Hope is a normal boy from a normal family whose childhood on Cocoon can best be described as uneventful. Inexperienced in the ways of the world, and wont to turn to his mother for protection, he is completely unprepared for the turmoil into which his life is thrown when he is unexpectedly caught up in the Sanctum's brutal Purge.Booklet Description
Hope Estheim is a playable character in Final Fantasy XIII, who also appears in a vital supporting role in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. He is Nora and Bartholomew Estheim's son.
In Final Fantasy XIII, Hope and his mother are caught up in the Purge as victims of circumstance with Vanille in tow, becoming involved in an elaborate conspiracy that threatens Cocoon. He chooses to journey with Lightning to become stronger and learn to survive as they fight to save the world.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, the adult Hope is the director of the research institute called the Academy, and he helps Lightning's sister, Serah, and her new friend Noel in their quest to save the future.
As Lightning says in Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, Hope resembles his mother, inheriting her silver hair, green eyes, and facial structure. He is the shortest and youngest of the playable cast. Hope wears a short-sleeved yellow jacket with an attached orange capelet, a seafoam-green neckerchief over a black shirt, and black gloves with white palms. He wears green cargo pants with a detachable black pocket hanging from a black belt over his left leg and grayish-yellow above-ankle lace-up boots. His l'Cie brand is on his left wrist, covered by a gold cloth wristband.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Hope has slightly longer hair, retains his wristband, and wears an Academy uniform of a long-sleeved yellow and white coat with a light blue necktie. He wears gray pants, black boots, black and red storage packs along the left shoulder and waist of his jacket, and retains his boomerang.
In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Hope wears nearly identical attire to his Final Fantasy XIII outfit, only with a black-and-white chequered scarf rather than a green one.
Lightning. I—me too. I mean, at least I'll try. I'll try to watch out for you, too.Hope, promising to protect Lightning
Hope is close to his mother, confiding in and relying on her for protection, but has been distant from his father ever since he reached adolescence. In Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, Hope believes his father prioritizes work over family and no longer keeps his promises to him and Nora, let alone listens to them. Bartholomew only brushed Hope aside the last time he tried to talk with his dad. In Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, Hope says he runs from his problems, mainly things he can't change.
Hope starts as naïve, insecure, and sensitive. His speech is usually reserved, but he has outbursts when his emotions overwhelm him. He is quick to blame others for his misfortunes and is affected by harsh words and rash actions, especially those involving personal subjects. Hope shows considerable intelligence and insightfulness, able to deduce things from his observations. Coming from an upper-class family and having little exposure to how the world works, Hope has no battle experience and fears confrontation and thus tries to flee from a fight when he has the chance.
Though confused by her cheerful demeanor, Hope initially turns to Vanille for emotional support and protection. He later depends on Lightning as a surrogate mother figure and mentor and comes to idolize and emulate her. As they travel together, trust develops between them, and they confide in each other. Under Lightning's tutelage, Hope matures into an efficient fighter and confident individual managing his emotions. He becomes willing to throw himself into harm's way for others' sake, show his sense of humor, and comfort his friends. Advising his companions and remaining positive in dire situations, Hope lives up to his namesake as he, in a way, ultimately becomes the group's spiritual leader and gives hope to his friends.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Hope has grown into an intelligent and confident leader, admired by many, but continues to show moments of vulnerability whenever he reflects on his experiences as a l'Cie.
During Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Hope has physically regressed to his 14-year-old self from Final Fantasy XIII but retains his adult personality. Distancing himself from the woes of the world below, Hope has become emotionally disconnected from his memories, remembering past events as though he wasn't there. He still trusts and cares for Lightning, supporting her and promising to be on her side no matter what decisions she makes.
My dad said you should never break a promise, no matter how small.Hope to Kai and Elida
When Hope was eight years old, he and his close friends Kai and Elida Karmic went on a school field trip to the Sunleth Waterscape with Sazh Katzroy as their airship pilot. Hope's class took pictures with their toy cameras as they learned about the scenery and wildlife and returned to a lake's shore for lunch.
When Kai wanted to take a picture for his younger brother Hal, he realized he dropped his camera on a closed path. The trio slipped past the researchers cleaning up the main route but got lost. Following advice from his father, Hope used a sharp rock to mark a boulder as their starting position.
They found a machine panel that Elida activated. After failing to use it and call for help, the trio continued and came across a climate control orb. Elida touched it against Kai and Hope's protests, triggering a rainfall. They sought shelter in a rock tunnel, but Hope recalled a researcher saying certain monsters enjoy the rain. He made a run for the orb, but several Mud Frogs and Hedge Frogs advanced towards them. The monsters turned away as someone stopped the rain.
Thanks to Elida tampering with the panel, their airship found them, and Kai's camera was returned to him, as a researcher had found it. Hope regretted suggesting to look for it and wanted to apologize to Kai, but Kai enjoyed the misadventure. Hope fell ill and visited the emergency room after returning to Palumpolum. Three days later, Kai and Elida told Hope about Sazh, whose son was born a short while ago.
When Hope was 11, Kai's family moved, and he went to a new school, so Hope barely spoke to him since. Elida dreamed of becoming a singer and went to an all-girls school with a special music program at age 13. As for Hope, he aspired to be like his dad.
Mom... You still believe in that kind of stuff? Wishing on fireworks? Really? That's for little kids.Hope to Nora
During time off from school, a 14-year-old Hope and his mother Nora were on a ten-day vacation in Bodhum to see the annual fireworks show. Nora hoped to use the break to heal the rift between Hope and his father, Bartholomew. After checking into their beach resort condo, Hope and Nora visited the shopping mall. As they looked at chocobo chicks in a pet shop, they unknowingly inspired Lightning to plan a vacation away from Bodhum for her birthday to spend time with her sister Serah.
In the evening, five days later, Bartholomew called to tell her an urgent business trip came up but promised to join his family in time for the festival. Hope doubted it since his father often neglected him and Nora for his job. Nora wanted to visit Euride as planned since the cleanup operation after the accident three days ago had ended, explaining there's nothing Bartholomew can do about being held up at work since the Euride incident affected his job. Seeing that Nora was getting upset, Hope changed the subject and helped her wash the vegetables she got from Yuj, Maqui, and Lebreau. When Hope called Nora shameless for getting the vegetables for free, she laughed that she's a tough mother.
They visited Euride Gorge the next day, but the plaza was closed off and full of PSICOM soldiers. Hope reminisced about his school trip six years ago and what Bartholomew said about keeping promises; it's something Hope believes his dad no longer does, and he no longer wants to be like him. After Hope and Nora visited the fal'Cie Kujata, they returned to the entrance and heard passersby mention a boy was injured in the accident. Nora hoped for the child's survival since there's nothing worse than a child dying before their parent; Hope thought it's still sad for those left behind regardless of who dies first. Nora asked if Hope hates his father and lamented Bartholomew isn't good at "these kinds of things", but many in the Sanctum count on him, and he wants to do a good job. Hope assured Nora he's not mad since Bartholomew will join them for the fireworks. Hope considered talking to his dad on the night of the festival to make Nora happy and thought about reconnecting with Kai and Elida when he returns home.
Two days later, Bartholomew missed the fireworks festival. Nora made a wish, and Hope laughed at her insistence on the gesture since he believed it's for kids. Disappointed that Nora wished for his father to join them next year, Hope said they're better off without him. Unbeknownst to them, that night, PSICOM discovered the Pulse fal'Cie Anima within the Pulse Vestige.
The Sanctum announced the discovery the next day, and the town was quarantined, trapping Hope and Nora. A frantic Nora begged a PSICOM soldier at the train station to let Hope return home alone, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. They were sentenced to be Purged to Gran Pulse—the hellish world beneath Cocoon—along with everyone else in Bodhum and forced to spend the night in the barricaded town. As they queued for the Purge train in the station the following day, a girl named Vanille bumped into Nora. The two talked until Nora stopped to tend to the silent and distressed Hope. Nora's kindness made Vanille decide to accompany the two.
And what if that gets people around you involved? What happens when your actions end up ruining someone's life? What if someone dies? What then, Snow? How do you pay for what you've done?Hope to Snow
When the Purge train enters the Hanging Edge, Lightning, a former Guardian Corps soldier, and her ally of circumstance, Sazh, hijack it. Hope, Nora, Vanille, and the rest of the Purgees escape to a skybridge, rescued by the resistance group NORA and their leader Snow Villiers, who wish to stop the Purge. Some Purgees choose to fight alongside them, including Nora. From afar, Vanille and Hope watch PSICOM destroy the bridge with Nora and the other volunteers, and Nora fall to her death after saving Snow's life. Hope blames Snow for his mother's death, so Vanille encourages him to approach Snow, but Hope hesitates long enough for Snow to leave for the Pulse Vestige that PSICOM has transported to the Hanging Edge.
Vanille and Hope steal an airbike and follow Snow. They crash-land within the Vestige, and after venturing farther inside, a group of Cie'th ambushes them—mindless monsters that l'Cie become when they fail their Focus. Snow saves them and explains he is trying to save his fiancée Serah, a Pulse l'Cie held somewhere in the Vestige. L'Cie serve the fal'Cie who branded them and gain a mission to complete known as a Focus.
Hope yells at Snow for wanting to save Cocoon's enemy, but Snow has Hope and Vanille accompany him deeper into the structure out of concern for their safety. They find Lightning and Sazh with Serah outside Anima's Throne, who crystallizes with Hope explaining it happens to l'Cie who complete their Focus. The army attacks the Vestige, and when Lightning, Sazh, and Snow awaken the sleeping fal'Cie, Hope tries to run, but his path is blocked. After the others defeat Anima, everyone is branded a l'Cie. The damaged Vestige destroys the Hanging Edge and plummets to Lake Bresha below, crystallizing it on impact.
Everyone decides to work together to solve their Focus and identify the legendary beast Ragnarok from a shared dream vision, believing their Focus is to destroy Cocoon. The group finds Serah's crystal form stuck in the crystallized lake. Snow stays to dig her out while the others continue. Hope tries to tell Snow about Nora, but Snow tells him to hurry or get left behind. The party finds an airship in the abandoned ruins at the lake's edge. Sazh attempts to pilot it, but it suffers damage from a PSICOM pursuit and crashes in the Vile Peaks.
Lightning plans to get revenge against the Sanctum by destroying the capital city Eden's namesake fal'Cie that runs the government. Drawn by Lightning's strength and determination, Hope follows her to gain battle experience and toughen up. The two become separated from Vanille and Sazh and decide to go through the Gapra Whitewood and Palumpolum to catch a train bound for Eden. Against Lightning's orders, Hope takes control of a Pulsian Dreadnought, a relic from the war between the two worlds centuries ago, and clears a path for them. Lightning's patience runs thin as Hope fails to keep up with her, and she threatens to leave him, inadvertently summoning her Eidolon Odin, who attacks Hope. Lightning saves him, and Hope helps her defeat the Eidolon, persuading Lightning to have faith in the boy and help him "toughen up".
In the Gapra Whitewood, Hope asks to take the lead, and Lightning lends him her survival knife to boost his confidence. Hope reveals his motive for following her: to become strong enough to punish Snow for Nora's death. When Lightning claims the Sanctum killed his mother and not Snow, Hope targets both. To dissuade him, Lightning suggests they see Hope's father and tell him about Nora.
To avoid the PSICOM troops stationed throughout Palumpolum, Hope leads Lightning underground into the Nutriculture Complex, where they see the fal'Cie Carbuncle that provides food for Cocoon. When Hope mentions the fal'Cie treat humans as their pets, Lightning realizes they've been fal'Cie pawns since birth, and fighting blindly to compensate for doubt and confusion isn't the answer. She tells Hope to abandon his plan for revenge and talk to his father to find a new reason to keep fighting. Returning to the surface, PSICOM general Yaag Rosch and his troops ambush Lightning and Hope. Snow and his new l'Cie ally Fang arrive and save them. Lightning forces Hope to escape with Snow while Fang goes with her.
On a wireless communicator, the groups agree on Hope's place in Felix Heights as their rendezvous point. Hope still intends to kill Snow, whose optimism and ignorance continue to anger him as he unknowingly insults Nora and the events surrounding her death. Hope asks Snow a series of personal questions to justify his desire for revenge, only to be further aggravated by Snow's answers. After making their way through the Rivera Towers and escaping an angry mob, an Ushumgal Subjugator attacks them.
Hope confronts Snow about Nora, unleashing his rage and blasting Snow off the building's roof, leaving him hanging from the edge. As Hope draws Lightning's knife, a Sanctum airship fires shots behind him, knocking him unconscious and blasting him off the building. Snow catches him in midair and shields him from the fall with his body. Hope awakens on the streets below to find Snow saved him. Snow apologizes for endangering Nora and being unable to save her and returns Lightning's knife, giving Hope a second chance for revenge. Hope confesses he knew nothing would bring Nora back and used revenge to cope with her death. The Ushumgal Subjugator returns and knocks Snow out, prompting Hope to fight it alone until Lightning and Fang arrive to help. Hope returns Lightning's knife, and they promise to protect each other. The reunited party heads to the Estheim Residence and meets Bartholomew.
Hope tells his father everything that's happened, and they mend their relationship. Bartholomew forgives Snow as he fulfilled Nora's dying wish of getting Hope home. PSICOM attacks the house, and Snow faces Yaag Rosch. Under Lightning's orders, Hope ties up his father to make him look like an unwilling accomplice. Rygdea and more of the Cavalry soldiers arrive, and Hope and the others leave with them, boarding the Cavalry's airship, the Lindblum.
The Cavalry is a rogue army unit that opposes Cocoon's fal'Cie-led government and aids the party in the hopes they will help topple Sanctum. With the Cavalry's help, the party infiltrates the Sanctum's flagship, the Palamecia, upon learning Sazh and Vanille are held captive on board. They reunite with the prisoners and face Primarch Galenth Dysley, who reveals his form as the fal'Cie Barthandelus, the Cocoon fal'Cie's leader. Barthandelus claims the group's Focus is to become Ragnarok and kill the fal'Cie Orphan, the source of Cocoon's power.
They escape the Palamecia into the Fifth Ark hidden beneath Eden, where the party's l'Cie powers fully awaken. They are confronted by the Cavalry leader, Cid Raines, who reveals himself as a Sanctum l'Cie branded by Barthandelus to help them destroy Cocoon, so the mass of expiring souls can open the Door of Souls and summon the Maker—the god said to have created the fal'Cie and humanity—back to the world. They defeat Raines, but he turns to crystal despite opposing his Focus, inspiring the party to follow suit. After Fang tames her Eidolon, Bahamut, Hope resolves to make his own decisions without the Sanctum or the fal'Cie's influence and see what Gran Pulse is like for himself.
Using an old Pulsian airship, they exit the Ark out into Gran Pulse. After a wild wyvern destroys their airship, they create a base camp in the Vallis Media. The party searches Pulse for days but finds no traces of human life. While gathering food, Hope's l'Cie brand advances, and he falls unconscious. Coming to later at night, Hope says Fang and Vanille's hometown of Oerba might have the answers they're looking for but considers himself too weak for the journey. He urges the others to go on without him, but his anguish summons his Eidolon, Alexander. After Hope tames it, the party comes to believe the Eidolons appear to give l'Cie hope, not to end their journey through death. Hope says he will ask for help earlier next time and continues the trip with the others.
In the Yaschas Massif, Hope tells Vanille he wouldn't have been able to know a wondrous place like Gran Pulse existed if he hadn't attended the fireworks festival and gotten forced onto the Purge train. Vanille says he would have seen Pulse anyway since he promised her they'd see it together. Hope doesn't remember making such a promise, and Vanille thinks it could be another of her lies. Hope says people sometimes lie to either cope or protect someone, but it's what they do afterward that matters. He says everything a person grows up believing as fact sometimes turns out to be false, and perhaps he and Vanille made a promise to each other but forgot. When Vanille blushes after Hope says that her smile makes him happy, he laughs at her embarrassment and runs off with Vanille giving chase.
In the Mah'habara Subterra, Hope tampers with another Dreadnought and falls into the path of the incoming Pulsian fal'Cie, Atomos. A group of Dreadnoughts spring to life and stop Atomos, saving Hope. The party uses Atomos to travel to the Sulyya Springs and rides a capsule from atop Taejin's Tower to the decaying village of Oerba. Barthandelus confronts the party again, claiming he has appointed a revived Raines as primarch and tricked the Cavalry into destroying Orphan.
The party returns to Cocoon to foil Barthandelus's plan and fights its way through Eden to Orphan's Cradle, where the party fights Barthandelus. Upon Barthandelus's defeat, Orphan awakens and reveals its wish for Cocoon's destruction. Everyone except Vanille and Fang transforms into Cie'th. Remembering everything they endured on their journey, the group returns to normal, believing it to have been another fal'Cie trick. They save Fang from her cycle of torture at Orphan's hands and declare they now have a new Focus: save Cocoon. Hope concludes that if they have the power to destroy Cocoon, they can also save it, after which everyone's l'Cie brands turn white.
After Orphan's defeat, Cocoon loses power and falls from the sky. Fang and Vanille sacrifice themselves to become Ragnarok and save Cocoon by erecting a crystal pillar to support the crystallized Cocoon above Gran Pulse. Alongside the rest of the party, a crystallized Hope rests at the pillar's base, but they soon awaken with their brands wiped clean. Though Serah and Dajh also awaken, Hope is upset Vanille and Fang did not, but remains positive, remarking they have defied their fate before.
It doesn't matter. Thank you. Knowing he's safe is enough.Hope, about his father
Hope sees a group of Cavalry soldiers and runs off to meet them with the others following. A soldier tells Hope his father is still alive and arriving on the next cargo transport, and Hope leaves with the soldier to reunite with Bartholomew.
You're not one to think about things anyway.Hope to Snow
After Lightning disappears, Hope finds her knife near the crystal pillar's base and returns it to Serah. Shortly after, he participates in relief efforts with soldiers on Gran Pulse, and his father notes Hope's willingness as a token of the maturity he gained through his journey as a l'Cie.
Returning to Palumpolum, he studies diligently to atone for his sins. In 3 AF, Snow tells him they may have been wrong about Lightning holding up the pillar with Vanille and Fang. Hope joins the Academy to follow in his father's footsteps to help rebuild society and find a way to free Vanille and Fang. Within the next two years, he skips several grades to pursue his degree and becomes the Academy's leader at 19 years old.
I wanted to change history, make things better. Not just bring Lightning back. But Vanille, and Fang... and my mother.Hope to Serah
When Serah, Noel, and Mog arrive in the Paddra Ruins of the Yaschas Massif in 10 AF, Hope aids them during their battle against Aloeidai. Hope reveals Noel and Serah's appearance in the Bresha Ruins five years ago enabled the Academy to analyze the Time Gates and predict their arrival to the ruins. He says that Snow, Sazh, and Dajh also disappeared within the last ten years, all having become time travelers like Serah. Hope says the paradoxes started happening a few years ago and believes if he can solve their cause, he could see everyone again.
Hope explains he joined the Academy to atone for Lightning, Fang, and Vanille's fates and build a society using human-made power. He and his assistant, Alyssa Zaidelle, tell Serah and Noel about the Farseers led by the seeress Yeul who lived in Paddra in ancient times. Hope shows Serah and Noel the Oracle Drive, an old device that shows visions of events considered impossible. The Oracle Drive displays images of the events leading to the Day of Ragnarok. It also displays blurry images of Lightning's fight with Caius Ballad in the mysterious world, Valhalla, that exists between the mortal world and the unseen realm of the dead. Hope theorizes the paradox affecting the area is also affecting the Oracle Drive and gives an artefact to Noel and Serah so they can fix it.
After Noel and Serah resolve the paradox, they repeat their meeting with Hope in the alternate timeline at 1X AF before he again uses the Oracle Drive to show them the now-clear images of Lightning in Valhalla. When the Oracle Drive shows Cocoon falling at Caius's hands, Hope resolves to do what he can to prepare for the crisis while Serah and Noel continue to fix the timeline. Three years later, while overseeing Augusta Tower's construction, Hope and Alyssa devise the Proto fal'Cie Project to keep Cocoon airborne without the crystal pillar.
Acting on its own from the future, the Proto fal'Cie Adam arrives at that moment in time to reprogram the tower's AI and slaughter Hope, Alyssa, and the Academy members to maintain the time and order it is thriving in. Back in 1X AF, Hope catches a glimpse of Serah and Noel's fight with Adam in the Augusta Tower in 200 AF. Serah yelling at him for building the fal'Cie through the Oracle Drive causes Hope to abandon the project, negating his and Alyssa's future deaths. Hope begins the New Cocoon Project to construct an artificial Cocoon. In the alternate timeline at 12 AF, Hope attends the New Nautilus Auditorium Opening Concert and gives his old classmate Elida a bouquet.
The following year, Hope learns about the Thirteenth Ark through the Oracle Drive and invents a time capsule for him and Alyssa to enter suspended animation and reawaken 387 years later in Academia 4XX AF, where the Ark is supposed to appear—welcoming Serah and Noel to "the future they saved". Hope invites them to the Academy headquarters, where he explains that after investigating the Thirteenth Ark, the Academy discovered it floats through the use of a Graviton Core. After Noel, Serah and Mog bring him the needed Graviton Cores, Alyssa gives them an artefact to open a new Time Gate in the city. As Hope and Alyssa go see them off, Hope reflects on his past as a l'Cie when he was almost consumed by hate until Lightning and Snow showed him a way out. Promising to meet Noel and Serah again a century in the future, they part ways.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments After, Hope and Alyssa go to the Augusta Tower to investigate an intruder in the system. Hope disposes of the duplicates trying to kill him and finds Alyssa's diary in the network that details the Bresha Ruins' events in 5 AF. He discovers Alyssa's hatred for the Pulse l'Cie for causing the Purge; her existence as a paradox; how she fears everyone forgetting her, and her research won't be remembered as hers, with her life rendered meaningless if Serah and Noel resolve the paradox. She sided with Caius to save herself, receiving a false artefact from him while sleeping in the time capsule with Hope. Caius had told her to give it to Serah and Noel to dispose of them, which she did when they found the Graviton Cores, and now Alyssa plans to deal with Hope in the Augusta Tower.
Hope pleads with Alyssa, promising to find a way for her to survive in the fixed timeline. Alyssa holds Hope at gunpoint, but before she pulls the trigger, she starts disappearing and begs him not to forget her. In Academia 500 AF, Hope vaguely remembers Alyssa and now has an intern named Aina Stein. Aina is the descendant of Alyssa's friend Nena, the one meant to survive the Purge in Alyssa's place.
In Academia 500 AF, when Chaos Bahamut attacks Noel and Serah, Hope arrives with a squadron of soldiers to provide backup. They pursue Caius on an airship piloted by Sazh, but Serah tells him to ensure Fang and Vanille are safe inside the crystal pillar, and Hope departs. After Noel and Serah defeat Caius in Valhalla, Hope and his team monitor the crystal pillar's status as it's due to collapse at any moment. After safely removing Vanille and Fang from the pillar, the old Cocoon falls, and the new Cocoon rises, which Hope christens "Bhunivelze".
Learning that Noel, Mog, and Serah have returned from Valhalla, Hope takes an airship to greet them only to find Serah has died. As they mourn her, Noel reveals Serah was a seeress like Yeul and killed by her visions. The world darkens, and Mog says the goddess Etro is gone. Noel realizes he unknowingly played into Caius's scheme and killed Etro. Etro's seal appears in the sky, and Bhunivelze and Gran Pulse are consumed by chaos, the evil substance that flows from the unseen realm. The world merges with Valhalla, as without the goddess holding the chaotic energy back, it bursts into the mortal realm.
The Chaotic Era
The companion novella, Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-, details the intervening events between Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Hope tried to maintain peace in the dying Nova Chrysalia, the world formed from the merger of Gran Pulse and Valhalla. His steadfast resolve inspired the survivors burdened by their daily struggles against the Chaos and their eventual extinction, and he became seen as a symbol of hope for humanity. Though humans have become biologically immortal, they can no longer bear children. Hope had the Academy's scientists analyze the situation for humanity's long-term plan with all citizens evacuated inside the artificial Cocoon. After discovering that no new children could be born, the Academy created the Conseil de Renaissance as the people's new hope, tasked with finding a way to reverse the Chaos's effects.
A new fal'Cie cultivated the lands for human habitation to lure people into abandoning their deteriorating Cocoon, a decision Hope eventually made. A team of scientists remained to use the state-of-the-art facilities to find a means to fight the Chaos. Their existence was highly-classified, with Hope secretly overseeing the research. The scientists soon discovered they could control Chaos via Antimatter Manipulation Principle, a technology once used in the original Cocoon.
The scientists went missing with only the words spelling, "The woman with the rose-colored hair takes us with her", left behind. Three hundred thirty-one years after Chaos entered the world, Hope began to hallucinate a pink-haired phantom. Identifying it with Lightning, he became obsessed with it and relived the past in his dreams alongside the illusion until he couldn't separate fantasy from reality. It was Bhunivelze's work, the god who created the deities Pulse, Lindzei, and Etro to find the door to the unseen realm, his servants having crafted the worlds of Gran Pulse and Cocoon. He woke from his slumber when the worlds merged. Though Bhunivelze can't control people's hearts, he can create illusions. The phantom lured Hope into the now-deserted artificial Cocoon, where he remained within the Ark.
Bhunivelze sought to use Hope as his agent to ensure the savior's compliance, act as his new vessel, and remove Hope's influence from society. Without Hope's leadership, the remaining populace would instead turn to the Order of Salvation, a religious group that worships Bhunivelze, to find their "hope" for the future. Hope messaged Snow about Lightning's foreseen return as the savior and warned him of the fake Lightning. Bhunivelze tortured Hope and regressed him into a teenager to better meet his standards as a "pure and innocent" vessel and better understand humans. Over the next 169 years, Bhunivelze tortured and damaged Hope's heart and rendered him nearly emotionless as Bhunivelze continued to mold him into the perfect host.
Welcome back, Light.Hope to Lightning, said whenever Lightning returns to the Ark
When Lightning awakes from crystal stasis 13 days before the the end of the world, Bhunivelze chooses her as the savior. Hope aids her from the Ark, staying in contact with her via wireless communication. At 6 AM each morning, Hope summons Lightning back to the Ark, where they can talk about the day's events and what their old comrades are doing. Hope briefly loses contact with Lightning when Lumina pulls her into Lightning's subconscious to talk with her privately, warning her that she can't fully trust Hope as what he learns is transmitted to Bhunivelze. Lightning's task is to save the people's souls before the world ends for them to be reborn in a new world crafted by Bhunivelze.
On the final day, when Lightning finds herself in her subconscious, Hope's heart appears before her. He reveals his role as Bhunivelze's eyes to monitor her, stating he will cease to be as his purpose is over. Regardless, Hope is glad to be himself again. He encourages Lightning to save Vanille from going through with the Soulsong, a ritual the Order of Salvation has fooled her to perform that would kill her. He believes Vanille will make the right choice as long as she knows the truth. Hope tells Lightning she has to make a choice too to find Serah's soul. As Lightning laments failing to protect him, Hope says it was because of her that he no longer fears the future, not even now, and fades away.
Lightning and Fang convince Vanille to guide the souls of the dead to the Ark to be reborn in the new world rather than destroy them with the Soulsong. Bhunivelze awakens and uses Hope's now-heartless body as a medium to absorb the souls of Noel, Fang, Vanille, and Snow. When Lightning sets out to confront Bhunivelze in Cosmogenesis, the god, using Hope's body, explains that Lightning's interference in the Soulsong leaves him with no choice but to destroy the new world. Using Hope's body as an example before slaying it out of whim, Bhunivelze explains he will become the shared soul inhabiting the new humans he will create while saying he doesn't know where Hope's heart is. Unknown to Bhunivelze, he absorbed Hope's heart, explaining why he now speaks with Hope's voice[note 1] and why he is suddenly feeling emotions, making him vulnerable.
After Lightning defeats Bhunivelze, Hope is free again. Lightning tells him to reunite with his parents' spirits in the next life while she stays to take Bhunivelze with her into the new unseen realm. After Lightning accepts Lumina as a part of herself, Hope helps her leave the world of her subconscious to aid her in fighting Bhunivelze. Joined by their friends and the Eidolons, Hope lends his power to Lightning to land the deathblow to the god. After witnessing Nova Chrysalia's destruction and the creation of a new unseen realm, Hope and his friends find a crystal floating in a void. Their souls, alongside those of the rest of humanity, travel to a new world where they begin their lives anew.
Now that I can look back on it, I was sustaining myself with hate. The despair of losing my mother and becoming a l’Cie was too heavy for me. I deceived myself and aimed my anger at the closest target. I blamed my mother’s death on Snow and despised him for it. If Light hadn’t stopped me and pulled me back, I don’t know where I’d be right now.Hope to Aoede
Reborn in the new world as a young man, Hope works as an unaffiliated researcher excelling in humanities and society. A reporter named Aoede finds him during her investigation of people with strange memories of "another world". Hope tells Aoede his story and about the friends he made. He describes Lightning as a strict but gentle person who watched over him, explaining that he initially depended on her for protection and guidance but later wanted to protect her too upon realizing she also suffered and felt lost.
He ends the interview at the part where Lightning became the savior. With Aoede wanting to know more, Hope tells her to ask Lightning herself, promising to relate the rest of the story once she talks to his former companions. Though Aoede doesn't find Lightning before returning to Hope, he gives her a folder titled "Chronicles of the Chaotic Era". He recounts his side of the story of Nova Chrysalia before Bhunivelze captured and tortured him until the day Lightning awoke from her crystal sleep as the savior.
Hope fights with boomerangs inscribed with names of mythological birds. He is the most support-oriented character in Final Fantasy XIII and the only one to have just one offensive primary paradigm role. He specializes in casting magic, although his casting speed for offensive magic isn't as fast as some of the more offensively-geared characters'.
Hope's strength lies as a Ravager. However, he has the lowest HP out of the six playable characters, he has the highest Magic stat and is the only one to learn all elemental spells up to the -ga level. As a Synergist, he is proficient with defensive buffs, learning Protect, Shell and the Bar-Spells the earliest. He learns all the spells as a Medic.
Hope's full ATB skill, Last Resort, deals non-elemental magic damage to random targets. His Eidolon is Alexander, a non-elemental Eidolon who turns into a fortress. The animation sequence for Last Resort resembles the White Magic spell Holy from previous Final Fantasy games. Furthermore, Alexander is the series's main Holy-elemental summon.
Outside of battle, Hope runs 7% slower than everyone else when used as the party leader.
Hope's eidolith is in the shape of a star, almost resembling the crystal in the Final Fantasy IX Hope's crystal is used for the "Instrument of Change" trophy/achievement. The Crystal Star can be acquired as an adornment in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
Final Fantasy XIII
"Hope's Theme", composed by Masashi Hamauzu, is a melancholy tune. Its acoustic guitar represents his sensitive and vulnerable nature and the emotions he goes through while coping with the loss of his mother.
His theme has two variants: the orchestral version titled "Sustained by Hate" and the slow, acoustic version called "This Is Your Home".
Arrangement album appearances
The original version of "Hope's Theme" was mocked up on piano. I wanted to go with an acoustic guitar for Hope in the actual game, so I ended up hiding this version away without letting anyone listen to it. Quite a few other issues developed along the way, and I ended up abandoning it altogether. It was something of a mixed bag, so the version included in this CD is only a portion of the full track. Sorry!Masashi Hamauzu; liner notes to Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack PLUS
The album includes a piano version of his theme titled "Hope_PfNer3" as the sixth track.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
"Hope's Theme - Tomorrow's Dream -" is a calm, mellow, rustic, and jazzy rearrangement of his original theme and a variant of the main theme, "FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 - Wishes -". It is composed of acoustic guitar, violin, and piano. While it hints at his vulnerability like his original theme, it also signifies his wish to bring back his loved ones.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
"The Ark" can be seen as Hope's leitmotif as it is a rearrangement of his theme from Final Fantasy XIII-2. The related track "Meeting You" expresses how Hope believes he has nothing to fear since Lightning is with him, even when doomed to vanish forever. Portions of "The Ark" are present in the final boss theme, "Almighty Bhunivelze", in a disjointed manner, foreshadowing how his soul is weakening Bhunivelze due to forcing the god to experience emotions for the first time.
Hope has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:
- Final Fantasy Tactics S as a playable character.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy series as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a Legend and a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Artniks as a series of cards.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Mobius Final Fantasy as ability cards and as an outfit for Wol.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a series of cards.
Behind the scenes
Final Fantasy XIII
Tetsuya Nomura designed Hope for Final Fantasy XIII and Hideo Minaba designed his clothes for Final Fantasy XIII-2. Lightning was initially going to have silver hair but the decision to make her pink-haired got the silver hair transferred to Hope.
An early pink-haired model of Hope exists on the E3 Preview Disc of Final Fantasy XIII from before his character was made public, and his model and textures were still unfinished. A pink-haired Hope appeared in a trailer for the game, but the summoning animation distorts his features. A very early model (placeholder/draft) for Hope with no textures also exists on the preview disc where his hair is shorter, and his jacket is longer with a different style. This model appears to be from the early PlayStation 2 version before development moved onto the PlayStation 3.
The Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega has a l'Cie brand progression chart that shows the progression of each l'Cie's brand and the events that make the brands advance. Hope's brand advances to stage 2 when he and Lightning arrive at the Gapra Whitewood and stage 3 after declaring Operation Nora. It progresses to stage 4 in Palumpolum when he and Snow see PSICOM rounding up people to Purge, and it goes to stage 5 when he tries to kill Snow and get his revenge. It advances to stage 7 when the party arrives at the Fifth Ark due to the shock of Barthandelus confirming their Focus and progresses to stage 8 when the party's l'Cie powers fully awaken. It advances to stage 11 during the party's initial exploration of Gran Pulse, to 12 due to the strain said expedition causes him, and to 13 when Fang turns against the rest of them in the Orphan's Cradle, and he transforms into a Cie'th. Hope reverts, his brand scorches out and vanishes after he awakens from crystal stasis. Out of everyone in the party, Hope's brand is the only one to advance to stage 12 before the party arrives in Eden, which is likely why he asks the others to continue without him in Vallis Media as he can tell he is close to the final stage.
Final Fantasy XIII-2
The Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega producer and director interview reveal scrapped plans for a Hope downloadable content (DLC) scenario episode like Sazh's, Snow's and Lightning's episodes. There was a plan for a DLC involving Hope and a journey through Augusta Tower. Players would have ventured through the tower, completing several Live Triggers, and the goal was to stop Alyssa from killing Hope. Based on the player's Live Trigger choices, the player would've either continued the game or receive a game over.
Some hints point toward Hope being a playable character for Final Fantasy XIII-2 at some point during development. He seems to have some combat data and even a chocobo riding animation, but it is unknown if these were for his scrapped DLC episode. A young version of Hope is in the game data, which is not the same model as the one used in Final Fantasy XIII, although it has the same clothes and otherwise similar appearance. It is unknown why a model of a young Hope exists for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which was never used.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII
Director Motomu Toriyama commented on Hope's role as a secondary character in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII: "Hope Estheim is for us only a secondary character, even though we love him no matter what. He only lacks something that gives him the heroic image, like Lightning or Noel." One of the main themes of Lightning Returns is how much Hope grew and matured in Lightning's "motherly" perspective. In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning acted like a mentor and surrogate mother to Hope and hasn't interacted with him since the original game. Since Hope now helps Lightning in her new mission, she gets to see how much he has changed.
The Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania states that Hope has the soul of his 27-year-old self from Final Fantasy XIII-2, meaning that his younger appearance in the ending is a brief form. It implies he returned to his adult state in the new world, which is proven correct in the novel Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -Tracer of Memories-. It also reveals that Lightning Returns's main plot revolves around the two questions: "Who will be the last soul Lightning will save and who will, then, save Lightning?" Hope was chosen as the answer to both.
Vincent Martella voices him in English.
Ironically, Hope is initially the group's most negative member. However, after going through the journey's trials, he lives up to his name as "hope" for Cocoon, to free it from the fal'Cie's control.Est is Latin for "is". Heim is German for "home". Thus his full name means "hope is home". Lightning alludes to this in Chapter 7 when she says he needs to discover the hope he was named for by going home and talking to his father. His name is also an anagram of "the hope is me".
- This link is severed in the English localization since Bhunivelze doesn't share Hope's voice actor
- Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania, p.026
- Anoop Gantayat (n.d.) . Final Fantasy XIII-2: Time Paradoxes, Serah's Background Story, Blood Damage, and Chaos.
- Tanaka, John (2019, June 29). "TGS 09: Final Fantasy XIII Update". From IGN. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020.
- Square Enix Team (n.d.) . This FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 mini-interview focuses on story. Square Enix. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020.
- Square Portal (n.d.) . New Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega Scenario Details. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020.
- lightning-returns-news (n.d.) . Interview with Motomu Toriyama and Yuji Abe with The German gaming site Spieletester. tumblr. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020.
- Square Enix (2013, June 15). "It’s Official: Lightning Got a Boob Job for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII". From Dualshockers. Archived from the original on 31 December 2020.