Final Fantasy VII took the gaming world by storm in 1997. The main character of the game was Cloud Strife, who was a former member of an elite military group, known as SOLDIER. He originally worked for the Shinra Corporation, before leaving and joining a terrorist organization that wanted to overthrow them.
As the story in Final Fantasy VII develops, you begin to learn more about Cloud’s past and it is up to the player to determine how much of what he says is the truth.
Cloud Strife became one of the most iconic figures in gaming history. He is considered by many to be the face of the JRPG genre, and he has been parodied and lampooned on many occasions. Cloud still has a massive fanbase to this day, and the announcements of the Final Fantasy VII Remake and his entry into the Super Smash Bros. series were two of the most exciting video game reveals of all time.
We are here today to look at the history of one of gaming’s biggest icons. From his real life inspiration to the confirmed return of his purple dress, here are the 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Final Fantasy’s Cloud Strife.
15. Cloud’s Relationship With Sephiroth Is Based On A Real Life Rivalry
Cloud Strife and Sephiroth underwent numerous design changes during the production of Final Fantasy VII. Cloud originally had spiky black hair, which eventually morphed into Zack’s design. The Buster Sword was also more realistically proportioned at one point.
Sephiroth’s physical design mostly stayed the same throughout development, but his role in the story changed a fair bit. He was originally going to be Aerith’s brother, and later, her lover. Sephiroth was planned to be suffering from Mako addiction and the cause of his madness was the crippling withdrawals that he suffered from the substance.
One of the main design inspirations for both characters comes from the story of the duel between two real life swordsmen in Japan. Miyamoto Musashi was a Ronin and an expert swordsman, who lived in the late 1500s. He dueled another famous swordsman named Sasaki Kojiro in 1612. Musashi won the duel with a wooden training sword, known as a Bokken.
Tetsuya Nomura has claimed that the sword duels between Cloud and Sephiroth were inspired by the legends of Musashi and Kojiro. He wanted to make their battles look as skillful and as cool as possible, which is how he imagined the famous duel looked.
14. He Can Go On A Date With Barret
The first disc of Final Fantasy VII offers numerous dialogue choices that affect your relationship with Aerith and Tifa. You are given numerous chances to either compliment or denigrate each of the two ladies, with the possibility of showing favoritism towards one or the other.
This culminates in a date sequence at the Gold Saucer amusement park, where Cloud visits several of the attractions with the lady who he was nicest to throughout the quest. The relationship mechanic is abandoned at the end of disc one when Aerith is killed by Sephiroth.
If you go out of your way to be nasty to both girls throughout the game, then there is a chance that you will go on the Gold Saucer date with Barret instead. The date is totally platonic, with no romantic overtones. In fact, Barret spends most of it chastising Cloud for not asking any of the other girls in the party.
13. The Mystery Of The Homemade Potion
Cloud’s only known relative was his mother, who was killed during Sephiroth’s rampage in Nibelheim. We know nothing of his father, other than the fact that he disappeared when Cloud was a child. We see Cloud interacting with his mother during brief snippets of the Kalm flashback sequence, though we never learn much about her.
There are unused dialogue files inside Final Fantasy VII that detail a scene with Cloud and his mother that never made it into the game. She was originally going to give him an item called the Homemade Potion.
We will likely never find out the significance of this item or why it was planned for the game. It is possible that the Potion was what originally allowed Cloud to survive the terrible wound Sephiroth inflicted on him during their fight in the reactor, but the developers decided to omit the explanation and kept it vague.
12. He Has A Character Class
The first game in the Final Fantasy series was heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. This can be clearly seen in the way that each character was totally defined by their role in combat, rather than having any connection to the world around them. Final Fantasy III and V would also feature the return of “jobs”, which could be changed outside of combat.
Final Fantasy VI originally listed each character’s job title next to their name, such as Terra being called a “Magitek Elite”. These were taken out of the original English localization, though they were restored in later versions of the game.
Final Fantasy VII was originally going to do the same thing, where every character would have their job listed beneath their name. Barret was going to be a Gunner, Tifa would be a Monk, Aerith was going to be a Geomancer, Red XIII would be a Beast, Cait Sith was going to be a Beastmaster, Cid would be a Dragoon, Yuffie was going to be a Ninja, and Vincent was going to be a Horror-Terror.
11. There Is A Copy Of Cloud In World Of Warcraft
Cloud Strife’s iconic design and weapon have been parodied numerous times in the media. If someone writes a comedy sketch that makes fun of JRPGs and their tropes, then you can bet that the main character will look like Cloud. He also inspired the design of other characters, like Skelter Helter in No More Heroes 2 and Fenris from Dragon Age II.
It is common to see characters in MMOs who are named after the cast of Final Fantasy VII. Cloud and Sephiroth’s names, followed by numbers and letters, are a common name in the lands of Azeroth and Eorzea. It is only fitting that World of Warcraft should include its own tribute to Cloud Strife, considering how many warriors in the land have born his name.
A warrior who looks like Cloud can be found in the city of Dalaran. His name is Koraud and he can be seen standing next to a woman who sells flowers, This is an obvious shout out to Aerith, who sells flowers in the slums of Midgar and tries to sell one to Cloud during their first encounter.
10. Cloud and Tifa’s Relationship Was Going To Be More Explicit
As previously mentioned, the first disc of Final Fantasy VII has relationship mechanics which make it seem as if you will get to choose between Tifa and Aerith at some point in the game. This goes out the window when Aerith is killed by Sephiroth. From that point on, the story focuses on the relationship between Cloud and Tifa, regardless of how mean you were to her on the first disc.
There is a moment near the end of the main story where Cloud and Tifa tell all of the party members to go visit their own families and make a decision about whether they want to join them in their final assault on Sephiroth. Cloud and Tifa spend the night with each other outside of the Highwind, though it is ambiguous if anything romantic happens between the two.
This scene was originally going to be much more explicit. We would originally see Cloud leaving the Chocobo stable on the Highwind, followed shortly by Tifa, who would keep looking around to see if anyone noticed them. One can only guess what the Chocobo’s would have thought.
9. The Mystery Of The Detailed Model
The blocky character models that you see in the field maps of Final Fantasy VII are a throwback to the previous era of games, which appeared on Nintendo systems. These were an attempt to replicate the aesthetic of the sprites in games like Final Fantasy VI.
The characters would have more realistic proportions when you entered a battle or watched an FMV cutscene. Final Fantasy VIII kept all of the character models consistent, with everyone having realistic proportions, while Final Fantasy IX used a more cartoon-like design for the cast.
One of the most unusual parts of the final battle against Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII is that Cloud has a more detailed character model that is only used in this scene. His face has more detail and the studs on his pauldron can be seen.
Why wasn’t this character model used throughout the rest of the game? We know that the PlayStation was capable of rendering it due to the models in Final Fantasy VIII being ever more detailed than this one, so it remains a mystery.
8. The Ribbon Of Ivalice
It is possible to acquire Cloud Strife as an optional party member in Final Fantasy Tactics. He is summoned to the world of Ivalice through an ancient machine that the protagonist can activate later on in the game. It is implied that this takes place during the sequence in Final Fantasy VII where Cloud falls into the Lifestream in Mideel.
Cloud can become a powerful character in Final Fantasy Tactics, though he requires more work than others, as you need to find the secret Materia Blade in order to be able to use his abilities. You never really need to use Cloud, as the game provides you with plenty of powerful characters that can finish the game on their own, like T. G. Cid.
The main reason you would want to use Cloud in Final Fantasy Tactics is that he is the only male character in the game who can equip the Ribbon accessory, which provides total protection against status effects. This is likely a reference to the cross-dressing sequence in Final Fantasy VII.
7. One Cannot Live While The Other Survives
Final Fantasy VII ends with the death of Sephiroth and Meteor being stopped before it destroys the world. Sephiroth would go on to become one of the most popular video game villains of all time, so his death didn’t last.
He has appeared in numerous Final Fantasy spin-offs and has been playable in several fighting games. The most significant appearance of Sephiroth happened in Advent Children, where he is briefly restored to life and battles Cloud once more.
It seems that Sephiroth may return again at some point. The website for Advent Children ran several short stories, known collectively as On the Way to a Smile. One of these stories was set in the Lifestream, where it followed Sephiroth as he clung to his identity.
Most souls that enter the Lifestream are reborn as new beings in an endless cycle of reincarnation. The reason Sephiroth is able to resist this process is due to Cloud. He will always be able to resist the Lifestream for as long as Cloud still remembers him, which means that it is still possible for Sephiroth to be revived again in the future. The only true way to destroy Sephiroth is to kill Cloud, or at least wipe his memories.
6. He Is the Only True Third Party Character In Smash Bros.
The Super Smash Bros. series is a crossover fighting game that unites some of Nintendo’s most famous characters… so that they can beat the brains out of each other. Smash Bros. is so beloved that other developers have offered the use of their characters to appear in the games, as was the case with Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake.
By far the biggest Smash Bros. announcement happened at the end of a Nintendo Direct on November 12th, 2015. The Direct ended with the reveal of Cloud Strife being added to the latest Smash Bros. game as a paid DLC. There have been several different third-party characters added to the Smash Bros. games over the years, yet Cloud is unique in the fact that his debut game has never appeared on a Nintendo console.
Mega Man and Metal Gear both appeared on the NES, while Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man, and Street Fighter have all appeared on the Virtual Console. Bayonetta was available to buy on the Wii U. However, Final Fantasy VII has never appeared on any Nintendo console.
5. It Takes Two People To Wield The Buster Sword In Real Life
Cloud’s Buster Sword is one of the most iconic weapons in video game history. The early parts of Crisis Core detailed the history of the weapon and its significance to the point where Zack uses it for most of the game. This added importance is kind of silly, considering the fact that most Final Fantasy VII players dumped the Buster Sword as soon as they found a better weapon.
The Buster Sword looks cool, but it is highly impractical to use. Anyone who has cosplayed as Cloud can tell you how hard it is to wield a Buster Sword, even when it is made of light materials. Cloud is only able to use one because he has super strength, due to the experiments performed on him by Hojo.
A real life Buster Sword was created by the famous YouTube show Man At Arms. They did an amazing job recreating the weapon out of real metal… only to find that it is almost impossible to swing. A real life Buster Sword is so heavy that it took two people to try and swing it.
4. The Censored Fourth Wall Gag
The area of Final Fantasy VII that has the most unused content is The Honey Bee Inn. There are several areas and lines of dialogue that were created and dummied out at the last minute. This is because they are more sexually explicit than other areas of the game. They include things like Palmer walking around satisfied after sleeping with a prostitute and a man who stole a pair of Marlene’s panties after mistaking them for Tifa’s.
One of the most unusual edits made to The Honey Benn Inn involves a joke that was cut from the game. If Cloud peeked through the keyhole of one of the occupied rooms, then the game was originally going to show a message saying “We apologize, but the following contains material unsuitable for the general public.” This line was removed from the final version of the game and was replaced with Cloud saying “…Wooo… ow!!” instead.
3. Cloud Is The Only Playable Final Fantasy Character In Kingdom Hearts
The Kingdom Hearts series is a collaboration between Square Enix and Disney. Fans originally thought that Kingdom Hearts was going to be the Disney movie/Final Fantasy crossover that they never knew they needed before. It turns out that the series is more like a Final Fantasy-style story that is set in a Disney multiverse. We see far more Disney characters than ones created by Square Enix, though Final Fantasy characters do make appearances from time to time.
However, you are only ever able to use Disney characters as party members in Kingdom Hearts, as well as the original characters created for the series. The only exception to this happens in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded for the Nintendo DS, where you are briefly allowed to use Cloud Strife as a party member during the Olympus segment of the game. You are able to use Sora, Hercules, and Cloud in a JRPG-style level, where they must battle wave after wave of the Heartless.
2. He Wasn’t The Original Protagonist Of Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII began development on the Super Nintendo. However, Squaresoft decided to move the game to the Sony PlayStation, as they were sick of Nintendo’s strict content guidelines and wanted to experiment with the space offered by a CD-ROM based system.
When Hironobu Sakaguchi first came up with ideas for Final Fantasy VII, he originally wanted the game to star a detective named Joe. This character would be on the trail of the group who destroyed the city of Midgar. The development of this version of the game was delayed so that the company could concentrate and finish working on Chrono Trigger.
The detective idea wasn’t completely ditched, though, as a detective would go on to star in one of the Final Fantasy VII novels. Final Fantasy VII Lateral Biography Turks – The Kids Are Alright features a character named Evan Townshend, who owns a detective agency in Midgar. He gets caught up in Kadaj’s schemes, which leads into the events of Advent Children.
1. The Cross-Dressing Scene Is Returning In The Final Fantasy VII Remake
The Final Fantasy VII Remake was first revealed during Sony’s E3 press conference. Since then, we have only seen a brief snippet of gameplay footage that was shown at the 2015 PlayStation Experience.
One of the questions surrounding the Final Fantasy Remake is whether the story will be changed to reflect modern sensibilities. A game where you play as terrorists who blow up buildings might be considered objectionable by today’s standards. To date, we have yet to hear of any significant changes to the original story.
There is one aspect of the game that we know for a fact is definitely returning. Tetsuya Nomura has confirmed that the cross-dressing quest from the beginning of the game will be retained in the remake. This is something that fans were concerned about, as there were worried that it might be seen as offensive to modern gamers.
Cloud’s cross-dressing quest was a bold idea at the the time and was a reflection of Squaresoft’s desire to tell more adult stories. While it has its issues, it was one of the first times that cross-dressing ever appeared in a video game, especially in a setting where characters were supportive of it.
The fact that the developers intend to keep it in is a sign that they care about the story of Final Fantasy VII and its original form. Cloud dressing up like a lady is as much a part of Final Fantasy VII as anything else.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Final Fantasy‘s Cloud Strife? Is he one of your favorite characters? Let us know in the comments!
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