Since the game takes place seven years before Final Fantasy VII, many places on the Planet are either under construction or otherwise different from Final Fantasy VII. The city of Midgar has not yet been completed, and the town of Nibelheim is still filled with its original inhabitants. Several playable or otherwise major characters from Final Fantasy VII make cameo appearances.


The world is in the grip of the Shinra Electric Power Company who dominates via its monopoly to Mako energy, a power sourced directly from the Lifestream, the life force of the Planet itself. Having become the world’s de factor ruler, Shinra operates on many different fronts from vehicle and weapons manufacturing to genetic engineering. Only the distant Wutai nation opposes Shinra’s hegemony, but the Shinra armies are making headway into defeating the nation with its army that includes an elite force called SOLDIER, consisting of Mako-enhanced humans, and three SOLDIER enhanced with both Mako and Jenova cells: the SOLDIER First Class members.