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North Crater, also known as the Northern Cave Crater (大空洞火口, Dai Kūdō Kakō?, lit. Large Crater Cavity), is a location in Final Fantasy VII on the northernmost continent of Gaia. The crater was created when the asteroid collided with the planet thousands of years ago. The crater, and the planet's subsequent attempt to heal it with spiritual energy, are central to the Final Fantasy VII storyline.

The North Crater comprises three locations: Gaea's Cliff, the cliff around the crater itself; the Whirlwind Maze found within the crater; and the Northern Cave.

It is suggested in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- that the Great Cavern of Wonders is also in the crater, indicating it is "a second subterranean den near the northern cave". This is explored in the ninth set of missions titled M9: Great Cavern of Wonders.


Before Final Fantasy VII[]

Northern Crater Outside

The crater during an FMV sequence.

The North Crater was created over 2000 years ago when the asteroid containing the alien creature later known as Jenova crashed into the planet's northern continent.[1] The alien began to destroy the planet's lifeforms until the Cetra sealed it within the crater. However, the wound to the planet caused the planet to send a mass of Spirit Energy to heal itself, causing the continent to be cold year-round. The planet placed its guardians, the Weapons, to lie in the crater in case another threat as great as the alien would appear.[2]

The alien was left dormant until Gast Faremis, working for Shinra Electric Power Company, unearthed it, thinking it to be an Ancient, and named it "Jenova".[3] It was unearthed around 20 years before Final Fantasy VII (1997). Also around this time, chasing the legend of an asteroid that had hit the planet long ago, a climber named Mr. Holzoff attempted to climb Gaea's Cliff, but was unsuccessful.[4]

In October 0002, when Sephiroth was defeated at the Nibel Reactor during the Nibelheim Incident, he traveled through the lifestream to the Northern Cave to recuperate. Years later, Sephiroth led the Sephiroth-clones to the crater.

Final Fantasy VII[]

In "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches" in Final Fantasy VII, taking place December 0007, Cloud Strife and his party followed Sephiroth north to the crater from the City of the Ancients. Traveling through the Great Glacier, they met with Mr. Holzoff at the bottom of Gaea's Cliff, who helped them climb it. After reaching the crater, they descended down into the Whirlwind Maze where they saw Sephiroth-clones fall from exhaustion, or be killed by Sephiroth. Upon reaching Sephiroth the party fought Jenova∙DEATH, after which Sephiroth had vanished, and the Black Materia lay on the ground. Cloud left the Black Materia with the party,[note 1] and pressed on.

Sephiroth showed Cloud a vision of the Nibelheim Incident which showed Zack Fair's role in the incident, contradicting Cloud's recounting of events that had never included Zack. Cloud was confident it is just an illusion, but Tifa Lockhart, the only other party member to be in Nibelheim during the incident, did not refute Sephiroth's claims. Sephiroth then taunted Cloud, telling him he was another drone like all the other mindless Sephiroth-clones, causing Cloud to break down. Sephiroth then tricked the party into giving him the Black Materia.[5]

Sephiroth Rising FFVII Storyboard

Storyboard for the scene where Cloud hands the Black Materia to Sephiroth.

Meanwhile, Rufus Shinra and his group of Shinra Executives landed in the Whirlwind Maze with the airship Highwind. Seeing the abundant Mako, Rufus believed the Northern Cave to be the fabled Promised Land of Cetra legends. Cloud appeared and pleaded with Professor Hojo to tell his number in the Jenova Project, to which Hojo laughed off how a specimen he considered a "failure" turned out to be the only successful Sephiroth-clone, but could not recall much about Cloud.[5]

Cloud handed the Black Materia to Sephiroth, whose true form resided within a cocoon of crystallized mako. His true form awakening, Sephiroth summoned Meteor and the Planet summoned its protectors, the Weapons, to defeat the threat, creating a massive explosion of energy. Rufus and his entourage fled the chaos on the Highwind, taking Tifa and the party with them. Cloud was flushed into the Lifestream, and leaves the party temporarily.[5]


North Crater's shield being destroyed (top), and the crater itself destroyed (bottom) in Final Fantasy VII.

Sephiroth sealed the crater's entry with a forcefield and continued to remake his body to prepare for his ascension into godhood, his plan being to absorb the Spirit Energy that would well up to treat the wound created by his Meteor. Later, in "Mako Cannon Rampage" Shinra used the Sister Ray cannon to destroy the Diamond Weapon and blast through Sephiroth's forcefield. With the crater's defense down, Cloud and his party entered the crater in "The Planet's Judgment" to access the Northern Cave to defeat Sephiroth. Defeating Sephiroth released Holy, an ultimate White Magic spell, and it burst from the crater to destroy Meteor while the party escaped on the Highwind.


The North Crater area in Final Fantasy VII has four associated field maps for different areas:

The North Crater is otherwise seen on the world map, and can be flown to with the Highwind. Before "Mako Cannon Rampage", the Highwind cannot enter it due to Sephiroth's seal.

It appears in the Icicle Area on the Northern Continent of the Planet. It was created when an asteroid or meteorite fell thousands of years ago. This, in tandem with the continent's titular proximity to the Planet's North Pole, makes most of the Northern Continent a frozen desert. An enormous wound to the Planet, a mass of Spirit Energy is brought around the crater to heal it. Because of the near-extinction of the Cetra, and thus little to no life being cultivated and no new Spirit Energy being created, the wound heals very slowly and still exists 2,000 years later.



North Crater in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

The North Crater is located at the very northern tip of the northern continent.

Because of the near-extinction of the Cetra, and thus little to no life being cultivated and no new Spirit Energy being created, the wound heals very slowly and still exists 2,000 years later. This, in tandem with the continent's polar position, makes most of the continent a frozen wasteland.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

Northern Crater Lifestream Eruption FFVII Sketch

Concept art for Lifestream erupting from the crater.

In Final Fantasy VII, if the player rides the Highwind backwards into the barrier around the crater they can pass through it, but trying to land the Highwind within the crater will result in being be knocked out by the barrier.

The original Japanese version of Final Fantasy VII where Ruby Weapon and Emerald Weapon did not exist as optional superbosses, the FMV sequence where the Highwind leaves the North Crater as the Weapons awaken is different. No Weapons emerge from the crater but merely a white light shines from its depths, and there is no close-up of Tifa and Barret on the deck of the Highwind.




  1. In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud can choose to leave Black Materia with Barret Wallace or Red XIII.