Barret Wallace

Barret Wallace (バレット・ウォーレス Baretto Wōresu) is a player character in Square Enix's role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Created by character designer Tetsuya Nomura, he has since appeared in the CGI film sequel, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children as well as other games and media in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series. As of Advent Children, Barret is voiced by Masahiro Kobayashi in Japanese and Beau Billingslea in English localizations.

Barret is first introduced in Final Fantasy VII as an eco-terrorist, leading the group AVALANCHE to bomb Mako reactors in the fictional city of Midgar, so as to avenge the losses dealt him by the megacorporation Shinra, the Planet's de facto world government, who operate under the pretense of saving the Planet. As the story progresses, Barret re-examines his efforts and focuses on pursuing the villain Sephiroth in an effort to protect the Planet and the future of his adopted daughter, Marlene. Elements of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII would later expand upon his character, detailing the character's history before and after the events of the original game.

The first dark-skinned playable character in the Final Fantasy series, Barret's appearance and sometimes profane speech has been heavily compared to that of actor Mr. T, earning much praise, but also criticism and accusations of racism by some.

Barret Wallace
Final Fantasy character
Barret Wallace artwork by Tetsuya Nomura for Final Fantasy VII
First gameFinal Fantasy VII (1997)
Designed byTetsuya Nomura
Voiced byBeau Billingslea (English)[1]
Masahiro Kobayashi (Japanese)[2]
WeaponGun arm

Conception and design

Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, Barret was present in Final Fantasy VII from its early development. Initially, the game was to have only three playable characters, with Barret one of those three,[3] along with the protagonist Cloud Strife and the heroine Aerith Gainsborough.[4] During a phone call to project director Yoshinori Kitase, it was suggested that at some point in the game, one of the main characters should die, and after much discussion as to whether it should be Barret or Aerith, the producers chose Aerith, as they felt Barret's death would be "too obvious."[3]

Barret's name is based on the Japanese transliteration of the English word "bullet",[5] and he was developed with the "Gunner" character class in mind.[6] Standing 6 feet 5 inches (197 cm) tall,[7][8] he is the first black playable character in the series,[9] and has a high and tight haircut and full beard, and an earring in his left ear. His attire consists of a jacket with torn sleeves, dark green pants, boots, a fingerless glove on his left hand, and metal bands surrounding his abdomen and left wrist.[8] His left upper arm is covered by a bowgun;[10] this was later changed by replacing his right hand with a prosthetic gatling gun (called a "Gimmick Arm") which he refers to as his "partner" in-game.[11] He was originally planned to have a medallion around his neck, described as a gift from his deceased wife,[10] but this was later changed to a set of dog tags.[8]

When developing Advent Children, Nomura stated that because of the comparisons between Barret's original design and Mr. T, they decided to take it in a different direction for the film, implementing co-director Takeshi Nozue's suggestion to give him cornrows for his hair, while Nomura designed his face. Artist Yusuke Naora influenced the design as well, developing his attire, which originally consisted of white overalls, before instead having him wear him a down vest.[12] Barret's arm tattoo was changed as well, although it retained the "skull and fire" motif of the original.[1] Other aspects of his design included the loss of the metal bands around his body, a white sleeve extending from the middle of his right forearm to his elbow fastened by straps, a black band on his left forearm surrounded by a pink string and bow, and a fishnet shirt that ends in torn fibers below his waist. The dog tags were altered to a bullet and medallion supported by a chain around his neck, and three rings covered his left hand. His Gimmick Arm was modified into a robotic prosthetic hand, developed by Nomura, with the only guideline being "a huge, over-the-top gun that transforms in a huge, over-the-top way." Nozue stated that these specifics made it difficult to work with, and decided to conceal the hand's transformation sequence into the gun as much as possible.[12] His Advent Children design was also planned to be used for the Final Fantasy VII remake. However, the staff later decided to give every character in the party a new look.[13]

When choosing a voice actor for the film, Nomura was initially unsure of whether to have Masahiro Kobayashi do the role of Barret or another character, Loz. Kobayashi described his performance as treating Barret as "unrefined [...] but also dependable and unique," trying to keep his "upbeat character and good outlook in mind." He tried to give him a booming, confident sounding voice, though at times was instructed to "take it up a notch."[1]


Final Fantasy VII

First seen in Final Fantasy VII in 1997, Barret is introduced as the leader of the eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE. Situated in city of Midgar, his group opposes the ruling company, Shinra, and their use of "Mako" energy as a power source, believing it to be killing the Planet. To this end, AVALANCHE bombs their Mako reactors, with the specific goal of saving the Planet.[11] When the game begins, they have just hired the mercenary Cloud Strife at the behest of his childhood friend and AVALANCHE member Tifa Lockhart,[14] nicknaming him "Spiky" in reference to his hairstyle.[15] After the deaths of several members of AVALANCHE, Barret follows Cloud out of Midgar in pursuit of the game's villain, Sephiroth.[11]

Along the way he encounters a former friend of his, Dyne, armed in a manner similar to him, who forces Barret to fight him. Upon Barret defeating Dyne, Dyne kills himself. Through flashbacks it is revealed that Shinra had wanted to build a Mako reactor in his home town of Corel, an idea Barret advocated. However, due to an accident at the plant, Shinra razed the town, killing Barret's wife in the process, and causing Barret and Dyne to flee with Dyne's daughter, Marlene. Cornered, Dyne slipped off a cliff and Barret grabbed his hand, but Shinra soldier's opened fire, and destroyed Barret's and Dyne's right and left hands respectively, causing the latter to fall to his presumed death.[11] Barret adopted Marlene as his own daughter, had an "adapter" graft to his arm to interface with prosthetic weapons to aid in his combat against Shinra, and founded AVALANCHE.[16] Dyne's death causes him to admit his grudge with Shinra is solely for revenge, with his earlier claims of "saving the world" meant only to convince himself he was fighting for the greater good. Barret eventually shifts his goal to actually wanting to save the Planet, doing so for Marlene's sake, and he helps Cloud and his allies defeat Sephiroth to prevent the Planet's destruction.[11]

Early drafts of Barret's background featured subtle differences, such as Marlene intended as Barret's biological daughter, and his wife executed in front of him by a then-undecided Shinra executive. The attack on Corel was initially written to be due to the discovery of Mako energy and Shinra's desire to keep its existence a secret. His reunion with Dyne was also different, written to culminate in a duel between the two in Corel's ruins, while Cloud and the others fought investigating Shinra soldiers.[6]

Compilation of Final Fantasy VII

Barret appears in Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, a 2005 mobile phone-based prequel to the events of Final Fantasy VII, which shows the events prior to Corel's destruction. He helps the game's protagonists, the Turks, defend the Mako reactor, believing it to be the town's future.[11] It is revealed that the reactor is under attack by the original AVALANCHE group, who are the cause of Shinra's attack upon the town. Unaware of their involvement, Barret uses their ideals to form his own branch of the group.[17]

In 2005, Barret appeared in the CGI film Advent Children, which details the events two years after Sephiroth's defeat. Barret places Marlene in Tifa's care, travelling the world to rebuild the planet's infrastructure and find alternate power sources to replace Mako.[15] He returns later to assist in combating the film's villains, the Remnants and fight the summon creature Bahamut SIN. He later appears in a small role in the 2006 video game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, set one year after Advent Children, where he helps the protagonist Vincent Valentine prevent Omega WEAPON from destroying the planet.[11]

A novella entitled "Case of Barret" was released in 2007 exclusively for the "Limited Edition Collector's Set" DVD edition of Advent Children. Written by Kazushige Nojima as part of the On the Way to a Smile series, it details the events between Final Fantasy VII and Advent Children, examining Barret's reaction to his weapon and his belief that it made him a monster. At the conclusion of the story, Barret visits the creator of the adapter on his wrist and receives the prosthetic hand/gun combination seen in the film, reasoning that although he needs a hand, he also still needs a weapon to prevent others from having to fight. He then decides to return to Marlene.[16]

Critical reception

Barret's comparisons to Mr. T in the media has resulted in both praise and criticism,[9][18][19] with most of the criticism accusing the character of serving as a negative racial stereotype of African Americans.[20] IGN argued in favor of this point, citing his use of "stilted slang," and stating that the character stands out amongst the cast because "his dialog is written as if it was run through a broken ebonic translator," further noting a trend in Japanese games to apply such dialogue to characters based on their skin color.[21] Journalist Jeremy Parish agreed that the character was racist, although he argued that cultural gaps between Japan and the United States, plus the lack of American translators for Final Fantasy VII may have been contributing factors, arguing that the likeness between Barret and Mr. T was possibly an attempt to make a character that appealed to Americans, as the actor did.[22]

In contrast, on, Parish argued in favor of Barret, noting that while on the surface he appeared to be the "worst kind of stereotype," he was a great character with complexity, having made "difficult decisions in his life, and agonized over his losses." Parish went further to describe Barret as the "first true father figure the [Final Fantasy] series had ever seen," noting his relationship with his adopted daughter.[9] RPGamer's content manager Shawn Bruckner took the discussion further, arguing that claims of Barret's presentation being racist was oversimplification of the character's portrayal, and stated that while he was in some aspects a stereotype, in others, such as his compassion towards his daughter or guilt regarding his past actions, he was not. He added that Barret "shows us that a black man speaking in 'ebonics' is not something to fear," and that his portrayal was not racist, but instead the opposite.[23]

Despite their criticism, IGN ranked Barret fourth on their 2006 list of best sidekick characters in video games, stating that he "took the videogame world by storm" when introduced and noting that his portrayal was also appealing, adding that his past made him a visibly loyal character.[19] Joystiq named him one of twenty characters from the Final Fantasy franchise they wished to see in Square Enix' crossover fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy, noting a preference for his use of profanity and citing his combat abilities as easily suitable for the game.[24] Edge praised Barret's introduction as something "new" in the series, citing both his use of a gun and his "distinctively black" character, and further describing him as a "pseudo-nod" to similarly armed characters, such as Mega Man or Samus Aran, who in contrast were either robots or encased in armor.[25]

See also


  1. ^ a b c SoftBank, ed. (2006). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children: Reunion Files (in Japanese and English). Square-Enix. p. 45. ISBN 4-7973-3498-3.
  2. ^ "Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Credits". Allgame. All Media Guide. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  3. ^ a b "Interivew with Yoshinori Kitase and Tetsuya Nomura". Electronic Gaming Monthly (196). October 2005. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
  4. ^ Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition) (in Japanese). Square-Enix. 2009. pp. 8–13. ISBN 978-4-7575-2560-3.
  5. ^ Famitsu, ed. (1997). Final Fantasy VII Kaitai Shinsho (in Japanese). Famitsu. p. 10. ISBN 4-7577-0098-9.
  6. ^ a b Studio BentStuff, ed. (2005). Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω (in Japanese). Square-Enix. p. 518. ISBN 4-7575-1520-0.
  7. ^ "Character Profiles "Barret"". Square Enix. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
  8. ^ a b c Studio BentStuff, ed. (2005). Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω (in Japanese). Square-Enix. p. 16. ISBN 4-7575-1520-0.
  9. ^ a b c Parish, Jeremy (2009-04-22). "XIII Things About Final Fantasy XIII, Part VI". UGO Networks. Archived from the original on 2011-06-05. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  10. ^ a b "Tetsuya Nomura's 20s". Flare Gamer. Retrieved 2007-10-09.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition) (in Japanese). Square-Enix. 2009. pp. 52–55. ISBN 978-4-7575-2560-3.
  12. ^ a b SoftBank, ed. (2006). Final Fantasy VII Advent Children: Reunion Files (in Japanese and English). Square-Enix. p. 44. ISBN 4-7973-3498-3.
  13. ^ "Final Fantasy VII Remake Details On Its Action, Midgar Exploration, And Cross-Dressing". Siliconera. December 7, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition) (in Japanese). Square-Enix. 2009. pp. 42–47. ISBN 978-4-7575-2560-3.
  15. ^ a b Tetsuya Nomura (Director) (2005-09-14). Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (DVD). Square Enix. Barret: What up, fool! It's Barret. I am the man! Oil, Cloud! I just found the biggest damn oil field you ever seen. Surveying's done, so I should be able to come over and see Marlene soon. You let her know, all right, Spiky?
  16. ^ a b Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children (Limited Edition Collector's Set) (DVD). North America: Square Enix. 20 February 2007.
  17. ^ Studio BentStuff, ed. (2005). Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Ω (in Japanese). Square-Enix. p. 582. ISBN 4-7575-1520-0.
  18. ^ "The History of Final Fantasy". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 9 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  19. ^ a b Staff (2006-03-28). "Top 10 Tuesday: Best Sidekicks". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  20. ^ White, Darion (2009-02-08). "Why Are Black Game Characters Failing the Audience?". Edge. Archived from the original on 2011-01-15. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  21. ^ Buchanan, Levi (2009-03-06). "A History of Insensitivity". IGN. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  22. ^ Parish, Jeremy. "Barret Racism Demonstrates Japanese/American Cultural Gap". RPGamer. Crave Online. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  23. ^ Bruckner, Shawn. "The Over-simplification of Barret's Portrayal". RPGamer. Crave Online. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
  24. ^ Staff (2008-03-21). "Top 20 Final Fantasy supporting characters that should be in Dissidia". Joystiq. GameDaily. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  25. ^ Staff (2006-03-10). "This Week in Japan: Final Fantasy VII". Edge. Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2009-06-29.

External links

Beau Billingslea

John "Beau" Billingslea (born September 1, 1953) is an American actor and voice actor, known as the voice of Jet Black in the popular anime Cowboy Bebop, Ogremon in Digimon and Homura and Ay, the Fourth Raikage in Naruto Shippuden. In addition to voice acting, He appeared in many television shows and some films including North and South Book II: Love and War, Just Jordan, The Hannah Montana Movie, and Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Characters of Final Fantasy IX

The characters of the PlayStation role-playing game Final Fantasy IX. Filling four CD-ROMs, Final Fantasy IX featured a cast containing a variety of major and minor characters. Players could control a maximum of four characters for combat at once, with eight main playable characters in the party and a few other, temporary characters.

Characters of Final Fantasy VI

Square's role-playing video game Final Fantasy VI (released as Final Fantasy III in North America) features fourteen permanent player characters, the largest number of any game in the main Final Fantasy series, as well as a number of characters who are only briefly controlled by the player.

Characters of Final Fantasy VIII

Final Fantasy VIII, a 1999 best-selling role-playing video game by Squaresoft, features an elite group of mercenaries called "SeeD", as well as soldiers, rebels, and political leaders of various nations and cities. Thirteen weeks after its release, Final Fantasy VIII had earned more than US$50 million in sales, making it the fastest selling Final Fantasy title at the time. The game has shipped 8.15 million units worldwide as of March 2003. Additionally, Final Fantasy VIII was voted the 22nd-best game of all time by readers of the Japanese magazine Famitsu in 2006. The game's characters were created by Tetsuya Nomura, and are the first in the series to be realistically proportioned in all aspects of the game. This graphical shift, as well as the cast itself, has received generally positive reviews from gaming magazines and websites.The six main playable characters in Final Fantasy VIII are Squall Leonhart, a loner who avoids vulnerability by focusing on his duty; Rinoa Heartilly, an outspoken and passionate young woman who follows her heart; Quistis Trepe, an instructor with a serious yet patient attitude; Zell Dincht, an energetic martial artist with a fondness for hot dogs; Selphie Tilmitt, a cheerful girl who loves trains and flies the airship Ragnarok; and Irvine Kinneas, a marksman and womanizer who uses his charm to mask his insecurities. Temporarily playable characters include Laguna Loire, Kiros Seagill, and Ward Zabac, who appear in "flashback" sequences; SeeD cadet-turned-antagonist Seifer Almasy; and sorceress Edea Kramer. The main antagonist is Ultimecia, a sorceress from the future who wishes to compress time.

Characters of Final Fantasy XII

Final Fantasy XII, a role-playing video game released by Square Enix in 2006, revolves around the attempt to liberate the kingdom of Dalmasca from the Archadian Empire. The story is told through the eyes of Vaan, an orphan who wishes to be a sky pirate, and the cadre of other characters he encounters throughout the adventure. The visuals of the characters were designed by Akihiko Yoshida, while their stories were created by Yasumi Matsuno. The characters were designed to look and behave unlike any that had existed in the Final Fantasy series. Their stories were written to create a script where neither side was truly right or wrong, but instead just had different opinions and interpretations of the events occurring in the game.

There are a total of six main playable characters in Final Fantasy XII; Vaan, an energetic orphan of Rabanastre who dreams of becoming a sky pirate; Ashe, a determined princess of Dalmasca who lost her husband in the Archadian invasion; Basch, a disgraced knight of Dalmasca charged with treason for slaying the king; Balthier, a gentlemanly sky pirate who pilots his airship, the Strahl; Fran, Balthier's partner and a viera exile whose knowledge extends to legends and myths; and Penelo, Vaan's childhood friend who accompanies him in journeys to keep an eye over him. There is also a number of "Guest" characters, who temporarily join the main party at various points in the plotline, such as Larsa, the young prince of Archadia, Vossler, a member of the resistance against the Archadian Empire, and Reddas, a disillusioned former Magistrate of Archadia. Other major characters who influence the plot of the game but are not playable characters include Vayne, the eldest prince of Archadia and main antagonist of the story, Gabranth, the twin brother of Basch, and Cid, a brilliant scientist and father to Balthier.

The characters in the game have been the basis of several pieces of merchandise produced by Square Enix, such as statues, action figures, and jewelry. They have been subject to mixed reviews; some reviews have applauded the characters' dialogue and relationships to each other, while others dismissed the story and characters as uninteresting. Critiques of the voice acting for the characters has also been mixed, with different reviews either praising or criticizing both the acting and the technical quality of the recordings.

Characters of Final Fantasy XV

Final Fantasy XV, an action role-playing video game released in November 2016, is the fifteenth main installment in the Final Fantasy series, and is thematically connected to Fabula Nova Crystallis Final Fantasy, a subseries of games linked by a common mythos which includes Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Type-0. The world and main characters were created by Tetsuya Nomura, the game's original director. Nomura also designed the main characters, with later revisions and additional characters being designed by Yusuke Naora: other character designers involved with the game included Roberto Ferrari and Yusaku Nakaaki.

The story revolves around a conflict between Lucis, the last free kingdom in the world, and the expansionist empire of Niflheim. The main protagonist is Noctis Lucis Caelum, sole heir to the throne of Lucis. On his journey, he is accompanied by three companions: Gladiolus Amicitia, a brother-figure from a noble family sworn to Noctis's protection; Ignis Scientia, Noctis's strategist; and Prompto Argentum, a friend of Noctis from a lower-class family. A key character is Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, Noctis's fiancée through an arranged marriage. Other characters include Noctis's father Regis, the king of Lucis; Cor Leonis, a famous warrior of Lucis; Gentiana, Lunafreya's companion and attendant; Cindy, who with her grandfather Cid acts as mechanic for Noctis' car; and Iris, Gladiolus's sister. The game's main antagonist Ardyn Izuna is supported by the forces of Niflheim under emperor Iedolas Aldercapt and his chief scientist Verstael Besithia, Lunafreya's brother Ravus Nox Fleuret, and the mercenary dragoon Aranea Highwind.

Originally a spin-off game titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII, the game changed multiple times during its ten-year development cycle, including the redesign or removal of characters and story elements. Additional media and merchandise based upon the world and characters of XV have been produced, with its expanded media being dubbed the "Final Fantasy XV Universe": these include the original net animation Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV and the CGI feature film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV.

Characters of Final Fantasy X and X-2

The tenth game of the Final Fantasy series, Square's 2001 bestselling role-playing video game Final Fantasy X features several fictional characters designed by Tetsuya Nomura who wanted the main characters' designs and names to be connected with their personalities and roles in the plot. The game takes place in the fictional universe of Spira that features multiple tribes. The game's sequel released in 2003, Final Fantasy X-2, takes place two years after the events in Final Fantasy X and uses new and returning characters.

There are seven main playable characters in Final Fantasy X starting with Tidus, a skilled blitzball player from Zanarkand who is lost in the world of Spira after an encounter with an enormous creature called Sin and searches for a way home. He joins the summoner Yuna who travels towards the Zanarkand's ruins in order defeat Sin alongside her guardians: Kimahri Ronso, a member of the Ronso tribe; Wakka, the captain of the blitzball team in Besaid; Lulu, a stoic black mage; Auron, a famous warrior and an old acquaintance of Tidus; and Rikku, Yuna's cousin who searches for a way to avoid Yuna's sacrifice in the fight against Sin. The leader of the Guado tribe, Seymour Guado, briefly joins the party for a fight but is then revealed as an antagonist in his quest to replace Tidus' father, Jecht, to become the new Sin. Final Fantasy X-2 features Yuna, Rikku, and the newly introduced Paine as playable characters in their quest to find spheres across Spira and find clues regarding Tidus' current location. During their journey, they meet Paine's former comrades who are related with the spirit of an avenger named Shuyin.

The creation of these characters brought the Square staff several challenges as Final Fantasy X was the first game in the franchise to feature voice acting and also had to feature multiple tribes from different parts from Spira with distinctive designs. Various types of merchandising have also been released. The characters from Final Fantasy X and its sequel were praised by video game publications owing to their personalities and designs. The English voice acting received a mixed response during their debut while in Final Fantasy X-2 the dub received a better response.

Characters of the Final Fantasy VII series

Final Fantasy VII, a role-playing video game developed by Square (now Square Enix) and originally released in 1997, features a large number of fictional characters in both major and minor roles. VII has been followed by multiple sequels and prequels, grouped into the multimedia series Compilation of Final Fantasy VII: these include the 2004 mobile game Before Crisis, the 2005 movie sequel Advent Children, the 2006 shooter spinoff Dirge of Cerberus, and the 2007 action game Crisis Core. Other media include spin-off books and the original video animation Last Order. The setting of Final Fantasy VII is a world that has been described as an industrial or post-industrial science fiction setting. It is referred to as "the Planet" in most of the games, and was retroactively named "Gaia" in some Square Enix promotional material.VII follows Cloud Strife, a troubled mercenary who joins with an eco-terrorist group to stop Shinra from draining the life of the Planet to use as an energy source. As the story progresses, conflicts escalate and the world's safety becomes their central concern as new forces emerge to challenge the original group. Cloud and his team eventually face off against the game's antagonist, Sephiroth. Other important characters in the series include Aerith Gainsborough, a flower seller who becomes a good friend to Cloud; Zack Fair, Cloud's friend, a former soldier of Shinra and the protagonist of Crisis Core; and Vincent Valentine, a man made immortal by Shinra experimentation and the protagonist of Dirge of Cerberus. The conflict between Cloud and Sephiroth forms the core narrative around which many of the series' stories are built. Other characters include the Turks, a covert group which originally worked for Shinra.

The original characters were designed by Tetsuya Nomura, who had done monster designs for Final Fantasy VI and was chosen for the role after his designs impressed producer Hironobu Sakaguchi. Nomura was responsible for many of the characters and their stories. The scenario for the original game was written by Sakaguchi, Yoshinori Kitase and Kazushige Nojima. Nomura, Kitase and Nojima have been involved in other titles in the Compilation. The characters of VII have met with positive reception in contemporary and modern reviews, while their portrayal in the Compilation titles has been mixed: while Crisis Core was generally praised, the focus on secondary characters in Dirge of Cerberus drew mixed opinions from some, while their appearance in Advent Children was generally cited as confusing or poor for newcomers to the series. The entire cast, along with multiple side characters and villains, have remained popular among critics and series fans over the years, with many lists and opinion polls citing them as some of the best characters in the Final Fantasy series.

Cloud Strife

Cloud Strife (Japanese: クラウド・ストライフ, Hepburn: Kuraudo Sutoraifu) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Square's (now Square Enix's) 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary claiming to be formerly of SOLDIER, a group of elite supersoldiers employed by the Shinra Electric Power Company, a megacorporation responsible for draining the life from the planet. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group AVALANCHE, and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth, Cloud learns to accept his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud reappears as the protagonist in the 2005 computer-animated sequel film, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, in which he fights a new threat to the world while dealing with a sickness that infected his body. He acts in a supporting role in other Compilation of Final Fantasy VII titles, and is featured in several other games outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity. Additionally, he has been featured in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series, and the Kingdom Hearts series by Square Enix.

Cloud was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, a character artist for the Final Fantasy series, whose role expanded during the title's development to include supervision over Cloud's personality. Yoshinori Kitase, director of VII, and Kazushige Nojima, one of the game's event planners, developed the story and wanted to create a mysterious character who acted atypically for a hero. After VII, Nomura assumed greater responsibility over Cloud's development, and his design was revised to better conform with the series' shift to a more realistic style.

Cloud has garnered a primarily positive reception from critics. Described as "iconic", Cloud has been cited favorably as an example of complex character writing in video games and as one of its first unreliable narrators. He has ranked highly in various character lists compiled by video game publications, and remains popular among fans, continuing to place highly in popularity polls conducted by Famitsu, Guinness, and other organizations. His characterization and design have also served as trope for other characters, most notably Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII. He has also become the basis for a variety of merchandise, such as action figures and jewelry.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

Development began in 1994, originally for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. After delays and technical difficulties from experimenting on several platforms, Square moved production to the PlayStation, largely due to the advantages of the CD-ROM format. Veteran Final Fantasy staff returned, including series creator and producer Hironobu Sakaguchi, director Yoshinori Kitase, and composer Nobuo Uematsu. The title became the first in the series to use full motion video and 3D computer graphics, which featured 3D character models superimposed over 2D pre-rendered backgrounds. Although the gameplay systems remained mostly unchanged from previous entries, Final Fantasy VII introduced more widespread science fiction elements and a more realistic presentation. The game had a staff of over 100, with a combined development and marketing budget of around US$80 million.

Assisted by a large promotional campaign, Final Fantasy VII received widespread commercial and critical success and remains widely regarded as a landmark title and one of the greatest games of all time. The title won numerous Game of the Year awards and was acknowledged for boosting the sales of the PlayStation and popularizing Japanese role-playing games worldwide. Critics praised its graphics, gameplay, music, and story, although some criticism was directed towards its English localization. Its success has led to enhanced ports on various platforms, a multimedia subseries called the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII and an upcoming high-definition remake for the PlayStation 4.

Final Fantasy VII Remake

Final Fantasy VII Remake is an upcoming action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix for the PlayStation 4. It is a remake of the 1997 PlayStation game Final Fantasy VII, retelling the original story following mercenary Cloud Strife as he and eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE battle against the corrupt Shinra megacorporation, and the rogue former Shinra soldier Sephiroth. Gameplay is planned to be a fusion of real-time action similar to Dissidia Final Fantasy, and strategic elements, and the game will be released as a multipart series.

Rumors and demands for a remake of VII existed for many years, but multiple reasons were given for why the project was not being developed. Four key original staff members returned to help with Remake: original character designer Tetsuya Nomura returned as both director and main character designer, original director Yoshinori Kitase acted as producer, Kazushige Nojima returned to write the script, and composer Nobuo Uematsu is also involved. The decision to release Remake in multiple parts was taken so the team did not have to cut any of the original content. They also decided to add new content and adjust the original character designs to balance between realism and stylization.

List of black video game characters

This is a list of black video game characters. The 2009 study "The virtual census: representations of gender, race and age in video games." published by the University of Southern California showed that African Americans appear in video games in proportion to their numbers in the real world, but mainly in sports games and in titles that reinforce stereotypes.

Masahiro Kobayashi (actor)

Masahiro Kobayashi (小林 正寛, Kobayashi Masahiro, born May 16, 1971) is a Japanese actor and voice actor from Yakumo, Hokkaido. In 1995, he enrolled in the Seinenza Theater Company. Masahiro's notable roles include Barret Wallace, and Ryid Uruk from the Final Fantasy video game series.

Tifa Lockhart

Tifa Lockhart (Japanese: ティファ・ロックハート, Hepburn: Tifa Rokkuhāto) is a fictional character in Square's (now Square Enix) role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Created and designed by Tetsuya Nomura, she has since appeared in the fighting game Ehrgeiz and made cameo appearances in several other titles, as well as the CGI film sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children and related games and media in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series.

A member of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE and owner of the 7th Heaven bar in the slums of Midgar, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. Convincing him to join the group to keep him close and safe, she later assists him in saving the Planet from the game's villain, Sephiroth. Installments in The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII later expanded upon her character, such as in the film Advent Children, where she attempts to convince Cloud to let go of his self-imposed guilt, and move on with his life after Sephiroth's defeat.

Named the pin-up girl of the "cyber generation" by The New York Times, Tifa has been compared to Lara Croft as an example of a strong, independent and attractive female character in video games. Media have repeatedly praised both the character's strength and appearance and described her as one of the best female characters in gaming.

Wallace (surname)

Wallace is a Scottish surname derived from the Anglo-Norman French waleis, which is in turn derived from a cognate of the Old English wylisc (pronounced "wullish") meaning "foreigner" or "Welshman" (see also Wallach and Walhaz). The original surname may have denoted someone from the former Kingdom of Strathclyde who spoke Cumbric, a close relative of the Welsh language, or possibly an incomer from Wales, or the Welsh Marches. The Kingdom of Strathclyde was originally a part of the Hen Ogledd, its people speaking a Brythonic language distinct from Scottish Gaelic and the English derived from Lothian. In modern times, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the surname has been used as an Americanization of numerous Ashkenazic Jewish surnames.

Yuffie Kisaragi

Yuffie Kisaragi (ユフィ・キサラギ, Yufi Kisaragi) is a video game character from Square Enix's Final Fantasy series. Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, she was first introduced in the 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII as a young female ninja princess and thief. She can become one of the game's player characters after finishing a special sidequest. Yuffie reappears in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series, expanding her background and showing her after the events of the original game.

Yuffie has further been featured in other Square Enix games, most notably the Kingdom Hearts crossover series, voiced by Yumi Kakazu in the Japanese versions of the games. In the English versions, Christy Carlson Romano provides her voice for Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and Mae Whitman is Yuffie's voice for Kingdom Hearts II and Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. The character has achieved a high level of popularity in Japan, but the English-language media reception has been more mixed.

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