Welcome to this weeks Character Bio #Issue 1. Todays character up for review is the cold and complicated Squall Leonhart. This tough guy is a mixed bag and since his debut in 1991 he’s had the Final Fantasy community in strong debate on where he ranks in the Final Fantasy history books. Some call him boring, some say he’s an emo that they don’t understand but I’m here to show and tell you why he is one of Final Fantasy’s best characters. You either love him or you hate him, so now I present to you Squall Leonhart!.
- Name: Squall Leonhart
- Age: 17
- Date of Birth: August 23
- First Gaming Appearance: Final Fantasy VIII (PS1 1991)
- Race: Human
- Weapon of Choice: Gunblade
- First Impressions: Jerk, Emo Kid, A Lone Wolf
- Personality: Cold, Loner, Blunt, Serious
- Most Likely Job in the Real World: A Mime or Solider
- Favourite Food: Hotdogs
- Favourite Music: Heavy Metal and Screamo
- Love Interest: Rinoa Heartilly
Squall Leonhart is probably Final Fantasy’s most misunderstood character, when in real fact Squall shows fantastic character development. I think some of the reasons most people didn’t give Squall a real chance is because of Final Fantasy VII, which came out before and blew people away with its story, gameplay, visuals and characters at the time. Final Fantasy VIII wasn’t the game people expected after Final Fantasy VII and to many Squall will always live in the shadow of Cloud. But say what you will about Final Fantasy VIII’s story, if you take the time to enjoy Final Fantasy VIII you’ll witness how realistic Squall’s emotions and his development are.
Squall Leonhart is easily one of my favourite gaming characters, Squall is 17 at high school and being an angsty teen, is something I and a lot of others can easily relate to in our teenage years. As a kid when first playing the game I thought Squall was the ultimate badass, he had a cool leather jacket with white fur and a huge sword that was also a gun, the gunblade that only a certain few knew how to wield it. In Final Fantasy VIII’s opening scene you see Squall face off with he’s biggest rival Seifer and they get into battle where Squall earns he’s famous scar on he’s face.
So straight away during the opening and an hour or so in the game, you start to get the idea that Squall is a troublesome badass with a cold attitude towards others. Squall wants people to believe he’s strong, fearless and wants people to respect him. He also pretends that he doesn’t care what anyone thinks or says about him, a lot of hiss replies are “whatever”. But it’s all a façade, all this is just Squall’s hard exterior where he hides his true self and feelings inside his shell, deep down Squall is an anti-social introvert and very self-conscious. You can even see his real thoughts in his head as he fights with his own conscious as to what he really believes in . He purposefully pushes people away and is scared of getting attached to people because during his childhood Squall had a traumatic experience which has left him emotionally weak.
Over the course of the game, Squall gradually changes, he opens up more to certain characters, especially Rinoa his love interest, he starts to care less about what others think and starts to make decisions based on what he wants and thinks is right, instead of before when he would be torn over what a “strong” person would do in the situation. Squall starts the game off as a moody teen and develops into a man towards the end of the game. At the end of the game Squall is still an introvert that hates big groups and prefers his own space, but he has let go of his façade and letting people see the real him. For the first time since his traumatic experience Squall has people he can trust and rely on and has now let go of his lone wolf persona as he realised, he isn’t strong on his own but its his friends and team that gives him his strength. It’s a realistic and believable growth and it’s great to watch.
Check back next week for another character bio.