We’re always being told how important it is to know our characters backwards, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at existing characters from books, films and videogames to discover what makes up these characters.
The idea is that by breaking a character down, I’m curious to see what we can learn about the creation of a character, and about how they have been pieced together.
This plan might go horribly wrong, or it might be interesting, but I’m going to start with a character that I have spend hundreds of hours of my time controlling, running around, fighting with and of course saving the world with.
Disclaimer: Remember a lot of this could be open to interpretation, so some factors others might not agree with me.
Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII
Character’s full name: Cloud Strife
Birth date: Unknown
Age: Depends which game you’re playing 😉
Body build: Well-built
Eye color: Blue
Glasses or contacts: Neither
Skin tone: Fair
Hair color: Blonde
Type of hair: Thick
Mood character is most often in: Grumpy / Thoughtful
Sense of humor: Does he have one? Always seems a little sombre
Character’s greatest joy in life: His Sword / Trying to bring down Shinra / Protecting the world against Sephiroth
Character’s greatest fear: Losing the people he loves
Why? He’s lost a lot of people in his past
What single event would most throw this character’s life into complete turmoil? Realising that the memories that he has, are not his own.
Character is most at ease when: With Tifa
Priorities: Protecting the World
Drives and motivations:
Immediate goals: To bring down Shinra
Long term goals: To save the World from Sephiroth / Meteor
How the character plans to accomplish these goals: Defeat Sephiroth
How other characters will be affected: Well, they kinda have to fight with him….most of the way!
Type of childhood: Lonely, outsider
Dream job: Being part of SOLDIER
Current location: Travelling the World
Currently living with: His Friends
Pets: Does Barrat count?
Occupation: Ex-SOLDIER / Terrorist / Member of AVALANCHE
Finances: Pay from being in AVALANCHE and money that he steals when he kills monsters and the bad guys.
Optimist or pessimist? Pessimist
Introvert or extrovert? Introvert
Daredevil or cautious? Cautious
Logical or emotional? Logical
Disorderly and messy or methodical and neat? Methodical and neat
Prefers working or relaxing? Working
Confident or unsure of himself/herself? It varies
Animal lover? Only if they’re not attempting to kill him
Relationships with others
Does the character hide his/her true opinions and emotions from others? Hides them
Person character most hates: Sephiroth
Best friend(s): Barrat
Love interest(s): Tifa
Person character goes to for advice: Tifa
Most important person in character’s life before story starts: Himself
After story starts: Tifa
Cloud has always been one of my favourite characters, because he has so much depth. On the surface, he comes across as this miserable pessimist who is only helping out because he needs the money, but delve a bit deeper and he has so much heart, and you realise that he does things for the right reason, but he has difficulty expressing himself. This is especially true with the people that he cares about.
He’s very protective and would do virtually anything for the people who are the most important to him.
He evolves from being a very weak character, to one who is strong, perhaps not always emotionally, but certainly in strength.
He’ll always be a loner, to some degree.
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