It turns out that Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 was almost a completely different character. While he still would have been the Buster Sword-wielding hero of the franchise, the road to getting there was going to be very different.
According to a Tweet from the Final Fantasy 7 Remake account (translated by Siliconera), Cloud was meant to be a “Berserker.” The plan was to make the character an uncontrollable warrior that had his left arm sealed by a bracelet. One point in the story would have had Cloud regain control of his other arm, utilizing his full strength.
No reason was given as to why his arm would have been sealed since they ultimately dropped this version of the character. In regards to the Buster Sword, the plan was to have a powerful magnet that would keep it still. He also would have carried the weapon with one arm, showing just how powerful he would have been.
Despite the concept being dropped, there are traces of this design still in Final Fantasy 7. Cloud only has one shoulder pad and a heavy bracer on his left arm. Advent Children went one step further with this by having his arm infected with the Geostigma virus. That didn’t hinder him in the final fight, though he does keep his left arm completely covered.
While interesting in concept, it’s easy to see why the final design didn’t make it in the end. Simply put, Cloud looks badass when he strikes his fighting pose and brings out the Buster Sword with both his arms. Having him use both arms probably made his attack animations easier as well.
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Overall, most of us are pretty happy with the final Cloud design for Final Fantasy 7. That’s why it was barely redesigned for Final Fantasy 7 Remake and every other game he’s appeared in since. Does “Berserker” Cloud get into Super Smash Bros? I don’t think so.