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Solo artwork of Cloud for Final Fantasy VII
|Game appearance(s)||Final Fantasy VII (Remake)|
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
|Date of birth||August 11, 1986|
|Age||14-21 (Before Crisis and Crisis Core)|
21 (Final Fantasy VII)
23 (Advent Children)
24 (Dirge of Cerberus)
|Species||Human (augmented with Mako and Jenova cells)|
|Weapon(s)||Sword (usually Buster Sword)|
Former: Shinra Infantryman
|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 also a character in the Kingdom Hearts series and a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Cloud's signature weapon is the Buster Sword, a massive two-handed broadsword, which he uses in Final Fantasy VII and most of his spin-off appearances. 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.
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is initially appears as a proud, yet arrogant and aloof swordsman who claims to be a former member of the elite paramilitary group SOLDIER, Cloud is hired by the insurgency group Avalanche as a mercenary to help them in their cause against the Shinra Electric Power Company. As Cloud's journey unfolds, he rediscovers his past and, alongside his childhood friend Tifa Lockhart and newfound friends within Avalanche, abandons his quest for power and fame in favor of fighting to defend his friends and their home planet Gaia.
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 behavior in Advent Children.
Concept and creation
In contrast to Final Fantasy VI, which featured multiple main characters, Square's staff decided at the outset of Final Fantasy VII's development that the game would follow a single identifiable protagonist. In Hironobu Sakaguchi's first plot treatment, a prototype for Cloud's character belonged to an organization attempting to destroy New York City's "Mako Reactors". After a pause in development so that the team could help finish Chrono Trigger, Square began experimenting with next-generation hardware. A small group including Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura worked in secret to develop a demo for a Nintendo 64 emulation kit running on an SGI Onyx. In addition to testing models ported from Square's 1995 SIGGRAPH demo, Nomura and a handful of other artists created new characters, including an early design of Cloud.
Sakaguchi, impressed with Nomura's illustrations and detailed handwritten notes for Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI, tasked Nomura with designing Final Fantasy VII's main characters. Kitase and Nomura discussed that Cloud would be the lead of three protagonists, but Nomura did not receive character profiles or a completed scenario in advance. Left to imagine the stories behind the characters he designed, Nomura shared these details in discussions with staff or in separately penned notes. Frustrated by the continued popularity of Final Fantasy IV's characters despite the release of two sequels, Nomura made it his goal to create a memorable cast.
Cloud's design underwent several revisions. Nomura's first draft of Cloud featured slicked-back black hair to contrast with the long silver hair of the game's primary antagonist, Sephiroth, To make Cloud stand out more and emphasize his role as the game's lead protagonist, Nomura altered Cloud's design to give him spiky, bright blond hair. Nomura also made Cloud taller than he appeared in the SGI Onyx demo, while a discarded iteration drawn "more on the realistic side" depicted Cloud with an even taller head and body and a more muscular physique.
Like with previous Final Fantasy titles, Yoshitaka Amano painted promotional images for Final Fantasy VII. According to Amano, because of the hardware limitations of the PlayStation, characters could not be rendered realistically. He thought Cloud's baggy pants, which taper at the bottom, reflected a Japanese style, resembling the silhouette of a hakama. The contrast between Cloud, a "young, passionate boy", and Sephiroth, a "more mature and cool" individual, struck Amano as "intriguing", though not unusual as a pairing. When designing Cloud and Sephiroth, Nomura imagined a rivalry mirroring that of Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirō, with Cloud and Sephiroth representing Musashi and Kojirō, respectively.
Nomura's notes listed Cloud's job as magic swordsman (魔法剣士 mahō kenshi ). Early renditions of Cloud's weapon, the Buster Sword, depicted a smaller, thinner blade. Variations included additions such as a small chain connected to the pommel, magnets that would secure the blade to Cloud's back, and a more detailed design that resembled a "Western-style sword". The Buster Sword's blade grew in subsequent illustrations, and Nomura called it "the Giant Kitchen Knife", envisioning it as unrefined steel.
Kitase and Nojima developed Cloud's backstory and his relationship to Sephiroth. While drafting the game's scenario, Nojima saw a standing animation created by event planner Motomu Toriyama that depicted "Cloud showing off". The animation impressed Nojima and inspired the idea that Cloud had developed a false persona. This later led Nojima to create Zack Fair, a SOLDIER whom Cloud aspired to be like, to expand on the mystery of Cloud's past. Nojima left the unfolding of events regarding Cloud's identity unwritten, and Kitase remained unaware of the significance of Zack's addition until playtesting. Kitase reviewed Nojima's scenario and felt that Cloud, being neither single-minded nor righteous, offered a fresh take on a protagonist. The love triangle between Cloud, Tifa Lockhart, and Aerith Gainsborough was also viewed as novel for the series. Nojima likened Cloud and Tifa's relationship to one of friends since nursery school, and compared Aerith to a transfer student arriving mid-term.
Nojima wanted to write scenes in a way for players to decide what Cloud was thinking. Nojima used Cloud's foggy memories as a device to provide details about the world that would be unknown to the player but considered common knowledge to its inhabitants. To emphasize Cloud's personality, event planners repeated elements they found interesting such as Toriyama's standing animation and Cloud's use of the phrase "not interested".
Final Fantasy VII
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is introduced as a mercenary employed by AVALANCHE. At the start of the game, after Cloud wins his first battle, the player can give him a name, and Cloud's default name is his actual one. Cloud assists AVALANCHE's leader, Barret Wallace, in bombing a Mako Reactor, which are power plants that drain the Planet's Lifestream. Cloud claims to be formerly of SOLDIER 1st Class, an elite Shinra fighting unit. He takes pride in his past and boasts of the abilities of its members. However, his background produces misgivings as to his allegiances and trustworthiness, and Cloud's blasé attitude towards the goals of AVALANCHE creates further tension. Despite appearing detached, Cloud demonstrates moments of camaraderie, and players can choose to interact in a friendlier manner with AVALANCHE's members. When approached by his childhood friend and AVALANCHE member, Tifa Lockhart, about accepting another job, Cloud at first refuses. However, when confronted with his boyhood promise to protect her were he to become a famous hero, Cloud agrees to continue helping AVALANCHE, despite neither having become famous nor a hero.
While working for AVALANCHE, Cloud encounters Aerith Gainsborough, a resident of Midgar's slums. Agreeing to serve as her bodyguard in exchange for a date, Cloud helps Aerith evade Shinra, who pursue her because she is the sole survivor of a race known as the Cetra. From hereon, Cloud's character is further expanded upon; he shows increased signs of good-natured humor and protectiveness, as opposed to his antagonistic use of sarcasm with Barret or comparative coolness to everyone other than Tifa that he has previously spoken with. Aerith, in turn, reciprocates this attitude, offering her assistance to lead Cloud back to Sector 7 and to rescue Tifa in Sector 6, despite Cloud being her bodyguard and the danger present. At one point, Aerith notes that Cloud reminds her of an old boyfriend of hers, who is implied to be Zack Fair.
When the party escapes from Midgar, Cloud is appointed group leader by the other members. When the party arrives at an inn in the town of Kalm, Cloud narrates his history with Sephiroth and the events that led to Sephiroth's disappearance five years prior. According to Cloud, the two were "war buddies". Joining SOLDIER to emulate Sephiroth, Cloud explains that he would sign up for a "big mission" whenever they became available, as the conclusion of Shinra's war with the people of Wutai ended his chances for military fame. Cloud explains that Sephiroth started questioning his humanity after accompanying him on a job to Cloud's hometown of Nibelheim, which suffered from a malfunctioning Mako Reactor responsible for producing monsters. Discovering documents concerning Jenova, an extraterrestrial lifeform and Sephiroth's "mother", Sephiroth mistakes himself for a Cetra and blames their downfall on humans. Sephiroth burns Nibelheim and leaves for the Mt. Nibel Mako reactor, where Cloud follows him to. Upon arriving, Cloud finds Tifa gravely wounded by Sephiroth outside the chamber where Jenova is stored. Cloud says that he then confronted Sephiroth, although he is unable to remember the events directly following.
During the course of the game, a love triangle develops between Cloud, Tifa and Aerith, often exploited to humorous effect. It is primarily focused on in the first disc. At one point, in Aeris's House, Aeris asks Cloud about his romantic life. Dialogue choices impact the strength of Cloud's relationship with Tifa and Aerith, as well as with Barret and Yuffie Kisaragi. These interactions determine who accompanies Cloud through the Gold Saucer. If Aerith joins Cloud, she reflects on how strongly Cloud's physical appearance and mannerisms resemble Zack's, and struggles to put into words how she is still "searching for [Cloud]". Irrespective of who accompanies Cloud at the Gold Saucer, how the player interacts with Tifa may also result in a more sexually suggestive scene playing out during the night she spends with Cloud before the game's conclusion. Tifa worries instead that the party saw, rather than overheard, the two the morning after.
Various visual and audio cues, such as the screen flashing white or red and the sound of static, play when Cloud attempts to recall details about his identity. Cloud spontaneously remembers words or scenes from his past and sometimes collapses to the ground while cradling his head. An unidentified voice questions Cloud in his sleep about why he and Tifa never met alone during his mission to Nibelheim despite their history. Additionally, Tifa makes various remarks suggesting that Cloud's version of events troubles her, and she feigns ignorance of who Zack is. Cloud's behavior grows increasingly erratic after searching the Temple of the Ancients for the Black Materia, an item capable of casting the destructive magic Meteor. After retrieving the Black Materia, Cloud loses control of himself and hands over the Black Materia to Sephiroth and attacks Aerith. Alarmed that Sephiroth can manipulate him, Cloud realizes that he is "afraid to find out the truth" and becomes fearful of himself. Later, Sephiroth takes advantage of Cloud's insecurities, telling him that his past is merely a fiction and that Shinra created Cloud in an attempt to clone Sephiroth. Although Cloud is initially dismissive, when Tifa is unable to corroborate Cloud's account of the Nibelheim incident, Cloud realizes he cannot remember things like how or when he joined SOLDIER. Cloud, resigning himself as a "failed experiment", goes missing after Sephiroth summons Meteor. The party later discovers a comatose Cloud suffering from Mako poisoning, and Tifa helps Cloud reconstruct his past in his subconscious after the two fall into the Lifestream.
It is revealed that Cloud never qualified for SOLDIER, and instead enlisted as an infantryman in Shinra's army. During the mission to Nibelheim, Cloud served under Sephiroth and Zack, a SOLDIER 1st Class, hiding his identity from the townspeople out of embarrassment. Following Sephiroth's defeat of Zack at the Mt. Nibel Mako reactor, Cloud took up Zack's sword, catching Sephiroth off guard and stabbing him. Zack urges Cloud to kill Sephiroth after Sephiroth emerges alive, but when Cloud pursues him, he is run through by Sephiroth's sword. Cloud, to Sephiroth's shock, summons the strength to grab hold of the blade and lift Sephiroth off the ground, tossing him into a Mako vat below. Cloud and Zack are then imprisoned by Shinra's lead scientist, Hojo, for experimentation. Zack later escapes with Cloud, bringing him to the outskirts of Midgar before Shinra soldiers gun Zack down. Due to exposure to Mako radiation and the injection of Jenova's cells, in addition to the shame stemming from his personal failures, Cloud's mind fabricated a story blending together his own memories with accounts of Zack's heroics, creating a false personality. After piecing back together his identity, Cloud resumes his role as leader and dismisses Sephiroth's deceit that he is an artificially-constructed Sephiroth-clone.
Surfacing at Mideel approximately a week later, Cloud has been subjected to intense Mako poisoning within the Lifestream, leaving him paralyzed and incoherent. Tifa stays to care for him while the rest of the party fights Shinra, who is risking a dangerous attempt to stop the Meteor that is now coming to the Planet. Ultimate Weapon attacks Mideel, and Tifa and Cloud fall into the Lifestream and into Cloud's Subconscious.
In disc 3, which concludes the game, the party lands in the North Crater and descends through Northern Cave to the depths of the planet to confront Sephiroth. After the party defeats Safer Sephiroth, which is Sephiroth's god-like form, his mind is sent back into the Lifestream. Cloud senses that Sephiroth is not dead, so he follows him mentally into the Lifestream and ultimately kills Sephiroth in one-to-one final duel of will. Returned to his body by Tifa just in time, Cloud and the party escape the North Crater on the Highwind moments before Holy and the Lifestream emerge to destroy Meteor and save the planet.
Final Fantasy Tactics
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.
Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring
Cloud is a playable character in the PlayStation version of Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring. 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, and Cloud's depicts him in his Shinra infantry uniform. Unlike in Final Fantasy VII, Cloud fights primarily through the use of martial arts, but he is still capable of wielding the Buster Sword, which he uses for stronger attacks. Cloud's special attacks include Omnislash, Braver, and Meteorain. Cloud's story title is "Guardian," and defeating him allows Tifa to be fought.
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.
Kingdom Hearts series
- Kingdom Hearts Wiki article: Cloud Strife
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 Cloud's design in the game was made in a similar "dark" style as Nomura put it, therefore resulting in their similarities. 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.
In the Kingdom Hearts Final Mix release, 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.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Cloud appears as a boss and later, as a summon card for Sora. Cloud exists only as 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.
Kingdom Hearts II
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's version of Tifa. Cloud fights along side Sora during the Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion. According to Jiminy's journal, 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.
After the player defeats Sephiroth (as an optional boss), 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.
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
Before Crisis: 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, Cloud is encountered while he is serving as a lowly grunt under Zack and Sephiroth's command.
Final Fantasy VII Technical Demo for PS3
At E3 2005, Cloud was seen at the end of the technical demo, Final Fantasy VII Technical Demo for PS3. 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.
Last Order: Final Fantasy VII
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.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
In Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, it is revealed that in the two years following the conclusion of Final Fantasy VII, 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.
Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII
In Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud has a small supporting role. 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.
Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding
In the defunct mobile title Final Fantasy VII Snowboarding, Cloud was the playable character. The gameplay is a simplified variant of the Snow Game from Final Fantasy VII, and the objective is for Cloud to snowboard a track and reach the end. He can do tricks from ramps and collect balloons, but must also avoid crashing into Moogle-shaped snowmen along the way.
Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII
In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is presented as a young Shinra infantryman who befriends Zack. During the game's conclusion, a dying Zack gives Cloud his Buster Sword, telling him that he is his legacy. The game ends with Cloud heading to Midgar, reprising the start of Final Fantasy VII. Zack and Cloud's connection was also meant to be expanded upon near the game's ending, with both of them planning to flee to Midgar. However, due to limitations in the console's hardware, these scenes could not be implemented, and instead, they decided to focus on Zack.
Itadaki Street series
In Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Special and Dragon Quest & Final Fantasy in Itadaki Street Portable, Cloud is one of the playable Final Fantasy VII characters, along with Aerith, Sephiroth, and Tifa.
Super Smash Bros. series
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Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Cloud was confirmed as a purchasable downloadable fighter for both games in the November 2015 Nintendo Direct. By purchasing Cloud from the Nintendo eShop, players would also receive a stage based on Final Fantasy VII, Midgar and two music tracks, Let the Battles Begin! and Fight On! This makes Cloud the first specifically named Final Fantasy character to appear in crossovers with the cast and other Nintendo characters, as previous Final Fantasy crossover characters have been generic creatures (such as Moogle) and job classes (such as Black Mage). He has since been joined in this distinction by his nemesis Sephiroth.
In the game, Cloud can move quickly on the ground, though in the air he moves more slowly and falls quickly. He wields the Buster Sword, a giant sword given to him by his deceased friend Zack Fair that gives his attacks power and range, though they generally start more slowly. He also has a Limit Break mechanic, similar to Little Mac's Power Meter. When Cloud attacks or is attacked, his Limit Gauge fills up, and when it is full Cloud is covered by a blue aura that boosts his stats, and for one use only powers up one of his special moves when one of them is used. Cloud can also charge his Limit Gauge manually with his Limit Charge down special. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the Limit Gauge is displayed at all times above his character profile during a match, similar to Little Mac's Power Meter.
Most of Cloud's special moves are taken from the Limit Breaks he can obtain in Final Fantasy VII. His standard special is Blade Beam, in which Cloud swings his sword to fire a beam forward. His side special is Cross Slash, in which Cloud swings his sword in the shape of a Japanese character to damage opponents. His up special is Climhazzard, in which Cloud swings his sword to propel himself directly up into the air. When the Limit Gauge is filled, Cloud's down special becomes Finishing Touch, a whirlwind that deals very minimal damage but very high knockback. His Final Smash is Omnislash, in which Cloud hits opponents into the air and rapidly and repeatedly slashes them.
Cloud is one of the lightest heavyweight characters, being heavier than Lucario, Mario, Dr. Mario and Corrin, lighter than Mega Man, Shulk and Ryu, while having the same weight as the default weight for the Mii Fighters.
When customizing Cloud, he can be equipped with Sword, Suit, and Boots equipment. However, like with the other DLC characters, he lacks any custom special variations of his special moves.
Cloud's alternate colors are based upon the uniforms for the different classes of SOLDIER. He also has alternate costumes using his Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Kingdom Hearts II design, which includes the Fusion Swords in place of the Buster Sword. Two of his Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children costumes have a sleeve used to hide his Geostigma-infected arm, while the others leave his arm bare, revealing it without any signs of Geostigma and with the ribbon he wears in memory of Aerith Gainsborough.
Despite having almost all of his home series appearances dubbed in English, and a few earlier appearances dubbed in additional languages, Cloud speaks only Japanese in both games, similar to Marth and Roy prior to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Cloud reappears in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as part of the base roster, this time as an unlockable character. Like in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U, Cloud's lines are only in Japanese.
Cloud is generally faster, while his aerial attacks have less landing lag; despite this, Cloud's damage output is decreased, while a few of his attacks have greater startup or ending lag; additionally, special moves have decreased in power. Cloud is the only fighter in the game to speak in full Japanese in all of the game's language settings. Like in the previous installment, outside of the summons in Midgar, Cloud is the sole representative of the Final Fantasy universe, having no Assist Trophies and being the only spirit from his series (prior to Sephiroth's introduction as a DLC character). He is also the fighter representing the least amount of spirit battles (the spirits being Master Edges and Zeke in the base game and Kyle in the Spirit Board events), not counting DLC characters and alternate costumes. As of version 10.1.0, the odd numbered costumes recieve a unique final smash, titled Omnislash Ver. 5, which is based on the Omnislash from Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Cloud also recieves a new spirit, which is his official character artwork from Final Fantasy VII. This is the first time both of these situations happened post-launch.
- Classic Mode route
Cloud's Classic Mode route is named "A Ride? Not Interested." It involves him fighting characters associated with a vehicle. This references the fact that Cloud suffers from motion sickness.
|1||Toon Link||Spirit Train||Full Steam Ahead|
|2||Fox, Falco||Corneria||Main Theme - Star Fox 64 (Brawl)|
|3||Meta Knight||Halberd||Meta Knight's Revenge|
|4||Mario, Yoshi, Peach||Rainbow Cruise||Slide|
|5||Captain Falcon||Big Blue||Big Blue|
|6||Wolf||Lylat Cruise||Space Armada|
|Final||Master Hand, Crazy Hand (intensity 7.0 or higher)||Final Destination||Master Hand|
Master Hand / Crazy Hand (intensity 7.0 or higher)
Final Fantasy VII
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud has the most rounded stats out of any playable character, but has Speed as his lowest stat. Cloud starts out at level 6, but right after he completes his first battle, Cloud upgrades to level 7.
Cloud starts out with the Buster Sword, but along the way, he can equip different swords, such as greatswords, katanas, and especially broadswords. Two of the most powerful broadswords that Cloud can use are the Ultima Weapon and the Apocalypse. In the cutscenes, Cloud is always shown to be wielding a Buster Sword.
Cloud can learn the following Limit Breaks:
|Level no.||Name||Effect||Obtained by|
|1||Braver||Cloud performs a downward slash that does three times the normal damage.||Available from the start|
|Cross-Slash||Cloud slashes his target three times. If the target survives the attack, it might become paralyzed.||Performing Braver 8 times|
|2||Blade Beam||This attack unleashes waves of energy at a target, dealing three times as much damage. The remaining energy then splits into weaker waves that inflict normal damage upon the other enemies.||Defeat 120 enemies|
|Climhazzard||The move involves Cloud striking an enemy with his weapon, which he then slashes high into the air. As a result, the enemy takes a lot of damage.||Use Blade Beam seven times|
|3||Meteorain||Six meteors are unleashed, and they hit random targets.||Defeat 200 enemies after obtaining Blade Beam|
|Finishing Touch||Cloud creates a large whirlwind that inflicts Death upon each enemy, or massive damage to enemies who are invulnerable to Death.||Use Meteorain six times|
|4||Omnislash||Cloud slashes his enemy a total of 15 times. Depending on Cloud's level and other variables, the attack may perform a maximum of 9,999 damage.||Learned from the Omnislash manual at the Gold Saucer|
Like the other characters, whenever Cloud wins a battle, he performs a victory pose. Cloud's victory pose consists of him pumping his fist twice, spinning his sword in his right hand, and sheathing it on his back.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, instead of using the Buster Sword, Cloud uses the Fusion Swords, a collection of six swords that can combine into one. The individual swords have a variety of designs, and their fused form is directly based on the Buster Sword.
Cloud has an eighth additional Limit Break introduced, Omnislash Version 5, in which he splits the completed Fusion Sword assembly into its six individual parts, then performs a series of six slash attacks on an enemy. In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Cloud does a longer sequence of thirteen slashes using the attack. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, as of version 10.1.0, Cloud can perform Omnislash Ver. 5 as his Final Smash.
Cloud has a height of 5'7" with a lean build and spiked blonde hair. Cloud has blue eyes, which glow due to the Mako flowing through his body. In his earlier appearances, Cloud's hair has one large spike emerging into the air. Cloud's spiked hair was also made shorter in his later appearances.
Cloud's outfit in Final Fantasy VII is the standard uniform for 1st Class SOLDIERs. The clothing consists of pants and a sleeveless shirt, both of which are indigo in color, and a belt. Cloud also wears brown boots and gauntlets with a single pauldron over his left shoulder. This is the uniform he wears for most of his other appearances, with slight variations.
In Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts coded, Cloud's appearance is similar to his from Final Fantasy VII. He was given a few more clothing attributes, including a flowing red cape and a metal claw on his left hand, much like Vincent Valentine. Compared to Vincent, Cloud has some notable differences with his design; protruding from Cloud's back is one large demonic wing, a counterpart to Sephiroth's angelic one. The wing is not always extended, and sometimes only appears when he Cloud uses Omnislash. Cloud retains his Buster Sword, although it is covered in bandages.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children introduces the Cloudy Wolf outfit, which entirely consists of black clothing. The Cloudy Wolf consists of a high collar sleeveless shirt, pants, and boots. Cloud is also wearing a black cloth that covers his left leg and arm, likely to hide his Geostigma symptoms. Cloud has a different pauldron, and his chest is covered by two straps, held in place by a badge representing Fenrir. Like the other party members, Cloud also wears a pink ribbon around his left arm in remembrance of Aerith Gainsborough, although the black clothing of the Cloudy Wolf obscures it for most of the movie.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud's appearance is reused from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. He even retains the Fusion Swords from said film, but it is bandaged like the Buster Sword from the first Kingdom Hearts. The outlines of the component blades appear to be simply engraved, rather than actual edges. Cloud's wing is absent, although his face is nearly identical to Sephiroth's, an oddity remarked on by Goofy.
In Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Cloud wears a blue uniform of a Shinra infantryman. There are several straps securing Cloud's pants; the straps near his ankles are small and bronze, and the straps near his kneecaps are larger and metallic. Cloud also wears a green cloth around his collar.
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud starts out as a hard-hearted, selfish mercenary who shows no interest in heping others unless it is the task at hand. Cloud is uninterested in AVALANCHE's goal to save the Planet, and only agrees to help them in exchange for a lot of money. Later, it is revealed that Cloud unknowingly holds a fake persona because of the combined effect of Mako poisoning and the influence of Jenova's cells in his body, which mixes his memories of Zack's personality with what he perceives as the attitude of a SOLDIER 1st Class. Over the course of his journey, Cloud has more of his original, good-natured personality revealed. Parts of the game have dialogue that suggest that Cloud has romantic feelings for either Tifa or Aerith.
In Final Fantasy Advent Children, Cloud is a much more somber and dark character, tormented by guilt over what he perceives as his past failings, such as not preventing the deaths of Aerith and Zack. Cloud's feelings of helplessness were worsened when he contracted the terminal Geostigma plague. Deciding to distance himself from his friends, Cloud tries to keep his illness a secret so that he does not have any further grief. Throughout the film, Cloud faces his past both metaphorically and literally, and these events allow him to forgive himself and move on.
In the Kingdom Hearts series, Cloud is stoic and has similar melancholic characteristics as in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Despite this, Cloud is seen engaging in playful banter with Leon during the 1,000 Heartless invasion of Hollow Bastion, hinting at a friendly rivalry between the two.
List of appearances by date
- Cloud is the only character in Final Fantasy VII that has two battle models. Besides his regular one, a more detailed version is used in the scripted battle taking place after the final battle.
- In Final Fantasy VII, when Cloud is comatose in Mideel, he mutters the word "Zenogias"; this is a mistranslation of Xenogears, a video game that Square was developing at the time. The translation was fixed in the PC version.
- In Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud's sword is wrapped in cloth. In the former game, the blade is the same as in Final Fantasy VII, but in Kingdom Hearts II, the blade is similar to his sword in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, with a few minor differences.
- Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- Official Complete Guide p.020
- "Final Fantasy VII – 1997 Developer Interviews" (translated from Japanese). Shmuplations.
- "Final Fantasy 7 An oral history". Polygon. Published January 9, 2017.
- "How Final Fantasy V Was A Turning Point In Tetsuya Nomura’s Career". Siliconera. Published March 13, 2014.
- "Interview with Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura". Electronic Gaming Monthly, issue #196 (October 2005).
- Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, pages 8–13.
- "IGN Presents: The History of Final Fantasy VII". IGN (Wayback Machine, archive.is backup). Published April 30, 2008.
- Flaregamer (archive.is)
- "Nomura On Final Fantasy VII Remake, Kingdom Hearts III, And Cloud's Design That Never Was". Siliconera. Published March 9, 2017.
- "The Art of Final Fantasy VII: An Interview with Yoshitaka Amano". YouTube. Uploaded January 9, 2017.
- Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω, page 58.
- Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children -Reunion Files-, page 7.
- "Nojima Interview". GlitterBerri's Game Translations (archive.is).
- Nintendo (November 12, 2015). Nintendo Direct Trailer. YouTube.
- Nintendo. (June 12, 2018). Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - E3 2018 - Nintendo Switch. YouTube.
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