“I never thought this day would come,” says the Final Fantasy VII hero. Neither did we, Cloud. Neither did we.
Once upon a time, Square, developer of the Final Fantasy series, and Nintendo were the best of friends. Every time a new Final Fantasy game came out, it debuted on a Nintendo console, sold an amazing number of copies, and both companies were happy.
Then Nintendo decided to drag its feet on ditching the cartridge video game format, Square jumped ship to Sony’s CD-based PlayStation, and things have never really been the same between Square Enix (as the developer is known these days) and Nintendo. So it was a bit shocking to see Cloud Strife, protagonist of Final Fantasy VII, a.k.a. the game Square broke away from its cozy relationship with Nintendo for, suddenly make an appearance at the very end of Nintendo’s recent Nintendo Direct video.
▼ There’s 42-someodd minutes’ worth of non-Cloud related material, so if you’re here for the spiky-haired swordsman, skip to the 42:35 mark.
Cloud was there as part of the announcement that he’ll become a playable character in the next update to Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Wii U and 3DS, the latest installments of Nintendo’s crossover multiplayer fighting franchise.
▼ Cloud leaps into battle against Pokémon’s Charizard, Metroid’s Samus, and Kirby’s…well, Kirby.
▼ The FF VII hero knocks around Mario and Sonic…
▼ …then tangles with Street Fighter’s Ryu (those of you who came of age in the 16 and 32-bit video game eras, please pick your brains up off the floor at this time).
The brief teaser is crammed full of throwbacks aimed squarely at the nostalgia centers of Final Fantasy VII fans. Aside from the atmospheric Midgar stage, based on the central city of Square’s hit, we see Cloud unleash his limit break attack, and also perform classic Final Fantasy summons such as Bahamut and Odin, the latter of whom Zantestukens the arena in half, as is his nature.
This being a game for the Wii U and 3DS, the character model doesn’t look anywhere near as hyper-realistic as the one for Cloud in the upcoming PlayStation 4 Final Fantasy VII remake. Still, he’s a lot more polished-looking than he was when gamers first saw him in 1997, and his outfit from the Advent Children CG animated film is available as an alternate costume.
▼ Hey, wait a second, you’re not Aerith!
Cool as it is to see him throwing his hat into the Smash Bros. ring, even Cloud himself seems a little surprised to be here, as he can be heard saying “I never thought this day would come” before drawing his sword against his unexpected opponents. And while we totally understand the feelings of anyone grumbling over Cloud getting the nod ahead of Final Fantasy VII co-adventurer Tifa, there’s still one more reason to look forward to the as yet release date-less update.
▼ Chocobo costumes!