Spoiler alert! This article contains spoilers for Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.
The release of Crisis Core: -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion brings new life to the original PSP classic. The game is a stunning remaster that could easily be mistaken for a remake with its numerous gameplay and quality-of-life improvements.
Longtime fans of the Final Fantasy VII franchise will have known Zack's ultimate fate before even firing up Crisis Core. But this prequel provides more context and emotional depth to how it all plays out. With the remaster finally out, let's break down the ending to Crisis Core and explain what exactly happens to Zack at the end.
What happens to Zack in 'Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII'?
The game begins with Zack as a plucky new recruit into SOLDIER, a force of enhanced fighters commissioned by the Shinra Electric Power Company.
He trains under Angeal Hewley, a 1st class SOLDIER who carries with him an enormous Buster Sword. Zack hopes to follow in the footsteps of Angeal and famed SOLDIER operatives Sephiroth and Genesis Rhapsodos to become a hero in his own right.
Unfortunately, Angeal and Genesis defect from SOLDIER and Zack and Sephiroth are assigned to kill them.
Throughout his mission, Zack becomes close to Aerith Gainsborough, a young girl who grows flowers in the slums of Midgar. He also makes friends with Cloud, who was a lowly Shinra infantryman with aspirations to join SOLDIER.
Eventually, Zack learns that SOLDIER performed inhumane experiments on Angeal and Genesis to make them perfect fighters at the eventual cost of their humanity. Zack is forced to kill Angeal. In his last moments, Angeal gifts his Buster Sword to Zack to carry on his will.
It's at this point that the events of Crisis Core start to catch up with the original timeline of Final Fantasy VII. Sephiroth discovers that he too is the result of a horrible experiment, having been injected with the cells of an extraterrestrial being known as Jenova at birth. Soon after learning this truth, he massacres the small town of Nibelheim. Zack and an inexperienced Cloud attempt to stop him, but are instead captured by Shinra's mad scientist Hojo and become part of his experiments.
Both Zack and Cloud receive heavy exposure to Jenova cells and magical Mako energy. After several years, Zack is able to escape and rescue Cloud, though Cloud is reduced to a catatonic state as a result of the experiments.
Zack and the comatose Cloud begin fleeing from Shinra and SOLDIER. Zack even manages to defeat Genesis in the process. Eventually, they are driven into a corner and surrounded by Shinra troops. Zack hides Cloud away as he attempts to fend off the entire army all by himself.
Zack defeats an enormous number of troops, but is fatally wounded in the process. As he begins to succumb to his wounds, Cloud manages to wake up in time to be by his side in his final moments. Much like Angeal did with him, Zack gives Cloud the Buster Sword, urging him to carry on his will.
Though Zack has his own unique adventure in this prequel, the events leading up to his death directly set the stage for Final Fantasy VII.
Crisis Core: -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion is now available on all major gaming platforms.