Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth co-director says making Sephiroth playable was the 'best way to allow the player to understand his point of view'

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth screenshot showing Sephiroth
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth co-director Naoki Hamaguchi wants players to "feel more empathy with Sephiroth" during his playable segments.

In a recent interview with Everyeye, Hamaguchi along with producer Yoshinori Kitase discussed the upcoming sequel in great detail, from remaking the 1997 classic that is still held in high regard, to changes made to its story to benefit a new audience, and how the gameplay has been refined and expanded from Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

Speaking on new features and playable characters, the co-director explained that the decision to allow players to control Sephiroth - the game's antagonist and Cloud's nemesis - during a specific sequence came because the team wanted the player to have a deeper understanding of his character and motivations. 

"The choice to allow the player to control Sephiroth was made after creating the flashback sequence with Cloud and the Soldier," said Hamaguchi (translated via Google). "We asked ourselves how we could add a sort of 'surprise effect' at that moment. Controlling only Cloud, with Sephiroth managed by artificial intelligence, would not have returned the emotional impact we were trying to achieve.

"We wanted the player to feel more empathy with Sephiroth, and that's why we believed that making him playable was the best way to create a bond with the user. After the flashback, in fact, the players begin to witness the corruption of the Soldier. Sephiroth goes from being the legendary soldier to becoming an evil creature."

Hamaguchi continued, saying, "I repeat: having Sephiroth as a playable character is the best way to allow the player to understand his point of view, and thus adds an additional emotional layer to all future encounters with the character."

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is set to launch on February 29, 2024, exclusively for PlayStation 5. It's essentially part two of Final Fantasy 7 Remake - which launched in 2020 - picking up exactly where the previous game left off.

We know that the RPG will also feature "nearly 100 hours of adventure," according to Hamaguchi, but if you're hoping for even more after launch, creative director Tetsuya Nomura previously confirmed that Rebirth won't be getting any DLC.

Be sure to check out our Black Friday gaming deals guide if you're looking for games at a discount, along with our picks for the best Black Friday video game deals which feature some fantastic early offers.