Final Fantasy 7 director Yoshinori Kitase and visual director Tetsuya Nomura reveal that the game originally had many more playable character deaths planned.
One of the most famous scenes in video game history takes place in Final Fantasy 7, when (spoiler alert) the kindhearted Aerith Gainsborough is murdered at the hands of Sephiroth. Standing as one of the most shocking moments in video game history, Aerith's death left many Final Fantasy players shaken, but as it turns out, the game could have been an absolute bloodbath of main characters biting the dust if director Yoshinori Kitase had his way.
According to a fascinating oral history of Final Fantasy 7 compiled by Polygon, Kitase originally planned on killing off every single party member with the exception of three that the player could chose to live. This revelation came from Tetsuya Nomura, the character and battle visual director on the game, whose idea it was to kill Aerith in the first place. Kitase didn't remember these plans at first, until Nomura reminded him that the character deaths would have happened shortly after the scene where the characters parachute into Midgar.
Aerith's death was disturbing enough, so it's hard to imagine Final Fantasy 7 killing off even more beloved characters. However, even though the original Final Fantasy 7 didn't go through with offing the main characters Game of Thrones-style, that doesn't mean fans won't have a chance to see the original vision come to life in the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 Remake.
We know that Final Fantasy 7 Remake is making major changes to the game beyond just the revamped combat system, and it's even been indicated in the past that some of the story changes could mean different characters live and die. Many assumed that this meant it would be possible to save Aerith in Final Fantasy 7 Remake, but based on this new information, it could also mean that characters that survived in the original game will meet untimely ends in the new one.
However, this could be problematic when taking the rest of Final Fantasy 7's lore into account. Killing off certain characters would make the CG film followup Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children make no sense, and it would also create continuity issues with some of the Final Fantasy 7 spinoffs.
Since Final Fantasy 7 is a remake, and one that looks to be rather comprehensive, perhaps it should be looked at as a complete reboot of the Final Fantasy 7 universe, especially if it kills off different characters than the ones that died in the original. In the meantime, fans will just have to imagine how the story would unfold had Kitase's original vision come to pass.
Final Fantasy 7 is available now for PC, PlayStation, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.