Cloud Strife (クラウド・ストライフ, Kuraudo Sutoraifu) is a fictional character and the main protagonist of Square's (now Square Enix's) role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII and several of its sequels and spin-offs. He was originally designed by Final Fantasy VII character designer Tetsuya Nomura. Cloud's appearance is marked by spikey blond hair, striking blue eyes, dark clothing and his Buster Sword (バスターソード, Basutā Sōdo), which previously belonged to his friend Zack Fair. Cloud is voiced by Takahiro Sakurai in Japanese, and by Steve Burton in English.
In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud is a mercenary and self-proclaimed ex-member of SOLDIER, an elite, genetically augmented military unit operating under the de facto world government, the megacorporation Shinra Electric Power Company. Fighting against Shinra in the resistance group AVALANCHE, and driven by a feud with the primary antagonist, Sephiroth, Cloud learns to accept his troubled past and adapts to his role as a leader. Cloud has also appeared in several other titles outside the Final Fantasy VII continuity, such as Itadaki Street Special, Final Fantasy Tactics, Dissidia Final Fantasy, Ehrgeiz and the Kingdom Hearts series.
Cloud has garnered a primarily positive reception from critics. Described as "iconic," the character has been ranked highly in various published character lists. He remains popular among fans, and continues to place highly in popularity polls. He has also become the basis for a variety of merchandise, such as action figures and jewellery.