While the early introduction of Yuffie is definitely the biggest talking point from the FF7R Intergrade trailer, the State of Play announcement also contains one or two other interesting revelations. As well as the returning Dirge of Cerberus antagonist Weiss, fans were also given a glimpse of a brand new party member. Sonon Kusakabe will be accompanying Yuffie on her quest for new materia and seems set to bring with him some changes not only to the game’s combat system, but also to the overall timeline of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Right now, there’s very little solid information about the mysterious Avalanche operative, although the trailer does offer up one or two tasty nuggets.
Apparently we’re not the only ones meeting Sonon for the first time, with the Intergrade trailer showing us the very fist meeting between him and Yuffie. His rank and status within Avalanche aren’t mentioned, but given that he refers to Yuffie as ‘boss’, it seems likely that he’s been tasked with supporting her on her mission to infiltrate Shinra rather than him being the leader of his own cell. That said, with Yuffie being the daughter of Wutai’s leader, the group will probably have chosen somebody fairly high up and well regarded to guide and protect her.
Like Yuffie, Sonon is shown to possess some fairly unique skills when it comes to getting from A to B. We see the pair running along walls and swinging across hooks as they make their way through Midgar, suggesting that traversing the world of Intergrade will be a bit more action-oriented than earlier parts of the remake. He fights using a staff and seems to have several abilities that allow him to assist Yuffie in battle. This could indicate that we’ll soon be getting double and triple techs similar to the ones found in Chrono Trigger, although it may end up being something that’s exclusive to Sonon and the Intergrade DLC episode. Either way though, it should definitely help to freshen up the combat system a little moving forward.
In a recent interview with the Japanese publication Famitsu, the director for FF7R Tetsuya Nomura confirmed that players will not be able to control Sonon directly in battle and will instead need to issue commands to him through the tactical menu. Exactly how specific these commands will be remains to be seen, but we do know that he’ll have his own limit and ATB gauges at the very least. This is a very different approach than the one taken with Red XIII in the first part of the remake, with the sentient feline serving as an uncontrollable guest character rather than a true party member. Nomura also confirmed that Sonon’s Avalanche cell is not the same one that Cloud, Barret and Tifa belong to and that although Yuffie is now working with the group, it was her pursuit of a powerful materia that first brought her to Midgar.
Little is known about Sonon’s background at this point, but there are a few things that we can perhaps infer from the trailer. Towards its end, Yuffie points out to him that she is not his sister which may well indicate that Sonon lost a younger sibling at some point during Avalanche’s struggles against Shinra. If so, his determination to protect Yuffie could be the byproduct of his guilt for failing to protect his sister. Of course, it could just as easily be a direct response to an earlier comment made by Sonon (perhaps in reference to the ongoing hostility between the peoples of Wutai and Midgar), although the grieving brother angle would definitely be in keeping with the themes and ideas that have long been staples of the series.
Despite Yuffie seemingly being the one in charge, the pair seem to share an incredibly casual relationship. She clearly respects his opinion and judgement, allowing him to decide whether or not to approach Barret and Tifa and following his lead without question. We see this again a little later on in the trailer too, when Sonon instinctively rushes to help a slums resident who is being pursued by Shinra troops. While he generally comes across as a fairly easygoing guy though, his hatred for Shinra is clearly on display; especially through his insistence that they deserve what’s coming to them. Thankfully, we should only have to wait a few more months to find out exactly what that is.
Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade will be coming to PlayStation 5 on June 10 2021.
NEXT: Everything You Need To Know About Final Fantasy In 2021
Tom spent the better part of a decade working in broadcast news before moving out to Japan in 2017. He loves adventure games and RPGs, but is also partial to a spot of FIFA from time to time.
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