My toxic trait is that I am a colossal simp for Final Fantasy VII’s foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, dragoon pilot Cid. My love for this man spans decades, from when he was a series of blobs stacked on top of each other in the original PlayStation game to when he was a voiceless shopkeeper in the first Kingdom Hearts. As such, I was eager to see him in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, even if he doesn’t get promoted to playable party member this time around. After going back and reacquainting myself with the original game, I’m pretty happy with how Square Enix approached the character nearly 30 years later.

Spoilers for original Final Fantasy 7 follow, but nothing major from Rebirth.

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In most ways that count, Cid is still the same guy fans know and love from FF7 in Rebirth. He’s the pilot of Tiny Bronco, acts like the dad in the room despite being allegedly only 32 years old, and is generally grumpy towards everyone. But he’s also overtly kindhearted in a way that maybe didn’t always come across in the original game. One of his earliest scenes in Rebirth shows him realizing he knew Aerith’s mother, Ifalna, and is disheartened to hear of her passing since they last met years prior. This prompts him to offer his pilot services for free, all because he wants to help the daughter of someone he once cared for.

Cid stands in front of his plane.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Where original Cid was often defined as crass, angsty, and mean (yes, there’s nuance, we’re getting there), Rebirth Cid’s doesn’t feel quite as extreme and instead goes for a more understated confident but still caring bravado. His no-nonsense practicality feels distinct in the face of some real weirdos in FF7’s crew, but now it’s a little more reined in. Cid was prickly in the original game, but that side of him was always meant to mask the protective and supportive person he was deep down.

Some long-time fans will likely frame this as “changing” him, but I’d argue it brings out the best of who Cid always was. He’s still a grouch, but not indiscriminately so. My hope is this will allow Square Enix to better frame future storylines, specifically the one involving his future wife, Shera. When I was excited to see Cid again, some friends who had played Final Fantasy 7 more recently were surprised to hear this, given he has a reputation within the community. I hadn’t seen Cid interact with Shera in years, but I went back and watched the scenes between the two in the original Final Fantasy 7, and was surprised at how uncomfortable it was to see the two’s dynamic.

Square Enix / LetsPlayGGs

Final Fantasy makes Cid a nicer guy

When the crew first meets Shera, they’re mistaken in assuming she is Cid’s wife at this point, probably because the way he talks to her is textbook abusive husband in a way someone in the ‘90s would write a sitcom couple. He berates her for not making their guests tea, asks if she’s blind, and then goes off to work on something while she tends to Cloud and company. When they tell her not to worry about them, she immediately takes the blame on herself and says this is just how Cid is. She explains that he sabotaged his own rocket launch to ensure she wasn’t killed in the blast, and now she feels as if she’s responsible for ruining his dreams. This is why she puts up with the way he treats her and says she’ll “live [her] life for him.”

Cid's official art from the original game.

Image: Square Enix / Final Fantasy Wiki

Watching a man talk down to a woman as she does domestic duties wasn’t great in 1997 and is even worse to look back on now. This is supposed to be a revealing moment that shows that he’s secretly a caring, kind person despite him being abrasive to a lot of the people he meets. But in the years since Final Fantasy 7, we have collectively lost patience for abusive behavior. Even if Cid resents Shera for her part in destroying his dream, that can be communicated in a far healthier way. Thorny relationships, especially between people who supposedly care about each other, don’t have to be mean-spirited and hurtful. They can just be clumsy, awkward, and eventually restorative.

My hope is that because Cid seems a bit more even-tempered in Rebirth, his relationship with Shera can be explored in a way that feels less openly misogynistic and abusive 30 years later. Toning down his antagonism in Rebirth in favor of making him a stern and passionate pilot who hoots and hollers his way into everyone’s hearts, makes for a far more likable and contemporary take. And considering how Rebirth’s story plays into his larger arc, I’m interested to see how Square handles it.

Cid nods off with fireworks behind him.

Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth is, despite some weighty moments, a pretty joyful game. It uses most of its extended time with the cast to just let them hang out, vibe, and play some silly mini-games. Recreating Cid as he was in 1997 would have been diametrically opposed to the vision of the Final Fantasy 7 universe Rebirth is trying to create. The Remake series has the best versions of these characters to date, and chipping away some of the sharp edges to get to Cid’s heart of gold is how you modernize the character. He’s another example of these games recognizing that a remake doesn’t have to uncritically mimic something from decades ago.

The Honey Bee Inn was once a brothel and stage for gay panic, where Remake retools it to be a queer-inclusive nightclub. Cid is still a stingy old man but doesn’t have to be uncomfortably cruel to someone he cares about. If Square Enix keeps him as such in the next game and can better frame his relationship with Shera, he’ll be another bullet point on the list of things the team got right this time around.

But bring his cigarettes back, Square Enix. That man smells like an ashtray, I know it.



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