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New FFVII Remake Screenshots, an In-Depth Analysis (Part 1)

by December 18, 2019 7 comments

Greetings everyone and welcome to my very first article here on TheLifestream.net!

Today, we’re delving deep into the the first bunch of screenshots released on Monday December 16th on several online outlets, one of them the official British Square Enix website.

With the extreme wealth of content, I decided to split this analysis into 3 separate articles. In this one, we’ll only cover screenshots from cutscenes.

Some websites contain additional images of President Shinra, Heidegger, Roche and Shiva (see here), but those aren’t as much of interest on their own. They also lack high-definition versions for proper analysis, which is why I’ll incorporate them into the appropriate screenshot analysis.

Now, before you ask why I’m not making a separate awesome video out of this analysis, let me tell you why. Currently, there’s so much in my backlog and with the newly released Cloud trailer from The Game Awards, there’s just not enough room to create yet another video. Especially since Jump Festa is around the corner and there’s a good chance we get yet another trailer.

For anyone who hasn’t played the original Final Fantasy VII yet and wants to go in fresh, I urge you to stop reading right now as we won’t shy away from spoilers in this article.

With that being said, let’s stop the dillydallying and get to work!

Sephiroth in President Shinra's Office

Sephiroth

Sephiroth Remake Render

Sephiroth Remake render

Sephiroth Remake Render Full

Sephiroth Remake full body render

Sephiroth’s direct appearance in President Shinra’s office has serious implications. In the original game, we see an impaled President Shinra slumped over his desk and Sephiroth is nowhere to be seen. Only his Masamune blade sticking out of the ex-President’s back.

This time, however, it looks like we meet Cloud’s nemesis in person! Or at least the Jenova version of him. How does this scene come to pass? We don’t see President Shinra at his desk, although he could just be off screen. Anyway, I think we either see Sephiroth standing there from the start and a dead President in the background or he appears while we’re interrogating Palmer, who seizes the moment of surprise to dash off.

What I like the most about this specific version of Sephiroth is his menacing and mentally unstable look in his face. He also looks rather instinct driven, as he should be at this point in time. It’s not before the Cargo ship to Costa Del Sol where we hear him talk for the first time and I believe that should stay that way. Meaning, in this scene here, I think he should stay completely silent and just disappear again.

President Shinra's Office

President Shinra’s office – artwork

Next to Sephiroth, we also get a good look at parts of the President’s office. Most of you might remember the artwork of this room from the 30th anniversary Farewell Stories exhibition at the beginning of 2018. This new office design has been heavily influenced by that artwork, but as always, a few differences can be spotted. The additional light bar on the desk, the additional holoscreen for one, and for another, the window wall design. The artwork contains much higher windows and additional red panels between the individual window segments. Other details like the President’s throne, those 3 glass pillars and the small palm tree on either side have been added to fill empty space and form a wall around the desk. The golden lines along the audience path as well as the red fake-carpet portion in the middle have also been taken from the artwork.

Sephiroth's Belt Buckle Materia

Materia equipped into belt buckle (upscaled)

There’s one last think I’d like to bring to your attention and that’s Sephiroth’s new belt. It depicts a black wind on its buckle has 5 metal feather dangling from it. But that’s not all. Have you seen those three Materia slots at the top border of the belt buckle and four on each feather attachment? Two yellow Command Materia and one green Magic Materia at the top, three more green Magic Materia on three of the feathers (while they look blue, single Support Materia wouldn’t make any sense) and a purple Independent Materia on the fourth one. While I find it curious that the green Magic Materia slotted into the buckle appears bigger, there’s another, more pressing point to make: visible Materia slots on armor pieces! Do you think this instance of visible Materia on Sephiroth’s belt buckle is proof enough? I certainly hope so!

President Shinra

President Shinra

President Shinra - Artwork

President Shinra – artwork

President Shinra Face - Before Crisis

President Shinra face – Before Crisis

I can’t say this enough. All the characters revealed so far look phenomenal! The details on clothing, face, skin and even accessories are unmatched in my humble opinion. The watch, the golden ring (probably a family heirloom but definitely not a wedding ring), the buttons on his sleeves, the folds in his suit, the veins on the back of his hand, the individual hair strands, the very accurate mustache, all the grooves and weathering on his face, topped off with this spot-on evil corporate grin. They definitely nailed his design and struck a perfect balance between the new semi realistic art style and keeping faithful to the original design. His cigar is still missing, however.

Still, he does exhibit a few differences to his original version. His suit looks purple instead of a wine red and is covered in stripes. He also wears his hair not completely slicked back but instead lets a few strands run wild. Is that just a mere stylistic choice or might that represent a deeper meaning and metaphor for ShinRa as a whole, where everything looks great and slick on the surface but starts to fall apart when looking closer? Food for thought.

President Shinra 3D Model

President Shinra field model

President Shinra Remake Render

President Shinra Remake render

Throwing a quick glance at the background, we see those glass pillars again on the left and a blurry Midgar through the window. According to the orientation and view angle, this must be sector 4. The view from President Shinra’s office parallels with the gap between the sector 4 and 5 plates and with this shot being slightly more to the east, sector 4 is the most likely candidate.

We can also already see the reflection of those lamps we’re about to see in the next screenshot.

Heidegger FFVIIR Office Cutscene

Heidegger

Heidegger - Artwork

Heidegger – artwork

Heidegger Face - Before Crisis

Heidegger face – Before Crisis

And here they are, the triple lamps from the window reflection with shades pointing to the ceiling. Despite their numbers it looks rather dark in here, same as the previous 2 screenshots. In addition to the laps, there’s also the left palm tree poking into view from the right.

Here, we get another look at Heidegger who we already saw in the E3 2019 trailer. Biggest differences are the shortened beard and hairstyle, similar to his Before Crisis look. The rest appears pretty accurate with an additional red tie that’s now visible due to the lack of his long beard. His scar looks nasty but fitting and enhances his already menacing grin even more. According to the information posted alongside this screenshot, Heidegger has been around since the early days of the company and is President Shinra’s right hand most trusted man.

Heidegger Field Model

Heidegger field model

Heidegger Remake Render

Heidegger Remake render

Those 2 screenshots with Heidegger and President Shinra seem to take place within the same cutscene, presumably the one where they talk about the Plate Fall with Reeve expressing concerns, which takes place after the group falls through the trapdoor in Don Corneo’s private quarters and straight into the sewers.

Cutscene in President Shinra's Office

Cutscene in President Shinra’s office

SOLDIER 3rd Class, Roche

SOLDIER 3rd Class, Roche

At last, that unknown SOLDIER has finally received a name and personality. This practically confirms that we’ll see him again after this first encounter as the first Bike Chase mini-game’s boss. Meet Roche, a SOLDIER 3rd Class (called it!) turned rebel, also known as Speed Demon. The following official description makes him sound annoyingly endearing: “He loves bikes, speed and anyone who can give him a challenge. His comrades, however, find him annoying – he constantly squeals his rear tire and makes them choke on fumes of burnt rubber.”

A few keywords that stood out to me are rebel, challenge and annoying. Him being described as a rebel could point to an eventual defection from SOLDIER to Avalanche or at least lead Roche to help or protect Cloud and company from ShinRa at some point, possibly losing his life in the process. Him being drawn to anyone who can give him a challenge strongly points to him respecting Cloud and thus leaning more to his side than ShinRa’s. Moreover, his annoying nature might prevent him from making any substantial friends in the ranks of SOLDIER, further supporting my theory.

Roche Render with Bike

Roche and his bike

Some people theorize that he could be involved in the final boss gauntlet, maybe even at the end of the highway. I’m fairly certain he won’t survive this first entry in the multi-game saga that is the Final Fantasy VII Remake, but there’s a chance he’ll survive and become a recurring element in subsequent installments.

I already analyzed him thoroughly in Game Analysis #16, so I’ll only briefly mention something about his outfit here. In the newly released full body render, we can distinctly see his SOLDIER belts that set him apart from Shinra Security Officers, with which he shares most of the rest of his outfit, with minor differences of course.

Aerith and the Ghosts

Aerith & the Ghosts

This December batch of screenshots has a heavy focus on the Train Graveyard. This excerpt from the original article explains why the scenes depicted in this and the next screenshot exist: “The story is more detailed too, with more dialogue, story sequences and a greater portrayal of citizens’ lives.”

Ghosts chasing Cloud

Ghosts chasing Cloud (Halloween Special)

I find it very interesting that even standard enemies from the original game are now incorporated into story scenes, as we see here in this screenshot, where Aerith presumably tries to calm this distraught ghost enemy. It seems that not all enemies are a threat anymore. Aerith’s face expresses a slight worry but also understanding. Unlike the ones on the Halloween screenshot, this ghost here sports additional art on its sheets, possibly applied by kids who played truth or dare in the Train Graveyard.

Eligor Remake version

Eligor – Remake version

Important to note are those red glowing stitches holding the sheets together and the blue effect over its arm. The latter could just be a lens flare or something like similar, however. Maybe the red stitching signifies danger or hostility? Eligor’s wheels also contain a few very similar looking red glowing lines and he’s definitely hostile and dangerous. Though judging by the other ghost in the background, there doesn’t seem to be any hostility involved here. Another theory suggests that Aerith is able to grant those poor ghosts salvation. By touching them, their stitching glows hot red, melts away and allows the trapped spirit to escape? Yeah, I’m not convinced either.

It’s also possible that Aerith is just showing Tifa that those ghosts aren’t scary at all and don’t want to harm anybody. Remember Tifa’s worried and frightened demeanor in the Tokyo Game Show 2019 trailer where she and Aerith are clinging to Cloud’s arms? Aerith looked quite happy and smug about it and in no way fearful. Or this ghost wasn’t moving in the first place and Aerith’s touch activated it somehow? In the end, this screenshot could mean anything.

What is for certain however is the fence in the background, which can also be seen in the overview screenshot of the Train Graveyard. But that’s for another article where we’ll dive into location shots and key art images.

Love Triangle in a Locomotive

Piloting a Locomotive

At first glance, it looks like they are standing in front of a derelict kitchen in one of the train cars. However, it turns out our adorable love triangle is trying to figure out how to operate the locomotive they’re currently standing inside of. The machinery looks quite complex, but I think the only thing we need to do is pulling the switch in the middle right in front of Cloud. However, either my assumption is wrong, or they already flipped that switch as I believe it needs to be in the forward position to move the locomotive forward also.

Pushing Train Cars

Pushing train cars in Final Fantasy VII

While I won’t get my hopes up, I still wish for a small puzzle where we need to figure out which handles, levers, knobs and buttons to operate in the correct order to make any of the locomotives move, with each one being a bit different and more difficult. That contraption in the front might be an old monitor giving us hints for how to solve the puzzle and activate the locomotive. Or I’m reading too much into it and the locomotives are just operated by a single button press.

Ladder on Train Car

Ladder on train car

As this looks like a cutscene, I’m pretty sure that this represents the very first locomotive we need to use in order to move one of the train cars into position to open up a new path, just like towards the end of the Train Graveyard in the original game. In this case, it’s the one we see behind Tifa’s head. Why am I so certain? One piece of evidence is the ladder leading up to that train car’s roof. For more proof, please wait for one of the follow-up articles covering the Train Graveyard overview image.

And that concludes part 1 of this extensive and in-depth analysis of the latest screenshots for the Final Fantasy VII Remake. Part 2 covers all gameplay-related screenshots and can be found here.


Huge thanks to Master tier supporter Dachdagger, who had the privilege to help me analyze those screenshots and managed to find a few details before I could. Thank you, my friend!


Did you notice something we didn’t? Let us know on the board or hit us up on our discord! Keep an eye out for upcoming in-depth analysis videos on our YouTube.

Also, check out Vyzzuvazzadth’s YouTube channel – the Cosmo Canyon Observatory, and associated Discord!

7 comments

  1. Seyra
    #1 Seyra 19 December, 2019, 10:47

    I feel like President Shinra’s new hairstyle is to re-enforce his parental link with Rufus. It’s the first time I actually see the shared traits on his face. The haircut is just a bonus.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Claymore
    #2 Claymore 19 December, 2019, 19:59

    Really great article analysing the new renders and pics, Vyzz! Looking forward to the next one in the series!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Alex
    #3 Alex 20 December, 2019, 03:35

    “He also wears his hair not completely slicked back but instead lets a few strands run wild. Is that just a mere stylistic choice or might that represent a deeper meaning and metaphor for ShinRa as a whole,”

    I think it’s just because that’s Rufus’s look, and he’s Rufus’s dad. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Speaking of, where is his cigar??

    Reply to this comment
  4. Vyzzuvazzadth
    #4 Vyzzuvazzadth Author 22 December, 2019, 13:23

    True. I havne’t looked at Rufus in a while, which is why I didn’t draw that parallel. And I was planning on including a comment about the cigar, but I forgot >_<

    Thank you guys for the comments!

    Reply to this comment
  5. Nanaki
    #5 Nanaki 24 December, 2019, 03:43

    Great job Vyzz!!! I greatly enjoyed your article and I can’t wait to read the next one! I am missing everyone. Dach went master! Wow! Tell him hi from me. Take care!
    P.S. Maybe the ghost has bright red stitches because the Halloween image was concept art and this is the real in game version 😂 JKJKJK

    Reply to this comment
    • Vyzzuvazzadth
      Vyzzuvazzadth Author 28 December, 2019, 19:49

      Thank you, again!
      The ghost in the background also doesn’t have any red glowing stitches 😛

  6. jimbobjamz
    #6 jimbobjamz 14 April, 2020, 01:50

    Something to add since playing the remake myself the whole way through is that purple slotted materia is bright and not of that colour, it is in fact what I believe to be Black materia and if you have played the whole of the game (without spoiling anything) then you will understand the implications of this surely!!!

    Reply to this comment

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