Final Fantasy 7 Remake Intergrade is more than just a technical upgrade of the original Remake release for the PS4. On top of the visual and performance improvements, Intergrade also includes Episode INTERmission (unless you get the free upgrade from the PS4’s base version, in which case you have to buy the DLC separately). Putting the spotlight entirely on Wutai ninja Yuffie and Sonon, INTERmission is, for the most part a rather self-contained story that deceives you into thinking that it won’t do anything to advance the main plot in any significant ways. Yuffie and Sonon’s mission sees them infiltrating Shinra headquarters to steal the ultimate Materia, and while this does flesh out the base game’s story in some ways, and even occasionally crosses paths with it (or at least passes it by very closely), a huge chunk of the DLC is rather self-contained.
Until the end, that is. In its final 30 to 40 minutes, Episode INTERmission introduces several narrative elements that not only tie off the DLC’s story pretty neatly, but also set up fascinating and exciting things for the inevitable Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2. Here, we’re going to talk about how it does that.
Upon infiltrating Shinra HQ (which happens shortly after Cloud and co’s botched attempt to destroy the Sector 5 Mako reactor), Yuffie and Sonon quickly lock horns with Scarlet, and after they fight their way through her traps, and finally face her and defeat her in battle, the Shinra executive tells them that the ultimate Materia they’re on the hunt for doesn’t exist- not yet, at least. Though Shinra was working on it, development on the weapon was never completed, with other projects demanding their attention and getting prioritized. That project is something that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve played Dirge of Cerberus– Deepground, a group of extremely powerful enhanced supersoldiers.
So yeah, Episode INTERmission basically confirms that Square Enix’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake saga is going to encapsulate the entire FF7 universe, not just the original classic release (though to be fair, that’s something that’s become pretty clear since Remake first launched last year). After Yuffie and Sonon defeat Scarlet, INTERmission introduces Deepground members Weiss and Nero, who were among Dirge of Cerberus’ primary villains. Shinra seems to be under the impression that its got the Deepground soldiers under its control, but Weiss, the leader of Deepground, is just playing along, and has his own plans in place. INTERmission doesn’t go what those plans are, but if Weiss’ story here follows his arc in Dirge of Cerberus, his goal is to reawaken and control the all-powerful weapon known as Omega.
Anyway, though Weiss is restricted only to cutscenes, Nero serves as Episode INTERmission’s final boss fight. Yuffie and Sonon take him on in a climactic duel, and after managing to defeat him, they make their escape from Shinra HQ. Before they can get out, however, Sonon is attacked by Nero, who isn’t quite as dead as Yuffie and Sonon would have hoped. Pierced by several of Nero’s creepy magical blades, Sonon holds the Deepground soldier back from advancing and forces Yuffie to leave. As he dies, a tearful Yuffie makes her escape. As luck (or its lack thereof) would have it, she emerges from Shinra HQ at the exact same moment that the Plate above Sector 7 explodes and crashes into the slums, and witnessing this atrocity motivates her to take down Shinra that much more. In the final scene before the credits, we see Yuffie traveling on top of a Chocobo in the desert outside Midgar, determined to take the fight to Shinra, setting up her eventual meeting with Cloud and the others.
But wait- there’s more. As you’d expect, Episode INTERmission also has a post-credits scene, and it’s a pretty damn important one, at that. There’s plenty to unpack here, so let’s take this step by step.
For starters, we catch up with our heroes from Remake again. Following the dramatic conclusion of the base game, Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Aerith, and Red XIII are traversing the desert outside Midgar and are on the road to the village of Kalm. We get to see some fun interactions between characters in the group (though Red XIII stays oddly quiet, for whatever reason), and eventually, they hitch a ride in a truck that’s transporting Chocobos. The truck is being driven by none other than Chocobo Bill- not a major character by any means, but it’s still a cameo that fans of the original Final Fantasy 7 will appreciate. At the end, we see them on the outskirts of Kalm, and get to see a shot of the village looming in the distance. Obviously, then, Kalm is where Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 is going to begin, and if that shot of the village is any indication, it’s going to be a pretty big place.
Hold on though- there’s still more to talk about. The fact that Zack Fair is somehow still alive (in some other timeline, if not this one) was one of the biggest revelations at the end of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, and Episode INTERmission doubles down on that. We see a brief scene of Zack standing in front of Aerith’s church, nervously thinking about what to say to her when he finally sees her again. Finally, he opens the doors to the church, but of course, he doesn’t see Aerith inside- he sees a bunch of Midgar residents in rough shape, seemingly refugees of some tragedy, reeling from some traumatic event. That’s where the screen finally (and conclusively) cuts to black.
The conclusion you might immediately draw here is that the people in Aerith’s church are the survivors of Sector 7’s destruction, and Aerith isn’t there because- well, because she isn’t in Midgar anymore. But there are a couple of things to note here. For starters, in the scene that shows Zack standing outside the church, the Plate above Sector 7 in the background seems curiously intact. Meanwhile, Zack still has his Buster Sword, which, of course, he shouldn’t, because if he does, then Cloud shouldn’t. So what does this mean? Perhaps we’re seeing a separate timeline, and seeing how that’s been affected after Cloud destroyed the Whispers? Or maybe when he did that, he somehow ended up converging both timelines? But if that is true, does that mean there are two Clouds in this timeline now? And why is Sector 7’s Plate still intact?
There’s a lot of questions, clearly, but one thing that’s clear is that Zack clearly has a larger role to play in this story than you would have expected, and in some way, shape, or form, he’s somehow not did. How the hell is that possible? Well, as Kingdom Hearts fans would tell you, with Nomura, anything is possible. Sadly, we’re going to have to wait until Final Fantasy 7 Remake Part 2 (and maybe even beyond that) to get all the answers to our questions, but one thing’s for sure- Square Enix has some really exciting twists up its sleeve, and we can’t wait to see what they are.