The Peculiar Controversies That Have Emerged Around Final Fantasy 7 Remake's Versions of Cloud, Aerith, and Barret

The Peculiar Controversies That Have Emerged Around Final Fantasy 7 Remake's Versions of Cloud, Aerith, and Barret

The Final Fantasy 7 Remake hasn't offered much in the way of gameplay or storytelling yet, but it's sure dished up some drama.

Life is full of uncertainties and opportunities to second-guess yourself, but I am dead sure of one thing: I would not trade places with Final Fantasy 7 Remake director Tetsuya Nomura for all the gil in the world. If the veteran Square Enix staffer emerges from the Final Fantasy 7 remake project with a crown of noticeably thinned snow-white hair, I won't be surprised.

It's been nearly half a decade since the Final Fantasy 7 Remake was announced, half-scrapped, and subsequently re-started with the aid of important new staff. Needless to say, people have formed opinions (including us here at USG) about the project, even though we've only seen bits and pieces via trailers and news bites. To date, the new teaser we saw earlier this month is our most complete look so far, and people already have big opinions about that scant minute of footage.

Long-face Aerith and Tifa's no-show

Tokyosaurus, a YouTube channel that keeps tabs on Japan's reaction to current events in pop culture, recently published a video about some Japanese fans' disdain for Aerith' new design in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. There appears to be a fixation on Aerith' face, which has been criticized for being "too long." Aerith' model in the Final Fantasy 7 sequel movie Advent Children and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 for the PSP looks has a comparatively smaller face and larger eyes. Irate fans believe Aerith looks cuter and younger with a smaller face.

There's also some question about why we haven't seen Tifa show up in the Final Fantasy 7 Remake's preview materials, even though we can glimpse her name in the new trailer's battle menu. Tokyosaurus speculates Square Enix might still be tweaking her appearance. I likewise believe that might be the case, plus it's a good way for Square Enix to build up hype for the game (it's doing the same with Final Fantasy 7's much-loved villain, Sephiroth: Notice the silver-haired hunk hasn't shown us his face yet). People like Aerith, but they're crazy for Tifa. There's an excellent chance we'll see her when we get our first in-depth look at the Final Fantasy 7 Remake during E3.

Barret wears his sunglasses at night

The small-face Aerith and Poochy-esque "Where's Tifa?" discourse is mostly contained in Japan, but the West has some grievances to air, too. Some observers believe one of Final Fantasy 7's few black characters, Barret, has been "whitewashed," i.e. his skin's been lightened. Since there's a history of black characters in media having their skin lightened in an ill-advised attempt to appeal to wider audiences, the concern about Barret's skin is valid. That said, Barret barely gets any screen time in the new teaser. When he does show up, he's usually backlit by fire, or by Midgar's weird, dirty lighting. It might be too early to criticize Square Enix for whitewashing the energetic AVALANCHE leader until we can get a good look at him in normal lighting.

We can certainly discuss Barret's Bono Raybans, though. Some people wonder why anyone needs sunglasses when they live in Midgar's perpetual dusk. I'm going to stand up for Square Enix's weird fashion choice here, though. Maybe Barret suffers from migraines and is very sensitive to even faint light. Maybe he wears them to subtly warn Midgar's punks not to flip a blade on the guy in shades, oh no. Finally, maybe Barret just wears the shades because he thinks they make him look cool. You know what? He's right. Consider me a fan.

Cloud is too skinny—wait, no, he's fine (or is he?)

When the first trailer for the Final Fantasy 7 Remake came out in 2015, people noted how skinny Cloud looks. He's a little more filled-out in the new trailer, as Nomura wants the quiet hero to look more like his original self. There's a good story-related reason for Cloud looking sickly in the first trailer, but it's not clear if the previous team working on the Remake was honoring Final Fantasy 7's canon, or if their modeling skills were just as "bleh" as the first Cloud's sallow face.

These are new criticisms to add to the growing pile building up around the Final Fantasy 7 Remake. People are generally stoked about the project, but they're also extremely divided over important things like its new action-based battle system and its episodic release schedule. That's all on top of the generally increased scrutiny brought on by multiple delays. Good luck, Mr. Nomura. Hope you've already invested in some strong antacids. Meanwhile, if you're interested in everything that's going on in this brave new Midgar, make sure you visit our Final Fantasy 7 Remake guide.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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