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Cloud Strife

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Cloud Strife
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Cloud Strife
Cloud Strife FFVII artwork.png
Solo artwork of Cloud for Final Fantasy VII
クラウド・ストライフ
Kuraudo Sutoraifu
Game appearance(s) Final Fantasy VII (Remake)
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
Birthplace Nibelheim
Date of birth August 19
Age 21 (FFVII)
Gender Male
Height 5'7"
Species Human
Blood type AB
Weapon(s) Sword (usually Buster Sword)
Affiliation AVALANCHE
Occupation FFVII: Mercenary
Former: First-class SOLDIER
English voice actor Steve Burton (2002–2018)
Cody Christian (FFVII Remake)
Japanese voice actor Takahiro Sakurai (2002–present)
Kenyu Horiuchi (Ehrgeiz, arcade version)
Nozomu Sasaki (Ehrgeiz, console version)
"Cloud" redirects here. For information about other subjects with the name "Cloud", see Cloud (disambiguation).

Cloud Strife is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII and several of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII games. He is a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. His trademark and defeault weapon is the Buster Sword. His appearance is marked by spiky blonde hair, vivid blue eyes (a distinct feature of SOLDIER members and a sign of having been exposed to Mako energy), and dark purple or blue clothing.

Character design[edit]

The game's character designer, Tetsuya Nomura, has revealed that the original parameters of Cloud's character design called for slicked-back, black hair with no spikes. This was to serve as a contrast to the long, flowing silver hair of the game's lead antagonist, Sephiroth. However, to make Cloud stand out more and emphasize his role in the game as the lead protagonist, Nomura altered Cloud's original design to give him spiky, bright, blond hair. It would seem that the original black hair was given to Zack instead.[1] However, Nomura used the concept years later for Angeal in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII.

Kazushige Nojima has expressed that the dynamic of the relationship between the player and the main character in a Final Fantasy title is something that he always puts thought into, and that with Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's subdued nature led him to write scenes with the character in such a way that the players would be placed in the position of deciding for themselves what the character was thinking. This character-player dynamic is reflected by the many opportunities the player is given to choose Cloud's way of interacting with other characters in the game's story, particularly where potential romantic-interests are concerned.

History[edit]

Final Fantasy VII[edit]

In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is the central force around which the narrative is constructed. In the beginning, the player is introduced to him as a mercenary and former member of SOLDIER. At first, Cloud displays a cold and uncaring demeanor, but he gradually adapts to his role as a leader. During a mission in which he worked with the anti-Shinra organization AVALANCHE, he encounters a young woman by the name of Aerith Gainsborough, who is wanted by the Turks for being the last member of an ancient tribe known as the Cetra. Later, the player is introduced to Sephiroth, a former SOLDIER 1st Class.

Early in the game, Cloud's past is a mystery. He claims that he was in the city of Nibelheim with Sephiroth when Sephiroth discovered his true origins as a Shinra experiment, subsequently went berserk, and massacred the local population. After finding Tifa wounded, Cloud confronts Sephiroth. Yet, when examined closely, Cloud's memories of these events and others are filled with holes that prevent them from making sense. It all comes together later in the game.

As it turns out, Cloud suffers from a mixture of amnesia and mind control. Although he had been in Nibelheim during Sephiroth's rampage, he was not there as a top ranking member of SOLDIER, but a grunt under the command of both Sephiroth and another man named Zack. Following the incident, Cloud and Zack were captured by Shinra and experimented on with Jenova cells for several years. Upon their escape, Zack was killed, and Cloud was left for dead in a confused stupor, believing himself to have been the SOLDIER Zack was.

Cloud's predicament is not entirely unlike that of Terra Branford of Final Fantasy VI. Whereas Terra was raised to become a magic-wielding soldier under the control of the antagonistic Empire, Cloud's mind is manipulated by Sephiroth, using his Jenova cells to make use of him as a puppet. Under Sephiroth's influence, he presents his enemy with the Black Materia capable of summoning Meteor and destroying the world. In addition, where Terra was eventually able to regain her memories and learn to be her own person, Cloud spends much of the game atoning for his mistakes, including his own perceived failure to save Aerith from Sephiroth when she leaves the party in order to cast Holy; the only spell capable of directly countering Meteor.

By the end of the game, Cloud regains his sense of self, but due to the abrupt nature of the conclusion, his development as a person after the defeat of Sephiroth was left as a mystery.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children[edit]

Cloud's appearance in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.

In Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, it is revealed that in the two years following the conclusion of the game, Cloud lived with Tifa and Barret in the city of Edge, and following Barret's return to his hometown of Corel, he helped Tifa raise two children, Marlene, Barret's adopted daughter, and Denzel, an orphan and new character to the series. Cloud's new occupation is that of a delivery boy for the "Strife Delivery Service" that Tifa set up in her new tavern.

Over time, Cloud began suffering symptoms of the disease Geostigma, keeping his left arm cloaked to hide the disfiguration it caused. Since the end of Final Fantasy VII, Cloud grew apart from the others out of the guilt for the deaths of Aerith and Zack, and a result, he moved out of the tavern and took refuge in the old church in which Aerith once raised flowers. Cloud's confusion in Final Fantasy VII has given way to severe grief, in which he cannot forgive himself for failing to save those he cared about.

Around the time Cloud receives a call from Tifa that Reno has a job for him, he is attacked by a mysterious trio of young men: Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo; remnants of Sephiroth left behind before Sephiroth himself could diffuse into the Lifestream completely. The three begin kidnapping children that possess Geostigma, intending to have the children lead them to Jenova's head. Upon confronting them for a second time, Cloud finds himself outmatched and is rescued by Vincent Valentine.

These conflicts form the basic plot elements of the film, as Cloud struggles to find faith in himself and achieve personal closure to the more painful events of his past. Finally coming to terms with his self-imposed guilt at having failed to save Zack and Aerith, Cloud shows the villainous trio his true power taking out Kadaj's brothers and going after a desperate Kadaj, but not without some help of his friends and motivation provided by Aerith's spirit.

Confronting Kadaj and his brothers once more, the battle eventually takes him back to Aerith's church, where the Lifestream-influenced water cures him of his Geostigma. However, his skills are put to the ultimate test when Kadaj manages to merge with the last remaining traces of Jenova, and Sephiroth is reborn. The ensuing battle is fierce, and nearly ends for Cloud as Sephiroth impales him through the shoulder with his sword. However, Sephiroth makes the mistake of asking what is most important to Cloud and how he can take that away from him. Inspired by thoughts of his friends, Cloud regains his strength and overwhelms Sephiroth with "Omnislash Version 5," a variant of the Omnislash Limit Break attack Cloud could use in Final Fantasy VII. When Sephiroth is once again defeated, he dissipates, leaving a dying Kadaj in his place. Hearing Aerith's voice, whom he believes to be the "mother" he had been longing for, Kadaj is diffused into the Lifestream. At this point Loz and Yazoo appear and set off a kamikaze explosion that apparently kills all three of them. However, Cloud's spirit is stopped from entering the Lifestream by Aerith and Zack and is ressurected, reappearing in Aerith's church.

As the film approaches its end, Cloud is helping Geostigma victims into the Lifestream-infused water in the old church when he spots Aerith near the doorway, where Zack is waiting for her. Before she leaves, Aerith turns around to gaze at Cloud one last time, assuring him that everything is all right before turning to walk through the light of the doorway with Zack. Cloud smiles and agrees, finally realizing that he is not alone.

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII[edit]

Cloud in Last Order: Final Fantasy VII.

Cloud plays a minor role in the cell phone game Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII. During the course of the game, which takes place over the six years leading into Final Fantasy VII, the player encounters Cloud while he is serving as a lowly grunt under Zack and Sephiroth's command.

Cloud is one of the main characters in Last Order: Final Fantasy VII. This OVA shows Cloud in two events that were shown in flashbacks in Final Fantasy VII; one at Nibelheim, and the other escaping from Shinra with Zack.

In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, there are currently few details of Cloud's purpose within this game. Though there is the possibility that the reason why Cloud obtains the Buster Sword is explained (as its original owner Angeal is featured within the game).

Cloud appears in a small supporting role in Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. A year after the events of Advent Children, he offers his help to the WRO in their siege of Midgar and counterattack against the rogue Shinra military unit known as Deep Ground. Cloud's brief screen time limits him to only a few lines of dialogue, but he is at one point seen clashing with Rosso the Crimson, one of the game's primary adversaries.

Cloud was seen at the end of a technical demo shown at the 2005 E3 made to show off the PlayStation 3's capabilities. It is a remake of the opening sequence in Final Fantasy VII, and as in the original, Cloud is shown jumping off the train, this time wielding his Buster Sword.

Kingdom Hearts series[edit]

Cloud, as he appears in Kingdom Hearts

In Kingdom Hearts, Cloud appears in the Olympus Coliseum world. He wears a claw and a crimson cape which Tetsuya Nomura stated are not Vincent Valentine's, but rather that the KH version of Cloud was designed in a similar "dark" style as Nomura put it, thus they will have similarities as a result. This is noted by Nomura in the Kingdom Hearts Ultimania. He also bears a black demon wing on his left shoulder (meant to offset the black angel wing on Sephiroth's right shoulder). Cloud has been hired by Hades to kill Hercules, but fights Sora as a prerequisite. When he refuses to kill Sora during their battle, or when Sora defeated him depending on whether the player won or lost the battle, Hades sets Cerberus on Cloud and Sora, who are only saved by Hercules' timely intervention. Cloud meets with Sora afterwards and explains that he lost the light within his heart, and is searching for it, hence his willingness to work for Hades. Cloud appears later in the Coliseum's battle tournaments: in the Hercules Cup, on his own, and in the Hades Cup, where he teams up with Leon. During the credit roll at the end of the game, Cloud is shown reuniting with Aerith Gainsborough in the library at Hollow Bastion.

Leon and Cloud in the Hollow Bastion world of Kingdom Hearts II.

In Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix it is revealed that he is also searching for Sephiroth, whom he can be seen battling. Cloud's appearance in Kingdom Hearts is merely a cameo, and there is no mention of significant details from Final Fantasy VII, such as Jenova or SOLDIER. This is due to the fact that the Final Fantasy characters in Kingdom Hearts are versions from an alternate reality and not the same characters that appear in their respective games.

Cloud continued his role in the series in the Game Boy Advance sequel Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories as a boss and later, as a summon card for Sora. However, Cloud is only a figment of Sora's memory in this game. The story states that he sided with Hades to search for his lost memories (instead of Sephiroth) but, in the end, Cloud ended up saying too much, prompting Hades to confess he lied to Cloud, as he wanted him to weaken Hercules in order to take him to the Underworld. After Sora foiled Hades' plan, Cloud chose to continue seeking his memories - this time, by himself.

Cloud's part continues in Kingdom Hearts II where he is in his Advent Children attire (and his wing is either missing or "hidden"), with more elaboration on his activities offered: to seek and overcome his darkness. He is searching for Sephiroth, and is himself being sought out by Kingdom Hearts' version of Tifa. Cloud fights along side Sora during the Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion. Also, in Kingdom Hearts II, Jiminy's journal states that Cloud is a SOLDIER. Cloud's exploits in this game are a part of a small side story within the game about his inner conflict between darkness and light, in which he fights Sephiroth once more, with help from Tifa, Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy.

Through each game in the Kingdom Hearts series, Cloud is portrayed as being especially stoic and melancholic compared to his usual personality in Final Fantasy VII, although he exhibits similar behaviour in Advent Children.

In both Kingdom Hearts games, Cloud's sword is wrapped in cloth. In the first Kingdom Hearts, the blade is the same as the one he has in Final Fantasy VII, but in Kingdom Hearts II, the blade is similar to his Advent Children sword, with a few minor differences.

After the player defeats Sephiroth (as an optional boss) in Kingdom Hearts II, Tifa gives Sora the Keyblade Fenrir, which has bandages identical to those wrapped around Cloud's Buster Sword/Advent Children sword (in the Kingdom Hearts games) and is thus loosely based on Cloud's swords in general.

Final Fantasy Tactics[edit]

FFT Cloud portrait.png

In Final Fantasy Tactics for the PlayStation, Cloud is one of the bonus playable characters. Cloud is accidentally pulled into the world of Ivalice by an ancient machine called "the Celestial Globe," which was activated by Ramza Beoulve in Goug Machine City. His comments after arriving in Ivalice seem to indicate that the Celestial Globe pulled him from the Lifestream, during the period in Final Fantasy VII when he was adrift in it.

Cloud is disoriented after arriving in Ramza's world, seemingly remembering only bits and pieces of his life before coming out of the portal. After a short exchange with Ramza and the others, he is racked by a seizure, like the ones he suffers from during the course of Final Fantasy VII. As it fades, he exclaims, "I must go...must go to that place...," before running out, Ramza and his friends close behind him.

He wanders into Zarghidas Trade City, where he encounters a parallel counterpart to the Aerith from his world, a flower girl bearing the same name. Cloud is still confused, presumably from his trip to Ramza's world, and is further confused by the encounter.

As Cloud is leaving, Aerith is accosted by an apparent loan shark looking to collect on a 30,000 gil loan. Cloud returns to help Aerith escape but suffers another seizure as Ramza and his party catch up to him. After they save him, he joins Ramza's party, while Ramza agrees to help get him back to his own world. However, the subplot ends there, and Cloud remains a playable character for the rest of the game.

Itadaki Street series[edit]

In Itadaki Street Special and Itadaki Street Portable, Cloud is one of the playable Final Fantasy VII characters, along with Aerith, Sephiroth, and Tifa.

Chocobo Racing[edit]

In Chocobo Racing, Cloud is the fifth of ten unlockable characters. In the game, he rides a motorcycle and appears much like he did during the bike chase scene in Final Fantasy VII. He is playable in all modes except the story mode.

Ehrgeiz[edit]

Cloud is a playable character in the PlayStation version of Ehrgeiz. Like the other Final Fantasy VII characters, Cloud is not part of the main story, although he is usable in the arcade mode, versus mode, and minigame events. Cloud and Tifa are the only Final Fantasy VII characters with a third costume. Cloud's depicts him in his Shinra gunman attire.

Profiles and descriptions[edit]

Main article: List of Cloud profiles and statistics

Final Fantasy VII[edit]

  • North American website: "The main character of Final Fantasy VII. Originally a member of SOLDIER, he is now a mercenary who will take any job. After being hired by AVALANCHE, he gradually gets caught up in a massive struggle for the life of the planet. His enormous sword can cut almost anything in two."

References[edit]

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