The Final Fantasy 7 Mystery That Still Needs Solving

Final Fantasy 7 not only resonates in the memories of those who played it growing up, but also those who played the 2020 remake. Rarely has a game captured the attention and minds of entire generations of gamers, who have plumbed this Final Fantasy game's narrative to analyze the story of the city of Midgar, the Shinra corporation, and their use of Mako energy and Jenova cells to build one of gaming's most recognizable villains, the white-haired Sephiroth, as well as other super soldiers such as the game's protagonist himself, Cloud Strife. 

Amidst all the memorable scenes and settings in Final Fantasy 7, though, the game also holds a number of secrets and bonus content. One aspect, in particular, still stumps players, as it's unclear whether the content is a bug, or represents a misused asset, fragment of code, or piece of gameplay that slipped by QA and was never removed from the final version of the game. Players come across it in Corel Prison after passing through Barret's hometown, Old Corel, and then the Golden Saucer. Corel Prison is basically a dirty ghetto in the wastelands of the game world, located under the opulence of the floating amusement park, the Golden Saucer. 

In this city, there is a hatch, like a nuclear fallout shelter, and a ladder that leads down to Final Fantasy 7's final, and oddest, mystery.

Test Zero Battle

At the bottom of the ladder is a cylindrical room containing bones, electrical machinery, and a couple danger signs. In the middle of the room, off to the side, there's a single treasure chest. When you open the chest, its empty. That's it. Nothing else happens, and the area cannot be revisited once you progress in the story.

Naturally, this has piqued the curiosity of gamers over the years. One player investigated the room in 2007, with a program named Cosmo, as they explained on the Final Fantasy VII Citadel. He discovered a mustachioed NPC in red clothes, dubbed the "Red Man," near the spot of the chest. Another player postulated that the Red Man was a signature left behind by someone who worked on the area. There wasn't enough time to remove him before launch, so they just covered him with a treasure chest.

The mystery deepens, though, because some players later found that they could interact with the Red Man, complete with dialogue about him training beasts to help him fight his way back to the Golden Saucer. He asks if you want to fight them, a battle commences against a simple quartet of Guard Hounds, and once beaten, the Red Man vanishes. This dialogue and fight don't trigger every time, though. To compound things, they may be related to an optional boss dubbed "Test Zero" in the game's unused code. 

For now, this final Final Fantasy 7 mystery remains unsolved.