First and foremost, those who are utterly and thoroughly outraged by seventeen-year-old spoilers need to leave now. We’re going to prattle a little about the ending of Final Fantasy VII, and how thought provoking it all is.
Throughout the game, you’ll detect a central theme running in tandem with the story. This theme being, “Y’know, maybe all planet-ravaging big business greed isn’t such a good thing. We’re kind of being bad people, right here.” This is represented, of course, by the Shinra, and their Mako reactors.
It is their shenanigans that kick off the whole story, when our hero Cloud –inadvertently– joins a ragtag band of eco-warriors called Avalanche. But it’s not until much later that the planet’s crisis comes to light. Weirdy beardy floating dude Bugenhagen explains it to us. Our only hope to defeat the ultimate black magic, the meteor, is the ultimate white magic: Holy. The issue here is that Holy will eradicate anything it deems harmful to the planet. Which means anything.
This whole plan of using it hit a small snag, though, when the bearer of Holy was stabbed in the face. Still, it all worked out in the end.
But did it? Did it really?
As players will know, the game’s ending is brilliantly ambiguous. After hippy-haired mummy’s boy Sephiroth is finally dispatched, Holy and the Lifestream combine to kick Meteor’s rocky ass. After which, a fleeting post-credits scene leaves us pondering the fate of humanity. It shows flaming dog-boy Red XIII five hundred years later, surveying the ruins of Midgar with his cubs. The place looks like a verdant paradise now, with greenery and trees and… y’know, that stuff.
So the question is: what of us? Did Holy smite us in the ‘nads with the extinction stick, or were we deemed good for the planet? This query remains pertinent today, and you can’t pick up a newspaper without being reminded of it.