The Highwind (ハイウインド, Haiwindo?) is the player's primary airship in Final Fantasy VII. It can only land on plains in the overworld and only patches that are big enough for it to land. The player can store a chocobo inside it and ride it out again. There is a man that acts as a save point who can fully heal the party for no cost.
The Highwind is used to ram into Ultimate Weapon to make it stop fleeing and fight. In some battles with the Ultimate Weapon the deck is used as a battleground. The airship is also used as a part of Cid's Limit Break Highwind, in which the Highwind rains 18 missiles down on random targets.
The Highwind was designed and built by Cid Highwind, Shinra Electric Power Company's chief aeronautical engineer. A poster of the newly constructed Highwind is on display in the Showcase Room of Shinra Headquarters in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. The airship was confiscated from Cid after the failed launch of Shinra No. 26 rocket and would serve as Shinra's main flagship from then on. Cloud can spot the Highwind stationed in Junon airfield while first passing through during Rufus Shinra's welcome parade.
President Rufus Shinra takes command of the Highwind during the hunt for the rogue SOLDIER, Sephiroth, and commandeers it to reach the Northern Cave inside the North Crater. The time taken to arrange the mutiny of the Highwind crew takes roughly seven days. It is not explained how Cid avoided capture during this time, but Tifa Lockhart and Barret Wallace are taken away on the Highwind during the Weapons' rise.
The Highwind is docked in Junon where Rufus plans to execute Tifa and Barret as scapegoats for the Meteor crisis. The other party members infiltrate Junon and rescue Barret while Cid convinces the Highwind's crew to abandon Shinra and return to serve him. The airship thus stolen from Shinra, Tifa jumps off the Mako Cannon onto the Highwind and from then on the Highwind serves as the main transporting device and headquarters for the party.
Before the party descend to the Northern Cave for the final battle, the Highwind reveals two jet boosts at the back, replacing the two propellers. After defeating Sephiroth the party are stuck deep within the Planet and the Highwind dives into the crater to rescue them; the cause of the nose-dive is not explained, and Cid's consternation implies the crew acted on their own, or that the ship, tethered near the crater entrance, was pulled down.
As the ship is blasted out of the crater by Holy its tails fall off along with some of the shell. Cid pulls an emergency lever that jettisons the rest of the load and transforms the Highwind into its final form as two long wings unfold from its sides. The final Highwind model is propelled by a single engine, and appears to be an emergency measure only used when the ship takes too much damage. Highwind soars the skies as the Meteor crashes into Midgar and the Lifestream wells up to save the Planet.
It is unknown what became of the Highwind afterward, as Cid replaces it with a new airship, the Shera.
The Bridge is located forward of the airship's gondola and can be seen from the outside through a large curved window supported by metal grid-work. The deck contains three work stations, including the pilot controls (located top right and manned by Cid), communications and radar post (located left), and a station for various other stats and controls (located bottom right). The Bridge is accessible via the Machinery Room.
Most of the player party can be conversed with here. Talking to the pilot gives the option to return to the world map where the player can take control of the Highwind.
- Machinery Room
The Machinery Room links all other areas together. The room covers two floors. The ground floor is entered from the Bridge in the bottom-right. If Yuffie is in the party she resides in the bottom-left of the screen, suffering from motion sickness. On the northern door of the ground floor is the entrance to the Operation Room. On the right of this is the entrance to the Stables. A set of stairs lead to the second floor, which contains nothing in itself but another set of stairs out onto the Deck.
- Operation Room
The Operation Room links to the rest of the Highwind via a door to the Machinery Room. The Operation Room has a table in the center and a screen which occasionally displays the position of the Highwind on the World Map. A crewman found here will allow the the player to replenish HP and MP, save their game and change party members.
The Stables link to the rest of the Highwind via the Machinery Room. The Stables provides suitable accommodation for one chocobo. Accessible via the engine room the stables contains hay, water and various chocobo feed for the avid breeder. If the player boards the Highwind while riding a chocobo, it can be visited here.
The deck is the first area of the Highwind visited by the party when Tifa first boards. At a number of times the Deck uses a series of ropes and ladders which can be unfurled to provide access to the ground as well as a mooring to anchor the Highwind while "landed". It is from the Deck the player can descend into Northern Cave.
Although no random encounters can occur while traversing the rooms of the Highwind, Ultimate Weapon can be fought on the deck of the Highwind for a number of battles, including the first battle above the waterfall in the Junon Area. The battles fought on the Highwind are the battle in the Junon Area, the battle above Mideel, the battle at Mt. Nibel, the battle above North Corel, and the final battle near Cosmo Canyon.
As a VehicleEdit
The player can steer the Highwind on the world map and land it on grassy areas. If the player tries to board the Highwind and a chocobo at the same time, the game freezes. If the player rides the Highwind backwards into the barrier around the North Crater, they can pass through it. However, if the player tries landing the Highwind within the crater, they will be knocked out by the barrier.
It is possible to lose the Highwind as the party's vehicle and thus make finishing the game impossible; if the player leaves the Highwind on an island and leaves the area on a chocobo, takes the chocobo to the Chocobo Farm and releases it to the wild, and then trashes the party's Chocobo Lure Materia, the player will never be able to get the Highwind back.
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The main musical theme of the Highwind is track 3 on disc 4 of the Final Fantasy VII: Original Soundtrack, "Highwind Takes to the Skies". It is a stirring arrangement of the "Main Theme of Final Fantasy VII" and might have been inspired by one of Final Fantasy V soundtrack: "Searching the Light".
"Gold Saucer ~ The Highwind Takes to the Skies / X'mas Edit" (from Final Fantasy VII) is a track on the X'mas Collections music from SQUARE ENIX.
"Highwind Takes to the Skies" is included on the fourth disc of Final Fantasy VII Vinyl Limited Edition compilation album.
When the player's party first visits Junon in Final Fantasy VII, Highwind is stationed on Junon airfield. Onboard the cargo ship Aeris confides in Cloud a desire to ride the airship. A wallpaper released by Square – also visible during the installation of the 1998 PC release of Final Fantasy VII and on the CD sleeve – shows Aeris watching the Highwind on Junon airfield.
The wallpaper was one of the pretexts for the debate of whether or not it was possible to revive her in the game, as the Highwind isn't acquired until after she dies, yet in the picture she is standing next to the airship.
A toy version of the Highwind appears in a scene.
Highwind appears in a Field Music Sequence.
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Non-Final Fantasy AppearancesEdit
Kingdom Hearts seriesEdit
In Kingdom Hearts, Riku challenges Sora to a race; if Sora wins, he can name their raft what the player wishes. However, if Riku wins, he calls it "Highwind". The name of the raft is used for the name of the Gummi Ship later in the game.
"Highwind" is used in Kingdom Hearts II for the default model of the Gummi Ship. Also, there's a special Gummi Ship model named "Highwind Alpha" which resembles Highwind.
- To confront the Ultimate Weapon, the player must ram it with the Highwind to fight it on the deck. However, if one confronts Diamond Weapon while riding the Highwind, Cid scolds the player for trying what would potentially destroy the ship.
- In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, the player can see a blimp that resembles the Highwind in Junon's Airport. It can be seen much more clearly with a map viewer.