What is Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII?
Explaining the connection between Crisis Core and Final Fantasy VII
After the end of Final Fantasy VII Remake, many fans were caught off guard by the appearance of a certain character who starred in a spin-off title revolving around the VII universe. Meanwhile, others who never had the chance of getting their hands on that particular game were left scratching their heads in confusion.
At the end of Remake, Cloud and company are battling it out with Sephiroth and a bunch of weird creatures called Whispers. After a hard-earned victory, all of a sudden, the scene cuts to a man who is dressed exactly like Cloud, and carries the exact same sword but has black hair and a different face altogether. The subtitles give the name ‘Zack’ but offer no further explanation as to who this character is or why he’s making an appearance so late in the game. Apparently, he fights someone, survives, and heads to Midgar while carrying a near-comatose Cloud on his shoulders. In the recently released DLC episode Intermission, you can see him frantically searching for Aerith at the Sector 5 slums church.
Before going into this any further, if you’re one of the five people that follow the gaming industry yet have never played the original Final Fantasy VII, this is your spoiler notice. If you want to keep a fresh experience and be surprised when the story of the remake actually makes it to that point, now would be a good time for you to close the tab. You have been warned.
First of all, it should be pointed out that Zack is a part of the main story of FFVII. He plays a key role in Cloud’s development as a character. And that’s about all we’re at liberty to say about him at this point. (Keep reading if you want the full scoop.)
But, considering the fact that his role in the original game was so limited, the figureheads at Square Enix decided to give him his own game within the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII project. The other lucky one to have their own game was Vincent Valentine and if you don’t know who that is, then you’re in for a treat!
What was Crisis Core about?
So Zack Fair was the main protagonist of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. The game served as a prequel to the events of the mainline entry and gave players an inside look at the Shinra Corporation’s SOLDIER Project — you know, the one Cloud always goes on and on about? “First Class” and all that? Yeah, that one!
Behind the game’s development was the man who would go on to lead the FFXV development team, Hajime Tabata. Of course, Tetsuya Nomura was the character designer, Kazushige Nojima wrote the story and Yoshinori Kitase was also heavily involved, but this was Tabata’s project.
Although it was released on a handheld console (RIP PSP!), the game featured incredible visuals and stunning CGI cutscenes. As if that wasn’t enough, the gameplay was highly enjoyable, offering a mix of action-adventure with RPG elements and of course the beloved materia system which was just as easy to use on Crisis Core as it was in the original.
What happened to Crisis Core? Has it ever been remastered for home consoles?
Despite selling so well (one of the ten best-selling PSP titles of all time), the game has never been re-released or republished by the company. The reason for this is because the main antagonist of the game, a fellow SOLDIER First Class dubbed Genesis Rhapsodos, was created by Nomura with the basis of popular Japanese pop/rock artist Oshiro Gakuto (aka GACKT) in mind.
While initially the singer, who had also appeared in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII as the same character, was eager to continue working with the company, he had not signed on to show up in Crisis Core: FFVII, forcing Square Enix to lose all rights to the game.
However, for those that want to experience the events of this game, there is some hope on the horizon, as the recently announced FFVII: Ever Crisis, which is expected to release sometime in 2022, will include the story of this long-forgotten chapter.
Why were fans so freaked out when Zack showed up? What happened to him?
So, you want the whole story? Alright then.
Zack has become one of the most beloved characters in Final Fantasy history, not just because of how cool he was, but also because of his journey. Throughout Crisis Core, Zack goes through a lot of heartache and suffering, but he takes it all on the chin and always keeps fighting with a smile on his face.
Near the end of the game, a grueling battle with Sephiroth left Zack badly injured. After enduring a series of experiments that he was forced to undertake by the mad scientist Professor Hojo, Zack breaks free from the Shinra manor and escapes the small town of Nibleheim. But Shinra doesn’t want him going around blabbing about all of the secrets behind SOLDIER, so they hunt him down with the intent of executing him.
And they succeed.
Forced to fight off an entire army, Zack eventually succumbs to his wounds. Before he passes, he entrusts his Buster Sword, alongside his dreams and honor, to his best friend and comrade Cloud, who is still suffering from Mako poisoning and can barely comprehend what is going on.
That scene at the end of Crisis Core engraved the game within the consciousness of hundreds of thousands of fans all across the world as one of the most heartbreaking in gaming history. Some might even say that thanks to the audiovisual enhancements offered by the PSP, Zack’s death was even more poignant than Aerith’s. Not to mention the impact it left on Cloud.
Whatever the case, Crisis Core was a highly emotional, captivating, and incredibly fun game to play, which some may say was ahead of its time. If you can somehow get your hands on a PSP and a copy of the game, then you should definitely give it a try!
You won’t be disappointed!
*Disclaimer: This article was written before the official announcement of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII Reunion.
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