Why Every Gold Saucer Date in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Matters More This Time

This article contains spoilers for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth. Specifically, it details the events from several dates Cloud can have at the Gold Saucer. If you’re yet to experience one of these scenes, we suggest returning to the article once you have. Alternatively, if you’d like to see every Gold Saucer date in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, you can watch every variation in this video:

Fans of the original Final Fantasy 7 will fondly remember the Gold Saucer gondola date. This romantic liaison paired you up with Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie, or even Barret, depending on your dialogue choices throughout the game.

The intimate moment makes its expected return in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, but unlike the original – and perhaps indicative of the entire remake’s philosophy – this time each date has a renewed focus. Every variation has a strong and defined angle, tying into the grander narrative while also fleshing out relationships with the hindsight of nearly 30 years of character evolution. Each one packs an emotional punch, helping Cloud and his partner of choice grow. This stronger emphasis on storytelling replaces what was previously surface-level romance and amusing, but ultimately cheap laughs. I’m looking at you, the ‘Barret unloads his minigun at the fireworks’ moment from the original.

That’s not to say there’s not laughs to be had, with some funny moments riffing on the source material. Build your relationship to a strong enough level with Yuffie and you’ll unlock her extended “intimate” date which leans heavily on jokes from the original. Yuffie demanding that Cloud “say something!” only to get a deadpan response of “… something” is a particular highlight. But Yuffie’s date is also a perfect illustration of how Rebirth has expertly matured the original conversations, with Yuffie now talking this moment to share a personal story about her misguided love for another SOLDIER, who, upon letting her down gently, led Yuffie down a focused training path to prove herself a warrior – a path not too dissimilar to Cloud’s.

I felt a connection to Yuffie I’d never had in the almost 30 years of her existence.

It’s this moment of vulnerability that helps not only Cloud, but also us as players to scratch beneath the surface of Yuffie’s seemingly one-dimensional characterisation (that being her relentless quest for materia) and demonstrate her deep insecurities. It’s a scene that allows her to open up, revealing that she shares Cloud’s inability to discuss her innermost feelings. In this moment, I felt a connection to Yuffie I’d never had in the almost 30 years of her existence, and it’s a testament to the care and attention Rebirth’s character writing has received. It’s clear that Cloud also feels this connection, and it helps strengthen their bond. It now feels significantly more understandable why they’d fight for each other. And so it’s a shame that a majority of players will likely miss this moment in their playthrough, because this date is just one of many, and something that requires significant investment in Yuffie to unlock.

That’s the less likely result for most players, I would imagine, since Aerith and Tifa form the original love triangle and are the characters that garner the most attention. That’s not to say that their Gold Saucer date experiences are not equally worthwhile, but they are the more expected character moments. As a result, it’s the left field choices like Yuffie that result in unexpected bonds that really resonated with me, and what happens during Barret’s date is another prime example.

In the 1997 original, there was no doubting that the Barret choice was the joke option. He and Cloud spend the entire date in a comical huff, Barret accuses Cloud of having a crush on his four year old daughter (seriously…) and then, as mentioned before, he ends the date by unloading his gun arm on the fireworks because they’re irritating him. It’s wacky.

But in Rebirth, what was once a silly sequence now is an opportunity for character development. This time around, Barret is evolved into a mentor-like figure for Cloud. He tells a sentimental story about when he first met his partner, Myrna, which serves as a jumping off point to teach Cloud a valuable life lesson that can only come from someone with significantly more life experience.

“Once you find your soulmate, you never let ‘em go.” shares Barret, explaining that he was also once a selfish young man who had some growing up to do. He goes on to tell Cloud that he’s “overthinking it. You just gotta go for it sometimes.” Cloud rightly points out that Barret “always goes for it”, which leads to the pair coming to the conclusion that they balance each other out.

Unlike the original date, not only does Barret now offer advice, but his bond with Cloud is strengthened. It’s a reminder that – despite all their differences – in the language of love they actually share a lot in common. Couple this with the interesting story of how a young, brash Barret met the love of his life and what’s cemented is a scene of valuable relationship growth. Again, it’s a real shame that you could easily miss this. In fact, it almost feels essential to Cloud and Barret’s friendship.

It’s not just character development you’ll likely miss at the Gold Saucer, either. An unlikely Red XIII date – one you might automatically assume would be the “joke” option – offers not only the strengthening of a bond, but some vital clarity of the events of the previous game, Final Fantasy 7 Remake.

It’s not only a scene about relationship growth, but one that confirms vital story information that at best we could only previously infer.

“It might sound crazy, but back in Midgar Aerith and I could both see the future,” reveals Red XIII, confirming a popular theory about the messy concluding events of the first game. “That would explain a lot,” Cloud replies, demonstrating his understanding of the events and also acting as a proxy for the audience. Red XII goes on to theorise that “the Whispers took it from us when we left,” helping explain the clean slate the character’s appear to have in Rebirth. He does still have a faint, outstanding memory, though; that Cloud has to keep Aerith safe. It’s ominous foreshadowing of the original game’s tragedy, and a hint that things could be different this time around.

In this moment Cloud and Red XIII build a bond of trust. They learn to talk honestly with each other and the value their togetherness has, concluding with the pair shaking hand/paw on their agreement to protect Aerith. It’s not only a scene that matters in regards to relationship growth, but one that confirms vital story information that at best we could only previously infer.

Importantly, none of these dates feel like the ‘canon’ choice. Or rather; all of the dates feel like the canon choice, with story beats that live concurrently. Each one progresses Cloud’s relationship with his friends and/or romantic interests, and unlike the original none of them feel like they don’t belong (with the exception of a new, awkward hang out with Cait Sith, Cid and Vincent – a joke date and consolation prize for stalling your other relationships). Each date in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth matters, it’s just a shame that the majority of players will never experience each and every one of these important pieces of storytelling.

Dale Driver is IGN’s Executive Producer of Video Programming and he ended up going on a date with the three boys on his first playthough, even though he tried his hardest to get Red XIII.

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