0:17 – We quickly get a shot of Jenova in a tank, before Cloud gets a headache and we see a single frame of Sephiroth’s Mako-affected eye.
0:22 – Septhiroth himself appears, and it’s immediately clear that this scene is a major change from the original, as he never actually appeared outside of memories or flashbacks during the Midgar portion of the game. We think we have a pretty good idea as to where this scene takes place, but more on that once the trailer itself comes back to it later.
0:31 – For now, we get shot outside of Shinra HQ, before we see a recreation of a scene from the original where Shinra head of Urban Development Director Tuesti is making an appeal to President Shinra not to destroy Sector 7, with Head of Public Safety Heidegger calling him a coward.0:45 – A new scene quickly shows what appears to be Shinra creating Materia. Materia is explained in the original to be crystallized Mako, and a scientist can be heard saying “Mako super-saturation confirmed,” before another one replies “Engaging Materia cooling to reduce temperature.”
0:48 – It would make sense, then, that Head of Weapons Development Scarlet is watching this play out. While we do briefly see Scarlet in the original game’s board room scene, she previously didn’t have a role beyond that until much later in the game.
0:58 – Same with this guy, Palmer, the head of Shinra’s Space program. It could be that we’ll only see these characters briefly, or that their roles have been expanded in the Remake. In the original, he’s known for requesting lots of lard in his tea. This time it’s butter, which I guess is better?1:04 – Now we get our first glimpse of the revamped Honey Bee Inn, as well as Cloud’s crossdressing scene. This section has been significantly redone, with the Honey Bee Inn now looking more like a night club instead of a brothel, and Cloud changing clothes here instead of at the dress store – at least he’s still got those adorable braids.
1:21 – As he leaves the Honey Bee Inn we can see how much the exterior has changed too, with couples even happily walking by, and get a glimpse of Aerith’s iconic red dress.
1:23 – The Wall Market has clearly changed a lot too, but it still leads up to Don Corneo’s imposing mansion at the top of the street.
1:27 – We see Don Corneo’s extremely gross bride-picking scene play out, as well as Tifa in her purple dress, who Cloud and Aerith have come to save from the Don in the first place.1:35 – Next, we get a better look at a brand new character to Remake, Roche. Originally shown off in the TGS trailer, Roche (also known as Speed Demon) is a former 3-C Soldier who rebelled, but it’s still unclear what his relationship to Cloud is and why he’s looking for a fight.
1:40 – Given Roche mentions Cloud kicking the hornet’s nest and Avalanche members Biggs and Wedge are here, we can assume this scene takes place in either the first or second Mako Reactor near the start of the game.
1:46 – Now we finally have a look at Remake’s Red XIII, as well as some dialogue that mirrors the first conversation they have with him just after freeing him from Shinra HQ in the original.
1:55 – But shortly after, we finally jump back to Cloud’s unexpected confrontation with Sephiroth. Cloud attacks, but is easily outmatched as Sephiroth says “A touching reunion,” indicating this is the first time they’ll cross paths in the Remake. And we have a theory as to why they are meeting at all!2:08 – After Cloud falls, we see that Shinra’s maniacal Professor Hojo has been watching them. This is entirely speculation, but we’re willing to bet this encounter happens within Shinra HQ. In the original, Shinra HQ holds a much smaller tank containing Jenova, only to have Cloud later see that Sephiroth has opened it and taken Jenova before killing Shinra’s president. Again, this is just a theory, but from your party being present and Hojo having security cameras in the room, it seems possible that the remake will instead have Cloud and friends cross paths with Sephiroth inside of Shinra HQ right before he frees Jenova.
[A quick correction! A few folks have pointed out the distinction that Jenova escaped instead of being “freed” by Sephiroth. That’s a fair and important distinction, but one we don’t think fundamentally alters how we guessed Sephiroth’s appearances in this trailer might play out since it’s not truly revealed until far after leaving Midgar.]
2:22 – Cut to Tifa, Cloud, and Barret running away from a boss enemy called the Heli Gunner. This fight originally takes place on the elevator as you are leaving Shinra HQ, but now it looks like it’ll happen on the way there instead. You can even see the massive expanse of debris behind them that is likely the destruction of Sector 7, with the rest of the plate still above. The party is then running up the rubble instead of climbing and swinging on those annoying ropes near Wall Market.
2:23 – Also, blink and you’ll miss it, but Cloud isn’t using the Buster Sword here, instead wielding what looks like the Mythril Saber. That’s a weapon you could previously only get once you left Midgar!2:26 – He also has what seems to be some kind of gun, but we are guessing it may actually be a sort of grappling hook to help melee fighters reach flying enemies, as the same device can be seen on Tifa’s back too. Barret and Tifa also seem to have new weapons equipped here, but not ones that directly resemble anything from the original game as far as we could tell.
2:33 – Speaking of things Cloud shouldn’t have in Midgar, we immediately see the Leviathan summon being used, which you don’t get in the original all the way until Wutai Village.
2:38 – A curved staircase indicates we’re back in the Shinra HQ lobby, while the stairs after are definitely the long, arduous climb up its dozens upon dozens of floors. You can even see in the bottom right that Tifa, Cloud, and Barret are on different floors as they climb. Only 33 more floors to go, Cloud!
2:41 – Wait, Shinra HQ has escalators now? That’s cheating!
2:43 – Another recognizable scene, here we see the party in a Shinra HQ bathroom as Cloud climbs up into a vent to spy on the board meeting we mentioned earlier. This is straight out of the original.2:45 – Cut to a different scene entirely, here Cloud is fighting enemies called Sweepers on his own. Sweepers are fought in the very first Mako reactor, so this shot seems to be much earlier – except he’s also got the Choco/Mog summon, which has a Moogle riding a Chocobo fighting alongside him with a timer on the right showing how much longer they’ll be around. We also get a look at its signature Chocobo stampede animation, but Choco/Mog isn’t a Materia you get until leaving Midgar either. So, once again, either it’s been moved much earlier, the Remake will leave Midgar in some way, or Square Enix is messing with what abilities characters have here to make the trailer look cool.
2:55 – After Cloud’s combat, we see Tifa beating down some Shinra soldiers, and judging by the light and rubble, it’s probably on the way to Shinra HQ again.
2:59 – Next, Barrett brings some pain to a couple of enemies called Vargid Police. These strange-looking baddies are fought in Shinra HQ after Jenova is released.3:01 – And finally, we come to what’s likely the biggest surprise so far, but we think we might have figured out what’s going on here. Sephiroth seems to disappear into a cloud smoke and light, which then fills up the room as Jenova appears for a boss fight. This is massive because you normally wouldn’t fight Jenova until much later, but we’re pretty sure this confrontation actually takes place in the Shinra President’s office sometime after the previous Sephiroth scene. As we zoom out from Sephiroth to Aerith and Red XIII at the very start, you can see the same red, gold, and black carpet on the floor here that’s behind Tuesti in the scene earlier, indicating it’s the same office. You can also see what appears to be the President’s wide desk where Sephiroth was standing, so we’re willing to bet this is a brand new boss fight that occurs just after he kills Shinra. That said, the Jenova fight then takes place in a very different looking room, so either Jenova has transformed it significantly or the trailer is cleverly cutting two scenes together to throw us off.
3:12 – Following that bombshell is, well, a literal bomb as we see a Mako reactor explode.
3:15 – …followed by Barrett firing his Big Shot Limit Break at a boss called Hundred Gunner, which is also usually fought on the Shinra HQ elevator. We can’t quite tell where it’s placed now, but likely still in Shinra HQ.3:16 – This scene of Tifa calling out to Cloud as he falls is likely just after you destroy the Sector 5 Mako Reactor, just before he lands in Aerith’s church.
3:19 – Moving on quickly, we get our first look at Midgar’s final car chase, with the party’s little blue car and Cloud’s motorcycle looking very familiar.
3:20 – As Barrett and Cloud run through an unfamiliar pipe, they are chased by a snake-like enemy called a Sword Dance, also fought in Shinra HQ, before Aerith hits it with a fire spell.
3:24 – Jumping back in time to another recognizable moment, Cloud, Barrett, and Tifa escape the destruction of Sector 7 by swinging (or, possibly changed in this case, sliding) out of danger on a cable as President Shinra looks down on the chaos.
Final Fantasy 7 Remake: Over 100 Screenshots
3:31 – The trailer then closes by raising even more questions. The party stops on the highway after their Shinra escape only to see black smoke-like figures flying upward toward the HQ. These smoke creatures appearing here is obviously entirely new to the remake, but a similar moment was shown in the TGS trailer. Right now it’s hard to guess what they are, but from their hooded appearance, it may be that they’re failed clones of Sephiroth that have taken on a very different nature compared to the original game?
We’ll have to wait to find out for sure, but that’s everything we dug up right now. What do you think of our theories, and have any of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.