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|Final Fantasy character|
|First game||Final Fantasy VII (1997)|
|Designed by||Tetsuya Nomura|
Tifa Lockhart (Japanese: ティファ・ロックハート Hepburn: Tifa Rokkuhāto) is a fictional character in Square's (now Square Enix) role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Created and designed by Tetsuya Nomura, she has since appeared in the fighting game Ehrgeiz and made cameo appearances in several other titles, as well as the CGI film sequel to Final Fantasy VII, Advent Children and related games and media in the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series.
A member of the eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE and owner of the 7th Heaven bar in the slums of Midgar, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, the protagonist of Final Fantasy VII. Convincing him to join the group to keep him close and safe, she later assists him in saving the Planet from the game's villain, Sephiroth. Installments in The Compilation of Final Fantasy VII later expanded upon her character, such as in the film Advent Children, where she attempts to convince Cloud to let go of his self-imposed guilt, and move on with his life after Sephiroth's defeat.
Named the pin-up girl of the "cyber generation" by The New York Times, Tifa has been compared to Lara Croft as an example of a strong, independent and attractive female character in video games. Media have repeatedly praised both the character's strength and appearance and described her as one of the best female characters in gaming.
Introduced in Final Fantasy VII, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, and owner of the 7th Heaven bar, as well as a member of the eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE, who oppose the megacorporation Shinra and their use of Mako energy as a power source. She convinces Cloud to join the group to keep a closer eye on him after noticing his personality has changed, and she follows him in pursuit of the game's antagonist, Sephiroth. Unable to keep him from being manipulated by Sephiroth, she helps him recover after his mind becomes fractured, and they realise their mutual feelings for one another, working together to defeat Sephiroth.
In flashbacks, it is revealed that as children Tifa and Cloud had decided to follow a path to a mountain near their hometown of Nibelheim. However, they were both injured and Tifa was in a coma for a week, with her father holding Cloud responsible for the incident. Cloud eventually left to join Shinra's SOLDIER program in order to become stronger, but it is later revealed that he did it primarily to attract her attention. In response, she requested if she was ever in danger, he would return to save her. Years later, after Sephiroth destroyed the town of Nibelheim, Cloud rescued Tifa after she was wounded by Sephiroth. Surviving the incident, Tifa was taken to safety by her martial arts instructor Zangan, eventually arriving in Midgar and meeting AVALANCHE's leader, Barret Wallace. Upon recovering, she joined AVALANCHE so as to get revenge for the destruction of her home. She eventually encountered an incoherent Cloud at the city's train station, and convinced him to work for Barret, so as to keep him close and safe. This is the point at which the game begins.
In early drafts of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa was to be a background character. Her role in AVALANCHE was to add support behind the scenes, and to cheer everyone up after missions, as well as having a particular fondness for Cloud. She was supposed to have a large scar on her back caused by Cloud, and partial amnesia from the incident when she had received it. A scene intended to imply herself and Cloud having sex was proposed by Masato Kato, one of the event planners, but it was replaced with a toned down version by Kitase in which a risqué line is followed by a fade to black. In an interview Nojima stated that none of the staff thought the scene would become such an issue at the time.
In 2005, she appeared in the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, set two years after the events of the game. In it, she tries to give emotional support to Cloud, urging him to come to terms with the unwarranted guilt he places upon himself. In addition, she takes care of Barret Wallace's adopted daughter Marlene and another child, Denzel. During the film, she fights against one of the antagonists, Loz, and later she helps battle the summoned creature Bahamut SIN. Script writer Kazushige Nojima described her role in the film as "very much like any woman who's been left behind by a man," stating that while they did not want her to appear clingy, they also wanted to portray that she was emotionally hurt by Cloud's departure. In the film's initial draft, she was intended to have a more central role in the then-short film, which only featured herself, Cloud, and several children, with the story revolving around a note being delivered to him.
Tifa is featured in the prequel games Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, as well as the OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII. In each, her appearance relates to Nibelheim's destruction. The novella "Case of Tifa", written as part of the On the Way to a Smile series, is a story set between the original game and Advent Children. Told from her point of view, the story details how she creates a new 7th Heaven bar in the city of Edge, and attempts to hold onto the concept of a normal family with herself and Cloud, despite him beginning to isolate himself from others. Tifa also appears briefly in the game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, set one year after the events of Advent Children in which she helps the protagonist Vincent Valentine defend the Planet against the monster Omega WEAPON; she later appears in the game's epilogue, discussing Vincent's apparent disappearance.
Outside of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa appears in the fighting game Ehrgeiz, as an unlockable character and an optional boss. She later appears in the electronic board games Itadaki Street Special and Itadaki Street Portable. In Kingdom Hearts II, she appears in her Advent Children attire, searching for Cloud and later fighting various Heartless, the series' monsters. She was originally planned to appear in the Final Mix version of the original Kingdom Hearts, but due to time constraints the staff members chose to incorporate Sephiroth instead. Tifa is one of player characters in the fighting game Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, which features characters from various Final Fantasy games. She is featured in her Final Fantasy VII outfit, but the player has also access to her Advent Children form and a third form that is shown during Tifa's appearances in Nibelheim. The first print run of the game features another form based on artwork by Yoshitaka Amano. In LittleBigPlanet 2, Tifa is featured as a downloadable character model.
Korean singer Ivy portrayed the character in a 2007 music video for the song "유혹의 소나타" ("Sonata of Temptation"). Recreating a fight scene from Advent Children, the video was banned from airing on Korean television after a copyright lawsuit by Square Enix citing plagiarism. In 2015 Tifa was added to the iOS game Final Fantasy: Record Keeper as a playable character.
Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, Tifa was not present in early versions of Final Fantasy VII, as initially, the game was to have only three playable characters; the protagonist Cloud Strife, Aerith Gainsborough and Barret Wallace. However, during a phone call to project director Yoshinori Kitase, it was suggested that at some point in the game, one of the main characters should die, and after much discussion as to whether it should be Barret or Aerith, the producers chose Aerith. Nomura later joked that this was his idea, so as to enable him to introduce Tifa into the game. Regardless, the notion of having two concurrent heroines, and having the hero waver between them, was something Kitase liked, describing it as something new in the Final Fantasy series. Nomura describes Tifa's character in Advent Children as having several dimensions, calling her "like a mother, a sweetheart, and a close ally in battle" and "remarkably strong, not only emotionally, but physically as well."
Tifa was designed to use the "monk" character class that appears in previous games in the series. She has long, black hair in a style resembling a dolphin's tail at the tip, and garments described as simple and monotone, consisting of a white tank top and black miniskirt. She also wears red boots and gloves, and sleeves extend up her arms from her wrists to her elbows, with suspenders connecting her skirt to her shoulders, and a large metal guard covering her left elbow. She stands about 5 feet 6 inches (167 cm) tall, and has measurements of 36-24-35" (92-60-88 cm).
Initially, Nomura had difficulty deciding whether to go with a miniskirt or long pants. Seeking input, he passed his sketches around Square's offices, and the majority of the staff members approved of the miniskirt design. This additionally served as a contrast to Aerith, whose "Long Skirt" was her trademark. The attire was explained in respect to the game as giving her freedom of movement, due to her affinity with hand-to-hand combat, and the skirt, referred to as "quite short [...] giving a considerable degree of exposure," was kept as a staple of her alternate costumes. The developers additionally noted that due to her figure, her otherwise plain garments took on a pleasant appearance.
When producing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, co-director Takeshi Nozue had difficulty developing a framework for Tifa's body that was "balanced, yet showed off her feminine qualities." Her outfit too was redesigned at this point, with emphasis on expressing those qualities, while still being pleasing to the eye. A white tank top with black zipped up vest covers her front, a pink ribbon wraps around her left biceps, and boots cover her feet. A black buttoned-up skirt covers her thighs, and she wears shorts beneath, with a piece of cloth similar to a coattail extending from the back of the skirt's waistband and ending at her ankles. While her gloves remain, they are worn only during the film's fight scenes. Her hairstyle was changed to end at the middle of her back, with the removal of the dolphin tail from her original design. This alteration was because of the difficulty of animating her original length of hair, as well as problems that arose due to its black color and lighting.
Nomura noted he liked Ayumi Ito as an actress, and wished to work with her on Advent Children. With Aerith's voice actor already decided, Nomura asked Ito to voice Tifa, feeling her "husky voice" would offer a good contrast to Maaya Sakamoto's soft-spoken Aerith. Nomura additionally noted that after completing Tifa's updated design, the producers debated about her finalized details, but once Ito had been cast for the role they chose to blend many traits from the voice actress into the character's final appearance.
Since her introduction, Tifa has received an extremely positive reaction from both critics and fans. In 2000, GameSpot readers voted her as the fifth-best female character in video games, with the site's editors noting they agreed. In 2004, Play featured Tifa in the first issue of their Girls of Gaming annual periodical, describing her as "the most adored female in recent history." In 2007, Tifa was named the eighth-best character of all time in Dengeki PlayStation's retrospective awards feature about the original PlayStation, the third-highest-ranked character from Final Fantasy VII. That same year, Tom's Hardware listed her as one of the 50 greatest female characters in video game history, describing her as "one of the more richly drawn and intricate female characters around." In 2008, UGO listed her as one of the top "girls of gaming", placing her at number five, and stating a preference for her over Aerith, adding "Tifa's outfit is a marvel of understatement – but it's her natural assets and unforgettable personality that earn her a spot on this list." That same year, Chip ranked her as the tenth-top "girl of gaming". In 2009, IGN named Tifa one of the ten best heroines in gaming, describing her as "without a doubt, a legendary heroine of the Final Fantasy universe." A 2010 poll by Famitsu named her the 19th-most popular video game character by Japanese audiences. Complex ranked her as the 13th-greatest heroine in video game history in 2013.
In 2001, The Beaumont Enterprise cited Tifa as an example of a strong female character in video games in the wake of Lara Croft's introduction. In 2008, Joystiq named her their top pick out of 20 characters from the Final Fantasy franchise they wished to see in Square Enix's crossover fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy, describing her as one of the series' "greatest heroines." IGN listed Tifa as the 13th-best Final Fantasy character of all time in 2008, describing her as an attempt by Square to "give Final Fantasy characters real sex appeal," and someone who "could take care of herself in a pinch"; in a follow-up Reader's Choice edition of the list, Tifa placed first, with the staff repeating their previous comments while attributing her placement on the list to her breasts. In a 2009 IGN article focusing solely on Final Fantasy VII characters, Tifa placed fourth, with a comment that while her sex appeal contributes to her popularity, "Tifa helped drive a tradition of tough, independent RPG heroines." Other sources too praised Tifa for that aspect of her character. Mania Entertainment placed her tenth in the 2010 list of "video game women that kick ass," stating that while subsequent games in the Final Fantasy series introduced other memorable female characters, "Tifa is our first Final Fantasy girl and holds a special place in our hearts." In 2013, Gus Turner of Complex ranked Tifa as the 12th-greatest Final Fantasy character of all time, stating that "next to Lara Croft and Samus, Tifa Lockhart stands out as one of gaming's most independent and empowered females ever."
Much of Tifa's reception regarded her sex appeal. In 1998, The New York Times featured her as the pin-up girl of for the "cyber generation." That same year, Electronic Gaming Monthly awarded her the "Hottest Game Babe" of 1997, calling her "as well-proportioned as they come," and praising her as a viable alternative to Lara Croft. UGO ranked her as 24th in their 2008 list of "videogame hotties," adding they could not "get over how much better she looks in each subsequent game release." That same year, GameDaily ranked her 31st on their "hottest game babes" list, sharing UGO.com's preference for her and praising both her appearance and combat abilities. MSN shared a similar sentiment when they included "this loving, caring, super-sexy gal" on the list of "gaming's hottest babes", placing her at number six, and stating that her presence in the series was "a little subtle, giving her more of an emotional undertone," and that the franchise would not be as special without her. Manolith ranked her at second place on their 2009 list of the "hottest" female video game protagonists. In 2010, VideoGamer.com included her among the top ten video game crushes, while Sarah Warn of AfterEllen ranked her as the "ninth-hottest" female video game character. In 2011, Complex ranked her as the 16th-best-looking "sideline chick in games," while UGO placed her 13th among the "fighting games' finest hottest women" just for her appearance in Ehrgeiz. That same year, GameFront placed her breasts at ninth place on the list of "the greatest boobs in video game history," calling her "the existential crisis version of Lara Croft;" she was also included on the list of "incredible chests in video games" by Joystick Division, but with a comment that she "has much more than sex appeal." In 2012, Complex ranked her as the "second-hottest" video game character overall, while MSN included her among the 20 "hottest women in video game history", adding that "she's one of the famous game gals in history, and has everlasting appeal." In 2013, Scott Marley of Daily Record ranked her as the second-most attractive female video game character, while CheatCodes.com declared her "the #1 hottest" female video game character of all time. Similarly, La Nueva España included the "sexy, independent and strong" Tifa among the top ten sexiest video game characters of both genders in 2014, and Thanh Niên ranked her as the most sexy female video game character in 2015.
Tifa: 'Now that you mention it, why did you want to join SOLDIER in the first place.' ... / Cloud: '......I was devastated. ......I wanted to be noticed. I thought if I got stronger, I could get someone to notice.........' / Tifa: 'Someone has to notice you...? ......who?' / Cloud: 'Who.........? ......You know who! ......You, that's who.' ... / Cloud: 'Tifa missed her step. I ran to her... but didn't make it in time. Both of us fell off the cliff. Back then, I only scarred my knees, but......' ... / Cloud: 'Tifa was in a coma for seven days. We all thought she wouldn't make it. If only I could've saved her... I was so angry... Angry at myself for my weakness. Ever since then, I felt Tifa blamed me... I got out of control... I'd get into fights not even caring who it was. That was the first time I heard about Sephiroth. If I got strong like Sephiroth, then everyone might... If I could just get stronger...... Then even Tifa would have to notice me......'
Tifa: 'Hey, why don't we make a promise? Umm, if you get really famous and I'm ever in a bind..... You come save me, all right?' / Cloud: 'What?' / Tifa: 'Whenever I"m in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to at least experience that once.' / Cloud: 'What?' / Tifa: 'Come on--! Promise me----!' / Cloud: 'All right.... I promise.'
Tifa: '...it's really been a long time. Actually, it's been seven years. You got your wish and joined SOLDIER, quit after the Sephiroth incident, and now you're a mercenary... You told me a lot about what happened after you left Nibelheim... But... Something's wrong. I felt there was something strange about the things you talked about. All the things you didn't know that you should. And other things you shouldn't know that you did... I wanted to make sure... But then I heard... you were going far away... And I didn't want that... ...I didn't know what to do. So, I thought I needed more time. And that's why I told you about the AVALANCHE job. I wanted to be with you, watch you.'
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