When it comes to Final Fantasy games, one that has become among the most notorious and far-reaching is Final Fantasy VII. In addition to the original PlayStation game, there is a whole ecosystem involving additional books, games and movies. They aren’t all essential, of course. Some are even impossible to easily access, such as Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII never receiving an official worldwide release. However, each one does have important information that can help with building characterizations and understanding the world.
Which brings us to this, a spoiler-filled brief going over a few of the most critical points from supplemental games and movies released to support Final Fantasy VII. Each one offers a little something more to help build the people and its world up. Let’s go through them in chronological order.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (PSP)
The big takeaway here is developing Zack’s character. He’s the actual SOLDIER First Class who was Aerith’s first love and boyfriend and the one who befriended, supported and saved Cloud. We get a better idea of what an active SOLDIER could find themselves doing for Shinra and see a heroic side of Sephiroth. Zack is a genuinely good guy.
The Turks are also generally good people, with Tseng, Reno, Rude and Cissnei helping Zack and even trying to help cover for him during his final escape.
Crisis Core sets up how Sephiroth found out he was a human experiment and also shows that Shinra used Jenova, the alien, to experiment on two other soldiers named Angeal and Genesis. It’s a look into the depravity of the company, the lengths it would go to for power and a hint of things to come as two Deepground Shinra members, Weiss and Nero, take away Genesis at the end.
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII (Mobile)
Ever wondered why a group of four people who don’t seem all that bad in Final Fantasy VII are the enemies? Before Crisis explains that. It also explains why Avalanche is such a big name, even though we only see some small remnants in the original game, and why Rufus Shinra is on the outs.
This introduces the original Avalanche, an extremist group that has the previous leader of the Turks’ daughter, Elfe, as its leader. Which in turn leads to the leader, Veld, defecting and the Turks fighting to save her and defeat the now fully evil Avalanche.
It also acts as character building for Rufus. Why is he on the outs initially in Final Fantasy VII? Who was giving the original Avalanche information? How did the original extremist group almost kill President Shinra? Rufus was feeding them information to attempt to usurp him. He’s taken and placed under house arrest.
As for why the Turks are doing dirty deeds without question, it’s a condition of survival. The three remaining members after Before Crisis are Tseng, Reno, and Rude. Because they took care of Rufus before and he’s willing to cover for Veld and Elfe. It’s forced loyalty.
Its epilogue also helps explain why Reno, Rude and Elena were in in the sewers near the end of Final Fantasy VII. They were working with the former Turks to evacuate the city after Meteor was cast.
On the Way to a Smile
This short story collection is all about bridging gaps. It basically acts as an epilogue and prepares for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. We learn about how the orphan, Denzel, ended up living with Cloud and Tifa and how they ended up with Marlene. We find out why Barret has a gun arm and how he started looking for alternate airship energy. We get to learn what life is like for Yuffie after returning to Wutai, given the war between it and Shinra. There’s also an explanation for how Rufus survived in Final Fantasy VII, how Shinra built up Edge and what the Turks were up to.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
One of the biggest things that came from this movie is seeing death wasn’t the end when it came to defeating Sephiroth. Jenova’s cells infected the Lifestream, causing some people to develop a disease called Geostigma if they were tainted by the cells. Sephiroth is in the Lifestream, despite being dead, and is using it and his remnants to create a new body for himself.
It also offers some insight into what happens after the end. We know Midgar was hit hard. So, the city of Edge appears in its place. We see what each party member does after the end, with Cloud and Tifa running a courier service and Barret looking for oil as an alternative energy source. We also see that while Shinra has changed, Rufus Shinra is still looking to accumulate some sort of hold and power and that the Turks are firmly “good guys” again.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2)
Remember how what Shinra did to Cloud, Zack, Sephiroth, Vincent and a number of other people was really horrible? Well, it conducted even more terrible deeds! Shinra scientists took Genesis’ genes and used them on people to create the Tsviets, superpowered humans.
The really important part of Dirge of Cerberus is what it tells us about the planet and the weapons Chaos and Omega. Chaos has been a part of Vincent since the original game, and we learn that this being inside of him is actually tied to one of the planet’s Weapons, the beings that are designed to protect and/or preserve the planet. Chaos is essentially a cleanser designed to wipe out life so the Lifestream can be preserved and sent to a new planet via Omega. It suggests a cycle of rejuvenation is already around as a failsafe, and the game ends with Chaos and Omega both reset and in their natural state.