Look, I’m just gonna cut to the chase: Cid from Final Fantasy VII needs to be a smoker. Yes, smoking’s bad for your lungs. And yeah, smoking’s bad for the environment, and Final Fantasy VII is nothing if not environmentally conscious. But Cid Highwind needs to smell like an ashtray at all times. Now that we’ve seen the foul-mouthed, spear-wielding old man in Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, fans are concerned he might have kicked the habit in this updated, alternate telling of the story. [Note: I called Cid an “old man” before realizing he’s supposed to be 32, a year older than I am now.]
To be clear, we don’t yet know if Cid smokes or not throughout Final Fantasy VII Rebirth. However, in every clip and image we’ve seen of him thus far, he doesn’t have a cigarette in his hand or mouth. Meanwhile, in the original Final Fantasy VII, Cid always had that thing on him no matter what was happening. His in-game model, sprite, and official art all have burning tobacco somewhere in view. In what we’ve seen of Rebirth, however, he is either obscuring it somehow, or he’s just not inhaling smoke on the regular anymore.
While we’ve only seen a few shots of Cid in Rebirth, fans have definitely taken notice that he’s missing what was previously a pretty notable piece of his character design. The cigarettes even played into visual gags, sometimes dropping from his mouth during dramatic moments or doubling as a way to light dynamite in one of his Limit Breaks.
Final Fantasy VII Remake hasn’t been entirely beholden to the original game’s story or vision of certain characters, and in some cases, like changing the Honey Bee Inn into a queer-friendly and sex-positive nightclub, Square Enix has used the opportunities afforded by the Remake to tweak things for modern sensibilities. But Cid’s smoking was a key part of him, and look, sorry, but older men — or, in Cid’s case, extremely old-man-coded men who are somehow in their early 30s — smoking is sexy. It’s true, and if we’re gonna spend all of Rebirth talking about how Cloud is fine, we need something for those of us who like our men a little more rugged. Sure, Cid is still hot without the cigarette burning an actual flame, but it adds to the gruff appeal. Plus, Cid from Final Fantasy XVI smokes, and that was released earlier this year. It was fine! It hardly seems like something Square Enix needs to sanitize.
Honestly, the thing I’d rather see changed about him is the part where he verbally abuses women, but he seems pretty polite in this first trailer. So, I guess we’ll see.