- The very end, with Squall smiling for the first time. Meanwhile, Laguna, who has been treated as comic relief through the whole game, gets a flashback at Raine's grave, reminiscing about the night he proposed to her. It's marvelously subtle and sad.
- The love between Laguna and Julia, though never meant to be, was carried on in a very sweet way through their children.
- Squall is trapped in Time Compression. As he catches Rinoa's feather, he tries so hard to focus on her but the images are blurry; he keeps trying anyway and then he sees an image of Rinoa in space and her helmet shattering as she dies. He ends up crying and that's when he collapses and gets found and saved by Rinoa.
- Squall's attitude over the course of the game. At first he seems like a Jerkass, similar to how Cloud was in the opening portions of Final Fantasy VII, but then you start learning more why he's like this: growing up in an orphanage, clinging to Ellone (his "big sis" as he always called her, and teased for "hogging her all to himself"), then Ellone leaves and he's heartbroken. The game repeatedly shows the scene of little Squall, standing outside during a dark rainstorm, saying to no one that Ellone didn't have to worry about him cause he'd "be okay"...or in other words, that he was no longer going to depend on others for his emotional welfare. Whether Squall feels like a ripoff of Cloud or not, his story is likely to tug at heartstrings if you're the kind who has felt abandoned and betrayed before.
- It isn't exactly a ripoff of Cloud's because both have differing issues, but Squall's is still massively depressing in its own right. In some cases, a lot worse. Unlike Cloud, Squall didn't even have the fortune of growing up with a parent in his quaint country hometown of Winhill. Like Cloud, he was mostly distant from the other kids, though at least that was conscious distancing on his part rather than any ostracization from the others. And if Cloud's childhood trauma that he suppressed brought about feelings of worthlessness and perceiving himself to be a constant failure, Squall's trauma is constant abandonment from those he loved or could've loved, all the way up until he joined Balamb Garden, leading him to being rather nihilistic about bonds and relationships. Were it not for the GF's amnesia side-effects, maybe he would've started healing sooner when he reunited with Quistis, Zell, Selphie, Cid, and possibly even Seifer there. Who's to say their relationship wouldn't have been a bit better, Seifer's natural attitude notwithstanding, from the get-go?
- Previous to any of that, when the party visits the bombed-out ruins of Trabia Garden, wandering by the Garden's makeshift graveyard at the right time allows Squall (and therefore the player) to eavesdrop on Selphie as she talks to the graves of her friends killed during the bombing. That Selphie is ordinarily a hyperactive Genki Girl makes it particularly rough. As does the fact that many players miss this scene in their first playthrough since you have to veer off the linear path that progresses the game, making for a shocking Rewatch Bonus for those who didn't realize Selphie had these feelings buried inside her all along.
- The theme for that area, Where I Belong doesn't help things either.
- If you check her website afterwards, she declares she's done posting on her diary, because "If I write anymore, I think a weak side of me will begin to show," revealing she's more like Squall than either of them lets on. Fortunately, she does post one more entry celebrating Balamb Garden's victory over Galbadia.
- At the same graveyard, there's a scene with a jacket on one of the tombstones... and a SeeD talking about how his girlfriend used to wear his jacket when they were together during cold nights...
- The scenes in space, with Rinoa looking up at Squall's ring and her mother's, and realizing that there was nothing left that she could do to save herself.
- There's also the scene where Laguna discovers the in-story significance of the aforementioned "Eyes on Me" - that it was the song Julia told him at the hotel that he'd inspired her to write, and that she'd released it and dedicated it to him when she believed he'd been killed in the war.
- Speaking of that space section, there's the end of it with Squall and Rinoa in the cockpit of the Ragnarok. Let's recount the sequence, shall we? After contacting ground control and setting a course back, artificial gravity is turned off and Rinoa ultimately lands in Squall's lap. We then get confirmation that she's a sorceress. Her breakdown (as well as Squall's, sorta, but mostly from the scenes at the beginning of the section) while Eyes On Me is playing can be utterly heartbreaking.Rinoa: "Just a little longer... I don't wanna go back..."
- Laguna in the flashback at the beginning of the second disc, admitting to Kiros that he's afraid of leaving Winhill and losing Raine and Ellone, and crying out, "Please let it be this room when I wake up! Please let me be in this puny bed when I wake up!" Especially once you know that his fears come to pass before very long.
- The scene that takes place when Squall and co. go to talk to Cid in the infirmary:Squall: Please tell me about Sorceress Edea. I heard she's your wife.Cid: You're quite right... She had been a sorceress since childhood. I married her, knowing that. We were happy. We worked together, the two of us. We were very happy.
- Pretty much everything relating to Raine and Laguna's romance. Let's break this down...
- Raine dies while giving birth to Squall, leaving the poor kid alone without a mother. Laguna is off trying to find Ellone in Esthar, so he has no idea that he even has a son to begin with, and he finds out that Raine has died later.
- It gets even more heartwrenching to know that he still hasn't moved on, almost twenty years later, when he goes and sadly visits Raine's grave, remembering the night he proposed to her on the exact same hill in Winhill. Although the sadness is lessened as he sees Ellone, Ward, and Kiros in the distance and sees Balamb Garden overhead, and smiles as the flower petals fly by...
- The ending of the mission at the Missile Base. Selphie and two of the other party members are trapped inside the base after sabotaging it to explode and there's no way out. Seeing the three faced with death and losing all hope that they'll come out of everything alive is especially tough to watch.
- Each character sans Selphie has a bit to say when realizing they are trapped. Quistis feels useless, Rinoa is worried about Squall. Zell thinks about how he knew that dying like this was possible, but never really acknowledged it until this point. Irvine straight-up wonders if he was sent to the base because Squall distrusts him. It's quite heartbreaking, especially cause it's quite likely that first-time players send off their weakest team members.
- The entire reason Ellone puts the characters through mind-travel. She's living with immense guilt that Laguna had left Raine to look for her, and thus not only wasn't at Raine's side when she died but he didn't even know he had a son. So Ellone had her friends from the orphanage—including Laguna's son Squall—mind-travel to the past to try and communicate to Laguna that he shouldn't leave Raine to look for her. Unfortunately, they have no idea what they're experiencing or what she's trying to accomplish, and after a few tries Ellone can't even get back to the right time; eventually, she concludes that the past simply can't be changed.
- It's not obvious at first but going through a second playthrough, armed with the revelation, makes you feel for poor Irvine, if you were the kind of person who valued old friendships: He reveals later in Trabia Garden and helps the main party remember that they (bar Rinoa) and Seifer were all friends in the same orphanage, raised by Edea and Cid before the former was possessed by Ultimecia. What initially seems like a cocky, and some would find annoying, behavior when he's first introduced that he seems to fail to live up to when it comes time to snipe Edea is in fact a mask to hide that he's severely hurt and disappointed none of his old friends remember him and that he can't bring himself to shoot their mother figure, even if she isn't who she used to be. Never mind that these old friends who don't remember him or her seem so casual in the idea of killing her. You can tell he wants to tell them but it would be pointless because of the urgency of the situation and they wouldn't even know what he was talking about anyway.
- To a lesser extent, when he DOES try to go through with the sniping and fails because of Edea's barrier, the way he slumps after gives the feeling that he's secretly relieved the bullet was blocked, thus saving him the guilt of killing their mother figure.
- To some, the Game Over screen. Seeing Squall's broken Gunblade and Rinoa's feather with a sad music playing can really tug at your heartstrings.
- When you defeat the Tonberry King, he transforms into a normal Tonberry and joins your party, but not before saying "I'm sorry." Now, is he apologizing to Squall and Co. for attacking them, or to the scores of Tonberries he failed to avenge?
- Imagine the side effects of junctioning GF's from Cid's perspective. The children that he and his wife took in and raised as their own all slowly but surely come to forget about him, and he knows it, but he stands by and lets it happen because SeeD needs junctioning in order to defeat the Sorceress.
Tear Jerker / Final Fantasy VIII