20 Years Later, the Hardest Losses in ‘Final Fantasy VII’ Have Changed

This is a game that is fundamentally about economic and environmental justice.

The world of Final Fantasy VII is entirely dominated by corporations who have polluted the world to such an extent that humanity has become cloistered in corporate-controlled nightmare cities where they’re bottled up to rot in slums beneath metal plates. Their entertainment is provided by a mega corporation that runs a theme park that contains all of the hopes, dreams, and physical activities denied the average person. The world is dying, and it is the fault of those in power.

There is definitely a sense in the final battles of Chrono Cross that yes, these avatars of sea and earth and sky have a point. As Serge and his companions, you’ve witnessed first-hand that the humans of the world have put their own interests above that of the planet — sometimes violently. When the great Dragon God — the planet’s ultimate weapon against its violent oppressors — asks you “Must one kill other living things in order to survive? Must one destroy another world in order to allow one’s own world to continue?”, it’s easy to read it as the typical pseudo-philosophical posturing of a villain before the final battle commences. But as forests continue to be clear-cut, the ocean becomes increasingly acidic, and dry lands become deserts, these questions start to sound less philosophical and more practical. If we destroy another world, can our own world continue?

I have to admit that I was never able to get more than a few hours into Chrono Cross – it’s one of the PS1/PS2 crossover era RPGs in which each random battle takes at least five minutes – but I’m always intrigued when gameplay reinforces a game’s central premise, especially when that premise is “maybe we should spend more time thinking about what it means to save the world.”

I’m looking forward to the PS4 release of Final Fantasy VII, and my one hope and dream for whatever new culture springs up surrounding the game is that people start taking Barret seriously.