Those who played Final Fantasy VII Remake know that Jessie Rasberry was one of the shining stars of the game, a character that didn't get as much shine in the original. That all changed for the Remake and bringing the delightful Avalanche member to life was actress Erica Lindbeck. It didn't take long for Lindbeck's version of Jessie to become a fan favorite, stealing the show whenever she was onscreen and especially in scenes with Cloud. ComicBook.com recently had a chance to talk to Lindbeck all about he work in Final Fantasy VII Remake, starting off with her familiarity with the franchise and what appealed to her about the character.
"I hadn’t, but I was roughly familiar with the lore of FF7," Lindbeck said. "I think the writing was what influenced my take on her the most. She is so vibrant & fun, it was very easy to characterize her in my mind. I try not to go into any project with a hard & fast idea of who the character is or how they’ll act because I’ll likely receive more information as we go along in the recording process. It’s important to be adaptable."
After players started playing the Remake, Jessie appreciation threads starting popping up all over social media, and suddenly Jessie was just as popular as icons like Aerith and Tifa. That outpouring of appreciation took Lindbeck by surprise but in the absolute best way.
"It definitely surprised me!! I assumed she would be a relatively minor character in the Remake, not to say that I wasn’t completely stoked to be a part of this game in any capacity," Lindbeck said. "When it became clear that her story was going to be greatly expanded, it truly felt like a dream."
If there was one character she wishes Jessie had the chance to interact with more in the game, the choice is Turks all the way, specifically Reno. "Ooh. I think I have to say Reno," Lindbeck said. "I’ve had a crush on him for a very long time, haha."
Jessie makes it clear from the beginning that she's after Cloud, leading to some absolutely priceless interactions and fans describing Jessie as thirsty, which Lindbeck got a kick out of. "I love the thirst stuff, I think it’s hilarious," Lindbeck said. "I remember being a little shocked at how forward Jessie is in the game, but that shock quickly turned to glee and I just…..really went for it."
As for Jessie's pay in full line, Lindbeck has her own interpretation. "For me, “pay in full” means Grub-Hubbing Indian food & watching bad horror movies on Netflix, but I suppose it’s up for interpretation ;) ."
Jessie has several standout moments in the game, though one of the most heartbreaking ones was her final scene. It's sad because we're losing a character we love, but somehow even at her lowest point, Jessie doesn't lose that compassionate and endearing demeanor, which makes it even more painful.
"I completely agree. I think there is something doubly tragic about a character who, even on their deathbed, is still cracking jokes and trying to add a sense of levity to the situation," Lindbeck said. "The juxtaposition of what’s going on versus how they’re behaving is always a gut punch. Honestly, I barely even remember recording the scene. I remember thinking it was very fitting, and very, very sad. That they did my girl justice. I wanted to keep it as grounded as I could, as real as I could. Pull it back, so to speak. I think that is always the more impactful choice."
Now, Jessie isn't playable in the Remake, but if she was, we had to ask Lindbeck what weapon she would choose and what her special ability would be. "I feel like I would be remiss if I didn’t grab the buster sword. Special ability-wise, it would definitely have something to do with explosions & covering a wide area all at once," Lindbeck said.
You want to see her wielding a Buster Sword now, right? Yeah, we do too, but we kept moving on the Final Fantasy track by asking who she would team-up with if she could partner up with any other character in the Final Fantasy franchise.
"I think a buddy-cop comedy DLC with Jessie & Vincent Valentine would be priceless," Lindbeck said. Again, another gold idea that we hope to see one day.
Lindbeck also brings another fan favorite to life in the Persona franchise, that being the amazing Futaba Sakura from Persona 5. Persona 5 and Final Fantasy VII Remake are very different games of course, both in terms of gameplay and how they are put together. That said, we could totally see Futaba and Jessie getting along, and Lindbeck gave us her dream scenario.
"Oh totally, massive difference," Lindbeck said. "They are completely different characters, so the processes of recording for both of these games are concretely separated in my mind. Like being on Planet Persona vs Planet Final Fantasy, haha. They are both JRPG’s, so the actual record situation isn’t incredibly different, as there are some lines that you are doing wild (ie no Japanese reference) versus to picture or time, but other than that, couldn’t be more different. I would love to watch Jessie try to bring Futaba out her shell. I think she really did that for Cloud. Would love to see her try to take Futaba out clubbing or something. That would be hilarious."
We think it would be too, so fingers crossed we see that crossover one day. In the meantime, you can see and hear Lindbeck's work as Jessie in Final Fantasy VII Remake, which is available on the PlayStation 4 right now, and as always you can talk all things Final Fantasy with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!