Thirty years before the events of Final Fantasy VII, a scientist working for the Shinra Electric Power Company named Professor Gast happens upon a crater containing an unknown organism later believed to be a member of the lost Cetra civilization and therefore holding the key to the so-called Promised Land, a fertile region said to have an abundance of Mako energy. His research, "The Jenova Project", would continue for almost two decades, but with the assistance of his wife, Ifalna, Gast's hypothesis is proven incorrect; the organism, which he dubbed "Jenova", is actually the "calamity from the skies" referred to in Cetra lore. Before Gast can finish his investigation, his lab at Icicle Inn is raided by rival scientist Hojo. The lab itself is seized; Gast killed; and his wife and daughter forced to flee the area.
Sephiroth, as expected, matures into the most powerful warrior in the world some years later and gains widespread acclaim for his skill, never knowing how he came into his abilities. This also leads Hojo to continue experiments on other subjects, injecting them with Jenova cells as well.
Five years before the game's start, Sephiroth is sent with a detachment of Shinra troops to investigate oddities at the Nibelheim mako reactor, during which time he happens upon a library of faded journals and learns of the origin of his power. Upon visiting the reactor, Sephiroth becomes enraged, releases Jenova, and goes on a rampage, burning all in his wake. SOLDIER 1st Class Zack Fair is heavily wounded, while a military grunt named Cloud Strife becomes driven to avenge his childhood friend in Tifa Lockhart, a mountain guide also wounded in Sephiroth's rage. Sephiroth nearly dispatches Cloud, but Cloud musters the strength to seize upon his attacker's sword as a lever, throwing Sephiroth into the reactor below. Sephiroth is thus presumed dead. But is he truly so?
Something sinister surfaces five years later as this event begins.
- This event marked the first time a character featured in a previous event returned, with Sephiroth first being found in the Of Shinra and Legends event.