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Final Fantasy VII is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series, developed and published by Squaresoft. It was released in January 1997 for the PlayStation, and was later re-released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, iOS, Android, Xbox One, and Switch platforms, it is also included on the PlayStation Classic mini console. It was directed by Yoshinori Kitase, produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi, with a score produced by Nobuo Uematsu, and character designs by Tetsuya Nomura. It was the first game in the series to feature three-dimensional graphics, pre-rendered backgrounds, and numerous full motion videos, and the first in the main series to be released in Europe and Oceania.

Final Fantasy VII follows the story of mercenary Cloud Strife, who is hired by the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE—led by Barret Wallace—to help fight the mega-corporation Shinra Electric Power Company, who attempts to drain the planet's lifeblood as an energy source to further their profits. Apathetic to the cause, Cloud initially fights for personal gain, and for the promise he made to childhood friend Tifa Lockhart. Cloud eventually joins forces with many others to save the planet, which is threatened by Shinra and Cloud's nemesis Sephiroth, and discovers a reason to fight for a cause other than his own.

The gameplay is a departure from previous entries in the series in many ways. Though it retains the Active Time Battle pseudo-turn based menu command system, Final Fantasy VII features three party members rather than four. The Materia system allows the player to customize each party member's abilities to their liking, and the Limit system grants them unique combat skills. Though minigames had been a recurring feature, Final Fantasy VII introduces numerous new ones, many of them playable in the theme park Gold Saucer varying from racing with Chocobos to snowboarding.

Final Fantasy VII is the best-selling game in the series with over 14.1 million units sold. It is widely renowned as one of the most influential RPGs to date.[3][4][5] Its memorable soundtrack, characters, and story make it one of the most popular games in the series, a prominent feature in popular culture, and a frequent candidate for lists of the greatest games of all time.[6][7][8]

The popularity of the title has spawned a number of related prequels, sequels, and spinoffs in the Final Fantasy VII series. This includes the Final Fantasy VII remake project, beginning with Final Fantasy VII Remake, and a series of connected releases titled the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. On January 31, 2023, the 26th anniversary of Final Fantasy VII, Square Enix announced that January 31 is officially registered as "Final Fantasy VII Day" in Japan.[9]



FFVII Lightning

A battle in Final Fantasy VII.

Final Fantasy VII uses the Active Time Battle system, in which the party member's action is input with a command in a menu once their ATB gauge fills, with up to three playable characters in a party, who can have various weapons, armor, accessories, and—unique to the game—Materia equipped. Party members stand in a row (though their position can be altered in the menu) facing rows of enemies, which come arranged in one of many attack formations: facing them, surrounded by them, or surrounding them. The character commands include Attack, Magic, a command provided by Command Materia, Summon, or Item command to use an item in their inventory, with the additional ability to Defend or change row.

Abilities the character can use depend on their equipped Materia, which can provide additional Magic, Summon, and command abilities, or in other cases swap out commands for more powerful equivalents (such as W-Item replacing Item), and allows them to use any combination of abilities. Materia can also provide enhancements when combined with other Materia, or simply provide support abilities on their own.

Cloud- Meteorain

Cloud's Meteorain ability.

Once a Limit gauge fills, the Attack command is replaced with "Limit", and a character has access to one of their specific Limit abilities (depending on their current Limit level and unlocked Limit abilities). Unlike the battle abilities provided by Materia, each Limit is character-specific with unique effects varying from dealing physical or magical damage to providing healing and buffs, which factor in different stats. Though most simply require choosing the ability and then choosing its target, Tifa's Limits and Cait Sith's second Limit require the use of Slots, and Vincent's Limits as well as one of Red XIII's Limits transform themselves to become more powerful yet uncontrollable rather than choosing a target. The Limit system is partially inherited from the Desperation Attacks of Final Fantasy VI, but is based on a gauge rather than HP percentage, and includes a greater variety of abilities beyond simply damaging.

While the majority of previous titles featured four playable characters, Final Fantasy VII features three, which became the standard in following games. Though many of the status effects are borrowed from status effects from previous titles, the Barrier and MBarrier (known in other games as Protect and Shell) have a limited use visualized by a gauge, which, like the main ATB gauge, can be sped up using Haste and slowed down using Slow. As the first three-dimensional title in the series, the default camera setting moves it throughout the battle to focus on the command being used and their effects, unlike previous entries where the camera was fixed on a top-down position.


FFVII Status Screen 1

A fully developed party member.

Through finding new Materia, weapons, armor and accessories, party members can be made more powerful and versatile. For defeating enemies, the party is rewarded EXP distributed to members alive, and halved for members not in the party, which allows the party to level up. AP is also awarded, which levels up the Materia equipped to the party members.

Each character has their own set of starting stats, which grow when the character levels up, though there are numerous other ways to boost stats. Stat-upgrading items boost a specific stat, and though difficult to come by, can be obtained ad infinitum through methods such as morphing enemies. Stats are further affected by Materia equipped, e.g. some Magic and Summon Materia will reduce HP and Strength in favor of Magic and MP as a penalty. Some Materia, such as HP Plus, exist to boost a specific stat. Stats max out at 255, meaning they cannot counteract reductions in these stats by Materia—unlike HP and MP, which can reach 9999 or 999 respectively.

The stat penalties incurred by equipping Materia are negligible, and the stat differences between party members are often not relevant. The player can thus easily use any party member for almost any role, and thus choose a preferred party based on their character and relevance to the current story segment, if they so wish. Due to the Materia system, the player can customize the party to their liking and give any role to any player character. The exception is Aeris who is presented as a dedicated mage by her stats and her default placement in the back row.

FFVII Materia Menu 1

The Materia menu.

There are five kinds of Materia: Magic Materia, Summon Materia, Command Materia, Independent Materia and Support Materia. Magic and Summon Materia provide upgradeable magical and often elemental abilities to the Magic and Summon skillsets respectively. Command provides unique command abilities, such as Steal. Support Materia can be linked with other Materia to produce various effects, such as protection against or enhancement of attacks with elements and statuses found in Magic and Summon Materia, or can boost the abilities in other ways, such as allowing spells to hit all targets or be used as a counter to an attack. Independent Materia provide other boosts that can be simple stat increases, or can change the way a character can be used (such as Counter Attack). Each Materia is upgradeable through AP dropped by enemies, upgrading the abilities they provide, or unlocking new ones; once a Materia is mastered, it is duplicated and a new base Materia is created, ready to be equipped and upgraded.

There are four Limit levels, which determine how much damage a character must sustain before their Limit Break gauge fills. There are usually two Limits in each level except the fourth, which provides a single Limit, but requires a Limit item acquired from a short sidequest. Additionally, each character has an ultimate weapon that calculates damage in a unique way to that weapon based on different factors. Limits, and equipment are the only things truly unique to party members, and the player may choose to style their equipped Materia on these party members based on these factors. Though base stats are also unique to a character, they can be boosted easily, and their effect is ultimately negligible.


FFVII Costa del Sol

Field gameplay.

Outside of battle, characters use different, blockier models. The player controls the party leader—normally Cloud, but Aeris, Tifa, Barret, and Cid are party leaders briefly in the story—and can traverse and interact with the environment. This can involve interacting with non-player characters to use their dialog boxes, which can involve purchasing items and equipment from shops or progressing the main story or sidequests. Many areas feature treasure chests and areas that are not safe zones feature random encounters with enemies. Newly introduced in the game, players can traverse the environment in ways beyond walking, often involving climbing ladders or jumping across gaps.

Locations are accessed through the world map hub. The world map has few places without random encounters, and less interaction with the environment. It can be traversed on foot, or through one of the many means of transport, most notably Chocobos and the game's airship, the Highwind.



Chocobo racing, a prominent minigame.

Final Fantasy VII features more minigames than previously seen in the series, many of which are playable in the Gold Saucer theme park. Players can race Chocobos to earn prizes, and breed new Chocobo varieties that can traverse otherwise inaccessible parts of the map. Other minigames in the Gold Saucer include Shooting Coaster, and others which also feature in story missions (such as snowboarding).

Minigames also happen outside of the Saucer. E.g. in Junon the player must perform CPR, participate in a parade, free Tifa from a gas chamber, and partake in a slap fight between Tifa and a Shinra antagonist. At the Icicle Inn, the player must use a snowboard to reach the bottom of the mountain. Fort Condor has a miniature RTS game where the player must position units to fend off an attack of monsters.



The Planet

Gaia, the setting of Final Fantasy VII.

An energy manufacturing mega-company known as Shinra, Inc. is harvesting the sheer life energy of the Planet (known as the Lifestream) as a simple fossil fuel. The Lifestream is processed and made into products ranging from electricity and heat to Mako and Materia. The latter two materials can work miracles, granting the wisdom of the Ancients to the user. However, the Lifestream, like most other fuels, is finite in supply, and the Planet's lifeforce is being malevolently drained by the constant exploitation of Mako by Shinra. Though aware of the harmful effects, they function without remorse.

However, the real battle lies not with a corporation, but a force much more competent from the distant past. A long-thought dead warrior bent on becoming a god by draining all of the Lifestream from the Planet has risen again and will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

Now a small rebel group emanating from the slums must quell the various dangers toward the innocent, and one mercenary for hire must look amidst the lies and deception and find the man he is within.

Official Introduction

The planet of Gaia, referred to simply as "the Planet" by its inhabitants, has three main continents. The planet is a living organism, and its lifeblood is the Lifestream, the liquid form being Mako, that wells in the substrata. Above the surface Mako crystallizes into Materia that allows its users to manipulate the powers of the planet in a phenomenon many call magic. Harvesting Mako as an energy source drains the planet of its life, and corrupts life forms, creating monsters in the wild.

The planet was once home to the Ancients, who called themselves the Cetra. The Cetra traveled the planet cultivating life wherever they went, and were said to be able to enter communion with the planet itself. At the end of their journey, legends tell, the Cetra entered the Promised Land, a place of supreme happiness.

Shin-ra logo

Shinra Electric Power Company logo.

The dominant faction of the world is the Shinra Electric Power Company, a powerful corporation that harvests Mako as an energy source. Shinra is seen as responsible for raising the quality of life for everyone in its sphere of influence. It has its own army, its special force being the SOLDIER, and is present in most parts of the planet. Shinra is opposed by a small terrorist organization known as AVALANCHE who seeks to stop Shinra from killing the planet by draining the Lifestream.

Shinra's base of operations is the metropolis of Midgar ringed by eight mako reactors that drain Mako for energy. While the upper city is an industrial powerhouse with a generally high quality of life, the lower city is made up of slums and receives little light and its air is polluted. The harvesting of Mako energy has made the area around Midgar a barren wasteland habited by monsters where flowers rarely grow.


FFVII Playable Characters

Playable characters in Final Fantasy VII.

  • Cloud Strife is the main protagonist, introducing himself as a former member of SOLDIER who now operates as a mercenary. Cloud is caught up in the actions of eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE, and although initially uncaring toward their mission, he has a change of heart when he begins to discover his shrouded past.
  • Barret Wallace, the leader of AVALANCHE who wields a gun on his right arm in place of his injured hand. Despite his brash and loud-mouthed personality, he is a caring person and loves his daughter Marlene.
  • Tifa Lockhart, Cloud's childhood friend and member of AVALANCHE, runs the bar 7th Heaven in the Sector 7 slums, which serves as the group's hideout. Her sympathetic exterior hides fearsome fighting skills.
  • Aeris Gainsborough, a flower girl from the Sector 5 Slums who befriends Cloud. Cloud's resemblance to someone she used to know mystifies Aeris, and she joins him and AVALANCHE on their quest to discover more about her heritage.
  • Red XIII is a quadrupedal, flame red beast capable of speech. The party rescues him from capture by Shinra. He speaks little, but when he does, his words are often important.
  • Cait Sith, a robotic cat atop a stuffed Mog, operates as a fortune teller at the Gold Saucer. He shouts commands to his Mog in battle using a megaphone.
  • Cid Highwind, the foul-mouthed, chain-smoking pilot of Rocket Town dreams of being the first man in space. His dreams were foiled when he was forced to abort the mission. Despite his bitter attitude, Cid has a good heart and cares about his friends.
Optional characters
  • Yuffie Kisaragi, first encountered as the Mystery Ninja, can be randomly encountered in any forest. A self-professed Materia hunter, she is sneaky and playful, and "hunts" Materia to restore her home of Wutai to its former glory.
  • Vincent Valentine, discovered sleeping in a coffin at Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim, is a former Turk with a traumatic past. After being subjected to numerous experiments, Vincent became able to transform into monstrous forms, but sealed himself in the coffin due to guilt in his past. Like Red XIII, he speaks little but offers helpful advice when he does.
  • Sephiroth, is a non-controllable temporary party member during a single sequence. After resurfacing years after being deemed dead, pursuing Sephiroth becomes the party's main motivation.


Act names used from Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega.

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Act 1: Banner of Revolution[]

Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins AVALANCHE.

AVALANCHE is an eco-terrorist organization led by Barret Wallace in the Midgar Slums. Barret is a former denizen of Corel, a town destroyed by the Shinra Corporation. AVALANCHE hired a mercenary named Cloud Strife, who claims to be a former member of Shinra's elite special forces team, SOLDIER.

Cloud is plagued by psychic disturbances, and at first shows little interest in AVALANCHE's cause; by his own admission, he is only interested in money. Other members include Cloud's childhood friend, Tifa Lockhart, whom Cloud made a promise to protect back before he left their hometown of Nibelheim to join SOLDIER, and Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge.

AVALANCHE's mission is to blow up the eight mako reactors that ring the city. During a mission Cloud is separated from the others and meets Aeris Gainsborough in the slums. To counter AVALANCHE's attacks, Shinra drops a portion of Midgar's upper plate upon the Sector 7 slums to destroy AVALANCHE's base, killing Jessie, Biggs, and Wedge, and most of the people of Sector 7. Shinra captures Aeris and takes her to their headquarters.

Shinra's management is concerned with the limited repositories of Mako energy available for harvesting, and fascinated with the legend of the Promised Land; a place of legend where Mako flows abundantly. Only a race called the Cetra, also known as the Ancients, are, according to legend, able to find it. The Cetra were all but driven to extinction by the "Calamity From the Skies" 2000 years ago, and Aeris Gainsborough is their only survivor, whom Shinra has been trying to capture for years.

Tifa and Barret, the remaining members of AVALANCHE, join Cloud and storm Shinra Headquarters to rescue Aeris. There, Cloud spots a headless creature called Jenova kept in a tank in Professor Hojo's lab, and reacts to it, though he cannot explain his experience to the others. They find Hojo has caged Aeris with Red XIII, one of his other test subjects, and free them, but the group is captured before they can leave Shinra HQ.

The group is freed from their cells by the surprise reappearance of the supposedly dead legendary SOLDIER, Sephiroth, following the escape of a headless Jenova from her tank. President Shinra is killed during Sephiroth's return, and the young and ruthless Rufus Shinra takes the company's reins. Cloud and his party make a hair-thin escape from Midgar by fighting their way through the ranks of Shinra forces.

Act 2: Pursuit[]

Cloud decides to hunt down Sephiroth to avenge the destruction of his hometown, and the others follow suit. Tifa shares Cloud's hatred for Sephiroth and wants to keep an eye on Cloud as his unstable behavior troubles her. President Shinra had told Aeris Sephiroth is an Ancient, and she wants to seek him out to discover more of her heritage. Red XIII decides to accompany the others until he can return home in Cosmo Canyon.


Sephiroth, silhouetted by the flames of Nibelheim.

In the town of Kalm Cloud tells the others his tale of the Nibelheim Incident, or what happened in the town five years ago, but his story is filled with gaps. Cloud tells that five years ago he and Sephiroth had been sent to Cloud's hometown to investigate the local mako reactor where Sephiroth had found Jenova, a creature Shinra took to be an Ancient, and who had been called Sephiroth's mother. Troubled by the discovery, Sephiroth had delved into his past and the Jenova Project—from which he was born—led by Professor Gast and the deranged Professor Hojo. His findings had driven him insane and, believing himself to be the last Ancient, Sephiroth had taken revenge on humanity by burning Nibelheim to the ground. Cloud's mother and Tifa's father had perished during the incident, and a furious Cloud had set out to confront Sephiroth, but his recollection fails before he can reach the end of the story.

After hearing of a man in a black cape the group follows the rumors to Junon where they are surprised to find Rufus Shinra holding his crowning ceremony. The party disguises as crew members and stows away on the cargo ship bound for the western continent. Sephiroth appears on the ship and kills almost every crew member. Cloud and his party locate him as he materializes out of the floor, but Sephiroth doesn't recognize Cloud. Cloud attempts to get answers on Sephiroth's goal, but ends up battling Jenova∙BIRTH, a monster made out of parts of Jenova.

The party pursues Sephiroth across the Planet, but they do not search alone, as Rufus also wants to take Sephiroth in and has dispatched the Turks, a group of Shinra special operatives, to carry out the task. The party runs into the Turks several times, and in Gold Saucer they meet Cait Sith, a fortune teller cat robot, who joins them. Barret must confront his past as they return to the site of his former home town, and in Cosmo Canyon Red XIII intends to leave the party, but changes his mind upon discovering the truth of his father whom he had thought cowardly, resolving to protect the planet by continuing to travel with Cloud and his friends. Cosmo Canyon is a center of study on the planet and its Lifestream, and Aeris speaks with the elders and deduces Sephiroth is not an Ancient, and that she is the only Cetra left.


A Sephiroth-clone in the restored Nibelheim.

The group keeps pursuing the rumors of a man in a black cape and arrives at Nibelheim, finding it fully rebuilt by Shinra and populated by Shinra employees posing as the villagers to cover up the incident five years ago. The town is infested with people robed in black who rant on about Sephiroth, the numbered Sephiroth-clones Professor Hojo had created after Nibelheim's torching to test his Reunion theory. The party finds Sephiroth at the library of the Shinra Manor who asks for Cloud to join him in the Reunion, but Cloud doesn't know what he is talking about.

Sephiroth flees and the group chases him across the Mt. Nibel to Rocket Town where they meet Cid Highwind, an aeronautical engineer whose dreams of going into space had been dashed by Shinra's lack of funding. Rufus arrives to take Cid's airplane, the Tiny Bronco. Cid refuses, and the party helps stop Palmer, a Shinra executive, from stealing the plane, but end up boarding it themselves along with Cid, who joins the party. The plane crashes into the ocean and becomes the party's boat.

Vincent is a former Turk who was betrayed by his love, Lucrecia Crescent, Sephiroth's biological mother and a Shinra scientist, and turned into a monster. He sleeps beneath the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim in penance for his sins of failing to stop the Jenova Project, but joins the party upon learning they might run into Professor Hojo whom he deems culpable for everything. Yuffie is a girl from Wutai Village, a town that fought Shinra dominance during the Wutai War, but has since capitulated. She dreams of restoring her homeland's pride, and joins the party to achieve that.

The party's pursuit of Sephiroth leads them to discover several things. Sephiroth's plan is to use the Black Materia, a Materia so powerful the Cetra hid it away that contains the spell Meteor, the ultimate Black Magic that summons a meteorite to crash into the Planet. Sephiroth's plan is to create a wound in the Planet so large the Lifestream will be sent en masse to heal it where Sephiroth would intercept it and take control of the world.

Sephiroth is followed by a group of black-robed fanatics, the Sephiroth-clones, all bearing a tattoo somewhere on their bodies placed by Professor Hojo. Despite called "clones" they are not true clones however, but normal people Hojo had injected with Jenova's cells. The clones' wills have become overridden by Sephiroth's will, as he is affecting everyone unable to resist the Jenova cells in their bodies.


Cloud on a date with Aeris.

Cloud's party grabs the Keystone required to open the Temple of the Ancients from Dio, Gold Saucer's owner. During their stay at the amusement park Cloud goes on a date with a fellow party member and Cait Sith steals the Keystone and hands it over to Tseng, the leader of the Turks, revealing himself a Shinra spy sent to infiltrate Cloud's group. Cait Sith refuses to reveal his true identity and blackmails the others to take him along.

Tseng and his fellow Turk Elena use the Keystone to access the Temple of the Ancients, but cannot decipher its murals. As Elena departs to report to Shinra, Sephiroth attacks Tseng. Cloud and his party find a wounded Tseng as they arrive at the temple, and regain the Keystone and use it to get deeper into the maze. It turns out the temple itself is the Black Materia, and to make into a usable form, somebody must be left inside while the temple shrinks. Cait Sith volunteers, his body being a robot, and he is destroyed once the temple turns into a Materia sphere.

Cloud takes the Black Materia, but Sephiroth arrives and bends Cloud under his control. Cloud hands the Materia over to Sephiroth and attacks Aeris, and is knocked out by the other party members. Another Cait Sith appears to replace the first, and Aeris leaves the party to find a way to save the world from Meteor now that Sephiroth has acquired the Black Materia.

Aeris travels to the City of the Ancients, the lost city of the Cetra. Cloud is troubled Sephiroth was able to control him, but resolves to continue his journey as Tifa and Barret encourage him to go on. The party chases after Aeris and Sephiroth, and when they find her praying on an altar at the Forgotten City Cloud is almost brought to kill her by Sephiroth's control, only being snapped out of his thrall by the intervention of his comrades.


Cloud mourns for Aeris while Sephiroth gloats.

Sephiroth kills Aeris by impaling her with the Masamune. Cloud is enraged, but Sephiroth taunts Cloud, telling him he should not act as though he has feelings. Floating up into the sky, the "Sephiroth" turns out to be Jenova; the person the party hunted and followed since the beginning was Jenova—escaped from the tank in the Shinra Headquarters—taking Sephiroth's form. After a battle with a piece of Jenova, the party pays their respects to the departed Aeris as Cloud lays her deceased body to rest in the waters of the Forgotten City. Cloud decides to continue the journey to complete his revenge against Sephiroth even knowing he may lose control of himself again.

In Icicle Inn the party finds recordings that detail Aeris's birth and Jenova's true nature, as that is where Aeris was born to Gast Faremis and Ifalna. Gast was the scientist who had led Shinra's Jenova Project who had departed the company upon finding a true Cetra, Ifalna, the last survivor. Gast had helped Ifalna escape Shinra and the two had settled in the remote Icicle Inn where Gast had interviewed her on her knowledge on Jenova and the guardians of the planet, Weapons.

Ifalna had told Gast Jenova, which Gast had mistaken as a Cetra, was in fact the "Calamity from the Skies" responsible for the Cetra's dwindled numbers. Jenova is a shapeshifting extraterrestrial organism that had arrived on a meteorite 2000 years ago, creating the large crater to the Planet's north pole. The creature had been sealed away by the last surviving Cetra, and it was from this geological stratum that Gast and his researchers had excavated its body 2000 years later. When Hojo had discovered Gast and Ifalna's hideout he had killed Gast and taken Ifalna and baby Aeris captive. The two had later escaped into the Midgar slums, but Ifalna had perished during the escape and Aeris had been adopted by a slum dweller named Elmyra Gainsborough.

Sephiroth's Resting Place

North Crater.

The party follows Sephiroth to the North Crater that had been created by Jenova's fall two thousand years ago. They are joined by Rufus and his gang, arriving on the airship Highwind, and a horde of Sephiroth-clones, all of whom Sephiroth slays. After catching up to "Sephiroth" he transforms into Jenova∙DEATH, and after defeating it the party reclaims the Black Materia. Cloud explains to the others that what they had been pursuing was not the true Sephiroth, but can feel he is nearby. Cloud and Tifa go alone, and Cloud hands the Black Materia to a party member remaining behind to prevent himself from being tricked into giving it to Sephiroth again.

Cloud and Tifa stumble upon an illusion of the events that took place in Nibelheim five years ago and Sephiroth shows Cloud was never there, his role taken by a man called Zack. Tifa cannot refute Sephiroth's claims, and Cloud begins to believe they are true. Sephiroth claims Cloud is but a facsimile created by Hojo, a puppet with false memories posing as a boy "Cloud" Tifa knows from her childhood. Sephiroth creates another illusion to trick the party member holding the Black Materia to come to Cloud, who takes the Materia and explains to his friends he is a mere pawn for Sephiroth, yet another Sephiroth-clone. Hojo, who has accompanied Rufus to the crater, is at first interested in Cloud, but upon discovering Cloud doesn't have a numbered tattoo, discards him as a failure, annoyed a "failed experiment" is the only one to have made it to the "Reunion" with the true Sephiroth.

Sephiroth's true body is inside a Materia cocoon, and Cloud hands him the Black Materia. Sephiroth summons Meteor, which awakens the planet's guardians, the Weapons, giant monsters of immense destructive power. As the crater floor crumbles Cloud and Sephiroth's cocoon fall into the Lifestream and the party escapes with Shinra on their airship. Tifa is knocked unconscious and Barret is caught as he tries to take her away, both taken to Junon while the rest of AVALANCHE escapes on their own.

Act 3: Turmoil[]

Meteor FFVII

Meteor looms over the Planet.

While unconscious Tifa hallucinates chasing Cloud who disappears into darkness, and recalls how she met him on the Sector 7 slums train station some time before he was hired into AVALANCHE. Cloud had been acting strange and claimed it had been five years since they'd last seen. Although Tifa knew it to be longer than that, she had never confronted him, instead asking him to join AVALANCHE so she would have more time to decide what to do and to keep an eye on him and his strange behavior.

Tifa awakes in Junon seven days later and finds a world in chaos: a meteorite looms over the sky, a sign of the impending end of the world. Sephiroth has surrounded the North Crater with a barrier preventing either Shinra or the Weapons from attacking his true body, and the creatures have taken to attacking Shinra's sites of power instead. Rufus, trying to show Shinra is still in control, decides to use Tifa and Barret as scapegoats and publicly execute the pair on live broadcast television. Before the execution can go through, Sapphire Weapon attacks Junon, and Shinra kills it with a direct shot to the face with the Junon Mako Cannon. The other party members, led by Cait Sith, sneak in during the attack to rescue Tifa and Barret, and steal the Highwind.

The party finds Cloud suffering severe Mako poisoning in the town of Mideel, where he had washed in by the currents of the Lifestream, an ethereal substance that streams beneath the surface of the planet that is its life energy. Tifa stays behind to watch over him, as she is adamant Sephiroth's story of Cloud being Hojo's creation with false memories is untrue, and wants to help him regain his true self. Cid leads the party to claim Shinra's Huge Materia, which Shinra schemes to load onto Cid's rocket and launch directly at the meteorite. Cid doesn't want Shinra to get their hands on the Huge Materia, massive concentrations of the planet's power, and wants them for their own use to fight Sephiroth.

The Ultimate Weapon crashes in Mideel. The town is destroyed by an earthquake as the Lifestream swallows it and Cloud and Tifa fall in. Being submerged in the Lifestream allows Tifa to travel inside Cloud's subconscious and sort through his true memories and secret desires, such as joining SOLDIER in part to gain Tifa's attention. She confirms Cloud is the genuine article, although not the person he had made himself believe he was.

Searching for the You of That Day sequence 3 from FFVII

Cloud recalls the true past.

Cloud had never made it into SOLDIER and had become a lowly Shinra infantryman instead. Embarrassed by his failure, he had not told anyone from his hometown. When he had been assigned a mission in Nibelheim to accompany the SOLDIER members Zack and Sephiroth, Cloud had concealed his identity by always wearing his helmet, and this is why Tifa had not realized Cloud was there at the time. After Sephiroth had learned Shinra had created him from Jenova, he had gone insane and torched the town. Sephiroth had departed for the mako reactor to save his "mother", as Jenova had been contained there. Zack had confronted Sephiroth at the reactor, but lost. Cloud had arrived soon after seeking revenge, and a weakened Zack had given Cloud his Buster Sword to kill Sephiroth with. Cloud had hurled Sephiroth into the Lifestream below the reactor, but had suffered great wounds in the affair and fallen unconscious.

After Hojo had arrived to assess the situation, he had taken Zack and Cloud, as well as the other survivors from the village, to be his test subjects to turn them into Sephiroth-clones by injecting them with Jenova cells. While the villagers had been turned into clones, Zack and Cloud had not reacted as desired, and were deemed failures to be contained in the Shinra Manor. Cloud's mind had been shattered by the trauma of the events and as a result of Hojo's experimentation, and he had merged his ideal self with Zack and Tifa's memories, and replaced Zack with himself in his recollections.

After Cloud had hurled Sephiroth into the Mako pit below the reactor, Sephiroth's body had dissolved into the Lifestream, but his consciousness had been strong enough to remain intact. Sephiroth had thus learned the wisdom of the Cetra from the Lifestream, and begun to construct a new body for himself inside a Materia cocoon at the North Crater. He had mentally taken over the remains of Jenova at the Shinra Headquarters, morphed it into his image, and used it to bring the Black Materia to his true body to summon Meteor.

As Cloud and Tifa are rescued from the Lifestream the restored Cloud returns to lead the party, revealing to the others he is not an ex-SOLDIER, as he had not been mentally strong enough to qualify. If he returns to the Nibelheim Mansion, Cloud recalls how he and Zack had escaped. After being held captive for many years in the Shinra Manor, Zack had broken free, and taken Cloud along as they had escaped the restored Nibelheim, giving Cloud an old SOLDIER First Class uniform to wear.


Cloud and Zack's body on the precipice overlooking Midgar.

Shinra had caught up with the pair on a precipice overlooking the Midgar Wasteland and Zack had been gunned down, but the soldiers had ignored the catatonic Cloud and left him for dead. Cloud had crawled over to Zack's body and taken his Buster Sword, then made his way to Midgar alone where he had wandered aimlessly before being discovered by Tifa at the Sector 7 slums train station. At the sight of her Cloud had snapped out of his stupor and made up a new persona as a former SOLDIER First Class to gain a sense of identity and to cover up the gaps in his memory.

Act 4: Decisive Battle[]

Upon hearing the party has been hunting the Huge Materia, Cloud joins the fray. When they storm the launch of Cid's rocket, they end up trapped inside as it takes off. Cid discovers he had been wrong in admonishing his assistant, Shera, for ruining his dreams of space flight, and the party returns to the planet on an escape pod. The rocket fails to destroy Meteor, and as the party gazes at their world from outer space they reaffirm their conviction to protect it, deciding to uncover what Aeris' plan to stop Meteor had been.

With help of the Cosmo Canyon elder Bugenhagen, the party discovers the reason Aeris had gone off alone to the Forgotten City. She had planned to summon Holy, the ultimate White Magic and a counter to Meteor, using the White Materia that had been passed down in the Cetra lineage which she, as the last Cetra, had possessed. Just before her death, her prayer had reached the planet, but Sephiroth is holding back the power of Holy within the Planet Core.


Diamond Weapon fires at Midgar.

Diamond Weapon rises out of the sea and charges towards Midgar. Rufus and the Shinra Executives have moved the Mako Cannon to Midgar and renamed it Sister Ray to prepare for an offensive against Sephiroth. The cannon destroys the Weapon, and the blast reaches North Crater, breaking Sephiroth's shield. Before dying, the Weapon fires out energy blasts into the Shinra Building, seemingly killing Rufus and creating a power vacuum at the top of his organization. Midgar falls into chaos. Cait Sith pleads for Cloud and his friends' help, and ends up revealing his true identity as a puppet controlled by Reeve Tuesti, a Shinra executive in charge of Midgar.

Cloud's party infiltrates the city to fight Hojo, who has taken command of the Sister Ray. Hojo is trying to re-fire it, even if it would obliterate Midgar. Cloud and his friends fight their way through the remaining forces of Shinra to reach Hojo, who reveals he wishes to give Sephiroth a "boost" from the Sister Ray's power; the party learns Hojo is Sephiroth's father and thus directly responsible for the crisis facing the planet. Despite the power he has gained by injecting himself with Jenova cells, Hojo is defeated.

With only a week until Meteor falls, Cloud asks everyone to come up with their own reason and resolve to keep on fighting, beyond the mere reason of fighting for the planet; should they find one, they may return for the last battle. Cloud and Tifa have nowhere to go and spend the night together under the stars. The next morning, the others return and Cloud thanks them. Reminded of Aeris's hope and smile even in the face of death, the party is driven to ensure her deeds aren't wasted.

The party ventures to the depths of the Northern Cave, and in the Planet Core finds Sephiroth, blocking Holy from being released. The team triumphs over Bizarro∙Sephiroth, and then Safer∙Sephiroth, a half-human, half-divine form befitting Sephiroth's vision of becoming a god. Despite Sephiroth's immense power, he is defeated.


The fall of Meteor.

When party begins to depart, Cloud collapses, his spirit being torn from him to mentally defeat Sephiroth within the Lifestream, freeing Cloud of the chains to his enemy. The victory comes too late, and when Holy is released, Meteor has fallen too far for Holy to unleash its full power. Midgar is destroyed in the struggle between Meteor and Holy, but Aeris's spirit commands the Lifestream to congregate and push Meteor far enough away from the planet for Holy to destroy it.

Five hundred years later, Red XIII and two pups arrive on a precipice over the overgrown ruins of Midgar with children's laughter ringing in the background.


FFVII 10th Anniversary BW Artwork

Cloud, Zack and Sephiroth, an artwork made for the game's 10th anniversary.

One of the game's major themes is identity, seen through the main protagonist Cloud and the main antagonist Sephiroth. Coping with physical and psychological trauma had Cloud assume the persona of his late mentor, Zack, leading to a deep confusion of the multiple personalities that inharmoniously coexist in his mind. Sephiroth is similarly subject to an identity conflict, having been lied to about the truth of his birth, and the discovery of his existence leads him into his downward spiral of madness.

Many of the main characters come to outlive the people and the places they once used to identify with, struggling to fit in their current reality. Examples of this are Cloud and his past in Nibelheim and SOLDIER, Barret as the leader of AVALANCHE, Red XIII as the protector of Cosmo Canyon, and Cid as Shinra's aeronautical engineer. The cast is motivated by the loss of something that once defined them. The many locales follow a similar arc, the metropolis of Midgar being built over towns whose names have been forgotten, the Upper Junon destroying the fishing industry of the Old Junon, Wutai's descent into a tourist trap and the mining industry's decline having left behind the people of Kalm and Corel. This could be seen as a larger theme in the game itself, Final Fantasy VII breaking new ground in the series.

The game incorporates allusions to a variety of religious and philosophical systems, reflected in character names like Sephiroth (drawn from the Kabbalah) and Heidegger (likely a reference to German philosopher Martin Heidegger), and place names such as Midgar and Nibelheim (both from Norse mythology), as well as numerous references in monster names, such as the Midgar Zolom, a reference to the Midgardsorm (also from Norse mythology). Additionally, several references are made to previous Final Fantasy titles, including several character names such as Cid and Biggs and Wedge, and the repetition of soundtrack motifs, such as the "Chocobo Theme".

Fort Condor FFVII Concept Art

Juxtaposition of nature vs. technology portrayed at Fort Condor where a condor has made the mako reactor its nest.

Environmentalism and rapacious capitalism are major themes in Final Fantasy VII, with Shinra Electric Power Company having taken over the world after discovering Mako energy and becoming the world's only major electricity provider. Whether humanity is truly an important part of the ecosystem is contemplated when Bugenhagen reveals to the party the planet's Ultimate White Magic spell can wipe out anything the planet deems a danger, putting mankind's future in peril seeing as they have been exploiting the world's nature reserves wantonly.

The party decides to fight for the planet regardless, and in the end humanity's true fate was left ambiguous, with only the non-human member of the party, Red XIII, appearing in the epilogue, although future installments to the Compilation have revealed mankind did survive. The interconnectedness of all life is part of the Lifestream study explored in Cosmo Canyon, and the party realizes this when they gaze down on the planet from space, cognizant for the first time how small their world is in the vastness of the universe, reaffirming their conviction to protect it. The planet itself gains anthropomorphic properties with the Cetra being able to enter in communion with it in a ritual known as "talking to the planet," and in Cosmo Canyon the party can listen to the "cry of the planet" in suffering under exploitation from Mako harvest.

In the end the forces of nature prove greater, as despite all their power Shinra crumbles when faced with the planet's true might when the Meteor is summoned and the Weapons awaken. The collective power of all life is required to save the planet from Meteor, when Aeris, perhaps representing humanity itself, summons the Lifestream to push back the Meteor allowing Holy to destroy it.

Spoilers end here.


The soundtrack was Nobuo Uematsu's 22nd work for Square. It covers a wide variety of musical genres, including rock, techno, orchestral and choral.[10] It was largely created with MIDI sounds,[10] which have been described as giving it a "distinctive mood and feel", and were used according to Uematsu to reduce load times.[11] As the beginning of the PlayStation era, Uematsu was now able to use sounds recorded in a studio, which he claimed was the "biggest change" to music in video games.[12]

Like the game, the soundtrack has been well received. Popular pieces include "Aerith's Theme", a subdued and melodic character anthem, and "One-Winged Angel" (the first composition for the series to use recorded voices), and "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII", which has been featured on several album releases and analyzed by Video Game Music Academy. Both of these pieces have appeared on Classic FM and been featured in the Hall of Fame at position 9 in 2015.[13] The album as a whole was given 5 stars by AllMusic.[14] The sound quality has received criticism for its MIDI sound, with RPGFan describing it as "standard MIDI sound" which "lacks almost any depth of tone", though conceding the rest of the soundtrack is great unless one "can't stand the sound of the MIDI synth".[10]

Music from the game has been commercially released on an original four-disc soundtrack, a single disc album of selected arranged tracks titled Final Fantasy VII: Reunion Tracks, and piano-only arrangement of selected tracks, the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VII.

The original 1998 trailer of Final Fantasy VII features a piece of music called "Final Encounter" by Steve Baker that isn't featured in the game or the soundtrack.[15]


PSX Logo Beta Trials

Logo sketches.


Xenogears started out as an early concept conceived by Tetsuya Takahashi and Kaori Tanaka for Square's Final Fantasy VII. The company deemed it "too dark and complicated for a fantasy", but Takahashi was allowed to develop it as a separate project.[16]

Planning sessions for Final Fantasy VII began in 1994 after the release of Final Fantasy VI. At the time, Final Fantasy VII was planned to be another 2D project for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.[17] According to Tetsuya Nomura, the series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi originally "wanted to do a detective story" with the first part involving a "hot-blooded" character named "Detective Joe", in pursuit of characters after they had blown up the city of Midgar.[18] Many staff members chose instead to work on Chrono Trigger, and development was halted.[17]

Development of Final Fantasy VII resumed in late 1995, and required the efforts of approximately 120 artists and programmers, using PowerAnimator and Softimage|3D software.[19] This was the largest game development team at the time, and included Japanese CG artists working alongside Hollywood CG visual effects artists. Final Fantasy VII was the most expensive video game of its time, with a production budget of around US$45 million.[20]


FFVII cutscene aeris

The first full-motion video in the series.

As a result of the high quantity of memory storage required to implement the motion data for characters, only the CD-ROM format would be able to suit the project's needs and thus the game would be developed for Sony's PlayStation platform.

Visually, the goal was to make Final Fantasy VII a completely unified work with a single style running from beginning to end. The transition from 2D computer graphics to 3D environments overlaid on pre-rendered backgrounds was accompanied by a focus on a more realistic presentation. The green and blue of the game's logo set the theme for the color tone for the rest of the game, reflected in the Mako energy and Lifestream that play crucial roles.[21]


FFVII Early Character Relationship Chart

Early character relationships chart.

The co-director and scenario writer of Final Fantasy VI, Yoshinori Kitase, returned to direct and co-write Final Fantasy VII. He was concerned the franchise might be left behind if it did not catch up to the 3D computer graphics used in other games at the time. Unlike with Final Fantasy VI that had an ensemble cast, Cloud was planned as the main character since the beginning. [22] Nomura helped create the basic story, and the team came up with the characters during that time. He cites Barret and Cait Sith as two characters he had wanted to create for a long time, but everyone else was created during the writing of the story.[22]

The original script of Final Fantasy VII, written by Sakaguchi, was rather different from the finished product. Sakaguchi wanted to craft a story that told of how someone having passed away does not mean they are gone, and to show a realistic death rather than a "Hollywood" sacrificial death that previous games in the series had done. These desires developed into the Lifestream, and the game's iconic death scene whose subject subsequently remains a part of the cast's lives.[23]

Scenario Writer Kazushige Nojima,[24] along with Director Yoshinori Kitase,[25] has stated in the Final Fantasy X-2 Ultimania interview that Spira from Final Fantasy X is the 'ancestor' civilization which colonized the Planet of Final Fantasy VII. This is reinforced by Shinra's mention of potentially harnessing the Farplane as an energy source, which his descendants would go on to do with the Lifestream many centuries later, as the Shinra Electric Power Company.


FFVII Early Battle Concept

Early battle concept.

The Materia system was decided upon by the team, where weapons and armor can be equipped with any Materia. It was decided the battles wouldn't be about characters with individual, innate skills, but that combat would change depending on the way Materia was used.[22] Tetsuya Nomura came up with the idea of adding Limit Breaks to the battle system as an expansion of the Desperation Attacks of Final Fantasy VI as a way to bring out the characters' individual personalities and the unique character animations would further emphasize their individuality.[22]

Visuals and art direction[]


Tifa's character model.

The series' long-time character designer, Yoshitaka Amano, was in the process of opening up art exhibitions in New York and France, and was unable to be as involved as in previous titles. Tetsuya Nomura was instead chosen to draw the character designs by Hironobu Sakaguchi.[26]

The game follows in the footsteps of Final Fantasy VI in presenting a world with more advanced technology than previous installments. The gamut of the game's technology covers space flight, robotics, advanced genetic engineering, automatic firearms, directed energy weapons, automobiles, helicopters, limited anti-gravity technology, and major global corporations; the level of technology in the world of Final Fantasy VII could be said to approximate that of near-future science fiction.

Final Fantasy VII is the first Final Fantasy game to show blood in a scene.

"Voice acting"[]

During the scene where the Sister Ray is about to fire at Diamond Weapon, a voice can be heard over an intercom.[27] (This is hardly audible due to the music that continues to play in the background. It can be heard while viewing the cutscene video clip that is on the PC version.)

There are five other examples of audible vocalization in the game: in the FMV sequence when Midgar's Sector 7 plate is collapsing onto the slum underneath, the slum's residents give a frightened scream. At the end of this sequence, President Shinra observes the chaos below from his top floor office in Shinra Tower listening to opera music. The sound of pilots and/or air traffic control can be heard communicating when Cloud first arrives in Upper Junon airport. During the Safer∙Sephiroth battle "One-Winged Angel" includes vocalized lyrics. And lastly, children's laughter is heard as the epilogue sequence draws to a close. These make Final Fantasy VII the first game in the series with audible voice acting. The voice actors involved, bar the opera and "One-Winged Angel" choirs, are unknown and not named in the credits.

Modding community[]

A Final Fantasy VII PC modding community have spent the best part of 10 years working on a number of different mods, predominantly for the PC version of Final Fantasy VII, but some of the modding community have been working on PS versions. The patches have been known to improve both the audio/visual experience as well as the gameplay.



Final Fantasy VII was released January 31, 1997 in Japan, and later that year on September 7 in North America and in October 2 internationally. Its United States marketing budget amounted to $100 million,[20] spent on a three-month marketing campaign. This consisted of three thirty-second television advertisements found in Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons and on channels such as ESPN and MTV, as well as print adverts within magazines, such was Rolling Stone and Spin, and within comic books by DC Comics and Marvel Comics.[28] The $145 million budget, of which $45 million was development costs and the rest marketing,[20] made it the most expensive video game release of all time until Star Wars: The Old Republic in 2011,[29] even when not taking into account inflation.

Final Fantasy VII was released on three discs. Disc 1 comprises the events from "No. 1 Reactor Bombing" to "Parting with Aeris". Disc 2 comprises the events from "Beyond the Snow Fields" to "Mako Cannon Rampage". Disc 3 comprises the events from "Feelings From the Heart of Every Place" to "The Planet's Judgement". When a player reaches the end of Disc 1 or Disc 2, the game lets the player save, and then it instructs the player to insert the next disc. In some of the later releases, these discs are renamed "Part I", "Part II", and "Part III".

The North American and PAL releases of Final Fantasy VII made substantial changes to the original Japanese version. Several areas of gameplay have been made more difficult by adding in new bosses. Random battle rates were cut down, and Materia swapping between characters was made easier. New flashbacks of Tifa meeting the semi-conscious Cloud on a train station, and a flashback of Cloud and Zack escaping Nibelheim, were also added in.

The game's North American cover drew inspiration from promotional materials for the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia.[30]

This version was re-released on PlayStation Network in North America on June 2, 2009, and in Europe and Australia on June 4 of the same year. The re-release made it playable on PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and PlayStation Vita consoles. It was downloaded 100,000 times within the first two weeks of release, making it the fastest-selling PlayStation game on the Network.[31]


International Version logo.

The game with the changes made to the North American version was re-released in Japan as Final Fantasy VII International, the first International Version, a semi-recurring feature of the series. It includes Final Fantasy VII: Perfect Guide, a special fourth disc with maps, character information, design sketches, and other trivia. A later limited version, Final Fantasy VII International Advent Pieces: Limited was released in a collectible metal case that could be assembled into a display stand.

This version was re-released on PlayStation Network on April 10, 2009.

PC (1998)[]

In 1998, the game received its first port to the Microsoft Windows platform. The re-release features smoother graphics and fixes to translation and spelling errors (such as "This guy are sick" and "Beacause Cloud"), though the audio quality was diminished. The PC release is popular among modding communities.

PC (2012)[]

In 2012, Square Enix re-released the game for the PC platform. It was initially released through the Square Enix Store in August 14, 2012, before later released on Steam on July 4, 2013. Initially, the re-release appeared on August 5, 2012 on the Square Enix Store, as a result of testing the site for the product's relaunch, though the product upon purchase was unusable, and Square Enix offered a refund and a free copy of the re-release to those who had bought it.[32]

In addition to graphical resolution improvements to the previous port, the re-release also featured cloud saving, as well as unlockable achievements and a Character Booster feature. The audio quality received many complaints, and on 27 September 2013, Square Enix upgraded the in-game audio.[33]

The system requirements for this release are as follows:

OS Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7 (32/64bits)
Processor 2 GHz
Memory 1 GB RAM
Graphics DirectX 9.0c-compatible graphic card
Hard Drive 3 GB available space
Others DirectX 9.0c
Square Enix account

This version was released as International in Japan. Additionally, on October 9, 2014, it was made available in Japan on the Dive In platform.

iOS and PlayStation 4[]

On December 6, 2014, at PlayStation Experience event in Las Vegas, the Final Fantasy brand manager Shinji Hashimoto announced that Final Fantasy VII will be re-released on PlayStation 4, based on the 2012 PC re-release version.[34] It was originally slated for a spring 2015 release, but in E3 2015 Square Enix conference it was announced its release had been delayed to winter 2015, after a release on iOS platforms[35] The game was released December 5, 2015, a year after its announcement. Purchases of the title include an exclusive theme that uses screenshots from the E3 2015 trailer for the remake as wallpapers, "Aerith's Theme" from Piano Collections: Final Fantasy VII as background music, and menu navigation sound effects from the original game.

Both the mobile and PlayStation 4 ports are based on the PC port in 2012. They share features including the resolution, achievements, while bringing additional boosters, namely the ability to boost the speed, max character stats and to disable random encounters. Additionally, this was the first re-release in which the field character runs by default. A trailer for Final Fantasy VII Remake, shown at E3 2015, is also featured in the PlayStation 4 release.

PlayStation Classic[]

On December 3, 2018, Sony released a PlayStation Classic mini console, which includes the original Final Fantasy VII among 19 other games. This version includes a save state feature not available in earlier versions.


Critical reception[]

Aggregator Score
Magazines from the Past 97% (50 reviews)[36]
MobyRank 96% (77 reviews)[37]
GameRankings 92.4% (31 reviews)[38]
Metacritic 92% (20 reviews)[39]
Publisher Score
1UP PS: A+[40]
CVG PS: Star fullStar fullStar fullStar fullStar full[41]
PC: 9/10[42]
Computer Gaming World PC: Star fullStar fullStar fullStar fullStar empty[43]
Edge PS: 9/10[44]
Electronic Gaming Monthly PS: 38/40[45]
Famitsu PS: 38/40[46]
GameFan PS: 300+/300[47]
Game Informer PS: 9.75/10[48]
GamePro PS: Star fullStar fullStar fullStar fullStar full[49]
PC: Star fullStar fullStar fullStar fullStar half[50]
GameSpot PS: 9.5/10[51]
PC: 8/10[51]
IGN PS: 9.5/10[52]
PC: 8.2/10[53]
Just Adventure PC: A+[54]
Official PlayStation Magazine PS: Star fullStar fullStar fullStar fullStar full[55]
PC Gamer PC: 90%[56]
PSM Star fullStar fullStar fullStar fullStar full[57]

Final Fantasy VII received widespread critical acclaim upon release. Reviews from video game magazines and newspapers were highly positive, with 49 reviews giving an average aggregate score of 97%, including 26 perfect scores, according to Magazines from the Past.[36]

In North America, the game received 17 perfect scores from reviews in North American print publications upon release.[36] GameFan called it "quite possibly the greatest game ever made," a quote which featured prominently on the back cover of the game's jewel case.[58] The Electronic Gaming Monthly panel of four reviewers gave the game scores of 9.5 out of 10 each, adding up to 38 out of 40 overall.[45][59] GamePro praised the "massive world," experimentation "with spells and weapons, encounters with weird creatures," and "soap opera-ish story line", concluding it has "classic" written "all over it."[49] Game Informer called it "the most amazing RPG we've ever seen"[60][61] and "the best RPG ever made."[48] Just Adventure called it "the greatest game ever created" and "a work of art" and "masterpiece that goes beyond video games." They praised the "very dark and emotional story" as "beautifully conceived" and called it "a very inspirational and powerful video game."[54]

In the United Kingdom, Edge noted, "The 'interactive movie' has long been a dirty term to anyone who values a playable videogame, but FFVII succeeds in coming closer than any title yet," with the "highly complex, melodramatic story and excellently orchestrated chip music" combining "to make players feel real empathy with the characters," a "task usually shied away from by the action/comedy-orientated western graphic adventures."[62] Paul Davies of Computer and Video Games described it as "truly unique" and "an incredible new era of interactive entertainment" that could "revolutionize" belief of "what a video game can achieve", with arguably "some of the best moments in entertainment history", including "excitement" and "heart-rendering" emotional scenes, concluding that, with a "thrilling" storyline "brought to life with ingenious" gameplay, the "future of PlayStation is assured by this key to the future of games."[41]

Retrospective reception is also positive. Based mostly on online retrospective reviews written years after its release, GameRankings has given the game an average rating of 92.4%, based on 31 reviews.[38] It also currently holds an average rating of 92 out of 100 at Metacritic, based on 20 reviews, again mostly online retrospective reviews years after its release.[39] Combining both contemporary reviews from its time and retrospective reviews years after its release, MobyRank has given the game an overall average rating of 96% based on 77 reviews.[37]


Final Fantasy VII won many Game of the Year awards for 1997. It won an Origins Award in the "Best Roleplaying Computer Game of 1997" category.[63] At the second CESA Awards (now Japan Game Awards), it won the "Grand Prize" and the "Best Scenario" and "Best Sound" awards.[64] At the first Japan Media Arts Festival, it won an "Excellence Prize" in the "Digital Art (Interactive Art)" division.[65] It was also awarded the Readers' Choice awards for "All Systems Game of the Year", "PlayStation Game of the Year", "Role-Playing Game of the Year", "Best Graphics of the Year" and "Best Music of the Year" by Electronic Gaming Monthly,[66] as well as their Editors' Choice awards for "Role-Playing Game of the Year", "Best Graphics",[67] "Hottest Video Game Babe" (for Tifa Lockhart), "Most Hype for a Game", "Best Ending", and "Best Print Ad",[68] in addition to Readers' Choice nominations for "Most Original Game of the Year" and "Best Sound of the Year",[66] and Editors' Choice nominations for "All Systems Game of the Year" and "PlayStation Game of the Year".[67]

On May 17, 2018, Final Fantasy VII was inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame as a member of its 2018 class, and is the first title in the series so accredited by the project.[69]

Commercial performance[]

Final Fantasy VII sold over two million copies within three days of its release in Japan.[26] The momentum inspired retailers to break the release date in North America, where the game continued to sell well.[26] The title sold just under 10 million copies for the PlayStation,[70] which makes it the second best-selling PlayStation game of all time behind only Gran Turismo with 10.8 million.[71]

The 1998 PC version sold over 1 million physical units,[72] and the 2013 Steam release also sold over 1.2 million digital units,[73] bringing total PC sales to over 2.2 million units. Combined, the PlayStation and PC releases sold over 12 million units. On January 31, 2023, it was announced that the game has sold over 14.1 million units to date.[74]


Final Fantasy VII is credited as having the largest impact of the Final Fantasy series.[75][76] It has been ranked by numerous publications as one of the most important, influential and innovative games of all time.[77][78][79][80][81][82][83] EGM said it was "the first RPG to surpass, instead of copy, movielike storytelling" and taught gamers "how to cry".[78] IGN said the game "revolutionised" role-playing games.[84] It allowed RPGs to gain mass-market appeal outside of Japan,[85] as RPGs were a niche genre in the West until FFVII introduced the genre to a mainstream Western audience.[77][86][87][88][89] It also opened up the console market to Western computer RPG developers such as BioWare.[81] FFVII "single-handedly put role-playing video games on the global map".[90] It also boosted sales of the original PlayStation,[91] and demonstrated the advantages of CD-ROM over cartridges.[79] According to PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi, FFVII was "a driving force that propelled gaming forward" along with the PlayStation and contributed to growing global awareness of Japanese pop culture and anime.[90] According to Matt Alt, FFVII injected "a megadose of Japanese sensibilities" into the Western mainstream, including "big-eyed bushy-haired anime" characters, manga-style melodrama and "the very idea that video games could be meditative explorations as well as thrill rides".[92]

FFVII was one of the first AAA blockbuster game productions.[93] It was the most expensive video game until then,[90] and its marketing budget was unprecedented.[94] It set a benchmark for graphics,[79][80] full motion video,[81] cinematic CGI production values, film-like presentation, and innovative blend of gameplay with dynamic cinematic camerawork.[90] It also set a benchmark for orchestral game music,[80][90] with "Aerith's Theme" appearing on the Classic FM Hall of Fame[95] and Classic FM calling it "one of the most famous pieces of video game music ever written" that helped introduce "a whole generation to the magic of orchestral music".[96] The large number of minigames was also unprecedented, inspiring numerous later titles to incorporate minigames.[84] The game's storytelling in particular was revelatory and resonated with most of its audience.[97] The depth of its storytelling, character building, emotional scenes and cinematic production values made it a landmark in video game storytelling.[77][79][80] It also contains one of the most iconic deaths in video game history,[94] frequently cited as one of gaming's most shocking and emotional scenes,[98] while cementing Sephiroth's status as one of the most famous game villains.[79][98] The scene topped IGN's list of top 100 video game moments, calling it representative of "gaming's emotional journey from kids' entertainment to modern storytelling medium".[99]

The game has inspired numerous developers. GameSpot stated that Final Fantasy VII was "the RPG that would influence every role-playing game that would follow" after it, and that its cinematic approach to storytelling was widely adopted by later RPGs.[77] Its Limit Break gameplay mechanic became a core mechanic in subsequent Final Fantasy games.[81] According to Samuel Roberts of Retro Gamer, the game's "character designs would shape Japanese RPGs for years to come".[82] Fable creator Peter Molyneux considers FFVII to be the RPG that "defined the genre" for him.[100][101] BioWare founder Greg Zeschuk cited FFVII as "the first really emotionally engaging game" he played and said it had "a big impact" on BioWare's work.[102] Black Isle Studios cited FFVII as an inspiration for Planescape: Torment (1999). According to Maciej Miszczyk of Hardcore Gaming 101, FFVII's spell animations and character quests may have influenced Western computer RPGs such as Planescape: Torment and BioWare's Baldur's Gate II (2000).[103] Media Molecule's Constantin Jupp credited FFVII with getting him into game design.[104] Tim Schafer cited FFVII as one of his favorite games of all time.[105] Thatgamecompany founder Jenova Chen cited FFVII as one of the biggest influences on his work and the game that inspired his adopted name (from the character Jenova).[106] Grinding Gear Games designer Chris Wilson cited the Materia system of FFVII as an influence on Path of Exile (2013).[107]



Since 1997, Final Fantasy VII has been chosen by many game magazines and other publications as one of the best video games ever made. Most recently, in 2012, Time named it one of the "All-TIME 100 Video Games".[108] Historically, Final Fantasy VII became an influential watershed of the 3D generation of consoles and games that would use the format in the 1990s, and helped establish the format's succession as the new technological frontier and standard for the mainstream industry.

In 2013, GamePro included Final Fantasy VII in its "20 most innovative games ever made" list. They stated described it as "a classic that touched an entire genre of gaming" and "an entire generation of gamers." They also stated that its "status as an early PlayStation One exclusive gave Sony the edge it needed to compete in and eventually dominate the video game industry."[109] In 2008, game designer Peter Molyneux stated that Final Fantasy VII was the game that defined the RPG genre.[110]

Final Fantasy VII has also often placed at or near the top of many reader polls of all-time best games. Most recently, in 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment conducted a poll with over 10,000 Japanese fans, where Final Fantasy VII was voted the second favorite PlayStation game of all time (behind Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride), the second best game that impressed "more than a movie or a novel" (behind Final Fantasy X), and the most wanted remake.[111]

In a 2017 retrospective, Jeremy Parish of USgamer praised the game's use of the "unreliable narrator" literary concept, comparing it to Fight Club, The Sixth Sense, and Memento. He also praised how it uses the gameplay to progress the "unreliable narrator" literary concept beyond that usually seen in film.[112]

On December 3, 2018 Sony released the PlayStation Classic which includes the original Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII appeared, along with Final Fantasy Tactics, in Smithsonian Art of Video Games exhibit held between March 18 and September 30, 2012. The video games in the exhibition were decided by public vote.


In a Famitsu character popularity poll, Final Fantasy VII had six characters (Cloud, Tifa, Sephiroth, Aerith, Zack, and Yuffie) place. This is the most amount of characters from any one game listed. Final Fantasy VII was the winner of the 2004 GameFAQs user poll contest "Best. Game. Ever.", beating the fellow Square RPG, Chrono Trigger. However, in GameFAQs second "Best. Game. Ever." poll, the game finished runner-up to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It came second in Empire magazine's 2010 feature "100 Greatest Videogames Ever", beaten only by Super Mario World.[113] In 2012, Final Fantasy VII got #33 in G4's "Top 100 Games of All Time".

In a poll by Sony, Final Fantasy VII was ranked as the second favourite PlayStation game, behind Metal Gear Solid, and ahead of Crash Bandicoot.[114] After a poll done in Japan in December 2014, both Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy X were voted as the best PlayStation games by fans.[115] In December 2021, TV Asahi released its Top 100 console games of all time poll, voted by 50,000 Japanese users, with Final Fantasy VII not only being voted the third best console game of all-time, it was also the highest voted Final Fantasy game.[116]


After the new millennium Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura were approached and asked for a game that could be expanded across multiple platforms and mediums. Final Fantasy VII was chosen, which led to the creation of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. To date, the compilation includes two mobile phone games, one sequel game, one prequel game, one full-length CGI film, an OVA, and several short novellas.

The games within the collection have expanded on the story of Final Fantasy VII both before and after the original game, but have been met with mixed reactions for a number of reasons, including various retcons and liberties taken with the original storyline and characters.


In 2005 at the Sony E3 annual press conference, Square Enix showed a technical demo for the PlayStation 3 depicting the opening sequence to the original Final Fantasy VII remade with the PlayStation 3's enhanced graphics, sparking rumours of a remake. These rumors were sparked a second time with Square Enix's exhibition of new FMV artworks during the Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary event in Japan. The artworks[117] later sparked more rumors.

Square Enix denied rumors of the remake, despite liking the idea. In 2010, CEO Yoichi Wada stated he would "explore the possibilities" of the platform.[118] He followed up by stating it would take longer than he was prepared to invest.[119] Tetsuya Nomura stated in 2012 that other projects take precedence,[120] which Yoshinori Kitase reaffirmed in 2014, stating he would love to do a remake but it would take too much for the project to be a reality.[121]

On June 15, 2015, in E3, the hotly anticipated remake was announced as Final Fantasy VII Remake. The first entry was released on April 10, 2020. The game is intended as a timed PlayStation 4 exclusive until 2021.

Production credits[]

Producer Hironobu Sakaguchi
Executive Producers Tetsuo Mizuno, Tomoyuki Takechi
Director Yoshinori Kitase
Music Nobuo Uematsu
Main Programmer Tatsuya Yoshinari
Image Illustrator Yoshitaka Amano
Story Yoshinori Kitase, Kazushige Nojima
Event Planners Kazushige Nojima, Hiroki Chiba, Motomu Toriyama, Jun Akiyama
Battle Programmers Kazumasa Fuseya, Hiroshi Harata, Akihiro Yamaguchi
Character Designer Tetsuya Nomura
Art Director Yusuke Naora
2D Animators Kenichirou Okamoto, Hiroyuki Yotsuji
Chief CG Programmer Masaharu Inoue
Movie Director Motonori Sakakibara
Monster Designers Shin Nagasawa, Tetsu Tsukamoto
Lead Programmer Ken Narita
Field Programmer Keizo Kokubo
World Map Programmer Yasuo Kuwahara
Snowboard Programmer Tadamichi Obinata
Condor War Programmer Ryo Muto
Chocobo Race Programmer Keitaro Adachi
Submarine Chase Programmer Shin-ichi Tanaka
Highway and Roller Coaster Programmer Tatsuya Yoshinari
Field CGI and Movie Designers Yuko Akiyama, Kanako Aoki, Hiroyuki Honda, Ayako Kuroda, Yoshinori Moriizumi
Concept Art Takayuki Odachi, Tetsuya Takahashi
Map Plan Director Hidetoshi Kezuka
Battle Plan Designer Matsumura Yasushi
Movie Programmer Shun Moriya
Sound Programmer Minoru Akao
Character Programmer Hiroshi Kawai
CG Supervisor Kazuyuki Hashimoto

Packaging artwork[]

Final Fantasy VII was the first Final Fantasy game whose Japanese game cover was just the logo on white background, a tradition that continued until Final Fantasy XV. At first, Square were talking about removing the lettering of the logo and just having the image of Meteor Yoshitaka Amano had drawn, but it didn't materialize. The background was chosen to be white because Hironobu Sakaguchi said that the image of Final Fantasy was white.[122]



Final Fantasy VII makes references to the number 7, the rest of the Final Fantasy series, as well as mythology, folklore and religion, and popular culture—the Loveless album by My Bloody Valentine as a known example—among others.

See also[]


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  9. Square Enix [@finalfantasyvii] (2023, January 31). We’re delighted to announce “Final Fantasy VII Day” has been officially registered in Japan, to commemorate the anniversary of the launch of the original game.

    To celebrate, here’s a special message from Yoshinori Kitase, producer of the Final Fantasy VII remake project.
    [Tweet]. Twitter.
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External links[]