Cloud is a Final Fantasy character that makes his debut in Kingdom Hearts. He originates from Final Fantasy VII, and is the main character in Final Fantasy VII and a supporting character in the Kingdom Hearts series. Cloud is twenty-two years old at the beginning of Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and twenty-three during the events of Kingdom Hearts II.
- "I’m looking for someone. Hades promised to help. I tried to exploit the power of darkness, but it backfired. I fell into darkness, and I couldn’t find the light."
Cloud makes his first appearance in the Olympus Coliseum, striking a deal with Hades: if Cloud eliminates Hercules in battle, Hades will lead him to his nemesis Sephiroth. However, Cloud also has to fight Sora, so that he may move on to Hercules in the preliminaries rankings. After their battle, Cloud is either defeated, or comes out victorious, but refrains from killing Sora. The outcome of the fight does not affect the storyline, and the only reward for winning are the 80 experience points rewarded. However, as Cloud does not kill Sora, the results are not favorable for Hades; forcing him to summon Cerberus. The three-headed beast and guardian of the Underworld catches Cloud off-guard, pinning him to the ground.
At this point, Hercules comes to the rescue, defending the unconscious Cloud. Sora then moves in to finish the battle, giving Hercules the chance to take Cloud to safety.
Afterwards, Cloud waits at the entrance to the Coliseum, deep in thought. Sora asks him why Cloud worked for someone as shady as Hades, and Cloud replies that he was looking for someone, and tried to use the darkness to his advantage, but failed. He admits that he fell into darkness, and couldn't find the light. But Sora comforts him, saying that he too is searching for his light. Cloud then grants Sora the Sonic Blade ability, and walks off, but not before Sora offers a re-match. Cloud confidently says he'll pass, but later in the game, he can be fought in certain cups at the Olympus Coliseum.
Cloud manages to locate Sephiroth in the Coliseum, and both express that they have been searching for each other. Cloud also feels that in order to awaken from his nightmare, he has to defeat his darkness; namely, Sephiroth. Sephiroth tries to convince him to turn to that darkness, but Cloud refuses, and the two battle. The outcome of the battle is unknown.
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
- "I'm not here for the Cup. Just Hercules. Today he loses more than the competition."
Cloud once again appears in the Coliseum, constructed from Sora's memories. Again, he serves as a mercenary for Hades. However, Cloud is working for Hades to regain his lost memories, not to find Sephiroth. Hades promises to help him, but only if Cloud competes in the games and kills Hercules.
Completely ignoring Sora, Cloud confronts Hercules. However, Cloud only manages to wear Hercules down. Hades, no longer having any use for Cloud, fires him and knocks him out. Hades then attempts to kill Hercules on his own now that he is exhausted. However, Sora interferes and defeats the God of the Underworld.
After the battle, Cloud wakes up. He apologizes for his actions. Sora again comforts him, saying that the important memories are never truly gone. Sora also says that even the tiniest thing can help a person remember things they thought they had forgotten. Cloud shows his gratitude for Sora's help by granting him the Cloud card. However, he declines Sora's offer of joining them.
Kingdom Hearts II
- "Sorry to keep you, Sephiroth!"
Cloud appears once again in Hollow Bastion. He reveals to Sora that he is seeking to defeat his darkness, which is embodied by Sephiroth. He asks Sora to help him, but also warns him that Sephiroth will try and turn Sora to the darkness. During their meeting, Aerith also speaks to him. Not wanting her to follow him, he promises her that no matter how far he goes, he will always come back to Hollow Bastion. Though Aerith initially feels that he doesn't seem to be so sure, she is in the end confident in him.
Cloud also aids the residents of Hollow Bastion in defending against the Heartless invasion. He and Leon are seen at the Ravine Trail, back to back with their swords raised as Heartless surround them. The two banter playfully back and forth, then proceed to fend off the Heartless.
However, as he fights, he ends up separated from Leon, and Sephiroth makes his appearance. Cloud expresses his belief that once Sephiroth is defeated, his darkness will go away. However, Sephiroth reminds Cloud of his dark past, though it is not elaborated on. Cloud denies it, saying that Sephiroth doesn't know him, but the winged being says otherwise: "I know. Because...I am you".
Tifa, who had been searching fervently for Cloud, also arrives. However, her presence causes Cloud to see the light, making him wince. Sephiroth then vanishes, and Cloud runs off before Tifa can get to him.
Cloud is then seen with Leon again who is worried about Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Cloud tells him to relax because those three aren't going down that easily. He also tells him before leaving that Sora is a lucky kid.
After the 1000 Heartless battle, Cloud keeps at a distance from the others and avoids fighting the Heartless from Space Paranoids, knowing that his friends have enough strength to fend off the MCP's tricks. After the MCP is defeated, he is seen once again with Leon when Tron shows them a sight of when their city was first built, and so reminded everyone of its true name.
Cloud, still searching for Sephiroth, can be found in the town center after this. Sora, having just fought Sephiroth, reveals that he is at the Dark Depths. Cloud then goes off to settle the score. Sora manages to get to Sephiroth first, and he asks where Cloud is. Just then, Cloud arrives, and Sephiroth makes more comments on how Cloud can never let go of his darkness. Cloud grows angry, demanding he shuts up, and the two battle. However, Sephiroth says that defeating him will be futile, for Cloud's darkness will always hold him back. Sephiroth's words begin to drag him into the depths of despair, but Tifa once again arrives.
Cloud warns her to stay away from Sephiroth, but she refuses, for she wants to help him. Sephiroth says that it is futile, for Cloud will always have darkness within him. Tifa doesn't deny this, but retorts that as long as he is surrounded in light, the darkness within him can't be reached. Tifa attacks Sephiroth as Cloud watches, but when flashes of light blind Cloud, Sephiroth attempts to strike Cloud. However, Cloud successfully parries the attack, and takes a stand between Sephiroth and Tifa. Tifa offers Cloud her light, and though Sephiroth insists that the light doesn't suit Cloud, he begins to glow with a bright light, and the fight resumes. In a final brilliant flash of light, Cloud and Sephiroth rise into the air, then vanish.
Goofy asks where Cloud went, and Sora explains that he went to fight a great battle. When Sora asks Tifa what she will do now, she says that she will just have to keep looking and that light is easy to find. Tifa then gives Sora the Fenrir Keychain as thanks for helping.
Cloud makes a deal with Hades about visiting other worlds with the Secret of Heroes. He wants to break away from his past and his powerlessness after he takes care of Hercules and Data-Sora. It seems the reason he bargained with Data Hades is so he could become stronger to protect someone. He learned from Sora and Hercules that his true strength comes from his heart when he protects someone; for example blocking one of Data Hades's fireball that is about to hit Sora, and Hercules.
In Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts coded, Cloud has an appearance similar to his appearance in Final Fantasy VII. However, he also has a flowing red cape and a metal claw on his left hand, much like Vincent Valentine, another character in Final Fantasy VII, though there are some notable differences. Protruding from his back is one large demonic wing, a counterpart to Sephiroth's angelic one. The wing is not always extended, sometimes only appearing when he uses Omnislash. He also wields the Buster Sword, though it is covered in bandages, possibly as a symbol of his bound self and past.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud's design changes dramatically. He is dressed in his outfit from Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, with his hairstyle changing to match. He wields his sword from Advent Children as well, although it is bandaged like the Buster Sword. The outlines of the component blades appear to be simply engraved, rather than actual edges. His wing is absent, although his face is nearly the same as Sephiroth's; an oddity remarked on by Goofy.
Cloud seems to be notably stoic and melancholy, very different from the personality of his Final Fantasy VII counterpart. However, he does possess some similar, even more melancholic, characteristics in Advent Children. He is also seen engaging in playful banter with Leon during the 1,000 Heartless Invasion of Hollow Bastion as well, hinting at a friendly rivalry between the two.
In an interview, Tetsuya Nomura stated that while Cloud makes a big deal of looking for Sephiroth in Kingdom Hearts II, he is actually running from something, the 'something warm' that Tifa was after in Advent Children. It is likely that his motivations for running, a combination of guilt and worry that he will be unable to protect the people he cares about, are the same in the Kingdom Hearts universe as they were in the Final Fantasy universe.
Cloud Strife was originally the main protagonist from Final Fantasy VII. He was born and raised in Nibelheim with Tifa. However, when he turned 14, he ran away from home to become a SOLDIER, an elite military group working for the Shinra Company, to be a hero like the then good Sephiroth, and to impress and protect Tifa, his love interest in the Final Fantasy VII series. Contrary to his journal entry in Kingdom Hearts II, Cloud never made SOLDIER, but instead suffered a traumatic event watching Sephiroth burn his hometown and kill many people.
- Cloud, along with Aerith, Tifa, Yuffie, Cid, and Leon were originally set to appear in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep. But in the final release they were removed from the game because, according to Nomura, there were too many plot lines already, and it would have gotten confusing.
- Cloud is the most powerful in Kingdom Hearts II, as if one were to hack or use cheats in Kingdom Hearts II to place Cloud as a continous assist character, he can easily defeat bosses in a few hits.
- In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, the film sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Cloud & Tifa have an adopted son named Denzel. Denzel has not yet been, and may never be, featured in the Kingdom Hearts series.