Almost an entire year after we last saw Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, we’ve finally got a brand new trailer for the second chapter in the remake trilogy. The big closing number for Summer Game Fest gave us a huge look at the story, gameplay, and locations from beyond the walls of Midgar, and there’s plenty for fans to recognise alongside some unexpected surprises.
We’ve studied the entire trailer and compared its scenes against the original game, and these are the seven major details that you need to know.
Tifa and the Nibelheim Incident
Let’s start at the end with the trailer's big finale. We see the classic scene of young Tifa approaching Sephiroth in the Nibelheim reactor, where she tries to kill him in vengeance for her father’s murder and the burning of the town. Just like in the original, Sephiroth cuts Tifa down. New for this Rebirth trailer, though, is Sephiroth’s voice over: “You know that I killed her, so who is she?”
This links back to the first trailer for Rebirth, which featured a fraught conversation between Cloud and Tifa. “I saw you lying there, I figured it was too late," said Cloud, in reference to the original scene where he found Tifa's body in the reactor on his way to confront Sephiroth. “What are you implying, that I died? That I’m some kind of imposter?” asked Tifa.
So, is Tifa actually dead? Possibly. We know that the remake trilogy is all about changing the original story, and that would be a fun twist considering that we’re all expecting Cloud to be the imposter. However, it seems more likely that this is a tactic from Sephiroth to manipulate Cloud and make him distrustful of his comrades. Sephiroth will eventually force Cloud to hand over the Black Materia, so perhaps this sowing of doubt is all in aid of weakening him ahead of that big moment.
Did Avalanche fail?
The trailer opens on the surprising image of Shinra guards loading the unconscious – or perhaps even dead? – bodies of Avalanche into helicopters. A huge chunk of Midgar, stretching across sectors zero, one, and two, lies in flaming ruins around them, and the initial impression is that the team has once again been captured by Shinra. But we know that the group escaped Midgar at the end of FF7 Remake, so what gives? Well, we can see that only Barret, Tifa, Red XIII, and Aerith have been captured. Where is Cloud? This scene could well be from the new timeline established at the end of Remake, where Zack survived his battle with Shinra. With Zack alive, it may be that Cloud never joined Barret’s team, and without Cloud the group may well have failed to stop Sephiroth at the end of the game. It seems likely that the Zack timeline will play a significant role in FF7 Rebirth, and this is our first hint at that.
A Big New World
We know that Cloud and the group definitely escape Midgar because the majority of this trailer shows them traveling across a world with much more variety than that seen within the walls of the steel city. Fans of the original will recognise many places in this trailer; there’s Bugenhagen’s planetarium at Cosmo Canyon, the Mythril Mine, the Cargo Ship, the inn at Kalm, and the Nibelheim Reactor. There’s also shots of what appears to be the mako pipeline that runs up to Mount Corel, and what could well be the Northern Crater with its many glowing rocks and stalactites. We’ll also be paying a visit to Junon, and you can see the Highwind airship moored above the town’s iconic cannon.
Before all that, though, we’ll be stopping by the chocobo farm, as teased in the post-credits of Remake’s Intermission DLC.
Speaking of chocobos, we’ll be able to use them as mounts this time around. Now we’re outside of Midgar we’ll be exploring what look like much, much larger scale environments, and so the added speed of a chocobo will come in handy. The HUD command seen in the bottom of one of the clips makes it look like we can call upon them at any time while in the more open regions. While riding them, the contextual chocobo HUD also shows that the big birds can 'scent' and 'scour', suggesting that they can be used for scouting. Perhaps there’s a treasure hunting system, or some kind of bounty tracking side activity? The big question, of course, is will there be chocobo breeding? Please, Square, don’t make us go through all that tedium again…
Cloud’s Mystery History
Early in the trailer we hear Tifa ask Aerith “What’s Cloud been doing these past five years? Where has he been? […] This is going to sound crazy, but as far as I know Cloud was never in Nibelheim five years ago.”
In the final hours of Remake we were given the first indication that Cloud isn’t who he thinks he is when a soldier in the Shinra building recognised him. It looks like Rebirth will further explore Cloud’s fractured memory and expand upon Tifa’s perspective. We know from the original game that Cloud was at Nibelheim five years ago, but Tifa didn’t recognise him because he was a Shinra guard wearing a helmet, not the SOLDIER he thinks he was. What wasn’t in the original game, however, was the scene in which Cloud appears as a robed Sephiroth clone taking part in the Jenova Reunion ritual. Could this be Cloud’s fate in the new timeline where Zack survives?
New Characters and New Moves
This trailer finally confirms that, after being just a guest party member in FF7 Remake, Red XIII will be a fully playable character in Rebirth. He’s joined by Yuffie, who returns from the Intermission DLC, to create a full party of six. There’s still no sign of Cait Sith, Cid, or Vincent, so let’s hope they’ll be revealed later rather than held back for the third game.
While the fantastic combat from Remake remains, we can see it’s had a few tweaks since we last saw it. Combos moves from the DLC have now been fully integrated into the system, and we can see several flashy attacks such as this one where Aerith creates a magical dome that Tifa punches down through. There’s also a new icon on the battle HUD – a series of five horizontal bars – but it’s not yet clear what new system they are linked to.
Old and Fresh Enemies
We may be missing Cait Sith, Cid, and Vincent, but there are some other fun (and less fun) familiar faces in this trailer. We meet the remake version of Elena, the youngest member of the Turks, in what is clearly the encounter from the Mythril Mine. And, later on, we see the grotesque form of Jenova Birth, which now seems to hang from the ceiling of the Cargo Ship like some kind of cancerous barnacle.
As with the first game in the remake trilogy, we’ll also be seeing a range of new bosses. Here we see Barret and Red XIII fighting some form of giant rock golem, potentially down in the Mythril Mine. The lack of Cloud in this fight suggests that there will be story sequences in which the party splits up and travels separate paths, too.
And those are the seven major details that you need to know from the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth trailer. Did you spot any other cool details? Let us know about them in the comments. For more, check out the full FF7 Rebirth trailer and the news that it'll be delivered on two discs for the physical version.
Matt Purslow is IGN's UK News and Features Editor.