Against the petition
Many have written me, concerned:
Aerith dies. You can't bring her back.
You ask that I start a petition--after all, my first one worked! Square rushed the game, you say, and released it before it was finished. Originally, you could bring her back! Make Square give us the TRUE Final Fantasy VII!
And I smile and politely go about my day's business. But, lately, I have received too many of these letters to ignore them, and I must I make my views known.
Square is a video game publisher: they make games. Why? To make money. But, then, why are movies made? TV shows aired? Books published? Magazines written? Newspapers produced? For the same reason: to make money. Only a fool, however, would argue that no important movie or book had ever been made. Rightful works of art have appeared in each medium. And Square has done more than any other video game publisher to move video games out of the realm of mere children's entertainment and into their rightful place alongside other media.
Square delayed the release of Final Fantasy VII by a full month. They have also delayed the release of Final Fantasy Tactics, SaGa Frontier, Bushido Blade, and Tobal 2. Every Playstation game announced to date! Their profits for the year took a serious hit. Their stock value wavered. Yet the games were delayed because a substandard product would not be worthy of the Square name.
But Square, sadly, can't delay games forever. Final Fantasy VI's ending was originally to have an Amano sketch for each character, but cartridge limitations demanded they be cut. Chrono Trigger's End of Time was to be majestic and crystalline. Characters such as Janus and Schala were, tragically, cut at the last moment. And who knows what other parts of Square's games never made the final cut? Square cannot always put everything they want into a game; eventually, they must say "the game is finished" and release it.
Some still insist the game is unfinished. I should start a petition to demand the game be "fixed," they say. These people misunderstand the power of the petition.
The Final Fantasy VII Translation Petition asked for fair and equitable treatment. It asked that the game not be censored or cut; that it remain in its original form; that Americans receive, finally, a Final Fantasy game the way it was written. The petition was succesful, and I am proud to have supported it, because it asked for justice.
A petition to demand the insertion of Aerith's ressurection, however, would ask for preferencial treatment. It would selfishly demand more than others have already received. It would ask Square to retouch a finished product at gamers' whims. It would ask for these things out of greed, and I cannot support it.
Square offers you the Venus de Milo, and you would send it back because it has no arms.
There are rumors that an alternative, superior ending exists, unaccessible because of Aerith's permanent death. Those rumors are nothing but LIES. The ending you see is the ending Square originally intended: the largest movie file on the third disc. The ending, as well, is perfectly satisfactory; there's nothing "lackluster" about it. A "better" ending (with Aerith ressurected) is an impossibility. If she had been ressurected, then she would commit suicide before the end. This is true! Cloud would try to stop her and fail, for her death is inevitable. Aerith knew her death was absolutely necessary. Do not presume to know more than she.
And most importantly . . . Aerith should stay dead.
A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist.
- Steward Alsop
Aerith's death is a tragedy. I truly do believe this. So was Tellah's. So was General Leo's. So was the death of every person who ever sacrificed themselves for a greater cause. But unlike deaths in previous Square games, Aerith's death carries long-lasting repercussions that echo long after her passing. For Aerith did not die senselessly. Aerith meant to die.
- Henry Van Dyke
Aerith knew her actions would mean her end. But she faced death anyway, aware that only in death could she avert the coming disaster and save her world. She gave her life intentionally, purposefully, and with full knowledge of the consequences. No one ever, EVER forgets that; the tragedy of her loss is what keeps the small party together.
Even in death her presence is felt. Her memory guides and leads the party on its quest. Her spirit appears in silent reminder of her selfless act. Aerith died. She died! And she died honorably.
If Prince Hamlet came back from the dead, would his indecision be meaningful? If King Lear recovered, would we learn from his folly? And if Aerith were disinterred mere hours after her death, would her sacrifice have any importance? Square should be honored that the death of a character brings about this outcry. It is touching testament to the games' power: the characters are truly loved. And grief is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one. As is denial. Now, Square fans must proceed to the next stage: acceptance.
Aerith Gainsborough gave her life so that the world might live. May she rest in peace.