Character Breakdown: Cloud Strife

Fiction, Writing

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

Physical appearance

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

Hairstyle: Spiky


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!


Hometown: Nibelheim

Type of childhood: Lonely, outsider

Pets: Unknown

Dream job: Being part of SOLDIER

Education: Unknown

Finances: Unknown


Current location: Travelling the World

Currently living with: His Friends

Pets: Does Barrat count?

Religion: Unknown

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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