The infamous yellow paint discourse is back for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth

Cloud scales a wall on a Chocobo
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Upcoming fantasy role-playing game (RPG) Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has sparked online drama thanks to its use of color-coded paint to telegraph certain platforming sections in the environment. 

We've known for a while now that the upcoming game's open-world sections use yellow paint to mark climbing handholds. We remarked on it here at TechRadar Gaming during our 2023 Rebirth preview and our second hands-on this year. However, with the release of the Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth demo, it would appear that people have now seen the platforming sections for themselves, prompting spirited online discussion. 

While many see the use of colorful handholds as a positive accessibility feature, others worry that it ruins the immersive quality of the environments, taking users out of the story while also raising questions. How did the paint get there? Why is it yellow? Is there a secret cabal of rock climbers who go around the world painting terrain for public convenience? 

The Resident Evil 4 remake sparked a similar debate back in 2023, using yellow paint to mark traversible sections of the game as well as breakable barrels and crates. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth seems to have reignited the discussion. 

Dave Oshry, CEO of indie developer New Blood Interactive, took to Twitter to lament that "the yellow paint virus has infected FF7." The post has received over 25 million views at the time of writing as well as over 13,000 likes.

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In a Reddit post on the topic, users seemed to take a more charitable approach to the use of the paint. "Devs only do these things because players have demonstrated themselves [not to] notice them unless they are explicitly pointed [out]," reads the top comment from Reddit user mistabuda.

Wherever you fall on the debate, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth's more open-ended environments look to be a bold experiment for the remake trilogy. Though we were impressed in our preview, we'll all have to wait until release day on February 29 to see if Square Enix can stick the landing. 

The Resident Evil 4 remake also uses the infamous yellow paint but remains one of the best horror games out there as well as one of the best single-player games.

Cat Bussell
Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent. 


Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure. 


Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.