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The Love Triangle Debate: Another Turn in the Cycle

Y'all on crack?
Uhh, it's pronounced "gysahl green", please.

I appreciate you laying out your thoughts the way you did and I understand where you're coming from. And I think that an optional path could work, because we know there will be choices in the game, lots of them, and choices-dependent events and scenes. So having the affection mechanic like the OG could be possible, and Jessie as a third option - not everyone likes Aerith and Tifa, after all, and those people shouldn't be ignored - could also work in that regard. Yuffie's place as third in the OG was meant as a joke and to be comedic, but Jessie taking that slot in Part 1 doesn't have to serve the same purpose, and that's what I'm talking about - sorry for repeating it again. A third possible option that's not a joke or a half-measure but a viable path for the affection mechanic for Part 1.
I hear you. Well, at the end of the day, I'm just confident that this game will allow the Avalanche group more depth than before—which can also increase the impact that they have on the characters and the narrative. In the exact way that will be done and to what extent, well, it will be left to see on judgement day.

To move on a bit, am I the only one who doesn't actually care for a reconstitution of the Affection Points? To be honest, I don't even want any "optional" aspects in the same vein as the original when it concerns romantic storytelling here. Just tell the damn story that is set by the characters feelings and agency, for what makes sense as a collective, cohesive theme between all of them (as it all inherently connects), and move the hell on. The 20+ years debate over the LTD, while inevitable I'm sure without the mechanic, was not helped by the aspect of "optional" pathing and representation of character feelings by that system, most notably when the story was also simultaneously trying to reinforce said feelings for all the characters outside of our control by the end of it anyway. This isn't how most games with the "optional" mechanic work, I believe. (Though there are exceptions, looking at you FE Three Houses)

"Exhaustingly circular", referred to as "dumb as hell" in my neck of the woods, is correct. Though, the LTD chaos is exactly what the developers wanted I bet, despite some showing disinterest in "who loves who". Sure kept people talking about the series, and they definitely won in that department if that's the case. I know that the "love triangle" aspect from that system is part of what made FFVII unique in the eyes of many, but looking back on it after the destruction left, we could've done without it. Though, as people have pointed out, it's rather creative and symbolic, actually, as part of the process of Cloud reaching his "true" self takes our hands off his emotional wheel. But, it also mucks shit up. For instance, by the time the Lifestream sequence happens, and the exposure of Cloud's feelings that he has carried even to that point come to light—it would be much more proficient for the HA Highwind Scene to be the "canonical" version here. Even if the LA Highwind Scene was initiated, then the ideal situation painted there would've still been that Cloud wasn't able to speak his mind about his true feelings yet, still indicating that, yes, Cloud still has very real feelings. This would happen regardless under the conditions that, say, if Cloud felt he couldn't say anything because of how the underdeveloped seeds of romance with Aerith also afflicted him. And, for whatever the mystery of that "could've been" goes, that should also be clear enough to even understand the extent in which Cloud foresaw the "could've been" in reflection of his own feelings in the first place. Some might say that mystery of his feelings is part of the charm of FFVII as well. Perhaps. But, when said emotions that scenario is referring to is substantially unclear by the end of it to the point that, to some, makes it seem unbalanced in the feelings within the possible relationship...I'd just rather not.

I might be alone here—and yeah, there are ways the mechanic can be fun and such—but, I'm hoping for something more concrete this time around in regard to how ultimately the characters feel and the why/how. Of course, let's keep, or have more, side stuff and interactions. Let me take everyone on a date, and throw in some photo booth antics too, damn it.
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
I want to give the developers the benefit of the doubt: I don’t think they could have possibly anticipated the horrid shitstorms the love triangle generated. I’m sure they’ll give much more substance to the romantic interactions, though, even if only because they’ll have to show the characters’ faces. In fact, we already saw examples of that in the trailers.

The LA Highwind scene is… weird, in the sense that it almost feels like it’s “punishing” the player, like when you get Barret’s date and it basically mocks you for getting it so wrong that none of the girls can even stand to look at you. I say that because, as @MelodicEnigma pointed out, it’s not even fully clear how it’s supposed to be viewed. A popular interpretation is that he’s somehow rejecting Tifa because of Aeris, but… it’s not like you get the scene if Aeris has more points than Tifa, necessarily.

To be honest, the older I get, the less I find any of it particularly ambiguous. I think that there would have been shitstorms even if there were no alternative scenes, shippers would just have had less points to throw at each other. The real issue is that even if we saw Cloud and Tifa marry on camera and have tons of children and grandchildren, technically he can’t “choose” her over Aeris, because by the time he can make a conscious choice on the matter Aeris is already gone. That does leave room for doubt. Maybe Cloud and Aeris would have been happier, maybe he would have found his way to Tifa even with Aeris around, or maybe Tifa and Aeris would have ridden off into the sunset – there’s just no way to know for sure, and that’s why the LTD will never die. (That… sounded ominous…)

Part of the beauty in Aeris’s death is that it was too sudden to grant that kind of closure to characters and players alike. As it’s heavily implied and given their history, I can’t see why Cloud and Tifa wouldn’t at the very least give it a shot after the game ended, with or without the HA Highwind scene. At the same time, Cloud and Aeris will always be the romantic What If that never came to be, even if he lived happily ever after with Tifa or didn’t fully understand what he felt for Aeris.

The way I see it, the only thing that could perhaps put an end to all of this is Cloud canonically, unambiguously stating in an unavoidable scene that he is not in love with one of them after he regains his real self at the end of the game. I also think it’s safe to say that’s never going to happen, especially because I’m sure Cloud would rather impale himself with the Buster Sword than have that conversation, if he even has any clue about this whole mess. :P
 
When I first watched a playthrough of the game, it didn't really occur to me to even question which was the 'right' pairing. For me, the story was basically Cloud and Aeris being 'the couple' that was destroyed due to Sephiroth. Even playing it years later, as an adult, it feels like a bittersweet love story at some points. Tifa/Cloud is interesting though, and I definitely look forward to seeing how they explore that in the remake. As noted above, though, the whole triangle debate just helps the game as a whole, in the end. It gives us something to ponder and speculate about.
 

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream
Why do you need folks to pretend to have an approving take on it?
I didn't say that. I don't want them to pretend. Just to allow for what they don't know or expect. As in the example I brought up of Jessie on the bike with Cloud. Something probably no one thought of or expected but which SE did. It's the idea that there are things and approaches people may not even have thought to think of. Sorry if that's a little confusing. Remember telling me about how no one even thought of or considered the idea of Jessie being a possible third option in Part 1 before I brought it up? That it never even occurred to anyone? That's the kind of thing I'm talking about. Possibilities and approaches that no one's considered because they simply never thought of them. Not because they were trying to dislike the premise or anything but simply because no one knows everything or every possible way of doing things. I don't. I can accept there are ways that it couldn't work, sure. But I'm also open to the idea that there might be ways that it could. Like Jessie on the bike with Cloud before anyone ever even had the slightest conception that such a thing would ever be done, those ideas and possibilities may just not have been thought of or realized yet.

But really, Jairus, your insistence that people either agree and therefore have given adequate thought to your dream or they disagree and have therefore refused to consider what you've said is an (intellectually dishonest) position that will never result in a conclusion.
I'll admit I may have been too quick to judge some people, and I'm sorry for that. I get caught up in the debate, especially when it seems like everyone's against me. And when they are or it feels like they are, it makes me defensive, like I'm being backed into a corner. I just wanted somebody, anybody, to honestly agree with me or at least allow that there might be ways it could work that haven't been considered yet.

"There are always possibilities." - Spock, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
 
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Yes and yes, all around.

Despite my more flagrant descriptions before (lol), I've always found the romantic storytelling in FFVII to be very compelling by how naturally, there are underlying emotions that run deeper than the "poster couple" ideal—I do say that in reference to Cloud/Aerith, which isn't a jab, but there's more there in overall importance contextually, actually, that people tend to overlook for the sake of romance alone. Although the expansion and metamorphosis of this story through the Compilation, in several instances, isn't perfect (if that ever is truly the goal), it also added several dimensions of complexity interwoven through its thematic structure that, from my eyes, is only dulled and obscured by the idea of "optional" application. It would seem irrelevant, even, but it still exists nonetheless. While the Compilation often makes one foam at the mouth in anger, I've seen it more as the catalyst for the opportunity of giving an optimized approach to the romantic storytelling that would inevitably be synthesized by all the story direction we've received until now. My hopeless romanticism is all about it. The love story, notably between the "Big 4", is what I'm mainly anticipating. The idea of even "choosing" isn't a necessary or strong point within the context in actuality (as I mentioned before, Cloud isn't really wringing his head over who he "loves more" in the story), but rather in the observation of feelings and opportunities that are largely due to circumstances of life (and death)—this really leads that strand between everyone, and I'm pretty on edge to see how this time around the characters feelings for one another will be represented here.

I'll admit I may have been too quick to judge some people, and I'm sorry for that. I get caught up in the debate, especially when it seems like everyone's against me. And when they are or it feels like they are, it makes me defensive, like I'm being backed into a corner. I just wanted somebody, anybody, to honestly agree with me or at least allow that there might be ways it could work that haven't been considered yet.
You're fine by me, Jarius. Using my sentiments above, those would be part of the major reason why I'm against what you're proposing, overall. But, that is only to a certain extent. I do agree with you, actually, that there will be certain things expressed and to be experienced, that might even pad the romantic notions Jessie has towards Cloud, but just not necessarily in the same impact for Cloud in the vision you have because I don't believe it needs to be represented in that capacity alongside everything else for his character in regards to romance. Not seeing it, or wanting the story to be configured to make it work, isn't just simply obstinance, after all. But perspectives don't need to completely align anyway, so you're all good!
 
TBH, Jairus, I don't think anyone said it couldn't possibly happen. What they said was that they wouldn't like it if it did, and that they didn't believe the developers would take the game in that way since it would be too radical a departure from the OG's plot and the character arc it gives Cloud. Of course it's possible the developers will choose that route nevertheless. But I think they'd have a lot of unhappy customers if they did.
 

youffie

Pro Adventurer
I'm sure it was intentional (there are interviews to that effect), although they probably didn't anticipate how insane and long-lasting it would be, but honestly it's all been in their best interest. I'm sure the Remake will do nothing to "resolve" the debate, because the fact that it thrives (persists? festers?) only serves FF7's, and thus, their legacy.
Oh yes, they were certainly aware that it would get people talking. I only meant that the wild attention it got was a side effect that ultimately worked in their favor, like you said, and that they were probably more “people sure are gonna love arguing over this haha” than “people are gonna claw each other’s eyes over this for the next twenty years, we’re evil geniuses.” But I absolutely don’t think that was their primary reason for not making what Cloud feels absolutely clear and explicit.

I understand people’s frustrations with the triangle. It is exhausting. Me, it irks me to no end when either side just has to be mean to either Aeris or Tifa and call them whores or something, also because it’s often women doing this. Like, we have a game with not one, but two well written main heroines, the one who saves the world and the one who saves the boy who helps save the world, and you have to make it a competition about who’s more deserving of what’s in Cloud’s pants? Like, could you fucking not please

But the openness of it, the way the game refuses to tell you what to make of complex relationships that just can’t have clear-cut resolutions – I find all of that fascinating. If people hadn’t completely poisoned the topic, I might even go as far as to call it brilliant. And this is not limited to the triangle, either.

It’s like, when I first finished the game and I didn’t have access to the Internet, I never would have guessed that many people thought that humanity had been wiped out in the end. That was not my interpretation of the events at all. Or even better, the whole argument about whether Aeris knew she was going to die or not. Cloud and Tifa even discuss this in the game. I find the idea that she didn’t know more meaningful and coherent than the alternative, and I would take Tifa’s interpretation over Cloud’s any day; I think it’s also supported by interviews from the creators. But the game didn’t show us Aeris’s reasoning, it didn’t let us find a letter detailing her point of view. The fact that they even wrote that dialogue between Cloud and Tifa in the first place shows that they were aware that people would have conflicting opinions about it. It’s still up to the player to think about it and decide for themselves what interpretation has more merit to them personally.

I think that the game strongly supports the idea that Cloud and Tifa end up together, while still supporting the idea that the relationship between Cloud and Aeris was special and irreplaceable. Many people don’t agree. The game is so rich that, in the end, either interpretation can be valid. But I don’t think that means the creators weren’t brave enough to give us the solution to the problem, or that they’re only doing it to sell merchandise to rabid fans. I wish more games and media in general had that kind of respect for their audience.
 
It’s still up to the player to think about it and decide for themselves what interpretation has more merit to them personally.
You have absolutely nailed what it is that I also love and hugely admire about this game, the fact that its meaning can be personalised for individual players. This is why I absolutely don't want the developers to provide "answers" in the Remake. If everything was cut and dried, black and white, that would ruin this game for me.
 

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream
You're fine by me, Jarius. Using my sentiments above, those would be part of the major reason why I'm against what you're proposing, overall. But, that is only to a certain extent. I do agree with you, actually, that there will be certain things expressed and to be experienced, that might even pad the romantic notions Jessie has towards Cloud, but just not necessarily in the same impact for Cloud in the vision you have because I don't believe it needs to be represented in that capacity alongside everything else for his character in regards to romance. Not seeing it, or wanting the story to be configured to make it work, isn't just simply obstinance, after all. But perspectives don't need to completely align anyway, so you're all good!
Thanks, and you have the right to your opinion. I'm just saying that it's likely that that part of her character will be addressed and brought closure along with every other part instead of being forgotten like in the OG and that it need not be entirely one-sided this time, is all - assuming certain player choices, that is. I'm not saying Cloud's actively trying to choose who he feels for, he can be deciding things (through the player) without fully understanding why at this point and not even recognizing any such feelings for what they are or might be until it's too late.

TBH, Jairus, I don't think anyone said it couldn't possibly happen. What they said was that they wouldn't like it if it did, and that they didn't believe the developers would take the game in that way since it would be too radical a departure from the OG's plot and the character arc it gives Cloud. Of course it's possible the developers will choose that route nevertheless. But I think they'd have a lot of unhappy customers if they did.
People believe it would be too radical a departure, but they haven't seen how it would or could be done, so there's no way to know for sure, especially since there are already going to be differences from the OG. Just as people never even conceived of the idea of Jessie being on the bike with Cloud until the E3 trailer made it a reality. And if the path is entirely optional by means of the affection mechanic, than people wouldn't have to experience it unless they wanted to. The relevant scenes and events would only happen if certain choices are made. If they did it, and it worked and was done well, how then would you feel about it?

What I'm trying to say is, such a path could simply hint at the possibility that he could have felt something for Jessie without being overt or confirming anything in much the same way Aerith and Tifa's arcs worked in the OG. Nothing was ever solidly confirmed there, just hints of possibilities that players could interpret how they wanted to, in part based on the choices they made. The same thing could be done with Jessie in Part 1.
 
I'm not entirely sure why "Jessie being on the bike with Cloud" is a big deal that "people never even conceived"?

I mean, I also had never conceived the idea that Jessie would give Cloud a present for saving her life. And it's there. And I also never conceived that they would glide over Midgar. They're just... "normal" activities? Maybe I'm missing something here but riding a bike with someone is not an automatically romantic activity. Meaning it's not that I had never conceived the idea; it's just that I had never entertained "mundane" actions as anything worth spending a second on, in principle.

Again (and I feel déja vu here) Jairus, it's not that people think it can't be done. Rather, they think it shouldn't. That it's too different from the original to make a lot of people unhappy (and a small number happy, no doubt). That it'd feel forced. That certain things with Jessie would overstep on other characters' archs. And that it is very unlikely, considering what SE seems to be doing with the Remake.

"But it could still happen!!" you might say.

"But it's unlikely!!" some people may answer.

"But yet, it's not impossible!!" could be a reply.

Rinse and repeat...?

Also, I thought the LTD only involved Cloud, Tifa and Aerith/s. :P
 

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream
I'm not entirely sure why "Jessie being on the bike with Cloud" is a big deal that "people never even conceived"?

I mean, I also had never conceived the idea that Jessie would give Cloud a present for saving her life. And it's there. And I also never conceived that they would glide over Midgar. They're just... "normal" activities? Maybe I'm missing something here but riding a bike with someone is not an automatically romantic activity. Meaning it's not that I had never conceived the idea; it's just that I had never entertained "mundane" actions as anything worth spending a second on, in principle.
I was just using it as an example of a concept that hadn't been thought of here before it was actually seen. Not to say that it was anything specifically. Just trying to explain what I mean about the idea of there being concepts and approaches that simply haven't occurred to people just like the idea of Jessie on the bike with Cloud hadn't been thought of here before it was actually shown in the trailer. That such concepts can exist but simply haven't occurred to people because they haven't thought to think of them, just like no one thought to think of the idea of Cloud & Jessie on the bike or the group parachuting to the slums before the trailers made it happen.

Again (and I feel déja vu here) Jairus, it's not that people think it can't be done. Rather, they think it shouldn't. That it's too different from the original to make a lot of people unhappy (and a small number happy, no doubt). That it'd feel forced. That certain things with Jessie would overstep on other characters' archs. And that it is very unlikely, considering what SE seems to be doing with the Remake.
What I'm saying is that there may be ways of doing it that address those concerns and that simply haven't occurred to anyone. Not for lack of thinking about it, but simply because no one can think of all possibilities or approaches. Because, as I said above, they may not have thought to think of what they don't know.

Also, I thought the LTD only involved Cloud, Tifa and Aerith/s.
For all we know, SE may want to turn the LTD into a LSD for Part 1. I'm not being serious about that, though, just a bit facetious. :mon:
 

OdaDaimyO

Conqueror of Sugar
AKA
Mochi Lover
Cloud could've the ability to earn affection points for every character in the game, and might have the chance to date anyone the player wants him to, but this WOULDN'T CHANGE ANYTHING! It will ALWAYS be ONESIDED! He will not reciprocate any of the feelings these characters will develope for him. And this will still be the case, when that character's name is Tifa, Aerith or Jessie! That's the core of the system. The mechanic is OPTIONAL, ergo, doesn't have any influence on the overall narrative. To have Cloud experience any emotional impact through this mechanic, would change the narrative structure of the game.

YES, he gawks on Aerith in her red dress, but will he say something like, "Oh Aerith, you look absolutely gorgeous in that outfit!"... no way in hell he will say anything like this, because when it comes to the romantic department, NEUTRALITY is Cloud's middle name. You could say (how contradictory that may sound), the mechanic represents Cloud's own chastity belt.

 

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream
Cloud could've the ability to earn affection points for every character in the game, and might have the chance to date anyone the player wants him to, but this WOULDN'T CHANGE ANYTHING! It will ALWAYS be ONESIDED! He will not reciprocate any of the feelings these characters will develope for him. And this will still be the case, when that character's name is Tifa, Aerith or Jessie! That's the core of the system. The mechanic is OPTIONAL, ergo, doesn't have any influence on the overall narrative. To have Cloud experience any emotional impact through this mechanic, would change the narrative structure of the game.

YES, he gawks on Aerith in her red dress, but will he say something like, "Oh Aerith, you look absolutely gorgeous in that outfit!"... no way in hell he will say anything like this, because when it comes to the romantic department, NEUTRALITY is Cloud's middle name. You could say (how contradictory that may sound), the mechanic represents Cloud's own chastity belt.

I get that, and I don't expect him to be forthcoming about stuff like that. He even had hard a time opening up to Tifa in the high version of the Highwind night scene, as I recall. That's why I brought up the possibility I mentioned above for how Jessie's path as a third option in the affection mechanic could work (instead of being comedic like Yuffie was in the original):

What I'm trying to say is, such a path could simply hint at the possibility that he could have felt something for Jessie without being overt or confirming anything in much the same way Aerith and Tifa's arcs worked in the OG. Nothing was ever solidly confirmed there, just hints of possibilities that players could interpret how they wanted to, in part based on the choices they made. The same thing could be done with Jessie in Part 1.
And doing it for every character would be going way too far and be inconsistent with what we know of the game. I know you're exaggerating, though. l was only talking about including Jessie in the affection mechanic for Part 1 because she's already got established feelings for him. If she didn't, I wouldn't have ever brought it up.

Incidentally, something I find a bit amusing is that, of all the girls in FFVII that liked Cloud, the only one that actually got mouth to mouth with him was little Priscilla, though of course that was just from the CPR. Not even Aerith or Tifa got that far, though it'd be funny to hear Aerith say something like "Why didn't I think of that?"
 
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NibelFire

Lv. 25 Adventurer
AKA
Blaze
Oh sweet baby Jesus, this debate feels like I'm staring at an abyss.

@Jairus , I keep hearing you say "but what if Square could deliver it in a way you guys haven't thought of?", but what I want to hear is, in your opinion, how would they go about that without potentially betraying one of the core foundations that make the FF7 narrative works? Because a simple "you don't know how they will do it" won't suffice when many in here have provided really good cases for how they can't do it. (@MelodicEnigma holy wall of text dude, love it though :mon:)

The FF7's dating mechanics allows leeway for personal interpretation, but I think there's still a clear distinction between what's consider canonical and what's there for entertainment value. As the player, I could be pining for my favorite slum drunk from the get go and hunt for all the correct choices that reflect my feeling, but I know there's no way Cloud the character would share the same sentiment at that point in time. You could insert Jessie or any girl in Midgar and the end result will be the same. To change that doesn't mean approaching it from a different angle we haven't seen, that's just creating someone who isn't Cloud anymore.

Could they make it painfully obvious that Jessie really likes Cloud? Sure, honestly I can think of many ways they can make it so that Jessie's affection for Cloud is more than superficial, but for Cloud to reciprocate it? I can't see it. I really tried, I just can't.
 

Jairus

Author of FFVII: Lifestream
Oh sweet baby Jesus, this debate feels like I'm staring at an abyss.

@Jairus , I keep hearing you say "but what if Square could deliver it in a way you guys haven't thought of?", but what I want to hear is, in your opinion, how would they go about that without potentially betraying one of the core foundations that make the FF7 narrative works? Because a simple "you don't know how they will do it" won't suffice when many in here have provided really good cases for how they can't do it. (@MelodicEnigma holy wall of text dude, love it though :mon:)

The FF7's dating mechanics allows leeway for personal interpretation, but I think there's still a clear distinction between what's consider canonical and what's there for entertainment value. As the player, I could be pining for my favorite slum drunk from the get go and hunt for all the correct choices that reflect my feeling, but I know there's no way Cloud the character would share the same sentiment at that point in time. You could insert Jessie or any girl in Midgar and the end result will be the same. To change that doesn't mean approaching it from a different angle we haven't seen, that's just creating someone who isn't Cloud anymore.

Could they make it painfully obvious that Jessie really likes Cloud? Sure, honestly I can think of many ways they can make it so that Jessie's affection for Cloud is more than superficial, but for Cloud to reciprocate it? I can't see it. I really tried, I just can't.
He doesn't actively reciprocate anything toward Aerith or Tifa, either, though, not that we ever directly see. Virtually everything we see from him in regards to how he feels about the girls is up to player interpretation. I don't know that there is anything canonical, because even some of the core events of the arcs are dependent on player choice in how they turn out and even in some cases (such as the Gold Saucer) who they happen with. So how would allowing Jessie as a possible third option in Part 1, developed and shown in a similar, non-conclusive and choice-dependent fashion like Aerith and Tifa were in the OG where nothing is overtly confirmed and, like with Aerith and Tifa, things that happen in it can be interpreted in one way or another however the player wishes to see it, harm anything or betray one of the core foundations of the FFVII story, as you put it? If it's both indirect and subject to player interpretation, as Aerith and Tifa's arcs were, then it shouldn't do that.

And why does the foundation of the FFVII story seemingly depend on the idea that Cloud could never feel anything for anyone not named Aerith or Tifa, even a little? This isn't like the OG, where Midgar is only a few hours long. It's going to be an entire full-length game, and things can and will be different, including interactions with characters who are no longer as minor as they once were.

And I'd like to point out again that, given that Cloud had the ability to flirt back with Jessie and that it's likely he'll be able to do so again in Part 1, it shows that even at that point, he is capable of feeling attraction, because you don't usually flirt with someone you don't feel at least a little attracted to. His reaction to seeing Aerith in the dress in the trailer also show's he's capable of feeling attraction at that point in the story even if he doesn't know what to do with it yet. He's not a zombie or a statue that can't feel anything. He's human, and regardless of his mental state, being human means he can and does feel even if he doesn't always understand what it is he's feeling.

Oh and Force, Tifa only got that if you got her affection value high enough. Otherwise, she gets left in the friend zone. But I was talking about what we actually directly see Cloud doing on the screen.
 

Roger

Novice DM
AKA
Minato
Aerith's death motivates Cloud to action more then anything else regardless of your choices and his attraction to Tifa, his need to impress her is what motivated his true self to join SOLDIER, hide his identity when he returned to his hometown and pretend to be SOLDIER when he reunites with Tifa in Midgar. Your dialogue options can give the girls the cold shoulder yes, but you really do not have the ability to create a version of the story where his feelings towards Tifa and Aerith are portrayed as purely platonic in the original game and I'd be very, very, very surprised if they go that route in the remake.

This does not mean he can't feel anything for anyone else, no. I just don't think Jessie will be a third option, as in mutually exclusive to pursueing Aerith and Tifa romantically.
 
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