He comes and goes like the wind, swearing allegiance to no one. Hidden behind his wintry gaze lies a face known to none who live...
Shadow is a playable character in Final Fantasy VI. He is a loner, an assassin and a mercenary, as his only friend is his dog, Interceptor. According to Edgar he is so cold he would "kill his best friend for the right price." Shadow comes and goes as he pleases, as throughout the World of Balance he leaves the player's party at various points after battle without warning.
Shadow wears black ninja attire with his hood up and dons a mask, hiding his facial characteristics. In the flashbacks he is sandy-haired, wearing a brown scarf and cloak over black clothes.
He'd slit his mama's throat for a nickel!
Shadow typically only shows tenderness to his dog, and is described by others as a ruthless assassin. When he joins the party, he rarely talks and shows little interest in the others' exploits, often staying only until he can collect his fee, then leaving at the most inopportune moments. Shadow has a troubled past, later warns Terra about "people who have killed their emotions", and encourages her not to do the same. In Thamasa, Shadow rescues the party from a burning house, though he claims it was only to retrieve Interceptor. Despite his cold and taciturn exterior, Shadow does develop a kinship with the party.
Shadow used to go by the name Clyde (クライド, Kuraido?), a thief who worked with his partner, Baram. Together they became known as Shadow, and referred to themselves as "The Great Train Robbers of the Century." They found a treasure worth a million gil, but the authorities were on their tail. Baram was wounded and begged Clyde to kill him to avoid capture. Clyde was unable to kill his friend and fled.
He found himself in the small town of Thamasa where he married a woman and fathered a baby girl. He could not hide from his past, so some years later he left his wife and daughter and changed his identity. He would wear the attire of a dark assassin, and would never show his face. His dog, Interceptor, followed him out of Thamasa. From then on he would only be known as "Shadow," borrowing from the group name he and his partner collectively used as thieves.
The party first meets up with Shadow in South Figaro. He is found later outside of Gau's father's house, where he offers to take Sabin to Narshe. On the way, they pass through an Imperial Camp set up to manage the Siege of Doma. Shadow and Sabin overhear Kefka Palazzo's plan to dump poison in the river that flows through Doma Castle and try to stop him, but fail.
Cyan Garamonde, a knight of Doma, comes to the camp to exact his revenge on the Imperials. Sabin and Shadow help out, and together they escape the camp on Magitek Armor. The three travel south through the Phantom Forest, and accidentally board the Phantom Train. To get off they make their way to the engine and stop the train. They head south towards Baren Falls, where Shadow leaves Sabin and Cyan if he has not left already.
Shadow pops up next in Kohlingen during the search for Terra, but he refuses to join the party unless they are willing to pay him 3,000 gil. Still, he would only help them as far as Zozo at most. Alternatively, the party can hire him after Zozo, but he will leave during the opera.
Shadow is hired by the Gestahlian Empire to assist in the mission to Crescent Island. On the way, he overhears an intimate conversation between Terra and General Leo, after which he assures Terra he does not care, as his emotions are dead. He joins Terra and Locke Cole on a trip to Thamasa, where he meets Strago Magus and Relm Arrowny. Interceptor is friendly to Relm, which confuses Shadow.
That night Relm is trapped in a burning building, and Terra, Locke, and Strago venture inside to save her. Shadow does not come until Interceptor tries to rescue Relm. Shadow arrives just as everyone is about to get burned to death, and helps them by using a smoke bomb to escape. After these events, he takes Interceptor and leaves Thamasa. After Kefka's attack on Thamasa, Interceptor returns without Shadow, casting doubt to his master's whereabouts.
Shadow is found wounded on the Floating Continent. He helps the party navigate it and defeat Ultima Weapon, after which he leaves because he is ashamed he ever served the empire and feels unworthy of fighting alongside the party. Kefka kills Emperor Gestahl over the control of the Warring Triad and begins to move the statues out of their delicate balance, which causes the face of the world to change.
Shadow tries to move the statues back in balance and stop Kefka so the party could escape the Floating Continent, but the party can choose to wait for him. If the party waits until the last five seconds, Shadow will jump onto the Blackjack. If the party waited for him, Shadow appears in the World of Ruin; otherwise, he presumably dies.
One year later, if the party waited for Shadow, he can be found, wounded, in the Cave on the Veldt (otherwise, Relm appears in his stead). To rescue him, the party defeats the Behemoth King and takes him to Thamasa to recover. Shadow heads for the Dragon's Neck Coliseum in search of the legendary dagger, the Ichigeki. If the party wagers it, they fight Shadow. If they win, Shadow rejoins permanently.
After the party has killed Kefka and is escaping his crumbling tower, Shadow says "Baram... It looks like I can finally stop running... Come and find me all right?" (the Japanese version of this translates back into English as "Billy! I don't need to flee anymore. Embrace me warmly."). Shadow remains in Kefka's Tower as everyone else, including Interceptor, returns to the Falcon. It is suggested he did not intend to survive the tower's collapse, and his fate is left unknown, as he does not appear on the Falcon with the others.
Shadow has nightmares during the night that reveal Shadow is Relm's father, and tell the story of him as a train robber named Clyde who robbed a train of a million gil with his partner Baram, and together they took the name "Shadow" as a duo.
Baram was killed when fleeing the authorities, but Shadow escaped to Thamasa, where he fell in love with a woman and fathered a child before leaving the village to keep his past from catching up with him. The village dog, Interceptor, followed him. This is why Interceptor is so friendly towards Relm, and why both Shadow and Relm can use the Memento Ring, said to be empowered by the love of a departed mother—in this case, Relm's mother and Shadow's wife.
If the party allows Shadow to die on the Floating Continent, the flashback sequence viewed when rescuing Relm shows Strago speaking to Relm who cries out for "Daddy" and asks where he went and if he will come back, before Interceptor leaves the house. This fits with the flashback viewed if the party rescues Shadow instead of Relm, which shows him, as Clyde, walking away from Strago's home when Interceptor runs up from behind him. In the original North American Super NES release, he tells Interceptor to stay with "the girl," but the word used for "girl" in the Japanese release could also be used as a humble form of "daughter." In the Game Boy Advance release the word "daughter" is used instead, making it clear Shadow fathered a child in Thamasa before fleeing the village.
Shadow and Relm's relationship was officially confirmed in developers' interviews in 1995. The developers considered having a scene in a bar (presumably in Thamasa) where Strago asks Shadow to reveal his identity. The dialogue was supposed to be as follows:
- Strago: I have one request... Show me your face. Even if you are him, I have no intention of wasting time trying to talk you into staying. I just want to know... for Relm's sake...
- Shadow: ...... (He takes off his mask and shows Strago his face. However, his back is turned so that the player can't see.)
- Strago: Thank you... Shadow. ...Come, let's have a drink.
Shadow is a party member who is available in certain parts of the story. When he first joins, he has a 1/16 chance to depart from the party before reaching the Phantom Train after a battle, unless he's the only character alive, KO'd, petrified, or has the Zombie status.
As a party member, Shadow is an Assassin. His main ability is Throw, which allows him to throw weapons. This can be used to throw weapons no longer required, but is primarily used to throw specific offensive throwing items (either shurikens for pure physical damage or scrolls for elemental damage) to deal heavy damage. Due to being relatively affordable, Shadow later on can purchase 99 Fuma Shurikens and forego physical attacks. His stats are average all around, but his Speed and Strength are particularly high.
When at an inn with Shadow in the party, there is a 50% chance of a dream sequence cutscene involving Shadow's past being triggered.
Creation and developmentEdit
After it was decided Final Fantasy VI would feature an ensemble cast with no clear main protagonist, everyone in the development team was encouraged to provide ideas for characters and their episodes. Shadow's character and story were colored by influence from Tetsuya Nomura. Shadow is based on an idea Nomura has for Final Fantasy V. He had had jobs in mind, such as a ninja with a dog, a gambler who fought with dice and cards, among others. These ideas were not used for Final Fantasy V, but when work started on Final Fantasy VI, they were used for Shadow and Setzer.
In the Advance version, the famous quote "He'd slit his momma's throat for a nickel" was toned down to "He'd kill his best friend for the right price,"—as it had been in the SNES version's original Japanese release—to give his persona the style of a ruthless mercenary working for money, rather than that of a mindless killer working for the kill. It is also more fitting since nickels are not used for currency in the game; ironically, it is later revealed that Shadow actually refused to kill his best friend.
The game data contains dialogue lines for Shadow when spoken to on the Blackjack, however, the player never gets to board the airship with Shadow, so these lines can never be viewed. It is also possible to ignore Shadow until the mission to Thamasa, yet he always acts as if he's already made the player's acquaintance. Dialogue for "never-before-met" Shadow on the boat to Thamasa exists in the game data, but apparently the developers forgot to include it.
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Shadow's theme has a style reminiscent of spaghetti western soundtracks, such as ones by Ennio Morricone. When the player enters a location where Shadow is present, such as the South Figaro and Kohlingen pubs, the background music abruptly switches to his leitmotif, indicating his presence. His theme has an orchestral reprise in the "Ending Theme" between 09:16 and 10:04.
Shadow has made appearances in the following games in the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game as a playable character (demo).
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a summonable Legend.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
His first name may refer to the famous thief Clyde Barrow.
- Shadow makes a cameo in Dissidia Final Fantasy as a tutor from the in-game manuals, alongside Interceptor.
- In the SNES version, if the party chose to save Shadow on the Floating Continent, in the World of Ruin when he is found in the Cave on the Veldt instead of Relm, he will be called a "her". This has been fixed in subsequent versions.
- It is possible to trigger the Empty party glitch by having Shadow as the only party member, and having him leave the party. This will freeze the game.
- Shadow's past as a thief is an allusion to the transition from Thief to Ninja in the original Final Fantasy.
- Shadow has a placement on the Blackjack, but it can only be seen by hacking Shadow into the party or using the Airship glitch. He has his own unique text.