Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ending Explained

Final Fantasy 7 Remake escapes a straight retelling by defying fate — or, as the game puts it, Destiny with a capital D. For returning players, that means diverging from the storyline they know and love. The remake faithfully reimagines settings and characters with beautifully rendered graphics and expressive voice acting. However, it's the gradual buildup of narrative additions that justifies the ending and points the way for upcoming sequels. 


FF7R starts a new but familiar story. The differences set the remake apart from the original, even if they throw off a few longtime fans. According to co-director Naoki Hamaguchi, "It has that same goodness in its heart – but it's shown in a way that will resonate with a new audience." By introducing the concept of shifting fates and alternate timelines, FF7R warns players that anything can happen. For that reason, it's important to know what exactly went down in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and where all the most important characters ended up.

Cloud makes friends in Midgar

At the beginning of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, players learn that Cloud is a former member of SOLDIER, Shinra Electric Power Company's elite fighting force. He's since become a mercenary, and joins with a cell of Avalanche to blow up a Shina reactor in Midgar. Cloud says it's just about the money at first (and the memes agree), but he grows attached to Avalanche and its cause as he interacts with the group's members. When the plate collapses on Sector 7, Cloud struggles to maintain his composure when Biggs and Jessie die – or so he thinks — in front of him. By the end, Cloud faces enemies like Sephiroth with the support of allies he would've brushed off in the beginning.


A lot about Cloud remains mysterious, though. He fends off unexplained hallucinations of Sephiroth throughout the game, for example, and the remake only offers the bare outline of Cloud's involvement with SOLDIER. Even when Tifa directly asks him, he doesn't explain why he left the organization, and chooses not to elaborate on his experiences there. Until the next part of the remake, new players need to decipher what they can from Cloud's visions and cryptic mentions of Sephiroth.

Tifa convinces Cloud to stay

Tifa is the one constant in Cloud's life. An old childhood friend of the former SOLDIER troop, she manages Seventh Heaven, the bar that Barret uses as a hideout for Avalanche. Tifa's the one who asked Cloud to help Avalanche in the first place, though she doubts Avalanche's cause after the first reactor destroys more than intended. She felt trapped into accepting that they would need to hurt others, even innocent bystanders, to make a difference. But when the group essentially ousts the Shinra head and overcomes the Whispers, she doesn't hold back in joining Cloud's mission to find Sephiroth.


Players don't get much of her backstory in terms of what she did while Cloud was gone, but that could change in the future. In her Chapter 14 cutscene, Tifa cries in Cloud's arms about Shinra taking everything from them again. New players have limited knowledge about what that means because Final Fantasy 7 Remake only includes a few brief cutscenes of Tifa and Cloud's past.

Avalanche warms up to Cloud

FF7R expands on the other characters in Barret's crew: Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie. "Though there are differences on how we depict the characters, their talkativeness is a counter-reaction to the strong sense or fear, guilt, and conflict they hide deep within their hearts," Scenario Writer Kazushige Nojima told Inverse. The added content fleshes out their backgrounds and personalities. For example, in the Mad Dash chapter, Cloud finds out that Jessie quit her job as an actress to join Avalanche after her father fell into a mako-induced coma. 


Details like these give Cloud (and players) reasons to empathize with the characters before he leaves them behind in Midgar. Jessie's death brings Tifa to tears and visibly upsets Cloud. Biggs, a former school teacher, seems to fall to Shinra soldiers but survives in the end. Wedge, a cat lover and informant, fights off Whispers as fiery chunks of debris fall above him. All three crew members died in the original, although Biggs' survival brings into question whether Wedge or even Jessie might be alive.

While the story doesn't bring Biggs, Wedge, or Jessie outside of Midgar, they fill an emotionally void place in the original game with meaningful interactions. In the original, Cloud immediately goes on the next reactor mission without any changes in his relationships.


Barret leads the cast into action

Barret leads his cell in Avalanche and pushes their mission the most. As seen in his monologue after the first reactor mission and in his Chapter 14 cutscene, Barret takes pride in his comrades and in his role as a leader. He even learns to care for Cloud, though he initially distrusts him because of his ex-SOLDIER background. Barret goes from taunting him in the opening chapter to admitting that he was wrong about him during the second reactor mission. 


One of Barret's biggest motivations for fighting Shinra is his daughter, MarleneFF7R hasn't elaborated on much of Barret's past like how he joined Avalanche or what happened to Marlene's mother. However, Marlene clearly inspires at least part of his motivations. A world without Shinra would mean a world without the cruelties they commit. In short: a better future for Marlene. 

Barret eventually joins Cloud in his quest outside of Midgar. He stops to consider the stakes of defying Destiny as the gang enters Sephiroth's portal, but seems to come to terms with it by the end. During the ending cutscene, he reaffirms his promise to return for Marlene.

Beyond Shinra as the Big Bad

Barret establishes Shinra as the enemy from the beginning. Shinra detonates its own reactor and blames Avalanche for the damages to elevate its reputation as Midgar's protector. Heidegger, a high-ranking Shinra executive, later frames Avalanche as a public enemy in an effort to stop them from interfering with the company. The company's exploitative energy practices and disregard for life become more apparent throughout the course of the game. Avalanche sees Shinra as the main enemy from the first reactor mission until the end, when the conflict takes a twist and becomes Avalanche versus Sephiroth.


As insidious as the company seems, Aerith warns the crew that Shinra isn't the real enemy. Sephiroth proves her right when he stabs Shinra's president through the back and effortlessly eliminates the supposed Big Bad. Rufus Shinra replaces his fallen father after this event, though how he'll choose to run the company has yet to be revealed.

Aerith may defy her Destiny

Aerith's connection to the lifestream and Shinra's fixation on that power make her inseparable from the bigger themes in the story. The Midgar arc reveals most of the important details of Aerith's origins and explains why Shinra and Sephiroth find her so valuable. As an Ancient, she may have the power to lead them to the Promised Land, a legendary place with limitless mako. With those details out of the way, all that's left is for her to choose what she wants to do about it.


Throughout the game, Cloud repeatedly envisions the same unclear scene where a bluish-green orb clatters to the floor. This vision mirrors Aerith's death scene in the original timeline, where she drops her materia after she collapses. Players who recognize this reference can't help but wonder if this remake will change her fate. Aerith's Chapter 14 cutscene suggests that she believes something unfortunate will happen to her, because she warns Cloud not to fall in love with her.

Whispers -- arbiters of fate

Cloud meets Aerith when he saves her from a hoard of mysterious, wispy monsters called Whispers – or arbiters of fate. These creatures reappear throughout the story, although players don't know what they are until Red XIII explains. According to him, Whispers approach those who interfere with Destiny and thwart their efforts to do so. They'll even reverse an "intended fate," like when they healed Barret after Sephiroth stabbed him through the chest.


Whispers didn't exist in the original Final Fantasy 7. Some fans believe that they mean to keep the FF7R timeline the same as the original game. When Sephiroth opens a portal and invites Cloud inside, Aerith warns him that it's the "point of no return" — or Destiny's crossroads. Their entry past the portal surrounds Midgar in Whispers, including the Whisper Harbinger and a team of boss-level Whispers.

The Whispers seem to want characters to walk a certain path. However, Cloud and the others don't accept Destiny without a fight.

Sephiroth makes an early appearance

Sephiroth appears throughout the game in Cloud's flashbacks, which build him up into the final boss. Aerith explains his twisted vision of helping the planet by ending it. "There's no greater threat to the planet than him," she says. However, Aerith warns that challenging Sephiroth may mean changing themselves and their destinies. For better or worse, altering fate would mean a different future than the one already set.


Sephiroth's emergence in the remake, affirmed by a symphony of howling Whispers, symbolizes a fork from the original timeline. The remake's content differs the moment Cloud's party crosses through Sephiroth's portal.

Cloud and his allies defeat the arbiters of fate, and then square off against Sephiroth. As Cloud lands the final blow, he and Sephiroth transport to what looks like the craggy surface of another planet. A multicolored celestial body, which may be the lifestream, spreads across the stars in the distance. Sephiroth invites Cloud to "defy Destiny together," but Cloud refuses. Then, Sephiroth vanishes in the middle of their sword fight. No explanation, no closure. Just space and black feathers.


Cloud resolves to find Sephiroth after his disappearance. Tifa, Barret, Aerith, and Red XIII join him in his hunt, prompting a new journey beyond Midgar's borders.

Ending of the Midgar arc

Square Enix chose to expand the Midgar arc into a full JRPG for the first part of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. What happened in Midgar serves as the foundation for the plot's direction and explains how Cloud forms his ragtag team of comrades. Once he and his allies have a unified purpose, it's then time to leave. There's nothing left for him in Midgar. 


The ending cutscene reveals the fates of the characters left behind in Sector 7. A bandaged Biggs, who supposedly died in Shinra's Sector 7 invasion, wakes up in bed. Marle and a group of townspeople prop up the damaged Seventh Heaven sign. Marlene cheerfully waters a pot of yellow flowers — the same kind Aerith used to sell — as Elmyra (Aerith's adoptive mother and Marlene's temporary caretaker) calls out to her. Cloud and crew take on a death sentence of a quest while Sector 7 finally breathes a sigh of relief. Despite Sephiroth's warnings about Destiny, Cloud and his friends look over the bridge of Midgar's highway with hope.

Destiny's crossroads await

The end of Final Fantasy 7 Remake implies multiple timelines where drastically different events happen. Before Cloud's battle with Sephiroth, he and his allies experience a shared vision, which Red XIII describes as a "glimpse of tomorrow if we fail here today." Fans predict this could mean changing the outcome of certain character's fates and other cornerstone pieces of the plot.


For example, Zack Fair, a beloved character from the prequel Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7, survives a legion of Shinra soldiers that overpowered him in the original timeline. "There is a character who's alive, which leads to a great mystery," Tetsuya Nomura, FF7R director, said in a Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ultimania interview. In the final moments of the game, a scene shows Zack supporting an unconscious Cloud with his shoulder as the two hobble toward Midgar. Cloud's party seems to pass by them, as though the two groups exist in two entirely different dimensions or timelines. How Zack ultimately ties into the sequel remains a mystery.

At the very least, players can assume that there's a possibility of change. As Aerith says, "The future is always a blank page."


Upcoming Final Fantasy 7 games

Square Enix hasn't finalized release dates for the upcoming sequels to the remake. Inverse estimates that the next part will release in either late 2021 or 2022 based on updates from the development team, cast members, and Square Enix executives. Producer Yoshinori Kitase confirmed in Famitsu (via @aitaikimochi on Twitter) that work for the remake was progressing smoothly as of late December 2020.


However, Square did announce Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Intergrade as an extension to the remake. This DLC takes place after the second reactor mission and features an episode with Yuffie as a playable character. FF7R Intergrade releases in June 2021 as a PlayStation 5 exclusive.

And after FF7R Intergrade comes two mobile games: Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier and Final Fantasy 7: Ever Crisis. The First Soldier centers around SOLDIER as a battle royale prequel and Ever Crisis apparently compiles of all events in the FF7 timeline into one game. How Square Enix plans to cram the original storyline, side stories, and remake content into that latter title remains to be seen.