One of the biggest titles that defined Sony's Playstation was Final Fantasy VII. It's insane to think that within three months, both that title and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night came out. Each is considered one of the most influential PS games to ever come out and they helped usher their respective franchises into new territory. However, it's hard to argue that FF7 was the bigger success with 5 million copies sold. I mean, more than 20 years later, people are still asking: Why does Sephiroth only have one wing?!
Why does Sephiroth only have one wing?
Squaresoft's first foray into 3D with its most popular role-playing game was a smash success for a multitude of reasons: A cool aesthetic, winding storyline, great music, and ridiculously memorable characters helped establish it as one of the most nostalgically lauded titles of the past 20+ years. Heck, folks were absolutely over-the-moon when they discovered the remake was actually happening — so much so that it has already replicated the success of its predecessor with 5 million units sold since its April 2020 release.
While the image of Cloud (the game's main protagonist) rocking a giant sword and looking up at the Midgar building ready to commit all sorts of "ethical terrorism" against an evil corporation sucking away the very life force of the world resonates with fans all over the world, the game's main villain, Sephiroth, has equally captivated fans too.
He's appeared as a hidden boss in the Kingdom Hearts games and has made appearances in other titles as well.
The care that went into creating the rivalry between Sephiroth and Cloud isn't accidental, either. The game's developers intentionally wanted to mirror the real-life historical beef between famed Japanese sword fighters Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. Sephiroth's flowing, white hair, contrasted with his Marilyn Manson-esque uber-goth black clothing and "Masamune" sword is a striking image that's hard to forget.
It's probably why fans flipped out when 'Super Smash Bros.' revealed Sephiroth as a playable character.
If you needed any further evidence that Sephiroth is videogame gold, then simply take a gander at all of the buzz he's receiving from Smash nerds who are absolutely geeking out over the fact that they're going to get to brawl as the mad Aeries-murderer in the popular Nintendo free-for-all very, very soon.
The debut video for his character sent gamers into a frenzy, and he even showed off his single black wing in the trailer.
So why does he have a wing? Well, originally, the developers wanted to include a single, gnarled black wing growing out of his back in order to "suggest evil" to the players. The wing comes from his final boss fight form, which includes what's quite possibly one of the most iconic ultimate battle themes from any video game ever.
The story of Sephiroth's birth is at the heart of FFVII, which starts with Jenova, an alien lifeform that lands on Gaia (the game's "Earth"). The alien lifeform landed on the planet some 2,000 years prior to the events of the game and began "infecting" the lifeforms on the land, turning the "Cetra" people (aka humans) into monsters.
The Cetra were able to defeat Jenova and lock the creature away.
Jenova never really died, but lost its consciousness. However, its cells could form a sort of "reunion" with its host if anyone came into contact with the extraterrestrial, and the Shinra corporation conducted experiments by taking cells from the lifeform and injecting them into human beings to create Jenova hybrids. Oftentimes, people would die as a result of the experiments. Sephiroth was a fetus imbued with Jenova cells, and that strengthened him beyond other humans.
This knowledge was kept hidden from Sephiroth, and the more he learned about his true biological history, the more he believed he held a power greater than his fellow man, as he was essentially part alien. In an attempt to take Jenova's body, Sephiroth was killed by Cloud in an insane sequence of events. He was then was tossed into the world's "lifestream" located beneath the giant Mako reactor where Shinra gets its energy.
Sephiroth managed to get Jenova's head and those cells fused with his body and he was reborn in the lifestream, which couldn't absorb him completely because he matured with Jenova's cells in his body. So he didn't fully die and wasn't able to be completely taken over by Jenova either, as he had become too formidable.
The wings in Sephiroth's final form, "Safer Sephiroth" are a result of his fusion with Jenova, hence why he has the one black wing.