Squaresoft is a name that was generally pasted on what people could confidently label as amazing titles that would certainly be worth the money spent on them. Of course, there are certain exceptions to this, but for the most part, Squaresoft was one of the most reliable video game developers of its generation. The sheer number of quality titles that came out under the supervision of this company is nothing short of astounding, which is one of the major reasons why Square Enix gets so much flack in today's day-and-age — they just aren't functioning at the level that Squaresoft used to perform. One need only look at the sheer number of quality games on the original PlayStation to understand just how amazing these games actually were, and nothing personifies this more than Final Fantasy VII — a genre-defying title in every sense of the word.
There are so many memorable moments in this game that listing them out would be pretty exhaustive. So, instead of talking about this dynamic in detail, it's better to just stop beating around the bush and get to the meat of this article — namely, the complicated nature of Cloud and Tifa's relationship. The backstory they share makes it perfectly clear that their connection runs deeper than any other character relationship in the series, but it's the sheer depth of this relationship that warrants a further look. After all, there are various things about this particular relationship that will pique the interest of any Final Fantasy fan.
25 An Intentional Love Triangle Was Formed Between Cloud, Tifa, And Aerith
So, funny thing. The whole reason why Tifa was designed was that Aerith was supposed to perish later on in the series. This dynamic caused the developers to gauge the emotions that would be generated by this untimely demise.
One such emotion was love.
The whole concept of a love triangle was brought up to add a layer of depth to Cloud's feelings, and the third participant of this love triangle was none other than Tifa.
24 Aerith Wore A Ribbon On Her Arm In Advent Children In Remembrance Of Aerith
However, if you think that the intention of this love triangle was for the two women to develop animosity towards each other, then we'll stop you right there. That isn't even remotely the case.
If anything, Tifa also missed Aerith.
This can be witnessed in the red ribbon she wears around her arm in Advent Children. No, this isn't a fashion statement — if anything, it's actually a form of remembrance of a person that was very close.
23 Tifa Retained Her Mind In The Lifestream Because Of Aerith
What we discussed before wasn't a one-sided affair — it's infinitely clear that there was a sense of mutual respect between two women, which was noticed by many keen-eyed fans.
The fact that Aerith's spirit saved Tifa in the Lifestream should be proof enough.
After all, if Cloud had been mentally addled by getting into direct contact with the Lifestream, then Tifa should've shared the same fate. Yet, Tifa is able to retain her sanity because Aerith's spirit protected her mind.
22 Going Out On A Date With Tifa In The Gold Saucer Is Possible
Most gamers who reach the Gold Saucer end up on a date with Aerith. It makes the most sense from a story perspective at that point for them, but what these people probably aren't aware of is that this date can actually happen with Tifa as well.
Depending on how you treat both women throughout the game, there's a chance that Tifa might find you more endearing than Aerith. Of course, if you mess up with both, then there's always Barret.
21 It's Also Possible For Cloud To Replace Tifa As Don Corneo's Choice
Since we're on the topic of replacement, here's another thing that deserves a mention. So, when you infiltrate Don Corneo's mansion, there are actually a few extra things that you can do to get better clothing for Cloud. Well, there's actually a reason for that.
Depending on your effort, there's a chance that Don Corneo will actually choose you as opposed to Tifa, who is the default choice.
Meanwhile, Aerith is just sulking in the corner.
20 Tifa Convinced Cloud To Join AVALANCHE Because She Assumed He Also Hated Shinra
Anyone who's played Final Fantasy VII remembers exactly when Sephiroth went crazy and pulled off one of video gaming's most iconic heel turns. As a member of Shinra's SOLDIER, he burnt down the entire town and put everyone to the stake.
Tifa still remembers this incident with a vengeance and hated Shinra from that day forth. After meeting up with Cloud, she assumed that he would share this hatred with her, and asked him to join AVALANCHE.
But there was another reason why Tifa wanted Cloud to join her.
19 Tifa's Ulterior Motive Was To Keep Tabs On Cloud And His Odd Behavior
Tifa and Cloud share a history that we will get into in detail later on. Anyway, this meant that both individuals obviously have the same memory about things they experienced together... or at least, that's what Tifa thought.
Interacting with Cloud after what felt like ages, Tifa knew that something horrible had happened to Cloud during this absence. So, to keep a check on him, she asked Barret to take him on a mission and — ultimately — join AVALANCHE.
18 Cloud Is Tifa's Emotional Link To Her Old Life In Nibelheim
The fact of the matter is that Cloud would have never been able to recover his true memories and revert back to normal had it not been for Tifa. The fact that they shared an eventful childhood in his hometown meant that — no matter what — things were bound to intersect after a while.
There are numerous incidents like such that make Tifa a sort of anchor for Cloud, especially since the latter had been mentally scarred by an incident that altered his memories for the worse. Without Tifa's interference, this mental blockage would've never been cleared out.
17 The Mount Nibel Incident Was A Major Aspect Of Their Shared Childhood
One such childhood event that both of these people shared was the incident in Mount Nibel — a major time in their lives that ended up having quite a sizeable impact. After her mother passed, a grief-stricken Tifa climbed the mountain in the hopes of meeting her spirit. A young Cloud was hot on her heels to prevent anything bad from happening to her.
However, during the ascent, a drawbridge collapsed as they both tried to cross. The fall didn't cause too many problems for Cloud, but the same couldn't be said for Tifa, who fell into a coma.
16 As Kids, Tifa Made Cloud Promise To Protect Her Always
The incident served as a major turning point for Cloud, who realized just how helpless he was then. The need to grow stronger and protect the ones closest to him grew over time, and he decided to train and become an elite warrior.
So, during one fateful night, Cloud made a powerful declaration to Tifa by telling her that he would join SOLDIER and protect her, no matter what might happen. It's one of the most endearing moments in the game that shows just how deep their relationship actually is.
15 Cloud Might've Wanted To Join SOLDIER To Impress Tifa
Of course, men will be men, after all. The constant need to protect someone close to them is a constant that will never change, no matter what. So, how can one say that Cloud is any different? The need to protect Tifa might've stemmed from something... more.
So, while the emotional speech that Cloud makes on that fateful night in Nibelheim might've actually been heartfelt, there's a chance that a small part of him really wanted to impress Tifa with the amazing achievement of getting into one of the most elite groups in existence.
14 After Cloud Left, Tifa Constantly Checked The Newspapers For His Mention
This strategy by Cloud actually worked — Tifa waited with bated breath for any mention of a blond upstart from a small town who, against all odds, managed to break through and become one of the most powerful fighters of all time.
However, as we all know, this wasn't the case. All of Tifa's searching was in vain, but this showcased something else — she certainly felt something for the person who wasn't in her life anymore, although articulating it properly would've been quite hard for her.
13 She Even Asked Shinra Personnel If They Knew Cloud In Nibelheim
But — as is the case with naive young people — Tifa refused to believe that Cloud didn't make it in SOLDIER. In her mind, Cloud was perfectly capable of achieving his goal, no matter what.
So, when Shinra decided to visit Nibelheim to check up on the reactor, Tifa served as their guide. Chirpy attitude aside, Tifa was genuinely curious about the faceless organization that Cloud wanted to join, and asked them if they'd heard of a blond-haired individual who might've joined them.
12 Cloud Hid His Face In Nibelheim Out Of Shame Because He Didn't Make It In SOLDIER
In a way, Cloud did manage to achieve the goal he set out for. He was accepted as a fighter in the Shinra ranks so that he could develop the ability to protect people. Unfortunately, this wasn't exactly a very bombastic or appealing way of achieving it.
Being a lowly member of the Shinra infantry wasn't exactly glamorous for Cloud, which is why he decided to cover up his face in Nibelheim. He didn't want the people closest to him to figure out that he essentially failed — especially Tifa.
11 When Sephiroth And Zack Came To Nibelheim, Tifa Stated That She Dreamt Of A Blond-Haired Soldier Protecting Her
The absence of Cloud certainly left a hole in Tifa's heart, who was longing to meet her childhood friend for a multitude of reasons. In fact, there were times when she even dreamt about him.
So, when the SOLDIER duo of Zack and Sephiroth reached Nibelheim, Tifa had only one question for them — a question that involved a spiky blond-haired individual in their ranks who protected her in her dreams. Both of them were understandably perplexed since a person did fit that description... although not exactly in the manner Tifa would've thought.
10 Tifa Herself Wasn't Sure About The Events Of Nibelheim That Cloud Wrongly Remembered
While Tifa had already picked up on Cloud's odd behavior, what really cemented this odd feeling was when Cloud recounted the Nibelheim incident. While the gist was solid enough, there were certain fine details that Cloud altered or skipped out on that caused Tifa to raise an eyebrow.
However, Tifa refrained from raising her voice and correcting Cloud because a part of her also wasn't sure if what she'd seen was correct. Keep in mind that Tifa was heavily injured during this altercation, so it's normal for her to doubt her memories.
9 She Kept The Feelings Of Uneasiness Towards Cloud Locked Up
However, perhaps the major reason why Tifa decided to let Cloud tell what was essentially a wrong story was a part of an overarching feeling of dread that she felt from Cloud. She knew something was particularly off about him, but confronting him about him was particularly daunting for her as well.
So, instead of taking what would arguably have been the right course of action to take, Tifa decided to let things be and not get into something that she felt was way out of her depth.
8 Tifa Played A Major Role In Helping Cloud Find Himself When He Felt Lost
However, for all the flack that fans might give Tifa for not alerting Cloud about his mental situation well before things took a turn for the worse, the fact of the matter is that her involvement arguably ended up saving Cloud from further mental degradation.
Finding a wheelchair-bound Cloud was the last straw for Tifa, and it was quite lucky that the subsequent earthquake threw both of them into the Lifestream. This allowed Tifa to explore Cloud's psyche and understand what exactly happened to his memories.
7 Tifa Was Genuinely Hurt By Cloud's Distant Nature In Advent Children
You'd think that fixing her best friend's memories and aiding him in saving the world from imminent destruction would be enough to cement a great friendship. However, in Advent Children, Cloud is as distant as ever. So, it's obvious that Tifa would take this in the wrong sense.
Being ignored and kept in the dark by the person closest to her was quite an alienating experience for Tifa. While the realization of his true past definitely took a toll on his mind, ostracizing Tifa from his true feelings was not necessary.
6 Her Lecture To Cloud In The Movie Had An Extra Scene That Was Cut Out
The lack of self-confidence that Cloud put up on display was quite jarring in Advent Children — one of the many reasons why the movie is generally looked down upon by fans. This self-apathy was so severe that Tifa had to step in and give a stern talk to Cloud about his crummy behavior.
Apparently, there was another scene right after this blowup that showed Tifa regretting the blunt nature of her outburst, but this scene was removed from the final cut for time constraints.
5 Tifa's Last Name — Lockhart — Might Be A Reference To Tifa's Reserved Nature
In Final Fantasy VII, most characters have a last name that showcases a crucial aspect of their life or personality. For example, Strife — Cloud's last name — is meant to showcase the problems and struggles Cloud went through in his life.
Similarly, Tifa's last name is also meant to indicate something along the same lines. "Lockhart" is a way to show the feelings that she's locked down deep inside her heart.
4 It Might Also Refer To Her Role In Unlocking Cloud's Psyche Later In The Game
Of course, there are several interpretations of Tifa's last name, which is the beauty of having such a mysterious yet meaningful addition to the game. The obvious meaning of "Lockhart" is quite apparent, which we've discussed in detail.
However, this can also indicate another hidden meaning which we've already discussed — namely, the fact that Tifa was the key to unlocking what was hidden deep down in Cloud's heart.
This took a fair bit of effort from Tifa. After all...
3 Tifa Was Too Shy To Reveal Her True Feelings To Cloud
This is one of the major reasons why there was such a major gap when it came to the communication between Cloud and Tifa. Most people tend to blame Cloud for being aloof and not communicating properly with his friends — especially Tifa.
However, the same can be said for Tifa.
While not overtly rude, Tifa had the problem of being too shy to let Cloud know about what she really felt about him. This perceived romance ended up on a slow burn, which culminated in one iconic scene in the game.
2 The Talk Between Cloud And Tifa On The Highwind Was Supposed To Indicate The Start Of A Beautiful Relationship
Before the final moments of the game, Cloud and Tifa have a great talk that shows just how far the both of them had gone as friends... and perhaps, more. The fact that both of them could open up to each other to such an extent showcased something else.
It suggested that their relationship had transformed for the better.
Of course, nothing concrete came out of the whole affair. However, keeping all the facts in mind, it's certainly not a stretch to assume that Cloud and Tifa were meant to show the player that they were official.
1 This Talk Was Meant To Be WAY More Suggestive
The statement mentioned above becomes all the more powerful once you read up on what the developers initially intended the sequence to be.
It would've been implied that these two spent the night before the final battle together.
Basically, Cloud would walk outside the airship's Chocobo stable first, followed by a wary Tifa as she looked around for witnesses. This basically meant that they both spent the night together — an idea that was scrapped by Yoshinori Kitase for being way too suggestive and extreme.