Is It Worth Looking Into The Tie-In Media Before Playing Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth?

There are sixteen mainline Final Fantasy games, most of which are one-and-done affairs. Final Fantasy 6, for example, is Final Fantasy 6; all other appearances by that beloved cast occur in crossover content, rather than continuations within that universe. Most of the more recent games have dabbled in sequels and spinoffs, but none have constructed worlds nearly so vast as Final Fantasy 7.


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With so much tie-in media to consider, you may be wondering which stuff is worth delving into prior to playing Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the second in a trilogy of FF7’s groundbreaking retelling. We’ve taken a look at everything on tap, offering our thoughts on how important it may be to the bigger picture.

This is probably a given, but we’re not listing Final Fantasy 7 Remake since Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is its direct sequel. Besides, it’d be a little weird to refer to that game as ‘tie-in media’ here.


The Original Final Fantasy 7

Final Fantasy 7 explosion over Midgar

Let’s start at the beginning, as they say. Final Fantasy 7 exploded on to the scene way back in 1997. It was nothing short of a revolution. Japanese role-playing games were suddenly all the rage in its wake, and while the early sales blitz was no doubt spurred on in large part by the lavish cutscenes shown off in marketing commercials, millions soon realized just how truly epic FF7 would prove to be.

One might think the existence of Final Fantasy 7 Remake nixes the recommendation that newcomers bother with the original. One would be mistaken. Not only is Final Fantasy 7 fantastic in its own right, if admittedly dated in some ways. More critically, for the purposes of this article, Final Fantasy 7 Remake (and Rebirth) clearly draw upon the modest assumption that you have experienced OG Final Fantasy 7.

Regardless of all the talk leading up to Remake that it’d be the perfect place to begin your FF7 extravaganza – and the ten-times-as-comical scattered claims that Rebirth is just as perfect – you will absolutely be a bit lost at times without full context.

Verdict: At Least Read A Summary; Better Yet, Play It In Full.

Compilation Of Final Fantasy 7

Following the smash success of Final Fantasy 7, Square took a hard look at how to continually capitalize upon it. Several years later, Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children was revealed – a full-fledged CGI movie sequel. In the years to come, the fandom would explore the following:

  • The Japan-only mobile game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy 7 charted a chapter-based tale a bit prior to FF7;
  • The Zack-starring PlayStation Portable prequel Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 explored the story from his perspective;
  • The Vincent-starring Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy 7 carried on past Advent Children and dealt with an organization known as Deepground;
  • The Nibelheim incident was retold in an anime OVA called Last Order: Final Fantasy 7;
  • The Advent Children movie was re-released as Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children Complete with shinier graphics and extra scenes;
  • The novella entitled Final Fantasy 7: On the Way to a Smile centered on several characters in the time between FF7 and Advent Children;
  • The novella Final Fantasy 7 The Kids Are Alright: A Turks Side Story centered on several other characters during the same time frame, including not only the Turks but some new faces as well.

And as for Crisis Core… more on that in a sec.

Verdict: Maybe Watch Advent Children. Maybe Read The Kids Are Alright.

Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion

Genesis from Crisis Core holding up a black feather

Phew. Finally, past all that. Sort of. Crisis Core: Final Fantasy 7 Reunion is a 2022 enhanced remaster of the 2007 PSP classic, and unless you really like Zack’s previous voice actor, it renders its predecessor virtually obsolete. The graphics are gorgeous (even if, yes, you can frequently tell this is based on a PSP game at its core), and the battle system is so much less tedious. Heck, it’s a blast now. Crisis Core wasn’t exactly a dud in this department, but it was held back so thoroughly by awkward controls and frequent pauses in the action.

Reunion sticks to the script instead of adding further scenes, and that script is… let’s go with ‘charmingly stilted and ceaselessly strange’. But the emotional heart of it all, one Zack Fair, shines through. And it’s a thrill to see a young Cloud following in his footsteps. The villain, Genesis, is something of an… acquired taste, but none can deny his drip.

In any case, Zack’s mysterious, probably cross-dimensional, return at the conclusion of FF7 Remake – and his increased role in FF7 Rebirth – makes this one a near-must. Just be forewarned: Crisis Core, in and of itself, assumes complete familiarity with the original game.

Verdict: Definitely Play This, But Only After The PS1 FF7.

Final Fantasy 7 The First Soldier

First person view of soldiers engaging in combat in Post Scriptum

Final Fantasy 7 The First Soldier was a short-lived mobile battle royale game set many years prior to Final Fantasy 7. How short-lived? It kicked off in November 2021, and closed up shop in January 2023. Yeah. The game simply didn’t catch on with the masses by any stretch of the imagination, and while further story beats were doubtless planned, what little there was before closure felt hardly consequential.

That said, the character of Glenn Lodt, introduced in The First Soldier, may have appeared very briefly as a robed man in a Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth trailer. And it’s obvious that Square wants us to know about Glenn and his comrades, due in large part to their connection to a younger Sephiroth. More on that in a sec.

Verdict: You Couldn’t Play This Even If You Wanted To, And It Was Almost Totally Irrelevant, Anyway.

Final Fantasy 7 Ever Crisis

via Square Enix

And then there’s this game. Final Fantasy 7 Ever Crisis has several goals, and depending on how long it manages to last in the highly competitive mobile gacha gaming space (well, at least it’s on PC now as well), it may or may not accomplish the stated goals. First, it’s a chapter-based retelling of the original FF7.

Ever Crisis’ creators seem to think this is the ideal way to experience that story now, and we’ll admit, the uptick in graphics is great. But it’s truncated, and altered in quite a few ways. You don’t even get the iconic Wall Market segment in its former glory, and you’ll be stopped by gacha mechanics left and right as you try to make your way through the still-unfinished narrative. Best to stick with the ‘real’ game for this.

More interestingly, Ever Crisis is also retelling the stories from other games, including the Compilation-originated Crisis Core and Before Crisis. (Just play Reunion for the former.) Far more importantly, it contains an ongoing story surrounding Glenn and that younger Sephiroth we just mentioned – and this could have far-ranging implications. We’ll see. Good work, Glenn. You survived the end of your own game.

Verdict: Maybe Watch The First Soldier Cutscenes; The Rest Is Easily Skipped.

Final Fantasy 7 Remake Traces Of Two Pasts

Traces of Two Pasts FF7-1

At last, we come to Kazushige Nojima’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake Traces of Two Pasts. Released in Japan in the middle of 2021, and (thankfully) translated into English in early 2023, the novel’s framing story involves an ongoing conversation between heroines Tifa and Aerith early into the party’s post-Midgar travels, pinning it perfectly just prior to when Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth begins.

Tifa tells Aerith about her past, and then Aerith returns the favor. The latter is far more cryptically captivating, but there’s a lot to love on both sides. Tifa’s story even introduces the character of Doctor Sheiran, who we’ve seen in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth’s trailers. (He’s been incorrectly identified by many as the doctor from Mideel in FF7, since relatively few have read this book by comparison.) Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Picturing The Past, written prior to Traces of Two Pasts, and tying to Aerith’s tale, is including as a coda.

This may sound strange, but if we’re to recommend one bit of tie-in media to check out prior to FF7 Rebirth, it’s this one. Traces of Two Pasts is a fine read from start to finish, and it enhances our appreciation of two primary Remake-timeline characters. What’s not to love?

Verdict: Hardly Mandatory, But Completely Worth Reading.

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