Were there supposed to be more main character deaths in Final Fantasy VII?

Ask any Final Fantasy fan what was the most shocking scene in the whole series, and most will say the unfortunate death of Aerith at the hands of Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII. Her death came as a shock seeing as she was one of the main characters who was destined to save the planet and her death happened at the halfway point of the game, which was the end of Disc 1. Characters die all the time in video games, but rarely do main characters and usually their deaths are left toward the end of the game. And it isn’t the first time Square Enix, then Squaresoft, toyed with death with its main characters. Chrono Trigger had killed the character you play, though the story progresses to saving his life due to the time travel plot. Final Fantasy VII was different. Despite the countless rumors and unofficial means to continue with Aerith, she stayed dead.

Recently, Polygon had an article outlining details about the creation of Final Fantasy VII for its 20th Anniversary with dialogue between the creators of the game. Somewhere in the middle of the article is an exchange between Tetsuya Nomura and Yoshinori Kitase about Aerith’s death. Here’s the exchange:

Tetsuya Nomura- Did you know people have been coming up to me for years now and saying, “You killed Aerith!?”

Yoshinori Kitase [To Nomura:]- Are you trying to blame me for that? [Laughs]

Tetsuya Nomura- OK, so maybe I did kill Aerith. But if I hadn’t stopped you, in the second half of the game, you were planning to kill everyone off but the final three characters the player chooses!

Yoshinori Kitase- No way! I wrote that? Where?

Tetsuya Nomura- In the scene where they parachute into Midgar. You wanted everyone to die there!

Say what?! The original plan was to kill off all the main characters except the 3 that you choose to play? Now, that would’ve been intense seeing as you wouldn’t be able to switch to other characters and utilize their skills set. It would’ve been a game changer but ultimately would’ve taken away the impact of Aerith’s death, and Tetsuya Nomura agreed.

Tetsuya Nomura- The theme of Final Fantasy 7 was “life,” and we sacrificed Aerith in order to give weight and depth to that theme. Her death is a tragedy, but if we suddenly just killed off everyone else after that, it would dilute the meaning of her death.

In the clip I posted above, you can see clearly every main character jumping off the ship and into the city Midgar. With their original plan they would’ve killed 5 main characters in that scene, which could’ve been slowly as this scene played out or all at once. Although shocking, it wouldn’t have had the same impact as Aerith’s death since these would technically be “temporary deaths” since you can just replay the scene over and over with other characters. It’s great that they decided against it since a boss fight before the final allowed you to use all 8 characters in 3 sections. Your 3 main characters that you use ended up going up against Sephiroth at the end. And with the Final Fantasy VII Remake now in the works, who knows if they’ll dig this idea back up or not.

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Joe Gonzalez
Joe Gonzalez 286 posts

Gamer since '86, well knowledgeable in movies and games, and semi tech savvy. Graphic artist and t-shirt printer for over 10 years.