Everyone is abuzz about the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and rightfully so. New footage was released at the PlayStation Experience and Square Enix spoke out about what people could expect from the PlayStation 4 version of one of the most iconic JRPGs in history. But in all this talk about the game, a rather important figure has been forgotten: Genesis Rhapsodos.
Granted, forgetting Genesis is rather easy to do and forgivable. While the Final Fantasy VII antagonist has been around since 2006’s Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, he’s always been a rather shadowy figure. It wasn’t until Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII that he became an established and critical part of the series’ lore. His presence across two games in this series suggest the potential for further actions in additional games.
Genesis is a First Class SOLDIER alongside Sephiroth and Angeal, his two closest friends. Also, like the two, he’s a product of one of the many Jenova Projects. Jenova Project G gave him increased strength, speed, stamina and magical abilities. It also allowed him to create Genesis Copies of himself.
Sadly, Genesis was a flawed creation. After taking a minor wound when sparring with Sephiroth and Angeal in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, his condition began to degrade. This susceptibility spreads to any Genesis Copies he creates as well, and his quest to restore himself drives much of the action in the PlayStation Portable game. Dr. Hollander, the Jenova Project G scientist, offers false promises of salvation and a cure, all the while hoping to continue his experiments and get revenge on Shinra for his dismissal.
It’s Genesis that tells Sephiroth of Shinra’s experimentations at Nibelheim. Because of him, Sephiroth seeks the truth in Shinra Manor and learns he was a perfect specimen from Jenova Project S. Sephiroth denies Genesis some of his cells, which would cure Genesis and end his degradation, and goes mad upon learning his true origins.
Genesis is healed of his degradation at the end of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, so his story doesn’t end there. After Zack leaves him, the Shinra Deepground SOLDIERs Weiss and Nero come for him. He’s taken into the Deepground medical facility, a place where his cells were used in experiments on injured SOLDIERs to turn them into living weapons. The two asked for his aid in a rebellion, but instead chooses to sleep beneath Midgar. This accounts for his absence in the original Final Fantasy VII.
However, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII shows Genesis’ awakening. Throughout his adventures, Vincent Valentine can come across G Reports, documents discussing Jenova Project G, the use of Genesis’ cells in the creation of Deepground’s Tsviets, like Weiss and Nero, and current status of Genesis. Acquiring all three reveals Genesis again. He awakens when the fused Weiss and Nero appear in his cavern.
Genesis’ motivations are unclear at the close of Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. While he seemed to be at peace following Crisis Core‘s conclusion and refused the chance to rebel against Deepground’s leaders, he does take Weiss and tell him, “It is not yet time for slumber,” and “We still have much work to do.” His eyes have a suspicious gleam when he calls Weiss his “brother.” While he has shown desire to protect the planet, one will have to wonder what “protect” means to him.
With the Final Fantasy VII Remake, Square Enix has an opportunity to incorporate Genesis into the main story. This could add an additional facet to Sephiroth’s motivations. Knowing another altered SOLDIER First Class is out there shows the wider scope of Shinra’s shady schemes. It will foster greater connections between the original game and it’s spin-offs, as well as establish a reason to return with a Final Fantasy VII sequel.
While Genesis didn’t exert any influence over the original Final Fantasy VII, the prequel and spin-off have shown the effect his presence has had on the installment’s events and characters. Don’t forget about him, as the weeks, months, and maybe even years lead up to the Final Fantasy VII Remake’s release. He’s a powerful force within this universe, one who happens to be waiting in the wings.