The success of Final Fantasy VII persists well into the present day. Following its release in 1997, the game's critical acclaim has led FFVII to a feature-length movie, several spinoffs, appearances in Super Smash Bros., and even a top-to-bottom remake in 2020 that also received high praise. And now, the legacy continues (or should I say begins) with Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier.
The original Final Fantasy VII follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary aiding the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE in taking down Shinra, a power company drawing from the planet's life force to generate electricity. But beyond Shinra lies a terrible evil hellbent on destroying the world, and it's up to Cloud and his friends to put an end to the forces threatening the world of Midgar.
It is widely regarded as one of the most influential games of all time, and it's no wonder that the franchise's longevity will continue through The First Soldier. But when does this new entry take place in the sprawling timeline of Final Fantasy VII?
When does 'Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier' take place?
The First Soldier is an upcoming battle royale free-to-play game on mobile devices. While the game retains traditional JRPG elements that FFVII is known for, the new title places a heavy emphasis on action-shooter mechanics. Up to 75 players enter one large battlefield and fight using an array of melee weapons, ranged weapons, and magic to be the last one standing. Think Fortnite, except with more Chocobos in it.
Players can go into battle with different weapons and any two firearms, but they may also use Materia (the main source of magic throughout the Final Fantasy VII universe) to heal or defend themselves, traverse the battlefield, or even attack opponents. The First Soldier also uses a Style system, where players can choose what role to play and influence their stats and weapon usage accordingly.
Battle royale games tend to be a little light on story, and The First Soldier is no exception. But it still has its own place in the Final Fantasy VII timeline. The game is set in Midgar, the setting for the original Final Fantasy VII. It reportedly begins 30 years before the main events of the first game. As Shinra begins "Project 0," in order to develop an elite fighting force, they spend 12 years trying to enhance human candidates to add to the ranks of their new organization.
Players actually take on the role of these candidates to become the first member of SOLDIER, the paramilitary fighting force that is present throughout the world of Final Fantasy VII. Though there is no progressing plot to speak of, the game depicts the creation of SOLDIER, with the battle royale matches depicted as virtual training for the SOLDIER candidates.
Since The First Soldier acts as a prequel to the main story, it marks a new beginning in the timeline for Final Fantasy VII. The previous game that served as a chronological beginning for the series' events was Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, a mobile game released in Japan in 2004 that never saw an official U.S. release.
Final Fantasy VII: The First Soldier will reportedly launch on Nov. 17, 2021, for iOS and Android.