|Date of Birth||1984|
|Age||16 to 23 (Crisis Core, Before Crisis)|
|Height||6'3" or 185 cm , depending on source|
|Japanese Voice Actor||Nozomu Sasaki (Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring)|
|English Voice Actor||Rick Gomez|
|Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Character|
- "Boy oh boy... the price of freedom is steep."
- —Zack Fair
Zack Fair is a non-playable character in Final Fantasy VII and the main protagonist of its prequel, Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. The second wielder of the Buster Sword before Cloud Strife, Zack received the Buster Sword from his mentor Angeal Hewley. Zack is a 1st Class SOLDIER and is Cloud's best friend during their time working for the Shinra Electric Power Company.
In Final Fantasy VII, Zack only appears in flashback sequences which portray him as almost identical to Cloud Strife, the game's main protagonist. These sequences elaborate on Cloud's past and his connection to Sephiroth, the game's villain. In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Zack's history and influence upon the Final Fantasy VII world are brought into focus. He also appears in Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-, Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, and briefly in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
- "Eyes infused with Mako energy. A SOLDIER trademark. Color of the sky, right?"
- —Zack to Aerith on his eyes
Zack goes through a series of changes throughout Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-; in the beginning, he has short spiky black hair and bangs framing the sides of his face. He is tall, well-built, and features the iconic sky-blue "Mako eyes" many SOLDIER members have. It is stated in-game that Zack is 6'3" tall, however, comparing their game models in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- shows Zack is shorter than Sephiroth, who is 6'1". When Zack and Cloud stand back-to-back in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete, Zack is only slightly taller than Cloud, who is 5'8". In the Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania guide, Zack's height is given as 185 cm, roughly equating a height of about 6'1".
At first, he wears a dark blue SOLDIER uniform, gloves, boots, and is equipped with a standard SOLDIER sword, even if most 2nd Class members of SOLDIER wear red and magenta uniforms. Later, he is upgraded to a 1st Class SOLDIER uniform, which is black. Later still Zack obtains the Buster Sword as well as an X-shaped scar on his cheek and changes his hair; it is still spiky but longer, with a lock of hair hanging down in front of his face.
Zack initially has a strong attitude and is always ready for work. His energetic personality had him earn the nickname "Zack the Puppy" from Angeal. He is loyal to SOLDIER and dreams of becoming a hero. He has a friendly and caring personality, easily making friends with almost everyone he meets. Angeal's words of having dreams and honor have had a great impact on Zack, leading him to protect his honor and dreams as a member of SOLDIER, though still he retains his upbeat self. Zack is flirty with women, occasionally asking a few out on a date as he does with Aerith right after meeting her, depicting himself to be somewhat of a ladies' man. Zack is protective of his friends and will be ready to defend them without hesitation.
- "SOLDIER 2nd Class Zack, on the job!"
- —Zack Fair
Zack, assumed to have been born in the town of Gongaga, had childhood dreams of joining SOLDIER to become a 1st Class like the legendary Sephiroth. At the age of thirteen Zack left Gongaga without telling his parents, and joined the Shinra's military forces.
By October of 0000, Zack had reached SOLDIER 2nd Class under the tutelage of SOLDIER 1st Class Angeal Hewley. Angeal's words of wisdom and strong sense of honor had a profound effect on Zack, who wanted to be just like his mentor. During his time in SOLDIER, Zack befriended 2nd Class SOLDIER Kunsel, who guided him in the ways of Shinra. Zack works under Director Lazard Deusericus in the 49th Floor of Shinra Headquarters, along with many other SOLDIER members.
War With GenesisEdit
- "Angeal would never betray us! Never!"
- —Zack Fair to Sephiroth
In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Zack is first introduced undergoing a digital training session in the Virtual Reality System with his mentor Angeal Hewley. Zack successfully completes the mission, but while he is caught off-guard by the victory, he is attacked by a virtual form of Sephiroth. Sephiroth overpowers Zack, but Angeal saves him and ends the training.
Despite the debacle Angeal requests to Director Lazard for Zack be promoted to 1st Class. Zack is soon sent on a mission to Wutai so as to prove his abilities. Though Zack becomes ecstatic over Angeal's suggestion, he receives some interesting news during the briefing: 1st Class SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos has deserted Shinra, taking an untold number of 2nd and 3rd Class soldiers with him.
Angeal and Zack arrive in Wutai and journey to Fort Tamblin. On the way, Angeal asks Zack if he knows what "dumbapples" are and Zack learns the origin of the Banora White apples and that Angeal was poor growing up. When a bomb goes off Zack jumps down and takes out the forces single-handedly. After an encounter with a nine-year-old Yuffie Kisaragi, Zack enters a room and is attacked by two anti-SOLDIER monsters. Angeal arrives, just in time, to help him defeat them.
While heading back to meet with Lazard, several soldiers attack the two. Angeal stays behind to deal with them while Zack gets Lazard to safety and heads back to discover Angeal missing. Ifrit appears and battles Zack, but Sephiroth arrives and defeats Ifrit in one blow. The bodies of the soldiers who attacked them are copies of Genesis, the missing SOLDIER. Sephiroth concludes Angeal has abandoned them and left with his long-time friend, Genesis, but Zack refuses to believe his mentor would ever desert Shinra.
Zack is given a new mission to look for Genesis where he is joined by Tseng of the Turks. In Angeal and Genesis's hometown, Banora Village, Zack and Tseng find a grave, which turns out to be that of Genesis's parents. Zack heads into the village and finds only one person, Angeal's mother, Gillian Hewley. She asks him where Angeal is, but Zack doesn't know. Zack heads outside and finds an alternate path that leads to a factory where Genesis appears and taunts Zack and injures Tseng. Angeal arrives and defends Zack, but soon pushes him away.
Tseng reveals several planes are going to bomb Banora to the ground to cover up the incidents and Zack races to save Gillian, but finds her dead on the floor, Angeal standing above her. Thinking Angeal has killed her, Zack punches him and questions his honor. Genesis arrives and trips Zack, letting Angeal go. Genesis summons Bahamut, which Zack defeats. Sprouting a black wing, Genesis flies off and as Zack heads towards a Shinra Helicon, he watches the bombing of Banora.
In April 0001, Zack is at the Shinra Headquarters when Lazard awards him the title of SOLDIER 1st Class, but Zack is not as happy as he thought he would be attaining his dream. Genesis's army attacks Midgar, and Zack fights them throughout the city. Along the way he saves Cissnei, a member of the Turks. Sephiroth and Zack head to the Sector 5 Reactor to find the rogue Dr. Hollander, who is suspected of working with Genesis. Zack chases Hollander through the reactor until he runs into Angeal, who says his goals are world domination and revenge. Sprouting wings, Angeal says he is a monster and attacks Zack and knocks him back, but Zack refuses to fight his old friend and mentor. Angeal uses magic to knock the platform beneath Zack away sending him falling down into the slums below.
Zack drops through the roof of the Sector 5 Church where he meets Aerith Gainsborough, whom he offers to pay back her help with a date. Zack is impressed with the flowers that grow in the church as flowers are rarely seen in Midgar and suggests Aerith sell the flowers. Zack gets his wallet stolen by a child, and discovers the child's own wallet was eaten by a monster, which Zack proceeds to recover. Zack buys Aerith a pink ribbon she will always wear from then on.
Their date is cut short when Zack has to return to the Midgar Plate to defeat Genesis. While on route, Angeal lands and explains he and Zack must work together. Zack agrees and Angeal flies him off to the Shinra Building. Sephiroth explains Hollander is most likely after Professor Hojo due to Hojo taking over his job. Zack, Genesis and Angeal arrive and when Genesis flies out Angeal grabs Zack and flies him to face Bahamut Fury while Angeal deals with Genesis. After the battle Angeal and Genesis are gone.
Tragedies of ModeoheimEdit
- "Angeal, what happened to honor!?"
- —Zack before facing Angeal Penance
After the Midgar attack, Zack is sent to the mountain town of Modeoheim with Tseng and several Shinra infantrymen, one of whom is Cloud Strife. Their helicopter is shot down by Genesis's troops on the way there, and the team must hike their way across the snow. Zack and Cloud make headway and when Zack comments that his companion can at least keep up after seeing how far behind Tseng and the other troops are, they learn they are both "country boys" and become immediate friends. From this point on Cloud accompanies Zack on many missions and looks up to him as a hero and role model, not unlike Zack looking up to Angeal.
They come up on a Mako Excavation Facility that Zack infiltrates while Tseng and the troops continue on to Modeoheim. Zack finds Genesis and Dr. Hollander arguing and confronts Genesis while Hollander squirms away. Defeating the degrading Genesis, Zack watches while the former SOLDIER lets himself fall into the depths of the Mako Reactor. Assuming him dead, Zack hurries after Hollander.
Within a ruined bath house Zack finds Hollander and Angeal. He learns Hollander is Angeal's father, who used the late Gillian Hewley as a test subject for Project G. It is revealed Angeal did not kill his mother, but she killed herself. Although Hollander refers to him as the perfect soldier, Angeal refuses this title and, accepting the monstrosities of Project G, renames himself as the "perfect monster". He fuses with several Angeal Copy monsters and becomes Angeal Penance.
Zack fights Angeal Penance, obtaining the scar on his left cheek. Angeal is left barely alive, and degrading from his wounds. Using his last strength, he hands the Buster Sword to Zack, telling him to remember his dreams and honor to be a true member of SOLDIER. Distraught over the death of his mentor and friend, Zack finds comfort in the arms of Aerith, strengthening their relationship. As one of the last 1st Class SOLDIERs, and with the war with Genesis considered over, Zack takes over Angeal's job as the emotional heart of the organization. He meets another SOLDIER member named Luxiere, who looks up to him as a role model, and constantly sends Zack mail, as he is inspired by Zack's speech to the Shinra troops he commands.
In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, on January 16, 0002, Zack Fair is sent to deal with the insurgency known as AVALANCHE. He is sent to Icicle Inn to destroy an AVALANCHE base along with a player Turk and his SOLDIER friends, Essai and Sebastian. If the Turk player is female, Zack will hit on her. Along the way, Essai and Sebastian are kidnapped by AVALANCHE and turned into Ravens, monstrous genetically enhanced humans created by Fuhito to be his personal guard. Zack fights and kills a Raven named Kyneugh, and tries to save the SOLDIER members, but when he arrives they have been transformed and must be defeated. After their deaths, Zack makes a grave for them with each of their swords crossing.
In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, by early summer, Zack is sent to Costa del Sol to rest with Cissnei watching him. His rest is interrupted by an attack by Genesis copies, which is just the first salvo of a new round of conflict. With the help of the secret traitor within SOLDIER, Director Lazard himself, they break Dr. Hollander out of imprisonment in Junon. Zack is sent there, with a good number of Turks and Shinra Troops to quell the threat of Genesis's copies and the stolen machines of the Shinra company. Hollander escapes with the help of the Genesis copies, but Sephiroth, who appeared late on the scene, forgives him, and gives Zack permission to return Midgar and see Aerith.
Midgar had also been in danger as hordes of monsters had appeared, escaped (or perhaps set free, according to Kunsel) from Hojo's lab. One monster in particular had gone to Aerith's church: a single Angeal copy that was protecting Aerith from the monsters and Shinra's confused machines until Zack's arrival. Although never fully stated, it is believed this single copy is all that is left of Angeal's will on the Planet, and is perhaps being controlled by Angeal from the Lifestream.
Before Zack leaves on his next mission, he and Aerith build a wagon so she can sell flowers throughout Midgar. Zack has to stop selling early as he is called away for another mission. Trusting Tseng to look after Aerith, Zack, Sephiroth, Cloud, and two other Shinra troops head to Nibelheim, Cloud's hometown, to inspect the emergence of monsters in the area and a perhaps malfunctioning Mako Reactor.
The Nibelheim IncidentEdit
- Main article: Nibelheim Incident
- "Sephiroth! Have you completely lost your mind?!"
- —Zack to Sephiroth after he descends into madness
Zack, Sephiroth, and Cloud enter Nibelheim on September 22nd, but Cloud hides his face out of fear of being spotted by his childhood friend, Tifa. Just before the group heads up Mt. Nibel to reach the reactor, a villager snaps a picture of Sephiroth, Tifa, and Zack together.
The problem of the malfunctioning reactor is easily fixed, but within the reactor Zack and Sephiroth find pods filled with Makonoids, monsters that used to be humans infused with massive amounts of Mako. They find a creature named Jenova, who Sephiroth was told was his mother. This, along with words from Genesis who reveals to Sephiroth his past as part of Jenova Project, sends Sephiroth over the edge. He hides in the basement of the Shinra Manor reading files upon files of the project for seven days. When Zack tries to talk to him Sephiroth wants to be left alone. On October 1st, Sephiroth comes out of the mansion. Now insane, Sephiroth burns the village to the ground, slaughtering most of the townsfolk.
Zack runs up the mountain behind an enraged Tifa, both out to defeat Sephiroth. Within the reactor Tifa is easily cut down by Sephiroth. Zack approaches her but she is frightened of him. Zack finds Sephiroth standing outside of Jenova's containment tube and the two battle, and Zack holds his own against Sephiroth for a time before being defeated. Cloud, furious over the death of his mother and seeing Tifa gravely wounded, takes up Zack's Buster Sword and defeats Sephiroth who falls into the Lifestream. Tifa is saved by Zangan, and Cloud and Zack are taken by Shinra forces to be used in Professor Hojo's newest experiment: the Jenova Reunion theory. Hojo predicted that Jenova's parts, even on a cellular level, will strive to gather and become whole again and to test this theory, Hojo exposes the survivors of the Nibelheim incident, including Cloud and Zack, to Mako and injects them with Jenova cells.
- "No! Open your eyes, Genesis!"
- —Zack telling Genesis to face reality
Zack and Cloud are held captive in the Shinra Mansion and being experimented on for four years. Hojo labels the two as failures, puts them in a cryogenic sleeping state and leaves them in their pods. On December 19th, 0006, Zack has a hallucination of Angeal appearing before him in Shinra Mansion's basement. As he flies off, Zack's will to be free allows him to break the tube enabling him and Cloud to escape.
Because of Hojo's experiments, both have become Sephiroth Clones, but Zack is unaffected by the experiment due to having been in SOLDIER. Cloud's Mako poisoning puts him in an unresponsive, vegetative state, but Zack can still fight. He cuts their way out of Nibelheim, which had been rebuilt by Shinra to hide the incident that occurred four years earlier. Cissnei in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, or whoever the player's Turk is in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, is ordered to take Zack in, but betrays orders and allows him to pass.
Zack and Cloud hide out from Shinra forces while trying to reach Midgar until early autumn 0007. One of Genesis's copies eats a part of Zack's hair in an attempt to cure its degradation due to Zack's body possessing S Cells, being a Sephiroth Clone. It turns the copy into a horrible monster, due to the S cells having already mutated and adapted by Zack's body. Zack defeats the creature, and heads home to Gongaga where he runs into Genesis, now with a degrading Genesis copy who was once Hollander. Hollander and Genesis try to take Cloud for his pure Sephiroth Cells, because Zack is worthless thanks to being a former member of SOLDIER. Lazard - in the form of a degrading Angeal - and Zack fight the two and Zack kills Hollander once and for all.
Zack realizes Genesis has been working from Banora the whole time, the Banora "dumbapples" Genesis always carries being the clue. Zack travels there, and leaves Cloud under Lazard's protection. Zack travels down into Banora Underground and comes upon Genesis who wields the power of the Lifestream, but is still defeated. Zack takes his old enemy up to the surface.
Together with a catatonic Cloud, a beaten Genesis, a dead Lazard and the final surviving Angeal copy that had lived in Aerith's church, Zack eats a dumbapple. As the final Angeal copy dies from degradation, Zack finds the 89th and final letter from Aerith it had been carrying, and realizes he had been contained in the Shinra Mansion for four years. Desperate to return to Aerith, Zack leaves a now pacified Genesis behind while he and Cloud go off to Midgar.
Zack's Final StandEdit
- Main article: Zack's Final Stand
- "My honor.. My dreams.. They're yours now. You'll be.. My living legacy."
- —Zack to Cloud, moments before his death
At the end of September 0007, while Zack and Cloud head toward Midgar, an army of Shinra Troops awaits them. Despite Cissnei and Tseng's attempts to locate Zack first and save him, the Shinra army attacks. In the short animation Last Order, a Shinra sniper attempts to assassinate Cloud, but Zack notices this and tells Cloud to get away, causing the sniper to miss his mark, starting the battle.
In the Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- and Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete versions, Zack notices the ambush, and hides Cloud behind the rocks, then goes to face his fate. As the battle wages on, the memories Zack had with everyone flash before his eyes and he finally collapses as the remaining soldiers barrage him with bullets. In the original Final Fantasy VII flashback scene there are only two Shinra soldiers and one commander, who shoot Zack by surprise.
Riddled with bullets, and his Digital Mind Wave destroyed, Zack is barely alive when Cloud awakens and comes to him. Zack hands the Buster Sword to him, like Angeal handed the Buster Sword to Zack years earlier, and tells Cloud to carry on his dreams, and be his "living legacy."
As Cloud wanders off towards Midgar, Zack looks at the sky as the sun emerges from behind the clouds, remembering how scared Aerith was of such a beautiful thing. He sees Angeal descending from the sky, and takes Angeal's outstretched hand, entering the Lifestream. As Cloud continues on his journey, Zack's voice is heard telling him to say hi to Aerith for him, and then asking, "Hey, would you say I became a hero?"
The combined trauma caused by the Nibelheim incident, his Mako poisoning and witnessing the death of Zack becomes too much for Cloud and his mind to handle. He makes his way to Midgar collapsing in the Sector 7 train station in the slums and is found by Tifa, whom Zangan had brought to Midgar to recover from the wounds she had sustained during the Nibelheim Incident. Aided by the Jenova cells in his body, Cloud's mind warps itself and he adopts Zack's memories and persona, combining it with an idealized image of himself to create a new personality and history for himself.
After creating this façade Cloud comes to believe he was successful in joining SOLDIER, and that he fulfilled Zack's role in the mission to Nibelheim. He believes he has come to Midgar to seek work as a mercenary, just as Zack said he intended to do. Zack no longer even exists in Cloud's mind; the altered memories place him in Zack's position. Realizing something is wrong with Cloud, Tifa convinces him to join her and Barret with AVALANCHE to keep an eye on him.
Much of the story of Final Fantasy VII revolves around Cloud's battle to reclaim his memory and to accept his true identity rather than relying on his constructed "Zack" personality — a combination of Zack's persona, the stories Zack had told him, and what he presumed a First Class SOLDIER would act like — and to validate himself in a world that has rejected him. When the party visits Gongaga Village they learn it was Zack's hometown. Aerith reveals Zack was her boyfriend, and that Cloud resembles him. Zack's parents are still waiting for Zack's return, concerned they have not heard from him in years.
In the novella Hoshi wo Meguru Otome, Aerith encounters Zack after her death at the hands of Sephiroth. Aerith contemplates about Cloud's persona, but summons Zack instead - as he is the one Cloud thought himself to be. Zack is among those who aid her in the destruction of Meteor. They reminisce about their relationship, and Zack retains his flirtatious demeanor, telling Aerith to give him a call whenever she feels lonely.
- "You already beat him once, didn't you? This should be a cinch!"
- —Zack to Cloud about Sephiroth (Advent Children Complete)
Zack shows up several times in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children: Flashbacks show scenes of his and Cloud's friendship when Cloud visits the Buster Sword memorial outside Midgar, and is briefly shown when Cloud thinks of what he cherishes most during his battle with Sephiroth. After Cloud gets caught in Loz and Yazoo's suicide attack, he hears Zack and Aerith's voices before being sent back to Midgar, and sees him with Aerith in the church in the slums, returning to the Lifestream, letting Cloud know they are alright, and that Cloud is not alone.
Throughout the movie, a large gray wolf, the Fenrir, appears in many of the same places Cloud does, but at different times, only meeting him once at the end. One speculation is this wolf is the representation of Cloud's loneliness and guilt for failing his friends, among them Zack. Another speculation is that this wolf is an incarnation of Zack's spirit, keeping an eye on Cloud during his most dire moments. The wolf disappears in the end when Cloud forgives himself for his failures, including the deaths of Zack and Aerith, and after the wolf fades, Zack and Aerith appear to Cloud to show that even though his guilt has faded, his memory and appreciation of his friends has not.
Zack appears twice more in Advent Children Complete: As Cloud sees Tifa in danger during his fight against Bahamut SIN and Denzel facing Shadow Creepers, images of Aerith's death and Zack's final stand flash in his eyes; during the final battle, Zack appears behind Cloud just as Sephiroth seems to have him beaten. With the Buster Sword in his hand, Zack reminds Cloud not to forget his SOLDIER honor, before correcting himself because Cloud never actually was in SOLDIER. Zack reminds it is in the heart that counts and encourages Cloud to defeat Sephiroth, telling him he has already proven to be the stronger one and that he is Zack's living legacy.
After the credits roll, yellow flowers bloom on the spot outside Midgar where Zack died. Denzel asks Cloud if it is someone's grave and Cloud says it's not, but it is a place where a hero began his journey, presumably referring to both Zack and himself. A restored and well-kept Buster Sword has been relocated to Aerith's church to rest among the flowers.
At the beginning of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Zack is a SOLDIER 2nd Class and has the usual abilities expected of a SOLDIER member. Because he is personally mentored by 1st Class SOLDIER member Angeal, and briefly by Sephiroth, hints that Zack is a cut above the other 2nds. Early in the game Zack is promoted to 1st Class and proves himself worthy of the rank. As well as being a master swordsman, Zack has mastered the art of Materia Fusion and the use of Materia, and is a skilled shot with a sniper rifle.
Considering that he was capable of battling foes such as Sephiroth and Genesis, not to mention an entire division of the Shinra Army, it can be assumed Zack is one of the most powerful characters in the Final Fantasy VII universe.
Throughout Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Zack Fair wields four weapons. As a SOLDIER 2nd Class and briefly after his promotion to 1st, he uses a SOLDIER sword, the traditional weapon of most SOLDIER members. Zack later inherits the Buster Sword and in Costa del Sol, Zack fights briefly with a parasol, swinging it around like a sword, but for gameplay purposes it functions just as well as a weapon as the Buster Sword. Later on, in the mission after Nibelheim, he uses a sniper rifle.
The higher in ranks Zack climbs, the more accessories he can also wield in battle.
- Main article: Digital Mind Wave
Zack is a unique character in the Final Fantasy VII universe in that he can copy and adapt the Limit Breaks of other characters upon meeting them, and is thereafter able to perform those Limit Breaks as his own. The Crisis Core Complete Guide guide gives two examples of this - Zack adapting Healing Wave from Aerith's Healing Wind, and Meteor Shots from Cloud's Meteorain. This is how Zack can copy the signature attacks of Sephiroth and Genesis, Octaslash and Apocalypse. Zack's own Limit Break is Chain Slash, a quick sequence of five sword attacks. The DMW can also perform summons through Summon Mode and Chocobo Mode.
- Main article: Zack (Boss)
Zack is fought as a boss in Chapter 19 of Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, when the Player Turk intercepts him on a beach after getting orders to track down an escaped research sample. The Turk is shocked to find out the subject is Zack, and despite Zack pleading for the Turk to not turn him in, the Turk fights him. In the battle Zack runs around the battlefield evading the player's attacks rather than attacking him/her, and after a while he runs away. The player catches up with him and another battle ensues, but Zack still won't attack the player, instead trying to convince them to his side. The second battle ends the same as the first one, with Zack running away. The player is attacked by an Adamantaimai, and after defeating it the player will follow after Zack who has reunited with Cloud. After seeing Cloud's mako poisoning the Player Turk will not fight Zack again, and will call Tseng that he/she has lost the targets.
Creation and DevelopmentEdit
Zack's plot role in Final Fantasy VII was already there before he was created. From the start, it was decided that Cloud's cocky personality would be false, but it was only later decided to create a character who Cloud based himself on. Before Zack, Aerith was to see her first love in Cloud, though who that person would be was not yet decided upon and some early ideas even placed that person as Sephiroth. Later, the character Zack was placed to serve both as Aerith's first love and to solve the mysteries surrounding Cloud. Since he was so late in development, Zack was one of the last characters drawn by Tetsuya Nomura.
Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima came up with Zack as he went on with his work and so at the beginning there was not much foreshadowing to his existence; Nojima later asked the staff in charge of the event scenes to add foreshadowing to Cloud's true persona and to Zack. The game's directors only had a vague image of Cloud's identity, mainly that it was intended to be mysterious, but the actual unfolding of events was left in Kazushige Nojima's hands. Nojima made not only the scenario but the event scenes as well, and the team ended up doing the test play with no idea how it was going to end, and that's how they first found out the true course of events. Zack was a character Nojima brought in while he was building up the mystery, so the others had no clue he would be such a pivotal character.
One of the primary reasons Zack was chosen as the protagonist in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- was his predetermined fate.. Yoshinori Kitase has stated that Zack's story had "been cooking for 10 years" as conceptual artwork and back story already existed for him, despite Zack being only a minor character in Final Fantasy VII. Crisis Core was initially meant to have more scenes involving Zack and Cloud's escape to Midgar to expand their connection, but it could not be included due to UMD limitations, and the staff chose to instead focus in Zack's work as a soldier.
Zack appears in Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a Legend character. When summoned into battle, Zack uses Explode Blade.
In addition, Zack also appears as an ally. In battle, he uses the Explode Blade ability.
Zack has appeared in numerous cards in the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game. His cards are fire-elemental.
Non-Final Fantasy AppearancesEdit
Zack is a secret playable character in Ehrgeiz: God Bless The Ring, functioning more or less as a clone of Cloud in the arcade, versus, and minigame events. Like Cloud, he fights both hand-to-hand and with the Buster Sword, and has renamed versions of Cloud's techniques, including Meteor Shower, High Braver, True Cross-slash, and Unseen Omnislash.
- For more information, see Kingdom Hearts Wiki: Zack
A slightly younger version of Zack appears in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep in the Olympus Coliseum world. He is wearing a Hercules-based version of his SOLDIER uniform and using his original sword from Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-. He is shown fighting Terra, talking with Ventus, and flirting with Aqua, in the similar manner he previously flirted with Aerith. He even asked Aqua out on a date. He retains his habit of doing squats. During the credits of the final episode of Birth by Sleep, he is seen standing in the doorway of the Coliseum (much like he did at the end of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children) watching Phil stand on Hercules while Hercules is doing push-ups. While Zack is in the doorway, he spots a single black feather falling, signifying the presence of Sephiroth.
According to an interview with Famitsu magazine, Tetsuya Nomura stated Zack was included due to his status as a character from Final Fantasy VII's past, to tie into Birth by Sleep taking place ten years before Kingdom Hearts. He is the only Final Fantasy character (aside from moogles) to appear in the game because Nomura felt the series would have too many side stories, which could confuse some players. A remix of the "Successor" theme from Crisis Core, titled "A Date with Fate," is featured in the game as well.
Various official merchandise featuring Zack have been released over the years. Zack also appears as part of the artwork on a special edition PlayStation Portable console, has had a Potion energy drink can with his picture, and appeared in the cover of Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania and Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Complete Guide-.
"Zack" is a shortened form of the name "Zachary". a name of Hebrew origin that means "Remembrance Of The Lord" or "Jehovah Hath Remembered." Whether or not his name is meant to be connected to Jenova's name (which is a portmanteu of Jehovah and Nova) is unknown.
Zack's last name was revealed in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII to be "Fair". According to Tetsuya Nomura, it is derived from "fair weather," and is intended to contrast with "Cloud Strife".
His original Japanese name is Zax (ザックス), instead of Zack (ザック), and is written as such in Last Order, and other official Square Enix print (books, magazines, action figure boxes, etc). It was most likely changed in the Western releases to sound more like a real-world name. However, his name has more recently been romanized as "Zack Fair" in official Japanese media and material.
- During a DMW scene, Zack tells Aerith that whenever they meet, they should do something in particular. Zack's idea was for her to wear pink, but she thought the idea silly. After this event, she wears her signature pink outfit, probably to surprise Zack when she would see him again. Zack is also responsible for buying her the pink ribbon she is seen wearing in most of her appearances.
- In Costa del Sol, Zack fights with a parasol. In Final Fantasy VII, Aeris can obtain an Umbrella for a weapon.
- During his spare time, Zack is usually found doing squats, and is the current champion of squats in SOLDIER. This is a reference to a minigame in Final Fantasy VII where Cloud must out-perform a gym member in Wall Market doing squats.
- Zack's default Limit Break in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- (Chain Slash) has a similarity with Cloud's later Limit Break; Cross-slash. The slashes Zack performs in Chain Slash correspond to the stroke order of the Japanese kanji that appears in Cloud's Cross-slash Limit Break.
- Zack's normal victory pose in Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII is a combination of Cloud's with Squall Leonhart's, involving Zack swinging the Buster Sword twice, then spinning it and returning it to its holder on his back.
- Zack is the person who named the 7th Heaven bar; when he is in the Sector 5 Slums Market Place, he talks to a man near a pile of wood and he will ask Zack to help him name his new bar.
- In Final Fantasy VII: International, the player can view specific background items in full screen. In Zack's parents' house in Gongaga, one can click on his parents' desk and find a letter he wrote them a few years ago, that roughly translates into:
How are you guys?
Sorry for leaving town so suddenly.
I just really wanted to become a SOLDIER.
I bet you're worried now that I've told you...
But now I'm fulfilling my lifelong dream, and I'll do my best in SOLDIER.
P.S. I have a girlfriend.Zack
- Though he does not appear in Dissidia Final Fantasy, nor is he called by name, Zack is referenced several times. During a discussion with other warriors of Cosmos Cloud states the Buster Sword is not heavy and that "it's ...a memento," a paraphrase of Zack's comment about the blade. One of Cloud's pre-battle quotes ("If I win, are my sins forgiven?"), said when he fights himself, references the guilt Cloud feels over the deaths of Zack and Aerith, and his desire for forgiveness for these failures. Another of his battle quotes is "I'll live your life for you," referencing him being Zack's living legacy and if using Firion against him, he will say "You look like... a friend of mine".
- Zack's Japanese voice actor, Kenichi Suzumura, is married to Aerith's Japanese voice actress, Maaya Sakamoto.
- If the player performs the correct actions in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- by finding and talking to Cissnei during the time Junon is under attack, Zack can get his own fanclub like many other 1st Class SOLDIERs. Known simply as the "Zack Fair Fanclub," the player's actions determine its popularity by the end of the game.
- In Final Fantasy VII, the game code calls the two infantrymen during Cloud's telling of the Nibelheim Incident, "Zax" and "Zako"; "Zax" is what Zack is called in Japanese and "Zako" is a vulgar Japanese word that refers to someone as worthless cannon fodder. "Zako" would be the infantryman who goes missing after the bridge falls, meaning "Zax" is actually Cloud, a play on their role reversal in Cloud's faulty telling of the events.
- ↑ Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania profile
- ↑ http://thelifestream.net/final-fantasy-vii/284/crisis-core-complete-guide-keyword-collection/
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 FFVII 10th Anniversary Discussion: p. 8 to 13 of the FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania translated by TheLifestream.net
- ↑ Weekly Famitsu Issue no. 1224 Yoshinori Kitase Interview translated by TheLifestream.net
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/previews/crisis-core
- ↑ http://uk.psp.ign.com/articles/869/869858p1.html
- ↑ http://andriasang.com/comq6w/3rd_birthday_and_crisis_core/
- ↑ http://www.angelfire.com/super/ff7/unfinished.html
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=4139
- ↑ http://www.novacrystallis.com/?p=3887
- ↑ Final Fantasy VII: The Unused Text at TheLifestream.net