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Final Fantasy 7 Remake Script Change Makes Perfect Sense After You Play Rebirth

Days before the release of Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, Square Enix unveiled an update making several tweaks to its predecessor, Final Fantasy 7: Remake. The
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, though there are a few other tweaks. But one other major change we haven't written about yet is the change to Aerith's final line in the script of Final Fantasy 7: Remake in the English translation of the game.

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. Without digging into the specifics of it, on the surface, the change appears to turn a line that previously hit a very specific emotional beat for the character into something a little less...poetic. It also seemed like a weird change to make now, of all times. The game's been out for several years at this point! What gives!

Well, we think we have a pretty good idea why the change was made. The most I can say right off the bat is that it has to do with some plot events that take place in Rebirth, so if you're planning to play Rebirth, just go do that and then come back later.

Because in order to talk about what's going on here, we're going to have to spoil the heck out of both Final Fantasy 7: Remake and Rebirth.

ONE MORE TIME: MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR THE ENDINGS OF FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE AND REBIRTH ARE AHEAD. Read onward at your own risk! We're talking about the LAST SCENES OF BOTH GAMES! The endings! Don't say I didn't warn you! I'm even putting a video in the way of the spoilers!

Okay, phew. That's out of the way.

The line in question in Final Fantasy 7: Remake previously read "I miss it. The steel sky." It's said by Aerith after the group flees Midgar and finds themselves no longer under a giant metal plate, but under an open sky. It's a beautiful line, referencing Aerith's genuine love for the complicated, imperfect place she calls home and her grief in the wake of the Sector 7 plate falling. The new line read is far less emotive: "This sky...I don't like it." Yeah! I can see why people think that's a worse version.

Notably, though, the original Japanese version of the line (which resembles the new English translation) hasn't changed in the update. That's almost certainly because the line was always intended to be closer to the new version. Why? Because Aerith is, from this moment in the story onward, looking at a very different sky than everyone else in the party. And she's not too thrilled about what it means.

Okay really and truly, one final time, I am about to just spoil the bejeezus out of Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, including literally the last scene. Please go away if you don't want to read that!!!

In Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth, we eventually see what Aerith is looking at above her head through a series of strange, dream-like interstitial scenes that appear to take place in an alternate universe where Aerith's old boyfriend and Cloud's old best friend, Zack Fair, never died. We see Zack waiting in Aerith's house, presiding over a comatose Aerith and Cloud, and interacting with Biggs, who in the original FF7 dies when the Sector 7 plate collapses but whose fate seems a little more ambiguous in the FF7 Remake trilogy. And when Zack goes outside, the sky is noticeably messed up - there's a giant rift running through the whole thing.

Much later in the game, following the events at Temple of the Ancients, Aerith and Cloud find themselves falling together from a great height. Cloud appears to pass out, and we once again see a scene from this strange, alternate world. Except now, Cloud and Aerith have both woken up. Zack is out, so the two go out on a date, during which Aerith warns Cloud not to look up. He does, and lo and behold, the sky rift. Cloud has little time to ponder the meaning of this as Aerith drags him around town, and eventually, he snaps back out of it and into the "real" world, where the sky isn't messed up and the party has found him, gravely injured but alive after his fall.

The torn apart sky comes back in the final chapter of the game, present throughout a series of battles where the idea of alternate realities is explored and confused even further. And it's brought home in the final scene of the game, where the party seems to believe Aerith died at Sephiroth's hands. But Cloud can see her, and even speak with her, implying he's crossed over into a reality where he saved her. In a poignant moment, he tells his teammates not to look up - referencing Aerith's advice from the date before. We, the player, see the sky blue and normal, but it's clear in this moment that Cloud now sees the same torn sky he saw in the alternate reality - the same torn sky it's now apparent Aerith saw at the end of Final Fantasy 7: Remake, when she remarked, "This sky...I don't like it."

Having only just digesting all of this, I'm still at a bit of a loss as to what all this actually means. It's apparent that the torn sky comes packaged in with the weird, alternate reality stuff Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Rebirth are playing with, and that characters get pulled into these weird, converging planes of existence with messed up skies every time they defy fate. Aerith sees it at the end of Remake, and Cloud is looped in at the end of Rebirth. And as my colleague and reviewer Nick Limon pointed out, it's possible the rift is connected to something called the "universe of death" mentioned in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake Materials Ultimania book.

What likely happened with the line change is that the localizers didn't know the context of Rebirth at the time Remake was released, and interpreted Aerith's line in Japanese as grief about the events that had just taken place. Nomura even
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in an interview. And Aerith, canonically, seems to hate the sky just generally - she brings it up repeatedly in Crisis Core. But the reflective "I miss it. The steel sky" line, beautiful as it is, is only able to hold the one meaning, that of grief. The new version, even if it is a bit more straightforward, is quietly carrying a double meaning. The sky is both symbolic of Aerith's sorrow, and it's also quite literally messed the heck up. In that light, the line change makes a whole lot more sense.

With Final Fantasy 7: Rebirth out today, I cannot wait for lore experts to dig into all this deeper and explain what it means, because that entire game was a wild ride. If you for some reason read to the end of this without having finished it, get yourself
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for some helping wrapping it all up (or doing the tens of hours of extra side content).

Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to [email protected].

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