Tower. In chapter 3, she takes care of him and makes sure that he doesn't make the same mistakes she did when she arrived in Midgar, making sure to give him a decent place where to live, how to integrate sector 7 which becomes his home. In the OG, we learn in the international version that she decided to keep an eye on Cloud because she was worried about him. In Remake, the reason why Cloud's arrival to Midgar was pushed back so late (the day before chapter 1 starts) is because it allows the devs to push for chapter 3 and have the two friends spending time together reconnecting. We see Cloud saying some weird stuff (5 years... uh?) and that doesn't escape Tifa. The fact is that she's been very in love with him for a few years already, she knows how he acted when he was a kid, and she sees the difference with nowadays.

Later on, in Shinra tower, when Aerith asks how she feels, she doesn't understand and asks about Cloud because... that's what on her mind. I also firmly believe that since Cloud did comfort her, she did not understand that Aerith's question was about the plate fall. And to her, Cloud's well-being was a far more worrying subject at the moment. This is one of the big hints of what's to come, because Tifa's part being so... intimate, it's really hard to describe and hint at it - Tifa being worried about Cloud, and trying to gently guide him; it was already the case in chapter 3, it's still the case in chapter 17 AND 18 where she saves him after his fight with Rufus.

Because Tifa's role is so important that it's through all the action scenes that it shows: Tifa makes with Cloud the power couple, they save each other, they care for each other, they trust each other deeply. Tifa is Cloud's top priority, Cloud is Tifa's top priority. And more than this - and I think it will be expanded upon in the next game - Tifa is the proof that Cloud exists. That's how much she counts for him, because despite everything else, she is the one whose trust he needs - the trust that he is Cloud of Nibelheim, and to him who has identity issues, it's... big. And once the Kalm flashback will be shown, my bet is that we will see her push that trust in him - she will make faces, yes, and Aerith will notice, yes, but she will back Cloud's story because the OG went that way and because Cloud needs it to not break down. We already saw in ToTP that she indeed backs Cloud in his story, even if to her it's wrong, as well as her lightly blushing at him still. If anything, the trajectory between the two will not change that much.

6. The filmming, and storytelling choices

I am not going to thread a lot in this territory, this is more something from @insanehobbit in the FC, but she pointed out generously that the way Remake is filmmed and presented is very different depending if Cloud is with Tifa or Aerith, even in combat scenes. With Tifa, we have a lot of first person views that linger on her, that makes it feel very personal how he looks at her - and when they're in group, we also see him look at her a lot, even when it's not necessary (ie she's not speaking or doing something). In combat scenes, they are presented as a unit, together occupying the space.

With Aerith, there are very few first person shots, they feel much less personal, they are more general views. In combat scenes, they're never presented as a unit, even against Sephiroth there's a difference between how Aerith comes to help when she arrives first versus how Tifa does when she's first to show up; the intent clearly is that with Tifa, we see Tifa through Cloud's eyes, we get to know her through his relationship with her and they're a unit. With Aerith, we're supposed to fall in love with Aerith ourselves, she is an outsider. We aren't supposed to consider her through her relationship with Cloud - though it does develop into a great friendship, IMHO - but with what she's bringing herself to the table (her knowledge, her powers, her Cetra-ness).

If we look at their special scenes with Cloud, we have:
- Tifa: "Alone at last" (which implies that it's something Cloud yearned for), their talk is very personal (about Cloud's past, where he tries to open up but fails because well, Jenova), and they set up a date where he gets to chose how she dresses up and promises to match her outfit. This scene is a very intimate one, for everything that happens there.
- Aerith: "The language of flowers" where they talk about Aerith's powers, and I think, finally truly are able to become closer (as in friends). This scene is pointing towards the overarching plot, because yeah... it is Aerith's role, once again.

Those scenes while they may make one think that "oh both girls spend some time with Cloud" shows that there is a big difference in quality time there. Tifa's point towards her role in the intimate plot (him talking about his time in SOLDIER, the flower of reunion we can barely see hinted at on her rug, the date swiftly agreed to which points to her as the romantic interest), while Aerith's points towards her role at the overarching plot (her powers, the flowers, how she doesn't understand anything etc.).

And to be honest, Remake is literally filled with those if you look hard enough (it doesn't really take a genius). Comparing to the OG, at the same time, the hints were very little, especially regarding Tifa's role - even Aerith's was barely hinted at at this moment, except for the fact that she was special, as the last living Cetra. By chosing to make most scenes non optional, Remake has allowed the characters to breathe in their new characterisation; they are better because we can finally see the story being led on by those three, we can fully see their characters and not go "oh but this is optional, it doesn't count" (I don't really care what other shippers are saying about this), and they're offering a way better version of themselves than what we ever had of them. For that, I'll always be thankful to Remake, its devs and writers.

This is probably my last big post on this topic before part 2, I think that on part 1 I have finally arrived at a cohesive understanding of what's going on with these three. My opinion on whether Zack is still alive or not, Sephiroth's plans and al can still vary if I'm convinced but on this topic I'm pretty solid I think.

And as always, peace, ship whatever you want, taste is taste.
 
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Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
Hi Ryu, long time no see! I was reading a lot of the first and bit of the second LTD threads here for the past few days, and I was thinking about how you only showed up once in a while now XD For the rings, I think Cloud gave his to Denzel, and Barret also has one. I still don't know why Marlene hasn't gotten one, but it seems to me to indicate that at first, it was a form of the extended family with Barret, and Cloud giving his to Denzel probably to make him feel more like a part of the family, since he's a late addition. Hard to tell since they didn't dwelve on this at all - I wish they did! Also because Marlene hasn't got one, I kind of wished that it's her who gave them the idea, to bind her three parents to her.
Allow me then to hypothesize that, since as Barret had one, they were probably found and given out before he left for his trip. Cloud gives them to Tifa, Barret, and Marlene to mark them as his family. Marlene would then give HERS to Denzel to "formally" welcome him into the family since, being a small adorable child of about 5 and having the same done for her, would see nothing unusual about this.

That's gotta be at least as plausible as the Water Tower Denzel nonsense I came up with for shits and giggles.
 

eleamaya

Pro Adventurer
I wish Nojima tone him down. This statement will make half fandom screams "who Cloud loves is up to interpretation"

Source: 'FF7 Remake' director reveals how he fought for Cloud’s “cool dance moves” (inverse.com)

What opportunities did Remake give you to elaborate on the romantic and flirtatious elements of the Final Fantasy VII story?

TORIYAMA: In Final Fantasy VII Remake, by narrowing down the story to the events leading up to the departure from Midgar, we were able to delve deeper into not just Cloud, Aerith, and Tifa’s relationships, but also the relationships and episodes between all the characters that appear in the game.

With that said, the date event in the Gold Saucer, from the original Final Fantasy VII, in which the player’s character preference was reflected into the relationship in-game, was a very memorable episode; so since this game focuses on the story while they’re in Midgar, I made sure to include a similar experience like from the original.

From a visual standpoint, we were able to depict things more realistically, so if it seemed natural for a more intimate action to take place — for example, Cloud holding Tifa — I would take it a step further.

The relationships between Cloud, Aerith, and Tifa were definitely ambiguous, even back in the original, so I wanted to make sure I kept those relationships — pushing the limits of what we can depict, while still looking like two people genuinely caring for each other and being natural. The relationship between these three will continue to be depicted down the line, so I hope you continue to look forward to how we’ve remade the way they interact with each other
 
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