Cloud: …I know. I’m the one that was stupid. I really wanted to play with everyone, but I was never allowed into the group. Then later… I began to think I was different…That I was different from those immature kids. That then… maybe…
Cloud: Just maybe, they would invite me in. I thought that might happen, so I hung around…
Cloud: I was so prejudiced. And… weak.
Cloud doesn’t seem very confident. In fact, he’s pretty insecure. He adopted a cocky and selfish persona to feel accomplished, and even then that attitude isn’t very positive. His true self is concealed behind an idea of who he wants to be, and what he thinks others want from him. But it’s not the true him.
He’s not particularly heroic, and he has a tendency to get moody.
Yet Cloud remains one of the most recognizable and popular heroes in the video game history. We all know of him, and on some level, we all tend to identify with him.
Why do many of us identify with Cloud, a man who created a false persona for himself and carried that lie with him throughout most of the game?
Because we relate to him.
We were all there once. We tried so desperately to fit in with the cool kids. Maybe we wanted friends, or we wanted to impress someone. When it didn’t work out, we felt anger towards those who rejected us. But we still wanted their approval.
We did so much for the praise. We wanted to be better than them. We wanted to show them. We wanted to follow our dreams. We wanted to come back and be recognized as a hero.
Cloud: I’m not just going to find a job. I want to join SOLDIER. I’m going to be the best there is, just like Sephiroth!
But we’ve all been through disappointment when we came back and realized our dreams didn’t come true the way we wanted.
So we hid our faces in shame. The anxiety from our embarrassment made us physically sick. We felt terrible.
To minimize the pain, we created a false persona where we could pretend we were successful. We told ourselves a lie and became the hero of our story. And then we had to wake up to reality, that we were nothing like we said we were. We were a cowardly, dishonest, sneaky wimp, afraid to actually stand up for what was right.
But soon we slowly start to figure ourselves out. We start to care for others and learn to stop being so selfish. Our self-knowledge enables us to do great things and, yes, become the heroes we were always meant to be.
Cloud Strife’s story is our story, our path to maturity. The irony is, once we fully relate to Cloud, we’ve come into our own – much like he did near the end of the game.
That’s why we relate to Cloud.