The Gold Saucer date scene is a fan favourite moment from the original Final Fantasy 7, and it returns in high definition goodness in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. But this time around you won’t have to guess at your relationship status with your party members and be surprised by who turns up for your date.
A new relationship system, called Bonds of Friendship, has been added to Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. As explained in the system’s tutorial, “the strength of these bonds can alter portions of the story.” One of those story moments is the Gold Saucer date, and you’ll be able to see how your potential partner feels about you via a variety of emoji-like faces.
Talking to IGN about the system, Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth director Naoki Hamaguchi said, “In the original Final Fantasy 7, [the affinity level system] wasn’t made visible to the player at all. […] And that worked in the first game obviously because you didn’t know the date scene was coming up.
“But obviously for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, a lot of people understand that there’s that very famous date scene on the gondola coming,” he continued. “So because people sort of know where this is heading, if it was still kept in the dark and they didn’t know roughly what level of affinity they were with each character, this could be quite stressful for the players.”
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth – Grasslands Open World Screenshots
To reduce that stress, players can check their status with their comrades. There’s also more transparency on how your actions will affect their feelings towards you. “For example, when you do a side quest, it will tell you which character this [quest] will affect your relationship with,” explained Hamaguchi. “And if you think ‘I want to go on a date with this character, I really need to set myself to raise my affinity, get to know them,’ then you can actually choose to do that rather than having to do it in a very slap-dash approach.”
In the original game, four of Cloud’s companions were potential dates: Tifa, Aerith, Yuffie, and Barret. Hamaguchi did not confirm if Rebirth will repeat the same four, but we see no reason not to expect the same lineup. That means you’ll need to put the work in with Barret if you want to secure a beautiful night with the big guy, but at least you’ll be able to compare his affection stats against Aerith and Tifa, the more traditional corners of FF7’s love triangle.
As to if there will be more opportunities for romance, that remains to be seen. However, during our recent hands-on demo with Rebirth, Aerith does ask Cloud on a date to Kalm’s clock tower – a conversation that introduces the Bonds of Friendship system. Considering Rebirth will be longer than the entirety of the original Final Fantasy 7, there’s certainly at least room for more dates. We’ll just have to see how romantic Square Enix has been feeling.
Less likely date candidates are Cid Highwind and Vincent Valentine, especially since we’ve learned they won’t join your party in battle. But don’t worry – while these fan favourites will be on the sidelines for now, Cait Sith and Yuffie are full party members with combat abilities in Rebirth.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Features Editor.