If you're ignorant of Final Fantasy 7's story, you can be forgiven for glancing at Cloud and assuming he's a stereotypical tsundere anime pretty boy. Cloud definitely tries (too hard) to project the image of a cold loner, but Final Fantasy 7's deeper lore gets to the root of his true nature, and he's more fragile than he appears. Final Fantasy 7 Remake will explore Cloud's vulnerabilities to the point that story and scenario writer Kazushige Nojima is worried fans will no longer "accept" him.
Nojima airs his worries in part two of Square Enix's Inside Final Fantasy 7 Remake series, which offers a deep dive into the production of Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Part two's focus is mainly about how the game's characters are being written and re-written for Remake, including protagonist Cloud.
"Since he was a child, he has had a strong need to be accepted by people," says Nojima. "He felt that he was special, but as a child, he had nothing to prove that."
Nojima recounts Cloud's journey to join Shinra's elite SOLDIER corps, his subsequent dropout, and his entry into the eco-terrorist group Avalanche, which is where Final Fantasy 7's story starts.
"[Cloud] is quite complicated, not a cheerful soul. He keeps a lot inside," says Nojima. "There is something I want to tell people, but I am also a little nervous about saying. For this game, I have gone much deeper into the inner psychology of Cloud, the main character. In the original, I depicted him as a cool and stylish character. However, this time he can miss the mark and be a little cringe-worthy at times. His cool façade can often slip. Because he wants people to accept him and respect him, he puts up a front. So, when he doesn't know something, he just goes 'not interested.' I have written him in a way that makes you think that 'not interested' might not be a cool thing to say, but can sometimes be a bit lame. That's something I wanted to convey. That's a personal challenge I set for myself. But at the same time, I am nervous about whether the fans will accept that or not."
Speaking for myself, I never regarded Cloud as "cool" in any capacity, even when I was a 17-year-old playing Final Fantasy 7 for the first time. I took him as a kid with problems, and sure enough, that's exactly what he is. In any case, I was a little worried Final Fantasy 7 Remake might make Cloud cool and suave to appease the fans. I'm glad to hear the exact opposite is happening. Cloud is on track to be a lost boy with more issues than the entire run of Shonen Jump.
Episode two of Inside Final Fantasy 7 Remake also reveals the game will go into much more detail about Aerith's background. Seems Square Enix is serious about stuffing Remake with content, even though part one seems to only take us through the Midgar chapter.