tldr: We needed more plot with Sephiroth. Can't expect new players giving a shit about Casper the Emo ghost when the first plot of this game is taking down Shinra then expect everyone to 180 some random guys with white hair that just shows up and convince the players hes a threat by playing scary orchestra music.
For a very well known old video game story, Squareenix did a very good job creating the remake of introducing everyone from the ground up with no context needed. It felt like a one of a kind standalone story that you could show in the movies! FF7Remake did a good job by not trying to be better than the original but being able to slowly build the immersion of Life living in Midgar. This immersion shaped it into standalone universe. The game takes the time to buy providing very valuable content to players to prepare for the shit storm coming up.
Unfortunately, they didn't introduce Sephiroth properly. Throughout the remake, Cloud would get "mysterious" headaches, youd be giving literal flashes of seizure-like white screens and flashes of Sephiroth and the player is suppose to go "oooh aaah scary migranes". At the end of this part 1 remake, he finally says more than 1 sentence, gets all weak emo, saying hallow threats and now suddenly we're suppose to be scared. Where did this guy come from LOL
Marvel Analogy: Its like if Marvel never made any of the movies and the Marvel Comics never existed. And if they just suddenly created the movie Avengers Endgame BUT the starting scene is the end battle with this random giant fat purrple guy just sitting down. And then queue epic cinematic music. <--- like how does one get immersed into that lol. Why is he sitting down? Why is there a green person? Why is there a person in a red metal outfit with headlight eyes? why are they fighting?
So then I'm now also watching a few other streamers who are playing it blind, they know OF the old FF story they've played Kingdom hearts so thats their exposure to cloud and sephiroth, they know hes suppose to be a villian but don't know why. So then when it came to the part of the end of FF7R part 1, they're like, "Wait did we miss something who is this character again? I don't remember". They didn't know how to feel about this character, they don't understand why the game just suddenly pause trying to take down Shinra and now this random Casper the Emo ghost is being edgy.
Is this called "Lets try to do worse than Game of Thrones last season" or is this called "FF7 remake"?
QueenGambit Solution: We just need to have more exposure about Sephiroth. Here are some of my examples:
A) The Halo way. So in halo its like oooh im a soldier pew pew queue epic music pew pew, going against aliens with laser zzzmm zmm zmm then the soldiers are pew pewing and the aliens are zmm zmm zmm. Then one episode, the zerg ppl come out of nowhere. Instead of it being the last boss fight, this moment happens in the middle of the game and then you are in a sort of plot twist tangent that this nuisance this plague becomes more and more and more of a threat. Its like this plot twist chaos between human and covenant war.
Sephiroth could have been some kind of plot twist and an an incident X or event X could have happen that creates a wedge between the good guys and Shinra corp. And this could have been done perfectly like at the 2/3 mark of the story where the clash idea of good guys vs Shinra was already brewing and boiling. What incident? I dunno maybe ghosts that are attacking Shinra too and they also attack good guys. So it sorta becomes like Team A vs Team B then PLAYER 3 ENTERS THE GAME WITH CHEATS kind of situation like Halo.
B). Commemoration and rememberance throughout the game.
I think what Aerith said was super significant to Sephiroth however, its exceution was so insignificant, like a random NPC phrase easter egg that u had to jst be near her or paying attention. For solution B, what I would have done is do 1000 of these throughout the game. So a lot of NPCS one way or another will talk indirectly about Sephiroth. Examples
"yeah the war took toll on me blah blah soldier sephiroth""*kids sword fighting in the distance* "I'm going to be strong like sephiroth the hero""*mother concern talking out loud* I don't want you to become a hero but then die like Sephiroth""Yes I sell the best swords and knifes! If you wanna fight like the Hero Sephiroth then you have to have the best weapons!"*Coliseum Arena Announcers at Wall market while battle through the tournament* "Who has what it takes to have the power like the legendary hero Sephiroth"
C) Sleepy Time Memories: Throughout the game, Cloud MUST sleep and he would go in a dream that introduces Sephiroth. We would take parts of Crisis Core and even parts of dirge of cerebus and ADvent children and even kingdom hearts and most importantly the time Sephiroth turns emo at that village and that one battle on original FF7 where cloud is in a battle alongside Sephiroth.
When this happens, the Chapter will be called: Chapter ???. And it the parts will be given in pieces throughout the game when cloud sleeps. Zak will also make an appearance here.
The game will reveal that Cloud was viewing past present and future possibilities of events and that even though Shinra, the main bad guys in this part of the game, less of a threat to Emo with a sword and that the story becomes more complicated from here.
Conclusion: We needed more context for Sephiroth. If you agree, what additional content or changes would you have done in the FF7R ?