Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII, released in 1997, introduced players to a cast of memorable characters. So much so that they have become beloved icons in the realm of video games and even beyond. With its rich stories and impressive world-building, the game delves deep into the lives and personalities of its characters. Thus, exploring their motivations, fears, and growth throughout the story. In this in-depth analysis, we will further examine the intricacies of some of the most popular characters from Final Fantasy VII. Additionally, we aim to shed light on their complexities and the lasting impact they have had on players.
Note: We are talking about the original game here, not the equally as excellent Remake versions. That said, we are using some of the Remake and other FFVII property images to make each character more defined.
Cloud Strife stands at the center of this tale as the game’s main character. Initially shown as a stoic and enigmatic ex-soldier, Cloud struggles with his past and battles with an identity crisis. He becomes entangled in a fight against the oppressive Shinra Corporation, ultimately discovering that his memories have been altered. Cloud’s internal conflicts, including his struggle with self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness, connect deeply with players. Thus, making him a very relatable character. As the story progresses, Cloud learns the value of friendship, love, and fighting for a greater cause, transforming him into a multifaceted and compelling hero.
On the opposite side, we have Sephiroth, the primary antagonist of Final Fantasy VII. Initially shown as a legendary hero, Sephiroth descends into madness and becomes consumed by a thirst for power. His transformation into a menacing villain is driven by his discovery of his true origins and his belief in his god-like status. Sephiroth’s tragic fall and subsequent desire for revenge create a captivating story arc, leaving a solid mark on players’ memories.
Aerith is a gentle and caring flower girl with a mysterious background. That said, she plays a vital role in the battle against Shinra and Sephiroth. Aerith’s connection to the planet and her pure-heartedness make her a beloved character. She exemplifies optimism and selflessness, providing a stark contrast to the darker themes of the game. However, Aerith’s fate takes a tragic turn, leaving players emotionally invested in her character and mourning her loss long after Final Fantasy VII’s conclusion.
Tifa Lockhart is the childhood friend of Cloud and a member of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE. She is the symbol of both physical and emotional strength in Final Fantasy VII. Tifa struggles with her own past traumas while serving as a grounding force for Cloud throughout their journey. Her loyalty, determination, and resilience not only make her a fan favorite but also highlight the importance of supportive relationships in overcoming personal struggles.
Barret Wallace, the leader of AVALANCHE, is known for his imposing physique and a strong sense of justice. Barret’s character represents the voice of resistance against Shinra’s exploitation of the planet’s resources. Beneath his gruff exterior lies a caring heart, particularly for his adopted daughter, Marlene. Barret’s role as a father figure and his unwavering commitment to fighting for a better future make him a memorable and well-rounded character.
Red XIII, real name “Nanaki,” is a talking wolf-like creature who possesses wisdom beyond his youthful appearance. As the last of his species, Red XIII struggles with the legacy of his ancestors and the responsibility to protect the planet. His intelligence, loyalty, and maturity add depth to his character and contribute to the diverse collection of personalities in the game.
Yuffie is the spirited and energetic ninja you just can’t help but love. She initially joins the party with the intention of stealing their valuable Materia. However, she undergoes personal growth and develops into a loyal ally and friend. Yuffie’s mischievous nature and desire for adventure mask a deeper longing to protect her home and restore the honor of her family. Her character adds a dynamic element to the group, giving levity and unpredictability to the story.
Vincent is a mysterious and brooding character, even more so than Cloud, which is saying something. Nevertheless, he carries a tragic past and a burden of guilt and remorse. Cursed with immortality, he struggles to come to terms with his actions and seeks revenge throughout the game. Vincent’s reserved attitude and enigmatic personality add an air of intrigue, captivating players and leaving them eager to unravel the secrets of this character. In fact, his popularity led to him having his very own spin-off game, Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII.
Lastly, Zack Fair, although not a playable character in Final Fantasy VII, plays a significant role in the game’s overall story. As a SOLDIER 1st Class and Cloud’s mentor figure, Zack’s story, shown through flashbacks, explores themes of heroism, friendship, and sacrifice. His character adds depth to Cloud’s own journey and serves as a tragic reminder of the costs of war. Zack resonates very well with players, thus, elevating the emotional impact of the game’s story overall. Like Vincent, Zack’s popularity also propelled him to have his own spin-off game, which is a prequel to the original.
Cid Highwind, a gruff and foul-mouthed character, shows a fiery passion for his dreams. Cid’s story centers around his determination to overcome setbacks and fulfill his lifelong dream. He is an expert pilot with dreams of becoming the first person in space. Despite his rough outside, Cid’s caring heart, particularly for his airship and crew, further humanizes his character and underscores the importance of pursuing one’s dreams.
Cait Sith takes the form of a robotic cat riding a giant Moogle, effectively becoming Final Fantasy VII’s mascot. Initially serving as a spy for Shinra, Cait Sith eventually flips sides and aids the party. While his true identity and motives remain mysterious, his character development throughout the game showcases themes of redemption and the possibility of change. Cait Sith’s enigmatic presence adds an element of intrigue to the overall story.
Rufus Shinra is the ambitious and cunning new president of the Shinra Corporation after his father’s demise. He embodies the darker side of corporate power. His charismatic and calculated leadership drives the expansion of the company’s control, putting him in direct conflict with the main characters. Rufus shows the internal conflicts within the Shinra family and serves as a formidable enemy. He is a character that further emphasizes the game’s exploration of power dynamics and the consequences of unchecked ambition.
The characters of Final Fantasy VII possess a level of depth and complexity that has captured the hearts of players for decades. Each character brings a unique set of qualities, personal struggles, and growth arcs to the game, allowing players to forge deep emotional connections with their stories. The enduring appeal of Final Fantasy VII lies not only in its captivating gameplay and intricate plot but also in the unforgettable characters that inhabit its world.