Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Developers Detail Sephiroth’s Expanded Role

“We felt it was necessary to have this very clear depiction of how he came to be the person that he is now in Rebirth,” says director Naoki Hamaguchi.

Unsurprisingly, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is going to continue to expand and recontextualize the original PS1 classic in more ways than one, from its seamless open world map to the content it will house to just how long the game will be. That, unsurprisingly, will mean added screentime and narrative content for a number of characters, among which fan-favourite villain Sephiroth will seemingly be one of the most prominent.

Speaking recently with Game Informer, the upcoming action RPG’s developers touched on that in particular. In the original Final Fantasy 7, though Sephiroth was obviously a constant presence, he had more of a background role for large portions of the game before becoming a much more prominent threat in its final third. In Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, however, he will be a significantly more tangible threat, something that we already saw quite a bit of in the remake trilogy’s first instalment.

In fact, according to director Naoki Hamaguchi, diving into Sephiroth’s backstory and shedding further light on how he came to be the villain we all know him as is going to be a crucial part of the upcoming sequel.

“We felt it was necessary to have this very clear depiction of how he came to be the person that he is now in Rebirth,” Hamaguchi said. “Even as a developer creating this game, seeing Sephiroth discover the truth and fall further and further into darkness – like falling from grace – and depicting this in his expressions, I could truly feel bad for him. Throughout the course of Rebirth, I believe players will not only grow to relate to and understand Cloud, but also Sephiroth through this game much more.”

“Remake covers your encounter with Sephiroth, and now within Rebirth, we wanted to make Sephiroth this very clear antagonist and target for the characters to go and pursue through their journey in Rebirth,” producer Yoshinori Kitase said. “Within the original game, Sephiroth was not seen very much in the world map, but in this title, we put this element forward.”

Battle director Teruki Endo also spoke about Sephiroth being playable in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, and spoke about how the developers attempted to strike a balance between making him feel powerful and not breaking the combat system’s balance in the process.

“When developing Sephiroth as a character who players are able to control in a limited area, we’re still considering that you’re able to play as this very iconic character,” he said. “Taking this into mind, I really took care into providing the sort of resources and cost as equal to those of other playable characters into developing Sephiroth in a battle sense.”

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth launches on February 29 for PS5.