Music That Moves: Final Fantasy VII Remake Hollow

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The worst lies are the ones that we tell ourselves. What often begins as an innocent misrepresentation slowly transitions into willful denial. Until eventually, the architect is no longer able to decipher between fiction and reality. In that moment, salvation is only possible through the outstretched hand of another. Such is the story of Cloud Strife in Final Fantasy VII Remake and its ending theme “Hollow.”

Music that Moves is a series that examines the significance of melody and harmony in many of our favorite video games. We explore how themes and lyrics accentuate a game’s story arcs and add emotional depth to narratives.  

Hiding the Pain

Adolescence is an awkward period for most youth. The short-sided rise in popularity of the few often suffocates the bashful and less fortunate. Harassed and abused, the ostracized are left to their own devices and consequently seek refuge through alternative means. Desperate to prove their worth, the most disadvantaged embrace the perilous road in search of respect and honor.

Blamed for an unfortunate series of childhood mishaps, Cloud seeks shelter and escape through the vein of the Shinra military. The prestigious rank of SOLDIER promises an opportunity to mend a broken reputation. However, the reciprocal is ever the more dangerous.

A Broken Promise

Failure to realize the object of one’s redemption produces a critical junction. To return ashamed and contrite is a formula for indefinite ridicule. But to remain static offers little hope of salvation. In the face of relentless adversity, a third option surfaces: the slightest of hyperbole. A harmless lie to avoid inevitable disgrace. The exaggeration that begins innocuously yet spirals out of control.

Ashamed by his failure, Cloud falsifies his position among Shinra’s elite. But the reunion with his adolescent affection leads to uneasy moments of unspoken discomfort. Embellishment and satirical response are the only means of maintaining distance and preventing embarrassment.

Facing the Truth

Despite the most valiant of efforts, the astute are able to pierce the veil of fabrication to uncover the truth. Yet revelation does not come at the hand of spoken word. Instead, cognizant perception manifests in the form of disparate glances and asymmetric smiles. But honest tears remain the key to unlocking hidden resolve and bridging the gap to hollowed personas.

But I was consumed with this emptiness. This selfishness. This void to fill. Hear me once more. Show me your smile this time. For sure I’ll see the truth hidden inside your tears!

Only unfettered emotional response wields the power to uncover the truth behind Cloud’s dark past. For while the first installment of the Final Fantasy VII Remake saga laid the groundwork for future endeavors, reality remains hidden behind Mako-filled eyes.


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