How Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth Solves The Side Quest Problem

The side quests in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth stand in a stark contrast to the busy work witnessed in many open-world giants.

Story Highlights

  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth solves the side quest problem with meaningful structural changes.
  • Involving party members in a quest further helps in their characterization.
  • The introduction of brand-new mini-games and mechanics further helps in keeping things fresh.

Side quests are an essential inclusion in all open-world RPGs, and they are usually the main means of leveling up and hoarding better gear. However, side quests in many RPG/JRPGs are devoid of any excitement. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth solves this problem by not only scaling down the number of side quests available but also giving them the same treatment as a main quest, making each quest feel unique and important.

  • About the Author: Hamid has played Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth for over 70 hours during the review period and poured in 30 more post-launch, thanks to the code provided by Square Enix.
Note For Readers: For this opinion piece, I am restricting my discussion only to side quests (indicated by an exclamation mark) and Photorelics. This means open-world activities, arena challenges, and mini-games (outside of side quests) are excluded from this discussion.

For that, I’d recommend going through Hanzala Iftikhar’s opinion piece on how Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth tackles the open-world and mini-games.

The Side Quest Problem In Open-World Giants

side quest in final fantasy 7 rebirth
One of the many side quests in the vast world of FF7 Rebirth │Image by eXputer

To me, side quests are a way to divert from all the hustle and bustle of the main story. To give the story and me some breathing room. Sadly, that is rarely the case.

Many modern RPGs and open-worlds feature side quests as mundane tasks to lengthen gameplay, lacking the energy, structure, and narrative of the main quest. 

Many modern RPGs and open-worlds feature side quests as mundane tasks to lengthen gameplay”

Killing the same three bandits, picking up items in the middle of a desert, finding lost apprentices by killing more bandits, or visiting a town to get a key item from the rich landlord in return for, guess what, killing more bandits or friends get repetitive quite fast.

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth addresses all of these issues.

Diversity In Quests

side quest in final fantasy 7 rebirth
A side quest in Gongaga ended up rewarding me with a brand new gun for Barret, which is usually obtained from the main storyline │Image by eXputer

One of the side quests in Chapter 4 involves finding the lost son of a mayor. This quest involved tracking her pet dog all the way across to the other side of the continent, accompanied by its own unique soundtrack and battle tracks, which then transitions to another side quest involving an investigation of a fraudulent mercenary, which then evolves into a musical combat section sung by the actress of the mercenary. 

Each side quest introduces a unique structure, ensuring that repetition is rare.”

Shortly afterward, a bunch of ladies on a beach handed me over a camera to take photos of Cactuar present at various landmarks across the town. Since I was exploring the town, I came across this stall that offered me to compete in this Rocket League-like mini-game.

side quest in final fantasy 7 rebirth
Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth has an entire built-in tournament just for one side quest │Image by eXputer

Later on, the game makes you partake in Chocobo racing tournaments with unique race tracks and perks involving Chocbo customization and the history between Chocobo Sam and Billy.

Each side quest introduces a unique structure, ensuring that repetition is rare. 

Inclusion Of Party Members

side quest cutscene in final fantasy 7 rebirth
Yuffie and Cloud are training a rookie in one of Gongaga’s side quests │Image by eXputer

Restricting party members to only main quests definitely leaves their characterization kind of half-baked. Not only do they feel like silent NPCs, but they are also disconnected from whatever you are doing in the open-world. That is exactly why the inclusion of every party member in side quests feels so refreshing in FF7 Rebirth.

Because of the decrease in quantity, the quality of each quest skyrockets.”

Each quest is associated with a party member who further liven up the quest with their charming personalities while moving the quest narrative forward, and what’s even better, that has a payoff, too.

These interactions and hanging out with the gang ultimately pay off in the Gold Saucer date, where the game determines your main interest based on who you interact with the most outside of the main storyline. This is great key information for those who want to date Tifa exclusively.

Quality Over Quantity

side quest menu in final fantasy 7 rebirth
Side quests in Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth are cautiously spaced out with tons of objectives │Image by eXputer

Throughout my 100 hours of playtime, Final Fantasy 7 never overwhelmed me with an extraordinary amount of side quests. Not only are they very cleverly spaced out, but there are also very few in each chapter, like five to seven at most. 

Because of the decrease in quantity, the quality of each quest skyrockets. The effort that could’ve been poured into 100 quests is poured into only 10.

Prioritizing quality over quantity in an open-world game is an incredibly bold decision, and I personally hope more developers take inspiration from this approach.

Introduction Of New In-Game Mechanics & Mini-Games

The mushroom mini-game can be a little frustrating, but it is still, nonetheless, an example of an additional mini-game added for a quest │Image by eXputer

A single video game can never introduce enough mechanics to consistently refresh its side content gameplay loop. 

Now, the solution Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth comes up for this is incredibly ambitious, and I absolutely see no way others would ever follow in their footsteps. Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth introduces completely new in-game mechanics just for the sake of a side quest, and they are rarely used again.

Final Fantasy 7’s Rebirth isn’t entirely groundbreaking, as its approach to side content could have been implemented by other open-world games earlier.” 

A small Cactuar serving as a guiding light like the Wanderer’s Sword from Shadow of the Colossus, a treasure hunt that unlocks travel across continents, a rifle shooting mini-game where you are tasked with shooting a bunch of standees, and so on. It wonderfully combines its mini-games with its side quests to provide memorable experiences.

Photorelics in final fantasy 7 rebirth
The goofy and silly nature of side quests is what makes them so interesting │Image by eXputer

Final Fantasy 7’s Rebirth isn’t entirely groundbreaking, as its approach to side content could have been implemented by other open-world games earlier.

Bombarding players with open-world busy work only detracts from the experience, pushing them towards the main story and diminishing interest in the world.

I hope Rebirth’s unconventional side quest design influences future JRPGs, highlighting how superior game design and quality surpass busywork and checklist.

Did you find this article helpful?

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered right to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Hamid Ali is a Guides Writer & Editor on eXputer who occasionally covers Game Codes. He is a huge Doom fanatic and loves to melt his stress away in titles such as God of War games and Elden Ring. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism, Hamid’s been writing and updating about the majority of games for several years. Hamid's gaming experience can be verified on his Steam and PSN profiles.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.

Related Articles