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7 Compilation Characters Who Could Appear in Final Fantasy VII: Remake’s First Installment

by July 4, 2019 7 comments

Warning: This editorial contains SPOILERS for ALL TITLES IN THE COMPILATION, including the novellas On the Way to a Smile and The Kids are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story.

After its generation-defining release in 1997, Final Fantasy VII saw a string of spin-off titles between 2004 and 2011, ranging from CGI films to mobile phone games to light novels. Each subsequent installment added original characters and storylines to the rich narrative of Final Fantasy VII, eventually becoming The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII.

With the announcement of Final Fantasy VII: Remake in 2015, speculation began to surface about whether the Compilation titles in the series would also be remade—or even incorporated into the Remake’s narrative.

In a 2018 interview with Famitsu, Tetsuya Nomura (director of Final Fantasy VII: Remake) stated that he and Yoshinori Kitase (producer of Final Fantasy VII: Remake) were “considering various developments in regards to what accompanies the Remake.” Specifically: “the Compilation titles.”

This isn’t the first time the Compilation titles have been addressed in an interview. Two years prior, in 2016, during an interview with Game Informer, Kitase gave detailed commentary on his plans to incorporate the Compilation titles into Final Fantasy VII: Remake:

“It’s not to say that all or some of the characters from the spin-offs or other Compilation works will appear in the Remake, but if there are any areas where we can use the settings or the characters, we do want to try to incorporate it in there, so it gives off that sense of nuance and those other stories existing. There may be instances where the characters appear themselves, or are just referenced in dialogue… But in terms of the characters and instances that remain in the memories of our fans, we do want to try our best to integrate that in some fashion in the world.”

This means that fans can expect characters from the Compilation to be referenced or recreated in the Remake—perhaps in unconventional ways. In a 2017 interview with French fansite Finaland, Nomura confirmed that “Final Fantasy VII: Remake will be different from the original Final Fantasy VII” to the point that “If we were [to remake the other games in the] Compilation, these games will hardly have an overall coherence… There is no more continuity between the Compilation and the Remake for the moment.”

With the advent of E3 2019, it’s been confirmed that the first episode of Final Fantasy VII: Remake will not only be the length of a full Final Fantasy game, but will also require two Blu-ray disks to contain its content. Even more surprisingly, the first episode will be set entirely in Midgar—a section that lasted only about 7 hours in the original Final Fantasy VII.

With two Blu-ray disks’ worth of pure Midgar in store, fans can expect the Remake to dive deeper into the dystopian city and its denizens than ever before, perhaps allowing certain characters from the greater Compilation of Final Fantasy VII to cameo.

The following speculative analysis presents seven characters from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII who could appear in the first installment of Final Fantasy VII: Remake, with one character highlighted from each of the following canonical spin-offs:

  • Before Crisis
  • Dirge of Cerberus
  • Crisis Core
  • Advent Children Complete
  • On the Way to a Smile
  • The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story

One final caveat: Since Final Fantasy VII: Remake is implied to be more of a reboot than a remake, the author acknowledges that this article is purely speculative and that the canon of the Compilation may not directly apply when discussing the following characters and their appearances in the Remake.

Ruluf “Two Guns” (Before Crisis)

Who is He?

“Two Guns” is one of 11 Turks featured in the Japanese-exclusive mobile phone game, Before Crisis, in which most of the characters are referred to by the weapons they wield. His given name ルルフ (Ruluf) was eventually revealed on a production sketch from the anime Last Order, in which he also appears.

Why Should He be Included?

Despite having 10 other Turks to consider, Ruluf is most deserving of a Final Fantasy VII: Remake cameo for the following reasons:

Visually, he stands out from the cast. He shuns the standard black tie of his rank and sports a daringly back-alley hairstyle that marks him as a street-smart pro of the criminal underground. In the game, the player Turk literally feels “bloodlust” in the air before Ruluf appears, and it’s said that by the time you see his guns, you’re already dead.

Aside from the original four Final Fantasy VII Turks (and with the exception of Emma “Gun”, who is Elena’s older sister), Ruluf is the only Turk with direct ties to Final Fantasy VII; namely that he served as Don Corneo’s bodyguard for most of his life before growing sick of it, deserting the crime boss, and joining the Turks for protection (presumably around the beginning of Crisis Core).

Canonically, although Ruluf no longer affiliates with the Turks by the time of Final Fantasy VII, his history with them adds another shade to their clandestine dealings. In Final Fantasy VII, the original four Turks are given no backstory, and six spin-offs later the most revealed is that Reno is “a grown-up teenage delinquent” (The Kids Are Alright, pg. 57) and Elena’s older sister was also a Turk, which inspired her to join (Before Crisis). A character like Ruluf brings much-needed insight into the histories and associations of the Turks and makes their threats easier to take seriously.

Ruluf is the only Before Crisis Turk to receive alterations post-release. Early trailers, artwork, and versions of the Before Crisis depict him wielding a single handgun, as Square Enix originally intended him to be a male counterpart to Emma (the female “Gun” Turk). However, whether due to his entrenched backstory, visual hallmarks, or the need to differentiate him from the others, Ruluf was eventually upgraded to his trademark two guns. Whatever the real reason behind the change, it’s clear Square Enix had their eye on this character in 2004 and found him significant enough to the story and gameplay to warrant modifications.

Ruluf’s Japanese voice in Last Order was provided by seiyuu Ginpei Sato, whose recognizable credits include Saix (Kingdom Hearts series) and Jin (Samurai Champloo). Coincidentally, Saix and Jin both share the same English voice actor as well—Kirk Thornton, who could provide a cool, professional delivery.

How He Could be Included

Numerous interviews with members of the Final Fantasy VII: Remake development team emphasize rebooting the story for a new generation of fans and the modern gaming experience alike. For example, CGWorld interviewed Shintaro Takai (Art Director & VFX Director), who talked about recreating the weapons used by certain enemies in the game based on their physical location and natural energy sources. In other words, immense consideration is being taken to ensure that even the visual effects of the game make the worldbuilding feel cohesive and immersive.

The anime opening of Before Crisis shows Ruluf with a single firearm

Since the first installment of the Remake features two disks’ worth of content in Midgar alone, every nook and cranny of the slums and city should feel alive—or in Wall Market’s case, very, VERY shady. Since the Honeybee Inn event has officially been confirmed and Aps has appeared in the trailers, we can assume the Wall Market sequence and Don Corneo’s Mansion will both be present in the remake.

Though Ruluf is an ex-Turk by the time of Final Fantasy VII, one meaningful way to include him within the Remake is wanted posters and NPCs giving one-off whispers about “the bodyguard who dared to desert.” Someone as deadly as Ruluf joined the Turks to escape from Corneo’s vengeance, so it would be no surprise if the crime boss littered Wall Market with the likeness of the man who dared to leave his post. At the very least, we know from The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story that Corneo has a photograph of every single woman who has entered his mansion (including a cross-dressed Cloud!), and though Ruluf doesn’t fit that criteria, it would make sense for Corneo to also keep images of his bodyguards for blackmail purposes or otherwise.

Early concept art of Wall Market

A wanted poster of Ruluf would be an unobtrusive Easter Egg for longtime fans of the Compilation while also adding a much-needed sinister aura to the original tongue-in-cheek sleaze of Wall Market. Introducing Ruluf’s likeness during the Wall Market segment could also serve as a tone-setting introduction to the Turks as the embodiment of Shinra’s dark secrets.

Biggs’s / Wedge’s Unnamed Sister (Dirge of Cerberus)

Who is She?

During Dirge of Cerberus Chapter 8, Vincent has a conversation with a female soldier from the World Regenesis Organization (WRO) in the Train Graveyard. While she never gives her name, she tells Vincent her backstory— including that after her mother died, her brother joined an anti-Shinra group and was killed when the plate fell on Sector 7. While Biggs and Wedge are never named, this description applies to both of them and their ultimate fates; also, since Dirge of Cerberus was the first console-based spin-off in the Compilation, direct tie-ins and nods to the original Final Fantasy VII are expected.

Most fans speculate that the WRO soldier is Biggs’s sister, due to a her physical resemblance and the fact that Wedge already has a sibling—a younger brother named Kwedge, whose name and model exists in the dummied content of Final Fantasy VII and was only briefly alluded to in the final release of the game.

Biggs as he appears in Final Fantasy VII: Remake

Why Should She be Included?

In a 2018 interview with Famitsu, Nomura emphasized that Final Fantasy VII: Remake will go into greater depth with its characters, starting with the members of AVALANCHE, specifically Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie. With the release of the E3 demo, fans got a taste of this depth; in their impressions of the playable demo, Kotaku writes: “Jessie has more dialogue in the 30 minutes of footage I saw today than she does in all of Final Fantasy VII on PS1. Wedge and Biggs have more personality.”

In addition, during E3, Kitase stated that “there’s a greater emphasis on character storytelling through the use of [voice acting, motion capture, and close-up cameras outside of cutscenes] as well as some other new tech. This allows us to make these characters more expressive than ever, enhancing the levels of immersion and enjoyment through performance.”

The inclusion of Biggs’s or Wedge’s sister would be yet another way Square Enix could add depth to the members of AVALANCHE by providing a bit of backstory and context for their motives. Being the sole caretaker of his sister in the destitute Midgar slums would lend emotional momentum to Biggs’s or Wedge’s actions and make their deaths leave an even bigger—and much more personal—impact.

How Could She be Included?

In the original Final Fantasy VII, Wedge briefly references his little brother, but because the player never has the chance to meet Wedge’s brother or see the effect that Wedge’s death has on him, his existence within the game is lip-service at best.

Incorporating Biggs’s or Wedge’s sister into the storyline—either casually or directly—would personalize the battle that AVALANCHE is fighting against Shinra by providing a clear picture of who AVALANCHE is fighting for, further characterizing Biggs and Wedge as people rather than temporary party members.

For example: After completing the initial bombing mission, Biggs or Wedge might part ways with Cloud and add that he’s “got to go check on my sister.” Or, perhaps while riding the train into Midgar, Biggs or Wedge might take a moment to worry about his sibling or reference her as a reason he joined AVALANCHE—to create a better world for her to grow up in. In Dirge of Cerberus, the sister says that she and her brother used to play in the Train Graveyard for fun, so the train ride through Midgar would provide a natural trigger for this sort of reminiscing.

Taking the train through Midgar may provide plenty of time and opportunity for referencing a certain sister…

After Sector 7 is destroyed, giving the player the opportunity to go to Biggs’s or Wedge’s house and encounter his sister or deliver the unfortunate news to her would offer an additional gut-punch and bring more closure to their deaths. In this way, Biggs’s or Wedge’s sister could serve as a concrete illustration for the great tragedy and deep personal loss that hundreds of survivors in the slums are facing as a result of AVALANCHE’s battle with Shinra. If done right, with plenty of dialogue options to make the difficult conversation even more unpredictable, an encounter like this could set the weighty tone for the grim acceleration of the plot and perhaps even burden the player with a bit of guilt going forward.

Kunsel (Crisis Core)

Who Is He?

Kunsel is a 2nd Class SOLDIER employed by Shinra and a best friend of Zack Fair’s throughout the events of Crisis Core.

Note: In Crisis Core, another SOLDIER named Luxiere shares Kunsel’s loyalty to Zack, having been inspired by his “embrace your dreams” speech given to the rookie recruits. However, due to Kunsel having a larger role in Crisis Core, the author has chosen to focus on him here. Regardless, the following analysis could easily apply to Luxiere as well.

Why Should He be Included?

In Final Fantasy VII, SOLDIERs were both faceless and nameless, with the exception of major characters like Sephiroth and Zack Fair. Because of the scope of the Remake, it’s inevitable that some of the SOLDIER NPCs will require more detail—names, personalities, and perhaps even backstories.

Crisis Core and Before Crisis humanized SOLDIER, not just by recounting the lives of familiar characters like Sephiroth and Zack, but also by introducing new SOLDIERs. Kunsel is one such special case—not just because of his closeness with Zack Fair (Cloud’s predecessor), but also because of his 2nd Class rank, making him one of the few named SOLDIERs not in 1st Class.

Kunsel served a minor role in Crisis Core, acting as an informant for Zack on top secret matters, including the Jenova Project, Shinra’s true intentions, and the movements of 1st Class SOLDIER deserters like Genesis and Angeal. Despite his brief screentime, his loyalty to Zack is so strong that he continues to believe Zack is alive even after hearing nothing from him for four years; he even implies that he’s willing to desert Shinra if it means protecting his friend. One of the final emails Zack receives in Crisis Core is from Kunsel, asking if he’s the “legendary SOLDIER” who “all the bigwigs and everyone in SOLDIER are freaking out” about returning after four years of being MIA.

This final email from Kunsel is sent after Zack defeats Minerva, shortly before the narrative of Final Fantasy VII begins, meaning that in the Compilation timeline, Kunsel is very much alive and concerned about Zack, not knowing that Cloud has taken up the Buster Sword in Zack’s stead. Final Fantasy VII: Remake could make use of Kunsel to portray the downfall of SOLDIER—being one of the only remaining members, or perhaps even a deserter at this point—as well as provide a link back to Zack and Cloud’s mysterious history.

How Could He be Included?

In the Midgar portion of the original Final Fantasy VII, SOLDIER has all but lost the influence of its glory days and SOLDIERs are few and far between, with only 3rd Class units appearing on floors 68-69 of the Shinra Building. Therefore, if Kunsel were to be included as a 2nd Class SOLDIER (or perhaps even a promoted 1st Class at this point), he would certainly stand out to the player and could perhaps serve as an ally during Cloud’s infiltration.

Whether Kunsel has deserted SOLDIER to roam the slums or is still employed by Shinra in order to gain intel on Zack, one thing is certain: Kunsel would notice the Buster Sword strapped to Cloud’s back and perhaps even recognize Cloud himself as the infantryman who often shadowed Zack during missions. If encountered, Kunsel might provide hints to Cloud and the player that something is “off” about Cloud’s memories, or even resurrect earlier reminiscences of Zack Fair. If nothing else, Kunsel’s presence in the Remake could provide insight into Shinra’s operations and SOLDIER—that things are darker and more twisted than anyone might imagine, and that not everyone employed by Shinra is evil; some are simply stuck, and many have been misused and forgotten, like Zack, Sephiroth, and—yes—even Cloud.

If Kunsel were encountered in the Shinra Building, he might prove a more convenient way to traverse the floors without scavenging for elusive keycards, particularly if the player chooses to sneak in rather than burst through the front doors. Alternatively, Kunsel could assist Cloud and his team in escaping from their Shinra prisons after they are captured. In Crisis Core, Kunsel has access to a wealth of information, and if given dialogue options in the Remake (as recently confirmed by Nomura), he could easily provide the player with rich but optional history about Midgar, Shinra, and SOLDIER. It would also be appropriate for Kunsel to sacrifice himself for Cloud and the gang in order to expedite their escape from Midgar, thus showing ultimate loyalty to Zack’s living legacy.

Denzel (Advent Children)

Who is He?

Denzel is a seven-year-old boy who lived in Sector 7 with his parents, who were well-off due to his father’s employment at Shinra Electric Power Company. When the Sector 7 plate dropped, Denzel lost his home, parents, and stability like hundreds of others, forcing him to navigate the slums to survive until he is found and adopted by Cloud and Tifa prior to the events of Advent Children.

Why Should He be Included?

Denzel as he appears in the anime adaptation of Case of Denzel

Including Denzel in Final Fantasy VII: Remake could prove a challenge. Since his existence is tied so strongly to the Final Fantasy VII sequels, including him in the Remake could prove counterintuitive to the entire concept of rebooting the series. However, Denzel still has much to offer:

At a basic level, Denzel’s design is unique. Namely, he’s the only character in the entire Final Fantasy VII universe with wavy hair, which Normua said “added to his individuality.” Simply stated: Denzel is designed to stand out from a crowd of background characters and NPCs, adding diversity to the denizens of Midgar.

Denzel is designed to have similarities to Cloud; Nojima commented that “He’s the type that can’t be number one or has to have equal status amongst the others. That’s probably the reason why he gets along with Cloud.” On a narrative level, Denzel embodies many of the same struggles that Cloud encountered from his childhood up, and having Cloud encounter Denzel in the Remake could offer insight into Cloud’s early life, humanizing him beyond his apathetic attitude.

Denzel represents a demographic untouched by the original Final Fantasy VII—children born into Midgar’s well-to-do families, particularly of Shinra employees. His existence would provide more worldbuilding angles to Midgar’s diverse demographics.

Final Fantasy VII does not take the time to explore the impact that the destruction of Sector 7 has on its survivors. Tifa and Barret merely discuss what part of the blame they should carry for the deaths of the Sector 7 citizens, since Shinra chose to drop the plate as retribution for AVALANCHE destroying a Mako Reactor; however, including Denzel in the Remake would show rather than tell the weight of that guilt. This was a critical aspect of Denzel’s character arc in Advent Children, after all—serving as a reminder to Cloud of AVALANCHE’s actions and his own role in the destruction of Denzel’s (and countless others’) home and family.

How Could He be Included?

Denzel, orphaned, surviving in the slums

In general, Final Fantasy VII: Remake will provide a more realistic take on the story, characters, and gameplay. Nomura stated in a Famitsu interview that one of their design mentalities is to “show some reality” in Final Fantasy VII: Remake. For example, the stealth missions will be more practical: “In the story, there are situations where you’ll be infiltrating, and you won’t always get to simply walk down the middle of a path. The original version had random encounters so we were able to leave that up to your imagination, but since this time it’s seamless the infiltrating progress will certainly catch some eyes, so it was decided that we needed to show some reality there. You’ll get to take cover in shaded areas until soldiers walk by, or blow up enemies using grenades, those are the kind of uses there will be.”

In addition to making the gameplay more realistic, the storyline and worldbuilding must naturally follow suit, and the consequences of the plot must be expressed through its characters in order to make the entirety of Midgar feel like a living, breathing world.

Case in point: Denzel would provide an especially poignant depiction of the Sector 7 tragedy, particularly if the player were allowed to encounter him both before and after the disaster—once with his parents, and once without them. Implementing a small side quest could hammer the drama home further. For example, prior to the disaster, the player might be given an optional quest to reunite Denzel with his family—perhaps he has gotten lost and wandered into the dangerous Sector 6 near his home. While Cloud grumbles about being stuck with a helpless rich kid and tries to reunite Denzel with his family as soon as possible, the two are given a little time to bond and Cloud sees a bit of his awkward, weak self in the boy. When Cloud successfully reunites Denzel with his parents, he witnesses just how much the boy needs his loving family. Reencountering the orphaned and homeless Denzel after the eradication of Sector 7 would be a punishing gut punch, both for Cloud and the player.

Perhaps the player could even come across Denzel while he’s living in the home of a certain Shinra employee’s mother. This bring us to character #5.

Ruvie Tuesti (On the Way to a Smile)

Who is She?

Appearing in the 2009 novella, On the Way to a Smile, and its anime adaptation, On the Way to a Smile: Case of Denzel, Ruvie Tusesti is Reeve Tuesti’s mother who lives alone in Sector 5. After the plate crushes Sector 7, she takes in the newly orphaned Denzel until she is fatally infected with Geostigma during Meteorfall.

Note: Reeve’s parents also make brief, unnamed cameos in Final Fantasy VII during an optional Honeybee Inn sequence. However, due to her retconned portrayal in the Compilation, Ruvie is treated here as a Compilation character rather than an original part of FFVII.

Why Should She be Included?

While some practical copying and pasting of NPCs is to be expected, in order to make Midgar feel alive and its world believable, a significant number of NPCs should feature original designs and unique stories that transform Midgar into a richer, more diverse, more complicated place. The inclusion of an already established character like Ruvie would have this effect because:

Few characters in Final Fantasy VII have relatives, let alone living, biological parents; including Ruvie would provide a much-needed depiction of what the family unit looks like in the dark city of Midgar, where survival requires effort.

Ruvie would provide a fresh perspective to the storyline—that of a mother whose son works for Shinra, the corporation depicted as absolute evil for the first seven hours of the original game. Introducing Ruvie within the Midgar portion of the game would provide dimension to AVALANCHE’s enemy, depicting them as something other than a caricatured evil. It could even hint that AVALANCHE has an ally (Reeve) behind enemy lines.

Ruvie could illustrate the impact that AVALANCHE’s eco-terrorist battle with Shinra is having on individual denizens of Midgar who aren’t living in Sector 7. In On the Way to a Smile, after the first Shinra reactor bombing, Ruvie begins stockpiling canned food in her garden shed to prepare for a potential outbreak of war and mass power outage. Small details like this may provide an encroaching sense of doubt to the player, causing them to begin wondering about the consequences of every action they take.

No matter how large Midgar might be across two Blu-ray disks, the world will feel remarkably lifeless if homes and buildings are off limits for exploration. In the novella, Ruvie’s home is filled with thoughtful details that elevate her from a stock background character to a person; replicating these details in the game would set a good standard for the average NPC home in Midgar. For example: Ruvie keeps “thick books” about Shinra and has read them for over five years, trying to better grasp her son’s work; she also keeps Reeve’s favorite boyhood monster encyclopedia on this same shelf. Her home is decorated in a floral pattern and there’s an empty garden in her front yard, which emphasizes her desire to see real flowers in the slums.

Ruvie originally lived in the countryside, perhaps even during a time before Mako Reactors drained it of verdant life, transforming it into the Midgar Wasteland (which may explain her fascination with and longing for flowers in her own garden). With this history behind her, Ruvie could provide the player with powerful insight into the damage Shinra has done to the Planet and what a world without Mako Energy might look like. In the original Final Fantasy VII, the first seven hours of the game take place in Midgar before the player makes it outside to the Wasteland; Ruvie could likewise provide an exciting glimpse into the vastness of the world awaiting Cloud (and the player) beyond Midgar in subsequent installments of the game.

In addition to providing weight to Midgar’s worldbuilding, Ruvie could foreshadow the advent of Cait Sith, since Cait Sith’s iconic Scottish accent was based on Reeve’s parents’ own (as revealed in 10th Anniversary Ultimania). Since the remake—unlike the original game—features voice acting, having Ruvie and Cait Sith be the only two characters with Scottish accents would establish a subtle link between them, hinting at the true identity of Cait Sith (Reeve) long before it is revealed to the player.

How Could She be Included?

In the original Final Fantasy VII, Reeve’s unnamed parents could be seen through a keyhole at the Honeybee Inn, discussing their son who works for Shinra as a department head (confirmed to be Reeve by the 10th Anniversary Ultimania). However, this depiction seems to be retconned by On the Way to a Smile, in which Reeve’s mother is shown to be living alone in Sector 5 and having implicitly not seen her son for some time. Because “there is no more continuity between the Compilation and the Remake,” if Ruvie is included in the story, it will likely be in an entirely original way, though the Compilation’s take on her character seems to hold the most potential. Regardless, her unnamed, easily missed cameo in the original PS1 classic makes her a prime candidate to appear in the Remake.

Though unnamed, Reeve’s parents cameo in FFVII

In On the Way to a Smile, Ruvie lives in Sector 5, the same sector as the slum church and Aerith Gainsborough. In other words, her proximity to a major Midgar setting makes her a natural fit as an NPC. Due to her history with the Midgar countryside and determination to successfully grow flowers in her garden, interactions with Ruvie could lay groundwork for the scarcity of flowers in the slums—making Aerith’s church feel even more sacred, as the final bastion where plant-life can find shelter with the last living Ancient.

Evan Townshend (The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story)

Who Is He?

Half-brother of Rufus Shinra, Evan Townshend was raised in Sector 6 by his single mother. Two years after the fall of the Sector 7 plate during the events leading up to Advent Children, he becomes a private detective living in Edge.

Why Should He be Included?

In a Game Informer interview, producer Yoshinori Kitase addressed the “untouchable” content of Final Fantasy VII and whether fans of the PS1 classic could expect to find any surprises in the Remake:

“Definitely… A lot of times, [remakes] start off with nostalgia… If it’s just nostalgia, it’s just a matter of following the story, and there wouldn’t be any surprises. So, in that sense, we want to balance out the areas we would like to change versus the areas we don’t in order to have that nostalgia, but also the surprises. I, along with Nomura-san and [Kazushige] Nojima-san – who are involved with the Remake – were involved with the original Final Fantasy VII. We were the people who created it, so in that sense, we don’t think anything is untouchable. We believe we know the balance between what can be changed versus what needs to be protected.”

It should be no surprise that Kazuhige Nojima is mentioned here. Nojima served as a scenario writer for the original Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, and Advent Children, and he is also on the team of Final Fantasy VII: Remake. In addition, Nojima authored two literary works in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII—On the Way to a Smile and The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story. This latter work and its protagonist, Evan Townsend, are of special interest to the Remake for the following reasons:

Evan Townshend was designed by Tetsuya Nomura and brought to life by the mind of Kazuhige Nojima, and he appears only in the novel The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story. He is the only Compilation character to have an entire novel dedicated to his colorful voice and first-person perspective, meaning Nojima clearly invested time and careful consideration into his development. With Nojima returning as scenario writer for Final Fantasy VII: Remake and sharing Kitase’s perspective that “nothing is untouchable” from the original game, the stars could easily align for him to include some of the characters from the novels he penned—and Evan would be a prime candidate.

Final Fantasy VII: Remake already shows evidence that the development team is pulling ideas from early drafts of Final Fantasy VII’s For example, the Watchmen of Fate appear to be remastered versions of early-concept Sephiroth Clones, described as “parts of Jenova floating in the air covered by their cloaks.” Evan Townshend’s existence also pays homage to the Compilation’s earliest drafts. Final Fantasy VII was originally intended to be a tale of crime and mystery, starring a detective character who was searching for the group responsible for destroying Midgar. These story threads can still be found in The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story, as Evan is a member of the Mireille Detective Agency and on the hunt for a missing SOLDIER, following the partial destruction of Midgar after Meteorfall.

With the emphasis that Nojima, Nomura, and Kitase put on inserting “surprises” into the Remake for long-time fans, coupled with their interest in referencing characters from the Compilation, Evan Townshend makes technical sense. As Rufus Shinra’s half-brother, his very existence is a surprise and serves double duty by also emphasizing President Shinra’s infidelity in an alarming way and giving weight to Rufus’s disrespect toward his father—all without compromising the original plot.

Another of Rufus’ half-brothers, Lazard Deusericus, appeared as the Director of SOLDIER in Crisis Core. However, information about his heritage was only revealed through talking to specific NPCs in Chapter 6, meaning many players never uncovered Lazard’s identity. Including Evan in the Remake would allow players another—perhaps more opportune—chance to encounter an illegitimate son of the Shinra family.

How Could He be Included?

If Denzel acts as a canonical Sector 7 NPC and represents life in the slums for wealthy children and their families, Evan serves as Denzel’s NPC foil—representing Sector 6 and the life of poor slum children and their families.

Sector 6 is home to Green Park and Wall Market—both sites of major story beats in Final Fantasy VII. As a result, Evan would be hard to miss and a natural fit for adding color and life to the locals. As the only 14-year-old boy in the area with blond hair (and a resemblance to President Shinra), he would stand out as a unique NPC, which would encourage the player to interact with him and earn a hint or two about his true origins.

Because the first episode of Final Fantasy: Remake includes “as much content as any mainline Final Fantasy title,” side quests will likely be inevitable. In the greater Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, the slums—in particular, Sector 6—is a popular location for optional side quests, such as the infamous Honeybee Inn quest or the Flower Wagon quest in Crisis Core. If the trend of using Sector 6 as a convergence point for side quests continues in Final Fantasy VII: Remake, perhaps Evan would even be central to an optional side quest in the game.

One particularly appealing concept for an Evan-centric side quest is detailed in the first pages of The Kids Are Alright: A Turk’s Side Story. Evan recounts his adopting a “jet-black tomcat” who was “meowing on the side of the road” near his house. The cat becomes a metaphor for Evan himself, a homebody who feels out of place in the slums—an innocent kid with a weak heart who relies on his mother for protection, sustenance, and income. Soon, the cat runs away from home, echoing Evan’s own desire to leave home and help his mother earn income to support their barebones living. By the time Evan finds the cat six months later, it’s “gone feral, covered with scratches and missing the tip of an ear.” It hisses at Evan and refuses to come home, foreshadowing a fate that Evan soon realizes comes to all children raised in the slums, himself being no exception.

Side quests to find missing animals are a dime a dozen in JRPGs; however, a quest centered on helping fourteen-year-old Evan find his missing cat, only to realize it’s gone feral with no desire to return to him, would provide a powerful allusion for the fatalistic ends of children living in the slums and the hopelessness of Midgar’s future. Any side quests included in Final Fantasy VII: Remake should make the world of Midgar more dynamic and complicated, emphasizing not just why it’s worth saving, but why it absolutely must be saved—because a world where Shinra stays in control is a world headed to ruin and the abandonment of humanity.

Genesis Rhapsodos (Crisis Core, Dirge of Cerberus)

(Because it’s not a Final Fantasy VII list without seven characters!)

Who is He?

Genesis is a SOLDIER 1st Class and contemporary of Sephiroth who dedicates himself to studying the poetic epic LOVELESS. Created from the Project G line of Jenova experiments, he becomes a major antagonist in the Compilation and eventually is taken into Deepground, where his cells are spliced with the Tsviets. After having a change of heart and refusing to take part in the Deepground rebellion, Genesis seals himself under Midgar and awaits the day the world “needs a new hero.”

Why Should He be Included?

Genesis’s insertion into the Sephiroth narrative as told in Crisis Core met with mixed responses from fans, with many vehemently against his inclusion in the Remake. However, there are clues that indicate Genesis may appear in Final Fantasy VII: Remake in some way.

Notice the neon sign that reads “WELCOME LOVELESS” as well as the marquee on the building in the back-right corner

Both Genesis and his favorite epic LOVELESS were created as homages to the game staff’s favorite artists at the time—My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 album, Loveless, and Japanese pop star, Gackt, who is a personal favorite of Tetsuya Nomura’s. In fact, Gackt originally portrayed Genesis in his Dirge of Cerberus debut, which later solidified the character’s computer-generated design in Crisis Core. Even the most recent Compilation entry, The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story (released in 2011), continues this trend by taking its name from a song by English rock band The Who titled “The Kids Are Alright.” Advertisements for LOVELESS can be found in every visual entry of the Compilation, including Advent Children and Before Crisis. Referring to both Genesis and LOVELESS in Final Fantasy VII: Remake would serve as an homage to the development team’s long history of inserting their favorite artists and bands into the world of FFVII.

True to the original PS1 classic, LOVELESS signs have already been spotted in screenshots from the Remake. While this doesn’t automatically prove Genesis will cameo (after all, LOVELESS was a part of Final Fantasy VII long before Genesis came long), the prevalence of the advertisements would serve as a convenient entry point for referencing the red-clad SOLDIER.

Kitase has stated that “in terms of the characters and instances that remain in the memories of our fans, we do want to try our best to integrate that in some fashion in the world.” While Genesis’ existence may be considered polarizing to the fandom, his recognizability (due to infamy or otherwise) is undeniable, which makes him a more likely contender for an Easter Egg, reference, or cameo in the Remake.

How Could He be Included?

Since game one takes place entirely in Midgar, it would be possible to encounter Genesis in the flesh, albeit in a similar manner to Zack’s obscure encounter with Vincent in Crisis Core. Perhaps in wandering beneath the vast city of Midgar, the player finds Genesis sealed away in the underground cavern. After all, Lucretia Crescent can be encountered in a similar, optional manner in the original FFVII, which provides additional lore to the story without compromising it.

Genesis “G” portrayed by Gackt sealed in the underground caverns of Midgar

Alternatively, with the Final Fantasy series’ inclusion of optional boss battles, Genesis could serve as a secret boss in the game, should players be curious and leveled-up enough to venture into the right area of Midgar to take him on. At the end of the fight, Genesis (or G, as much of the Compilation refers to him) could once again retire to his rest, saying that the time was not right for his return.

More likely, however, Genesis could be referenced either indirectly or directly in dialogue by NPC chatter. Denizens of Midgar loitering around a LOVELESS poster might quote a few lines from the epic (which were first given voice by Genesis in Crisis Core). Perhaps members of Genesis’s Red Leather fan club could be seen gathering posthumously for a Resurrection Fest and discussing theories about his possible return (as referenced in the final email sent out by the fanclub in Crisis Core, shortly before the events of Final Fantasy VII take place).

Who Do YOU Want to See in Final Fantasy VII: Remake?

With a wealth of Compilation characters to consider, Final Fantasy VII: Remake has plenty of opportunities for cameos. Who do you think will most likely appear or receive a reference in the first installment of the Remake, which will take place entirely in Midgar? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

7 comments

  1. kris
    #1 kris 5 July, 2019, 05:16

    i would love to see cessnei! to my belief, i think after all she did to save zack and he still died, she would quit the job. she wouldn’t appear in midgar, but in some rich, comfortable place when the crew finally leaves. she would recognise aerith and talk more about zack, revealing more information on him. i don’t think it would have to be very important, though. it would be more of an optional thing.

    Reply to this comment
    • Cutsceneaddict
      Cutsceneaddict Author 6 July, 2019, 21:09

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! I’d like to see Cissnei, too, though I didn’t include her here because I doubt she will appear in the first installment centered entirely on Midgar. We know from Before Crisis that she left the Turks prior to the events of FFVII, only to reconvene with them behind-the-scenes during the events of Meteorfall, so a cameo at the end of the game would make perfect sense (if she didn’t appear anywhere else in the Remake). Because of her direct connections with Zack Fair, having her encounter Cloud would be both sentimental and eye-opening to the narrative. She could reveal information that might not come out any other way. Good thoughts.

  2. Rach
    #2 Rach 6 July, 2019, 21:59

    Nice article, Cutsceneaddict! I liked reading your predictions on which characters could potentially appear. It’s fun to imagine who could make an appearance since we don’t know how the compilation will be used in the remake.

    I think it would be nice to have posters or references to Genesis and Angeal in different people’s rooms. They were popular enough to have fanclubs surrounding them, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see prior fans of the 1st Class SOLDIERS have something to represent that.

    On the Way to a Smile does give the remake potential to slip in a few semi-recognizable names for NPCs in the game. Kilmister and Mütten Kylegate are a few that come to mind.

    Reply to this comment
    • Cutsceneaddict
      Cutsceneaddict Author 16 July, 2019, 23:21

      Hi there Rach! Thanks so much for taking the time to not only read my editorial, but also leave such a well-thought-out comment!

      We truly don’t know what to suspect from the Remake. Because there is no longer any real continuity with the original Compilation, we could be seeing an overhauled reboot with entirely different takes on certain developments, scenes, and perhaps even characters. It’s impossible to know for sure how any Compilation characters will be presented or used in the Remake, since we only have the Compilation to reference. All we know is that the Compilation characters are being considered and some will have a presence in the Remake in some way. With that said, I think we’ve managed to come up with some really probable possibilities!

      I love the idea of having posters in the rooms of certain houses (or perhaps even in SOLDIER dorms?). It would be pretty sentimental to go into a kid’s room and see an old poster of Angeal on their wall (or perhaps hidden under their bed, if SOLDIER is considered less than appreciated by that time). This would be a nice, unobtrusive Easter Egg that acknowledges Crisis Core without being too forceful on the narrative.

      I completely agree that names of minor characters from the light novels could be used to characterize NPCs in the Remake. This would also save the development team / scenario team some time in having to create entirely original characters and names to color Midgar and distribute potential side-quests. Love it!

  3. SEELE01
    #3 SEELE01 7 July, 2019, 18:22

    I have a question!
    Where can I find the production sketches of the Turks from Last Order? I have seen low-res images of them and I know that the “official” name of the secondary Turks is revealed in them, but I don’t know where those sketches came from. Thanks!

    Reply to this comment
    • Cutsceneaddict
      Cutsceneaddict Author 16 July, 2019, 23:31

      That’s a great question! And to be honest, I’m not sure where they actually originate from, other than that they are production sketches by Studio Madhouse. There was a site that featured all of the sketches but it is no longer online. If you scrounge around the net long enough, you’ll eventually come across them but you have to be pretty deliberate with typing in the name of each Turk and trying out different keywords.

      I think I have all of them on my computer somewhere…

      In any case, if you find out where they’re from before I do, let me know!

  4. TartaChocholate
    #4 TartaChocholate 17 July, 2019, 02:19

    Good work on the editorial, interesting food for thought. Well, giving my two cents… for me it really depends on how exactly compilation characters would be used. More precisely, if they are used for the self contained narrative of the Remake, taking advantage of the expansion and multi-game delivery to lead deeper into the world we will get then it can be a good idea. But if they are only there as nods to the older titles or worse, setting up plot threads to follow up in spinoffs or a “Compilation of FFVII Remake” then I am pretty against it, because it would make the story feel incomplete and that SE is falling to some sort of “Narrative Creep”, and not fully taking advantage of a multi game story, and to be fair, Square Enix can be pretty guilty of a lack of self restraint when something is successful nowadays.

    On the list itself, and a more personal level, I am not too crazy about the compilation being used at all, aside Zack who is essential to Cloud’s story since the original game. It may sound cynical, but I am not too fond of any of the entries (even CC is a mixed bag for me, loved Zack, pre-insanity Sephiroth, young Cloud and Aerith, but hated Genesis, the Project G and S division, Hollander, the whole Rebellion and Minerva’s concept) and felt that they really wasted the possibility of properly expanding the world of FFVII and instead went with messy retcons and inconsistencies to keep using the same beats over and over (the Jenova project, Shinra, the Weapons) instead of exploring new elements or parts of the Planet that were never fully addressed like Nanaki’s tribe and race, the war between Jenova and the Cetra, the Mako-less society, etc.

    This is just a personal idea, but, for example I think Genesis would have worked a lot better as his own beast, taking stylistic ques from Sephy, set in a different story altogether. Like, I dunno, a hero of the Cetra whose degradation was caused because he was infected by Jenova’s Virus, but he was too strong to become a monster, so he fell from grace looking for a cure himself and other Cetra as desperation took over, and dug into the teachings of his people and found out about the goddess of the Lifestream and her gift. Crappy Fanfic yeah, but hey, just sharing thoughs XD IMHO, what makes Genesis such a miss is how clumsily integrated he was to the story, tweaking the background to make him fit, not that his concept in itself is bad.

    If they actually take elements of the compilation and can forge a single, self-contained narrative with them for the Remake, that would be pretty awesome. But otherwise, I say it’s not a good idea to do it for just nods or setups.

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