|Final Fantasy VII|
|Final Fantasy VII|
| Steve Blum |
Vincent Valentine (ヴィンセント・ヴァレンタイン, Vinsento Varentain) is a fictional character in Square Enix's console role-playing game Final Fantasy VII. Vincent is a genetically modified human who was a Turk assigned to guard the scientist Lucrecia Crescent who gave birth to the game's antagonist Sephiroth in one of Shinra's experiments involving Jenova's cells. Vincent would then become the subject of one of Hojo's experiments and by his introduction in Final Fantasy VII, he joins Cloud Strife's group to stop Sephiroth, as well as to confront Hojo. Designed by Tetsuya Nomura, he also appears in various titles from the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, a series of prequels of and sequels of Final Fantasy VII, and is the protagonist in the third-person shooter Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII- and its mobile phone tie-in. The English voice actor of Vincent is Steven Blum, while the Japanese voice actor is Shōgo Suzuki.
Due to time constraints, Vincent was originally not meant to be playable in Final Fantasy VII, but in the end he appeared as an optional character. Still, in the titles from Compilation, Vincent would focus more in developing his character. Video games have had positive comments regarding Vincent, and his popularity as a character would be capitalized on through Square's decision to make him the protagonist of Dirge of Cerberus.
Concept and creation
When Final Fantasy VII was still in development, character designer Tetsuya Nomura commented that the staff thought of removing him along with Yuffie Kisaragi (the other optional character from the game), as they did not have enough time to work them in. As a result, Vincent and Yuffie ended up appearing as optional characters. Director Yoshinori Kitase was in charge of the making of Vincent's cutscene in which he becomes a playable character, while scenario writer Kazushige Nojima wrote his backstory along with Lucrecia's. Game planner Hiroki Chiba crammed his scenes shortly before the game ended production. Nojima found troubles making Vincent's dialogues noting that despite his calm personality, he ends up having several lines. In the original script of the game, Vincent was introduced in a similar situation but with handsome a sarcastical personality. He joined Cloud's group after learning of Hojo, but having no knowledge of the results of the experiments in his body. Additionally, he was also meant to know more about Shinra's project regarding the creation of Sephiroth's clones, leading him to reveal it to Cloud after he explains that he was also experimented by Hojo.
Vincent appears as a tall, lean young man with long black hair and a ragged red cloak and mantle over black clothes. He wears a metallic, golden gauntlet on his left forearm. Vincent's cloak covers the lower half of his face and is held closed by a series of buckles. His eyes are naturally red. For Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, Nomura redesigned Vincent's gun in the same way that Cloud's Buster Sword was redesigned in Advent Children to demonstrate he is the protagonist of the game. It was named Cerberus in references the multi-headed hound with the same name from Greek and Roman mythology as Nomura found it suitable for Vincent. It was made with three barrels as Cerberus has three heads, and three revolvers were added to reduce the number of limited bullets. Nomura has explained that Vincent Valentine's character shifted from that of horror researcher, to detective, to chemist, and finally arriving at the figure of a former member of the Shinra Company's Turks with a tragic past. It has been further explained that his crimson cloak was added to symbolize the idea of Vincent carrying a heavy weight—related to death—on his shoulders.
While other characters were given simple costumes in Advent Children, Vincent was given one more complex. Nomura felt that changing his design to something different would "conflict with his personality" and was given attire consisting of "various, complex parts." His cloak was also difficult to animate due to it being very organic; the overall complexity of Vincent's design led to his scenes being "especially hard to create." Vincent's scenes were constantly being adjusted "to convey its elusive nature of seemingly having shape, but not." These adjustments continued until six months before the crews' deadline. Vincent was chosen as the protagonist of Dirge of Cerberus due to his strong connections to the setting of Final Fantasy VII and how his background could be expanded. Due to the staff's desire to make it a shooter game, Vincent was mainly chosen due to his weaponry and after it was decided to be title from Final Fantasy VII. Vincent's transformations into different type of beasts was also one of the things the staff worked to add it into the gameplay.
Vincent's Japanese voice actor, Shogo Suzuki, explained that he tries "to hold back as much emotion as possible when playing Vincent," noting that Vincent is "a bit of a loner" and "appears cold on the surface." Nomura wanted Cloud and Vincent's voices to contrast with each other due to their similarities. He felt Vincent was older and more mature than Cloud, and as a result he casted Suzuki due to his very low voice.
Vincent is found sleeping in a coffin in the basement of Shinra mansion by Cloud Strife and his friends. After being talked about the game's antagonist, Sephiroth, whom he recognizes as the son of a woman named Lucrecia, Vincent joins Cloud's group after learning that his group may eventually meet up with Hojo with whom he had a vendetta. Inside a cave Vincent finds Lucrecia, and through a flashback it is revealed their backstory. Vincent was a Turk meant to bodyguard Lucrecia who fell in love, but she decided to stay with Hojo. When complaining about the expermiment regarding Lucrecia and her son, Hojo shot and experimented on Vincent, which resulted in his current state of being. Not being able to protect Lucrecia, Vincent felt a strong guilt which led him to his isolation. In her pain and regret Lucrecia had sealed herself away in mako crystals, hearing the actions from her son. Reviving briefly, Lucrecia asks Vincent if Sephiroth is still alive, and is told that he is dead.
In Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, Vincent is seen in his normal attire having a conversation with Verdot, leader of the Turks at that time, in the Shinra basement a year before the events of Final Fantasy VII. He helps Verdot obtain a Materia needed for a mission from the Turks. In the film Final Fantasy VII Advent Children, set two years after Final Fantasy VII's ending, Vincent first appears rescuing Cloud from Kadaj and his gang when the former was overpowered. He reveals to Cloud, Kadaj's intentions to merge with the remaining Jenova cells to bring about Sephiroth's rebirth. He later aids his friends defeat the creature Bahamut SIN summoned by Kadaj. In the novella "Case of Nanaki", Vincent finds Red XIII, who is growing afraid of he becoming alone due to his lifespan being much longer than humans. Vincent explains that he is immortal and promises him to conversate every year to avoid him suffering from loneliness.
In Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, occurring three years after the events of Final Fantasy VII, Vincent acts as the central character, working with Reeve and the World Regenesis Organization to eliminate an organization called Deepground. Deepground targets Vincent for he unknowingly carries the Protomateria inside his body, which Lucrecia placed in his body after reviving him with stagnated Mako containing the essence of Chaos. The Protomateria is eventually ripped from his body by the Deepground Tsviet Rosso the Crimson, becoming unable to control Chaos. Eventually he confronts the Deepground leader, Weiss, who is possessed by the digitalized mind of Hojo. Hojo reveals information on Vincent and his plans to awaken Omega, whose original purpose was to absorb the Lifestream and leave the planet when it was destroyed. After Omega's awakening, the renegade Deepground member, Shelke, gives Vincent the Protomateria and takes control of Chaos's true form. Vincent battles Omega, and is able to destroy it. In the ending, Vincent thanks Lucrecia in her cave, now understanding she was the reason he survived. The mobile game Dirge of Cerberus Lost Episode: Final Fantasy VII also uses Vincent as the main player, and takes place during Dirge of Cerberus.
Vincent appears in the fighting game Ehrgeiz as an unlockable fighting character, with his Turk uniform serving as an alternate costume. Like the other Final Fantasy VII characters included in the game, Vincent does not serve a role in the main storyline. Although he was meant to appear in Kingdom Hearts, his design was instead used to make Cloud's new one.
Promotion and reception
Vincent's popularity has led to merchandise being created related to Dirge of Cerberus, games where he was the central character, as well as action figures being released. Vincent's character has received mixed reviews by video games publications. On IGN's "Final Fantasy VII: Top 10 Characters" list, written by Dave Smith, Vincent was listed as an "Honorable Mention." He received praise for his "striking character design," as well as how "FFVII's 3D engine made his shape-shifting Limit Breaks some surprisingly scary stuff." In GameSpot's article "The History of Final Fantasy", Vincent was comically referred to as the Final Fantasy VII character whom female players found to be "the most alluring undead man they've ever met". 1UP.com's Andrew Pfister regarded Vincent as "an optional, albeit cool, character in the original FFVII". Additionally, he has been comically labelled as a "vampire" due to his physical appearance. In a 1UP's article whose author, Bob Mackey, commented which actors should portray the Final Fantasy VII characters if a live-action film was made, Vincent's actor was Jack White, finding physical similarities between both of them. Vincent has also been labelled to be a recurring character type being in the category "The Kickass Quiet Guy" by 1UP and "The Brooding Pretty Boy" by GamesRadar.
GameSpot writer Greg Mueller regarded Vincent as one of "the more interesting characters from Final Fantasy VII" and liked how Dirge of Cerberus is focused on him and explains his origins. His character design and abilities have been praised by GameSpy's Justin Speer who added that with such traits he "capably steps into a leading role" of Dirge of Cerberus. IGN's Jeremy Dunham had a similar opinion noting that Vincent "is exposed pretty convincingly here". On the other hand, Vincent has been criticized as a not very familiar character to players, even to the ones from Final Fantasy VII by Eurogamer's Rob Fahey who noted that his characterization in Dirge of Cerberus would not appeal to players. However, Fahey still recognized him as very popular character, commenting that he is one of the most common characters from Final Fantasy VII to be featured in fan-fictions and fanarts. Although RPGamer's Michael "CactuarJoe" Beckett said that Vincent was one of the "less well-developed" characters from Final Fantasy VII, he found his development in Dirge of Cerberus to be satisfying. GamesRadar stated that Dirge of Cerberus focused in developing Vincent due to his lack of backstory in Final Fantasy VII and regarding its mobile phone spin-off as a "Vincent fanservice instead of FFVII canon."
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- Square Co., Ltd.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (1997-09-07) "Vincent: To wake me from the nightmare... Who is it?! .... Never seen you before. You must leave."
- Square Co., Ltd.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (1997-09-07) "Vincent and Cloud: You know Sephiroth? / Vincent: You Start first."
- Square Co., Ltd.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (1997-09-07) "Vincent: Wait! If I go with you will I meet Hojo? / Cloud: Dunno. But we're after him and Sephiroth. So, I guess sooner or later... / Vincent: Lucrecia... All right. I've decided to go with you."
- (in Japanese) Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania (Revised Edition). Square-Enix. 2009. pp. 68–71. ISBN 1019740597.
- Square Co., Ltd.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (1997-09-07) "Vincent: This body is... the punishment that's been given to me... I was unable...... to stop Professor Gast and Hojo... And Lucrecia... I was unable to stop them... All that I was able to do was watch... That is my punishment..."
- Square Co., Ltd.. Final Fantasy VII. (SCE America). PlayStation. (1997-09-07) "Lucrecia: I wanted to disappear... I couldn't be with anyone... I wanted to die... But the Jenova inside me wouldn't let me die... Lately, I dream a lot of Sephiroth... My dear, dear child. Ever since he was born I never got to hold him, even once... Not even once. You can't call me his mother... That... is my sin... Back!! Stay back!! Vincent... Won't you please tell me? / Vincent: ......What? / Lucrecia: Is Sephiroth still alive? I heard he died five years ago. But I see him in my dreams so often... And, I know that physically, like myself, he can't die so easily. Please, Vincent tell me...... / Vincent: Lucrecia... Sephiroth is dead..."
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- Square Enix. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation 2. (August 15, 2006) "Vincent: Reeve. Who were those men? / Reeve: Deepground soldiers. / Vincent: Deepground? / Reeve: Yes. The shadow of the Shinra Company, constructed by the former president and completely hidden from the rest of the world. / Vincent: Constructed? / Reeve: His goal was to create an army of superhuman warriors--not once letting morality interfere. The man you met earlier, Azul, is also a member of Deepground. But, he belongs to an elite unit known as the Tsviets."
- Square Enix. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation 2. (August 15, 2006) "Rosso: So you're Vincent Valentine. Keeper of the Protomateria. / Vincent: Protomateria? / Rosso: Yes. The key to controlling Omega. We know you have it."
- Square Enix. Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII. PlayStation 2. (August 15, 2006) "Vincent: Lucrecia. Everything's alright now. Omega and Chaos have returned to the planet. Thank you. It was you. You were the reason I survived."
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- Speer, Justin (2006-05-11). GameSpy: Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Preview. GameSpy. Retrieved on 2009-08-15
- Dunham, Jeremy (2006-08-11). IGN: Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-08-15
- Fahey, Rob (2006-11-16). Eurogamer: Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Review. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 2009-08-15
- Beckett, Michael. RPGamer: Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII Review. RPGamer. Retrieved on 2009-08-15
- Vincent Valentine character profile at the official Square Enix Final Fantasy VII site