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.
In the Hands of Shinra Edit
The Highwind was designed and built by Cid Highwind, Shinra Electric Power Company's chief aeronautical engineer, several years before the beginning of Final Fantasy VII. A poster of the newly constructed Highwind can be seen in the Showcase Room of Shinra Headquarters in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. The airship was confiscated from Cid after the failed rocket launch in Rocket Town and served as Shinra's main flagship from then on. The Highwind can be spotted in Junon while first passing through in Final Fantasy VII.
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; this is one of the few times in the game that time scales are mentioned (other than the infamous 'five years ago'); 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. Tifa Lockhart and Barret Wallace are both stolen away on the Highwind during the Weapons' rise.
The Party's AirshipEdit
The Highwind is docked in Junon, where Rufus plans to execute both Tifa and Barret as scapegoats for the Meteor crisis. The other party members sneak in and rescue Barret and go off to steal the Highwind. Tifa jumps off the Sister Ray cannon onto her waiting comrades on the Highwind and they fly off, safely out of Shinra's clutches. For then on, the Highwind serves as the main transporting device and headquarters for the party.
Just before the final battle the Highwind reveals two jet boosts at the back, replacing the two propellers, and after defeating Sephiroth the party are stuck deep within the Planet, and the Lifestream is quickly seeping up to the surface. The Highwind dives straight into the crater to rescue them; the cause of this nose-dive is not explained, Cid's apparent dismay (as it crashes down, he reaches up to it) implies the crew acted on their own to save the group, or that the ship, tethered near the entrance of crater, was pulled down.
The ship is blasted out of the crater by Holy, its tails fall off along with some of the shell, and reveals its final form as two long wings unfold from its sides. The final Highwind model is propelled by only one 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 comes up to save the Planet.
It is unknown what became of Highwind after the events of Final Fantasy VII. Cid would replace the Highwind with his 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.
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".
"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.
The picture seen on the right was one of the causes for the great debate of whether or not it was possible to revive Aeris in the game, as the Highwind isn't acquired until after she dies, yet she is standing there, ready to board. It is speculated as adding to the ironic elements of Final Fantasy VII's plot, as it is on the cover of the CD sleeve and one of the most famous images released before the game. Alternatively, this could be interpreted as symbolic, considering the fact Aeris did see the Highwind in Junon, thus her request to Cloud to let her ride on it someday.
- 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.
- Ironically, if one were to try to confront Diamond Weapon while riding the Highwind, Cid will scold the player, asking whether they are trying to destroy the ship. However, when confronting the Ultimate Weapon, the player must ram into with the Highwind, and even fight it on the deck.
- In On the Way to a Smile: Episode of Denzel, Denzel is seen throwing a toy version of the Highwind into a window.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Riku will challenge Sora to a race; if Sora wins he can name their raft what the player wishes, however if Riku wins he says it will be named Highwind. The name of the raft is used for the name of the Gummi Ship later in the game. The name Highwind is later 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.
- The musical theme, "Highwind takes to the Sky", might be inspired by one of Final Fantasy V soundtrack: "Searching the Light".
- 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.
- 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.