If you've finished Final Fantasy 7 Remake, then welcome to this news piece. If you haven't finished Square Enix's remake, then you might want to steer clear of this article, because there's full spoilers here for the remake's ambitious ending.
Over the last week, Square Enix published the Final Fantasy 7 Remake Ultimania compendium, a companion book to the game featuring information about its characters and interviews with developers. One item of note is an explanation of sorts around Zack Fair's victory over Shinra forces at the end of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Click through on the tweets below to see translated passages from the book, provided by Twitter user @aitaikimochi.
MAJOR #FF7R Spoilers in this translation from the #FF7RUltimania Book about— ☆オードリーAudrey☆ (@aitaikimochi) April 29, 2020
Zack and the implications of the ending scene.
Is the official book implying that these are alternate timelines after all...? Or are they implying something else? SO MANY MYSTERIES... pic.twitter.com/7TTf348Lrh
The bit about Zack and the ending isn't so much an explanation as it's just more teasing from Square. The text from the book rightly notes that if Zack is alive, then Cloud surely shouldn't be wielding his Buster Sword, the weapon that Zack passed on to Cloud when he originally died at the conclusion of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7, a prequel to the original game.
This only raises more questions than answers. The book appears to hint that our current Cloud Strife and the now-alive Zack Fair actually don't exist in the same timeline, and hence there may be more timelines than simply the original and remake timeline, the latter of which obviously diverges from the original Final Fantasy 7 story at the end of the remake.
Here's Zack Fair's official profile from the #FF7RUltimania book!— ☆オードリーAudrey☆ (@aitaikimochi) April 29, 2020
The book mentions he's 23 years old and says he went "missing" five years ago. He also shares a very deep connection with Cloud & Aerith.
Note that the Japanese text refers to him in both past + present tense. pic.twitter.com/Eez6mS6zpY
Then there's the passage above. A character biography about Zack Fair states that he's been missing for around five years now, and it's worth remembering that Crisis Core took place seven years before the events of Final Fantasy 7. Additionally, the Japanese text refers to Zack in both the past and present tense (there's no future tense in Japanese).
So, the question remains, is Zack Fair actually alive in the current Final Fantasy 7 Remake timeline? Elsewhere in the Ultimania companion book, co-director Yoshinori Kitase stated that the story of the remake wouldn't be significantly diverging from the story of the original game. We'll have to wait a few more years for part two of the remake to see where all these developments are really heading.