Corel is a location in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- and a historical town mentioned in Final Fantasy VII that was destroyed before the events of the game. It was an impoverished town inhabited by coal miners, including Barret Wallace and Dyne. Shinra Electric Power Company burned the town perceiving it as a threat. The townsfolk since relocated to North Corel, while the remnants of Corel form the Corel Prison interment facility below the Gold Saucer.
Corel became gradually stagnant before Shinra's arrival, with a dwindling economy based around coal mining. Due to mako eclipsing coal as an energy source, the town saw Shinra's proposal to construct the Corel Reactor in Mt. Corel as a great opportunity, something only Dyne opposed. Later, after an attack on the Corel Reactor, Shinra blamed the citizens and razed everything to the ground in retaliation. The survivors blamed Barret for the tragedy, as he had been an outspoken supporter of the mako reactor construction.
It's so dusty, but calm and so poor...... A real small town, this one.Barret Wallace, Final Fantasy VII § "Barret's Past"
Corel was a peaceful coal mining town. Barret Wallace was born there in 1972, and was close with Dyne from a young age. The two worked in the coal mines to the north, and Dyne raised his daughter, Marlene, with his wife, Eleanor, while Barret lived with his own wife, Myrna.
The global fall in coal use led to Corel's economic decline, and Shinra Electric Power Company bought the mines. Scarlet, an executive of Shinra, came to propose the building of a mako reactor, a structure the townspeople had never seen before. Dyne opposed the plan, but Barret supported it along with most of the townspeople, citing a need to provide better for his wife. Scarlet promised that Shinra would "guarantee [their] livelihood]" once the reactor was complete. The reactor's construction went forward despite Dyne's objections, and would take a year and a half to build.
The town seemed to be moving towards greater prosperity, until disaster struck. On May 8, 0003, during Episode 16 of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, the eco-terrorist organization Avalanche occupied the incomplete reactor to fight Shinra. Rufus Shinra, the company's vice president and Avalanche's secret financier, was captured in the fight, and the reactor was destroyed. Another motivation for destroying the reactor was that Shinra, having discovered the infinite potential of mako energy, decided to destroy the town so top-secret information on the energy could not be leaked to rival companies.
Barret and Dyne rushed over to the site to observe but could not stop the reactor's destruction. On their way back to Corel, they saw the town on fire, set alight by Shinra, who had publicly blamed the town for the reactor's loss. Shinra troops under Scarlet's command spotted Dyne and Barret on the mountains where the reactor was built. Scarlet appropriated one of the soldiers' guns and joined them in the shooting. Dyne nearly fell off a cliff, but Barret grabbed his arm. While Barret held Dyne precariously above the abyss, the soldiers' fire made chipped the stone off the cliff face, getting nearer and nearer to their linked arms. Barret lost his right forearm, and Dyne fell seemingly to his death.
The survivors relocated to the mountains to the north, starting the tent city of North Corel. Barret was blamed for the disaster, and his wife died. Dyne's wife had also died, and Barret believed Dyne to be dead as well. Barret adopted Marlene as his own daughter and vowed to dedicate his life to destroying Shinra. With nothing left in Corel for him, Barret took Marlene and headed to Midgar, where he started his own chapter of Avalanche.
Corel resembled an old Western town, comprising mostly wooden and stone buildings using Western false front architecture. The town also had a water tower, a pub, and a building resembling a church. Only a few of the buildings from Corel remain intact in the Corel Prison.
Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-
Corel is visited in Episode 16.
Final Fantasy VII
Corel is destroyed and appears only in Barret's flashbacks in "Barret's Past" and "The Desert Prison". The player can visit Corel Prison, the ruins of Corel, or North Corel, where its former residents are found.