Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

An abridged timeline of Final Fantasy 7, ahead of Rebirth

Endless Fantasy

Many of us grew to know most parts of the original Final Fantasy VII by heart, and that’s both awesome and heartbreaking. But how many of us are aware of the full extent of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII extended universe that Square Enix kickstarted in the mid-aughts, in celebration of its seventh anniversary?

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I sure wasn’t for a long while, but now I feel like I’m ready to talk about this wackily ambitious attempt at multiplatform, multi-genre, multi-generational storytelling.

Final Fantasy 7: The First Soldier: Thirty years before FF7

Even though The First Soldier takes place long before everything else in the series, it only came out in 2021, seemingly in an attempt to make bank on the battle royale craze.

Yeah, you got that right. First Soldier is a battle royale title where 75 wannabe members of SOLDIER fought it out for the big job. Boy, if Cloud feels like a fraud sometimes, imagine how the SOLDIERs must feel if this is how they ended up getting the job. Though The First Soldier featured some cool ideas such as getting to ride Chocobos and, well, not much else, it failed to gain traction and Square Enix canned the thing a little over a year after release.

Final Fantasy 7: Ever Crisis: Sephiroth’s episode, 15 years before FF7

This is a gacha-style game that mostly retells the events of the OG FFVII and other related media, but it also has a prequel segment dedicated to Sephiroth who, at 14, was already a total murder machine.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7: Seven years before FF7

Crisis Core is the crown jewel of the Final Fantasy VII compilation, as it’s both the game that began experimenting around with the kind of gameplay we’d later see in more actiony FF titles, and also because it’s a prequel that tells a story fans actually want to see.

Crisis Core shows us the life and times of Zack, Cloud’s mentor and protector. If you prefer other media, Last Order is an anime that takes place during the same time, but also focuses on some other events and tells the events of Crisis Core differently.

Before Crisis: Six years before FF7

Ok, it’s strange that the game called Before Crisis takes place after the one whose name suggests it takes place at the very core of the crisis. Still, maybe that was just Square Enix getting us ready for the clashing timelines it would introduce with Final Fantasy 7: Remake.

Before Crisis is a mobile game that puts players in control of the Turks, the known bunch of crooks who work for Shinra as the company sets in motion the campaign of environmental destruction that leads to AVALANCHE’s pushback, and the start of the original game.

If you play Before Crisis, then I must warn you that you’re canonically responsible for most of the problems in the world of FF7. Congrats.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is an anticipated PlayStation exclusive
Image via Square Enix

Final Fantsy 7, and also Remake and Rebirth

Ok, you probably know the gist of the plot of the original Final Fantasy 7. A simple mission against a megacorp turns into a fight against an alien deity and a vile super-SOLDIER named Sephiroth who wants to destroy the world. Spoilers, if you haven’t played the original yet, but our heroes kick Sephiroth’s ass and manage to save the world in the nick of time. Pretty straightforward.

Things only get really complicated when you realize Remake and, I assume, Rebirth, don’t simply take place at the same time or rehash the same exact events. Remake makes it pretty clear that it’s not just a remake, as it creates a completely new chain of events that might, at some point, completely diverge from everything we’d expect to happen. Rebirth could change things even further, too.

Be ready for the new trilogy to cause wrinkles for this list, canon-wise.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Image by Square Enix

Advent Children

Advent Children is the direct, CGI-animated film sequel to the original FF7. It has Cloud and co. dealing not just with a new virus that’s wreaking havoc among the population, but also with a bunch of Sephiroth acolytes who try and actually manage to resurrect the man for one last(?) fight against Cloud.

Advent Children is an absolute blast when it comes to action, but it feels like a completely unnecessary addition to the plot. If you want my advice, enjoy the original version and ignore Advent Children Complete, as it adds little more than irritating exposition and cheap drama to the whole thing.

Image by Mobygames

Dirge Of Cerberus: Three years after FF7

Cloud is seemingly on vacation as Vincent takes the role of the protagonist in Dirge Of Cerberus. The idea seemed great, as he’s the edgiest character of the bunch, but this game wound up being a bit divisive among fans.

Even though it puts on a Devil May Cry impersonation with shooting and the FF character that most resembles Dante, Dirge winds up being a lesser plot about a B-tier threat for Vincent. If Dirge Of Cerberus were an anime, it would be 100% filler.

The original Final Fantasy 7‘s ending cutscene

Ok, this might be cheating because this is just a cutscene and not a game, but let’s not end this on Dirge of Cerberus. Insead, let’s hop back to the original FF7.

The true final ending of FF7 takes place 500 years after we stop Sephiroth and the meteor. We see that the once-industrially corrupted landscape has been replaced by some lush fields of green, which is code for “happy ending.”

Honorable mention: Final Fantasy 7 G-Bike

I didn’t have G-Bike on any specific point in the timeline, because I like to believe that Cloud just gets to take it for a ride whenever the hell he wants to.

Final Fantasy VII: Rebirth comes out on February 29 for the PlayStation 5.

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Tiago Manuel
Tiago is a freelancer who used to write about video games, cults, and video game cults. He now writes for Destructoid in an attempt to find himself on the winning side when the robot uprising comes.