Final Fantasy VII Remake includes hidden affection mechanics that alter the resolution scenes that players view in the first quest, "Resolve", of Chapter 14, "In Search of Hope". Depending on the decisions made by the player throughout the game, Cloud Strife will either talk to Barret Wallace, Tifa Lockhart, or Aerith Gainsborough.
The determining factor is if the player completes the Odd Job sidequests in Chapter 3, "Home Sweet Slum", or in Chapter 8, "Budding Bodyguard". Each quest completed in these chapters gives +2 points to Tifa or Aerith respectively, while the choice between the two at the start of Chapter 10, "Rough Waters", adds 1 tiebreaker point to whomever is selected. The character with the most points will determine the scene. If they both have fewer than 5 total points, Barret is selected.
To see different outcomes, the player can replay an earlier chapter, save, and then return to "In Search of Hope" to see a different scene if they successfully changed outcomes. Decisions relating to affection outcomes also relate to dress mechanics, determining the dresses worn by Cloud, Tifa, and Aerith in Chapter 9, "The Town That Never Sleeps".
The affection mechanics in Final Fantasy VII Remake are reminiscent of the date mechanics in the original Final Fantasy VII, in which choices made by the player affect which character will go on a date with Cloud in the Gold Saucer. An unseen point system is used here as well.
Chapter 3 - "Home Sweet Slum"
For "Home Sweet Slum", completing all of the Odd Jobs ("Chadley's Report", "Rat Problem", "Nuisance in the Factory", "Lost Friends", "On the Prowl", and "Just Flew In from the Graveyard"), followed by the Discovery quest, "Alone at Last", will unlock Tifa's scene. Completing each quest increases Cloud's score with Tifa by +2.
Chapter 8 - "Budding Bodyguard"
For "Budding Bodyguard", completing all Odd Jobs ("The Mysterious Moogle Merchant", "Kids on Patrol", "Weapons on a Rampage", "A Verified Hero", "The Angel of the Slums", and "Paying Respects") is required to unlock Aerith's scene. Each quest increases Cloud's score with Aerith by +2.
Chapter 10 - "Rough Waters"
In "Rough Waters", during the initial quest "Escape to the Surface", Tifa and Aerith will have fallen on the floor before the battle against Abzu. Choosing Tifa will make it more likely to get her scene, while choosing Aerith will make it more likely to get hers.
Never thought I'd feel better after talking with your hard-boiled ass.Barret Wallace
Cloud awakens to find Barret who struggles sleeping because he is thinking of the other members of Avalanche: "Finn", a lazy individual who had painted the graffiti of Stamp the party had followed earlier; "Al" who stole code for Avalanche, and was a womanizer who used flowers to win them over, but failed to impress Tifa this way (Barret says she had "told him where to stick 'em"); and Nellie, the quartermaster who was close with Jessie and the two were often mistaken for sisters.
Barret concludes they must have all survived and promises to introduce Cloud to them. He thanks Cloud, expressing surprise that he helped him feel better, saying he can sleep now.
They took everything from us. Again.Tifa Lockhart
When Cloud finds an insomniac Tifa she apologizes for waking him with her footsteps. She points out that the flower he had given her earlier was from Aerith, and that she had looked up its meaning, discovering that it symbolizes reunion. She had tried to keep it alive as long as she could, only for it to end up dead and buried, much like Seventh Heaven and their home in Nibelheim. Tifa leans her head on Cloud's chest and breaks down. Cloud remains still for a moment, surprised and unsure of what to say or do, but eventually hugs her until she remarks that Cloud's hold is hurting her, prompting him to let go. She apologizes for crying, saying that it's a waste of time. Cloud reassures that is not true, and Tifa thanks him.
So we need to make the most of the time we have—to live our lives the way we wanna live. Every minute... every moment matters.Aerith Gainsborough
After waking up, Cloud finds Aerith in the garden, and is confused as to how he can see her. Aerith ominously remarks that it may be a dream or not, and continues that she is well taken care of as she grew up in the Shinra Building, but nonetheless wants to leave. She picks up that Cloud is worried about her, and apologizes to him for it. She states that everyone eventually dies, so it is important to make the most of the time spent alive.
Aerith is grateful for meeting Cloud and says he's made her happier than he knows. However, she says that no matter what, Cloud must not fall in love with her. She puts her hand on his face, and Cloud reaches for her, only to see his hand go through her arm. Cloud asks if he has any say in their relationship. Cloud declares his resolution to rescue Aerith. She turns and smiles at Cloud and thanks him, who then awakens in his room.
Behind the scenes
The garden scene is based in the Gold Saucer date scene from the original game. While not a "date", Co-director Motomu Toriyama wanted to include such a scene to live up to fan expectations.  Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima wrote Aerith under the presumption that her words were filled with hints of what's to come. He got some pushback for Aerith's warning to Cloud to not fall in love with her in the Chapter 14 Resolution scene, some of the staff feeling it made her come off as looking down on Cloud. However, if viewed through the lens that Aerith knows the future, it is a powerful line, and Nojima thought the contrast was interesting.
On Cloud and Tifa's Resolution scene he said that though Cloud and Tifa are close in age, Cloud is missing five years of his life and thus lacks life experience. Nojima wanted to show how Cloud, who has the mind of a 16-year-old, emulates the behavior of the rest of the group who are in their 20s. Cloud saw the way Barret comforted Tifa after the Sector 7 Plate fall, but ends up messing it up when trying to do the same. The original version of the scene had no hug, but they redid the motion capture to include it.
The majority of players reported viewing Tifa's resolution scene at 56%, while 42% viewed Aerith's scene, and 2% viewed Barret's scene.
- Final Fantasy VII Remake Ultimania, p. 739
- Final Fantasy VII Remake Ultimania, p. 744
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- Square Enix (2020, August 14). "Results of the FINAL FANTASY VII REMAKE Post-Play Survey". From Final Fantasy Portal Site. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020.