When Final Fantasy VII first came out, fans were greeted by a spiky-haired protagonist named Cloud Strife. Although Cloud would be considered the "main character" of the release, there were quite a few side characters that fans came to know and love. One of those side characters would develop a cult following and quickly climb the ranks as one of the greatest female characters to ever grace the world of video games.
Tifa Lockhart is an icon to the fans of Final Fantasy (and gaming fans in general) but there are a lot of interesting facts about the femme fatale that fans may not know. Here are ten interesting things we dug up concerning Tifa's design and past.
10 She Was Never Part Of The Original Plan
On paper, and from an in-game standpoint, Tifa seems like a well-thought-out character that the developers put a lot of time and attention into. She has her own backstory, personality, and is a skilled fighter and useful asset to the team.
It's for these reasons that it may alarm some players to learn that Tifa was never really part of the original plan for Final Fantasy VII. Developers had decided on three different characters, Cloud, Barret, and Aerith, to be the main protagonists of the adventure. When it was decided that (for drama reasons) one of the characters should die, the team settled on Aerith, which eventually opened up a spot for Tifa as "replacement."
9 Her Last Name Has A Double Meaning
For those that live and breathe Final Fantasy VII, this next little tidbit of information is plain as day but it's still interesting to point out for anyone unaware. Lockhart isn't just a placeholder surname but also points to one of Tifa's strongest character traits. Throughout the game, it's easy to see that the character holds deep-rooted feelings for her traveling companion and friend Cloud. Unfortunately, she often keeps her heartfelt feelings "locked up."
8 Tifa The Monk
When developers decided they needed a new stand-in character, they brought Tifa to the table. Her design, skillset, and even her personality, greatly resembles the Monk class which can be found rooted in previous Final Fantasy adventures (and other RPG titles). Her outfit is simplistic and monotone, her fighting style makes use of her fists and physical striking, and her personality is very warm and caring.
7 A Child Of God
No, Tifa isn't literally the child of a God, although it wouldn't surprise us considering how imaginative and expansive the world of Final Fantasy is.
We're actually referring to her first name this time. According to the Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (a book that contains information from developers and designers), Tifa is the shortened version of Tiffany, a name that means "manifestation of God."
6 With Hair As White As Snow
Fans and critics alike consider Tifa one of the best female characters to ever grace the video game industry. Her iconic (and simplistic outfit) and long black hair make for an easily recognizable and much-loved design but the fighter could have looked much different. Although Tetsuya Nomura was the lead character designer and brought us our favorite iteration of Tifa, there were a few "alternate outfits" designed, one of them by Yoshitaka Amano. This alternative included a Tifa with striking white hair and red gloves and boots.
5 Choosing An Outfit
Tifa's hair wasn't the only thing that was put in question during development. Lead designer Tetsuya Nomura was actually struggling quite a bit with the character's outfit during creation. He went through a rigorous process, cladding the hero in a variety of clothing types, including jeans, skirts, t-shirts, tank tops, and other garments.
In order to make the tough decision, the designer sent variations around the Squaresoft office and allowed co-workers to vote on their favorite. The winning design is the one we've all come to know and love.
4 Aerith Saved Her From Madness
We don't get to spend as much time with Aerith as we would like in Final Fantasy VII but the flower girl and Tifa manage to develop quite the bond with one another, even in such a short period of time. This bond definitely showcases itself in the Final Fantasy VII film, Advent Children. During one scene, Tifa falls into the Lifestream. This would usually be enough to drive someone to madness or at the very least overpower their form but fortunately for Tifa, Aerith's spirit protects the fighter from any harm.
3 Her Body Is Much Stronger Than We Think
On the subject of the Lifestream and after-effects, Tifa seems to have a rather powerful immune system. When the Lifestream spreads over the land in Advent Children it afflicts many of the citizens with a disease known as Geostigma. Tifa, however, never manages to contract this disease, regardless of coming in direct contact with it.
2 Her Outfit Isn't Just Fan Service
There are a lot of people out there that argue whether or not developers chose a short skirt and tight-fitting shirt to "show off" some of Tifa's assets. The "truth" is that developers wanted clothing that wouldn't restrict the character's freedom of movement (since she's often performing martial arts moves). Granted, there are likely other ways they could have achieved the same results.
1 Her Appearance Has Changed Throughout The Years
We aren't talking about her style or grace. The Tifa we all know and love is still the same as she always was but there have been some minor adjustments to the character over the years. Many that watched Advent Children would notice that the fighter's lovely locks were much shorter than they appear in Final Fantasy VII. This was due to animation concerns. As anyone can contest, the animation in Advent Children is absolutely beautiful and Tifa having lengthy hair would have presented a huge challenge to animators.
We'll see another change in the Final Fantasy VII: Remake. Tifa's "chest size" has been decreased quite a bit and while some may point to this being a "censorship thing," it's actually being done to give the character a better natural movement. Tifa will feature a lot of complex martial arts-based animations and designers wanted the freedom to make these movements look as stellar and realistic as possible.