|“|| A mystical man, stern and upright while at the same time dark and mysterious...||”|
— Description, Final Fantasy VII
|Species||Genetically modified human|
|Date of birth||October 13, 1950|
|Behind the Scenes|
|Created by||野村 哲也 - Nomura Tetsuya|
野島 一成 - Nojima Kazushige
|Designed by||野村 哲也 - Nomura Tetsuya|
|Performed by||鈴木省吾 - Suzuki Shōgo|
中多 和宏 - Nakata Kazuhiro (Ehrgeiz)
Vincent Valentine is an optional playable character in Final Fantasy VII, and the main protagonist of Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII.
A former Turk agent with a mysterious past, Vincent's secrets tie him directly to several of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII's main antagonists. He wields handguns in battle and his limit breaks cause him to shapeshift as a result of the genetic experiments performed on him by Professor Hojo. Since his introduction, Vincent has become one of the most popular characters in the Compilation.
Creation and development
According to the Final Fantasy VII Ultimania Omega, Vincent's character changed several times during development, from horror researcher to chemist to detective, and finally to a former member of the Turks. An early artwork of him depicts Vincent wielding a scythe rather than a handgun. Although his connection to the Turks is only mentioned once when recruiting him in Final Fantasy VII, it is explained in detail in Dirge of Cerberus. In Final Fantasy VII, a deleted scene involving Cloud Strife explaining SOLDIER to the party would have involved Vincent, who would outright state he was a former Turk who investigated "the Sephiroth project" that would lead to SOLDIER's development. His job class was originally listed as "Horror-Terror (Horror Researcher)"
In another early draft, Vincent was a detective working on supernatural cases, most of them were bogus. His last job would be investigating Shinra's secrets to expose them to the world for the benefit of a rival company. Vincent's relationship with Hojo would have gone back to the Midgar University medical department, and then Shinra's research lab. Using leverage with Hojo's assistant, Lucrecia, Vincent delves deeper into Hojo's work. Hojo captures Lucrecia and uses her as part of the Jenova Project and Vincent tries to rescue her, but is put to sleep for thirty years. When the party finds him, Vincent has no idea what year it is or even that he has had vile experiments done to him at all. He would join the party in the hopes of getting revenge on Hojo and finding out Lucrecia's fate, and the player would not know Vincent could transform into monsters, and when it happens, Vincent would be the most shocked of all. His transformations could carry outside of battle, changing cutscenes depending upon his form, and in this draft, Vincent's personality was wildly different, with a far more suave and talkative demeanor. He would even go out of his way to flirt with female party members of the group. Nojima has noted that, although Vincent does not have many scenes, when he does speak he usually has much to say, and compared him to Auron, as "even though he's supposed to be a silent character, he still tends to talk a lot".
Dark and brooding, Vincent conceals many secrets, speaking in a cryptic manner when he talks about the past, calling his traumas "sins". Despite his cold hearted personality, he is not uncaring; at a point where Cloud Strife admits he thought Vincent does not care about the planet, after which he brushes off the remark. He has a soft spot for Dr. Lucrecia Crescent, referring to her as a beautiful lady, and fiercely despising Professor Hojo for his immoral actions, and it is the promise of meeting him that stirs Vincent to accompany the party in Final Fantasy VII. Vincent is reluctant to speak, although when he does, he typically has something important to say.
Vincent is naturally a loner, and had he not been a former ally of Cloud and his friends, it is unlikely he would have joined them in the battle against Bahamut SIN in Advent Children. His voice actor, Shōgo Suzuki, noted Vincent's few appearances have a profound impact and that Tifa's remark "they're our friends", after Vincent's arrival, shows his underlying warmth. He is noted to be similar to Cloud, only more mature, which influenced his character and voice work.
In the novella On the Way to a Smile - Case of Red XIII, when Nanaki tells Vincent he's scared that, due to his long lifespan, he would lose everyone he loves and live a life of loneliness, the human comforts him by stating he would always be with him because he is immortal. They then both agree to always meet once a year in the ruins of Midgar.
Vincent is a man physically in his late twenties, and stands at roughly six feet tall, having crimson eyes and long black hair. He wears a red bandanna with a fringe emerging over it, and his most distinctive feature is his red cloak, held in place over his shoulders and lower face by several buckles. Underneath his cape Vincent's attire is black with several straps and buckles. Vincent wears a holster for his gun against his right leg, and pointed golden sabatons on his feet, as well as a clawed gauntlet of same color on his left arm.
In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Vincent's cloak was meant to have an organic feel and was difficult to animate, and as the developers decided changing his costume would be conflicting with his character, Vincent was the only character in the film to appear the same as he had in Final Fantasy VII, although there are minor changes, such as a full bodysuit, a tattered cloak and a glove completely covering his previously partially bare right arm. In Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent's Galian Beast and Chaos forms incorporate his design into them; Galian Beast wears a shorter version of his cloak as a kilt, while Chaos's feet resemble his sabatons.
Vincent was originally intended to appear in Kingdom Hearts with Cloud, but it was decided to remove him due their similar brooding personalities, and aspects of his costume were incorporated into Cloud's design, including the tattered red cloak and gauntlet, which were used for all of Cloud's appearances in the Kingdom Hearts series thus far, with the exception of Kingdom Hearts II.
Vincent was a regular human until he confronted Professor Hojo on his underground laboratory about the fact he was using human subjects on his experiments (including his wife, Lucrecia, and their unborn child), ensuing on a heated argument ended with Vincent getting shot in the chest by the scientist. Hojo proceeded to use Vincent's half-dead body as the subject for experiments involving strengthening the endurance of the human body and metamorphosis, enabling the body to transform into various monstrous forms. While Hojo did succeed in making the subject's body stronger, the experiments were a failure as Vincent, albeit still living, remained in a comatose state. Lucrecia found Vincent and, regreting her own actions, attempted to reanimate him by infusing Chaos-tainted mako in his body. As his body was strengthened by Hojo's previous experiments, Vincent was strong enough to become a vessel for Chaos and survive, obtaining relative control over it after receiving the protomateria.
He is theoretically immortal and his body didn't seemed to age in the last 33 years, as he still shows the same appearance at 60 that he had at 27. He also sleeps in a coffin for a long period of time every once in a few years (although it is unknown if he needs to do so). He possesses superhuman speed, strength and accuracy, as well as the ability to leap through the air enveloped in his special cloak. In his Limit Breaker form, he acquires a canine form, resembling a werewolf, but when he fully transforms into Chaos, only his canines seem to be abnormally long, and red bat-like wings grow on his back. On both forms, his abilities are vastly enhanced, and as "Galian Beast", he can generate fire.
Vincent's Limit Breaks are different from everyone else's in the fact he only has one for each of the four levels, and when he initiates one, he turns into a constantly berserk monster and stays that way until the battle is over, winning or losing. When he shifts his form, Vincent's stats increase and his HP refills, but he cannot shift back at will. Thus, while his Limit Breaks can be powerful, they are risky, and if he should be knocked out he will transform back to his regular form. Dirge of Cerberus' tutorial, framed as a training session during Vincent's days as a Turk agent, implies his natural Limit Break was a simple aura, which increased his strength and defense for a time.
The nature of Chaos is well explained in Dirge of Cerberus, where it is revealed to be a semi-weapon that acts according to the will of Omega. The legend that states Chaos and Omega are weapons the planet calls forth in a time of threat were only rediscovered in recent times, by the humans Lucrecia Crescent and Grimoire Valentine (Vincent's father). Chaos is a being born of negative memories and the sins within a naturally occurring stagnated and tainted form of the Lifestream, and its ultimate purpose is to function as an executioner of all life triggered by the planet's reaction to the imbalance of great catastrophe, decline, and mass planetary-scale destruction, to allow the rest of the Lifestream to be taken to a new planet by Omega, to continue the cycle of life.
Although Vincent possesses the ability to turn into Chaos and maintains control of himself at the start of Dirge of Cerberus, the player is unable to achieve that form during gameplay like they can with his Galian Beast form. Chaos becomes playable only during the game's final level, and the form allows Vincent to hover briefly, perform a combo attack consisting of various claw swipes and kicks ending with a sphere of energy, perform a large jump equal to a double jump. As Chaos, his speed is also increased to absurd levels, even leaving afterimages after quick movements. While in this form, he also wields a more threatening variation of the Death Penalty gun (his final weapon from Final Fantasy VII), which gains power as it collects the souls of the wicked.