Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Aerith, and Red XIII are branded by Jenova after it wrecks the Shinra building. They're given a vague vision of Sephiroth, which, combined with Palmer’s testimony and Cloud’s memories, leads them to chase Sephiroth. In reality, the focus is getting Cloud to Sephiroth to help summon Meteor.
Reeve is a l’Cie, possibly. Maybe Cait Sith is. Dunno. All I know is that if he were branded by Shinra, I think people would know. Whoever branded him would probably be looking for him to protect Midgar. But then maybe Shinra did brand Reeve, which is why he can go on so long as a double agent. Maybe he has a family lineage fal’Cie thing going on, like is possible for Aerith.
Yuffie seems like she’d willingly become (or even request to become) a l’Cie, in order to help Wutai. But then she could also be a mundane who deceives the Midgar l’Cie in order to use their powers.
The Five Sacred Gods, the people in the Pagoda, are l’Cie, including Yuffie’s father.
Da Chao, though the name for the entire mountain range, also refers to a fal’Cie within the formation. Their focus could be to protect Da Chao and/or Wutai, so they wouldn’t have a time-limit or turn into Cieth unless the town or mountain were in danger. That works well with Godo’s talk of not boasting the strength they possess. Da Chao would certainly punish them if they started conflict that fired back on Wutai.
As a Turk, Vincent was branded by Shinra, like all Turks are. SOLDIER members were branded by Jenova as per Hojo’s research.
I'm not sure what effects Hojo and Lucrecia’s respective experiments had on him, but Chaos is his Eidolon.
Lucrecia could have found a way to induce crystal sleep in both Vincent and herself.
There’s also the idea that Lucrecia may have found a way to have Vincent branded by Chaos following Hojo’s Cieth-related experiments. That would explain Vincent being in crystal sleep until a band of Sephiroth hunters came along.
I was thinking about why Jenova might brand Vincent, or anyone else for that matter. It occurred to me that Cieth were kinda like the monsters that some infected individuals would turn into. So, it feels like there would be times where Jenova didn’t have a reason to brand people other than ‘I need/want puppets’, since if they did their Focus, they’d be working for her, and if they didn’t, they’d turn into a monster and be part of her forces anyways. It’s brilliant, and accounts for the virus and war that were mentioned happening when she first crash-landed on the planet.
Sephiroth was probably branded in the womb as an experiment. That, along with his ‘rebirth' at the northern crater, lead him to having fal’Cie-like traits, or did the part-Cieth metamorphosis thing like Cid Raines.
As there aren’t a ton of fal’Cie roaming around, each one has its own unique brand.
Rufus, upon meeting the crew, notices one or more of them have a brand. Even if he believes they didn’t slaughter half the building, he can easily spin the story that they did. Also, Rufus is one of the first bosses you take on after getting branded (Hundred Gunner and Heli Gunner are the other two). It would show that either Rufus is good in combat, demonstrate the power of a lone l’Cie, or both.
You have an area of encounters between branding and the bosses, so there’s a chance to get acquainted with their powers and learn some things, game-wise. Also, as everyone’s supposed to gain two roles at the start, rather than one, the Hundred Gunner battle could explain Paradigm Shifts, like the Manasvin Warmech battle in XIII.
The tattooed Sephiroth Clones have altered or incomplete versions of Jenova’s brand, symbolizing the incompleteness of the clones and the Reunion.
Everyone will have their second role by the time they go to Kalm, so anyone joining afterwards would start with two, which includes Yuffie.
Cloud – Ravager, Sentinel, Commando. Eidolon: Fenrir/Motorcycle. Omnislash from Ravager. Silver/white Fang Eidolith. Brand on back of the neck.
Barret – Commando, Medic, Ravager. Eidolon: ?/Tank. Catastrophe from Commando. Brown/green Bullet Eidolith. Brand on side or center of chest.
Tifa – Ravager, Sentinel, Medic. Eidolon: Shiva/?. Final Heaven from Ravager. Blue/green Heart Eidolith. Brand on upper right arm.
Aeris – Medic, Ravager, Synergist. Eidolon: (Ultima/Alexander/Valefor?)/Dragon. Great Gospel from Medic. The White Materia is her Eidolith? Brand on calf or shoulder blade.
Red XIII – Ravager, Synergist, Saboteur. Eidolon: Kjata/?. Cosmo Memory from Ravager. Red/orange Feather Eidolith. Brand on one of his legs.
Yuffie – Saboteur, Ravager, Medic. Eidolon: Leviathan/Glider. All Creation from Ravager. Purple Shuriken Eidolith. Brand on midriff or back of hand.
Cait Sith – Medic, Saboteur, Ravager. Eidolon: Carbuncle/Shield. Slots from Saboteur. Black/white die-shaped Eidolith. Brand on ???
Vincent – Ravager, Saboteur, Synergist. Eidolon: Chaos/Himself. Death Penalty from Saboteur. Protomateria is his Eidolith. Brand over his heart, Protomateria style.
Cid – Commando, Sentinel, Ravager. Eidolon: Ark/Airship. Highwind from Commando. Blue/white Wing Eidolith. Brand on left forearm.
Aeris was a l’Cie from birth, branded by a Fal’Cie of the Planet. Her brand is white until Jenova breaks out. Afterwards, her focus may be to protect the planet or eliminate the danger to the planet.
In the Wutai sidequest, after Cloud throws the switch and accidentally traps the others, Yuffie dashes off, only to trip over something. Cloud manages to get outside, running after Yuffie instead of freeing the others. Yuffie gets upset, but Cloud isn’t buying it, even if it is real. Then Leviathan happens, and Yuffie and Cloud have to fight it.
Maybe, it’s a case of Yuffie being upset at being caught and inadvertently summoning Leviathan, who turns on Cloud. Maybe, it’s Leviathan being summoned and turning on Yuffie, and helping her is how they resolve things. With the karmaic motivations and the idea of trust flying around, I think Yuffie’s third role should be Medic. It would make sense for her to have to heal Cloud after all the trickery she put him through.
Vincent’s situation as far as tying plot in with mechanics is...complicated. I did kinda have the idea, though, that he was either part fal’Cie or part Eidolon after being experimented on by Hojo. That could open up some ideas with Vincent’s transformation/Gestalt Mode, as well as Hojo and his experimenting with Sephiroth.
Both the Planet fal’Cie and either Jenova or Sephiroth have the ability to summon powerful magic with the aid of a powerful-enough l’Cie. On the Holy side, Aeris is pretty much the only one that can receive the focus to do this, and on the Meteor side, there are many candidates, but the one powerful enough to reach the crater is the one that participates. This explains Jenova attacking the other clones and dropping body parts at Cloud and the others to fight - testing them and aiding the natural process of elimination.
Maybe Barret’s Eidolon has something to do with Corel Prison. Like, when he goes to confront Dyne, he specifically says he doesn’t want to fight. Also, with his guilt over Corel, it seems like a good place.
Like…in XIII, Eidolons are supposed to show up when the characters have lost sight of their focus and/or personal goal. Though that doesn’t always seem that was the case, tbh. I think in the re-conceptualized FFVII, the Eidolons should show up in places or during times where the character’s story really emerges. Turning points/characterization points are nice, but those tend to happen pretty late in the game. I don’t want the Eidolons to be super early, but not super late, either. Especially Aeris’.
Vincent’s Eidolon, Chaos, may be like, floating, formless pieces of metal or something that bind to Vincent during Gestalt mode. He could fight it in the crystal cave during the Lucrecia side event, where it flies up from the stagnant Mako pool. Dunno who’d be with him.
The Cetra and Azure were named after the fal’Cie that they were born with the brand of. Cetra was the fal’Cie of knowledge and Azure the fal’Cie of might. There were more of them before Jenova’s arrival, but they were never known because those tribes died out.
The fal’Cie Azure created the Weapons in response to Jenova’s invasion.
I also kinda wanted to go against having an angelic-looking Eidolon for Aeris, but then that’s her whole aesthetic, isn’t it? I did have the idea to give her an angelic Eidolon that changed into a white bird or dragon.
Pretty much, there’s the idea that Chaos could be a fal’Cie, an Eidolon, or both, and that Vincent’s Gestalt mode would basically be his Eidolon merging with/augmenting him.
Seto is in crystal sleep rather than a stone statue.
After Meteor is summoned, Cloud goes into crystal sleep, and that's how he's found when the party travels to Mideel. Tifa, Barret, and Red XIII are reverted to regular humans, since Jenova no longer nee3ded them. They spend the week that Tifa lost being unconscious without powers, which explains how Barret and Tifa sat captive and were rescued by Cait Sith (and Yuffie if the player got her). In any case, after they get out and find Cloud, Tifa leaves the party, leaving them with two humans along with two, three, or four l'Cie, dependent of if Vincent and/or Yuffie were there.
Instead of Huge Materia, Shinra would be trying to extract sub-fal'Cie from Corel, Fort Condor and Underwater Junon. I had the idea that those fal'Cie would brand Barret, Red, and Tifa respectively, restoring their l'Cie powers once they're all together in Cosmo Canyon. Alternately, Mako may brand them, as the sub-fal'Cie are all connected to it.
Once Cloud is awakened in Mideel, his Jenova brand is white.
Current list of fal'Cie
Shinra - Oversees Midgar, similar to Eden. Artificial fal'Cie.
Mako - Ancient fal'Cie of Life. Currently provides power to Midgar via nine Energy Plants.
'Child' fal'Cie: Extensions of the fal'Cie Mako. Fire/Red in Corel, Earth/Yellow in Gongaga, Air/Green in Nibelheim, Water/Blue in Junon, Life/Purple in Condor. Fire/Red and Earth/Yellow are currently dormant after having destroyed their Energy Plants.
Jenova - A fal'Cie foreign to the Planet. Appears to desire destruction over all.
Cetra - Ancient fal'Cie of Knowledge. Hidden deep within the Forgotten Capital. Can summon Holy with the aid of a powerful l'Cie.
Azure - Ancient fal'Cie of Might. Created the Weapons. Location currently unknown.
Da Chao - Resides within the mountain range of the same name overlooking Wutai. Multi-elemental. Protects and provides for the people of Wutai.
Chaos - Mysterious, feral fal'Cie. Location and purpose unknown.
Serendipity - Golden fal'Cie at the center of the Gold Saucer. Purpose unknown.