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.
Hope Estheim is a playable character in Final Fantasy XIII, who also appears in a major supporting role in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. He is the son of Nora and Bartholomew Estheim.
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.
As Lightning says in Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, Hope greatly resembles his mother as he inherited her silver hair, green eyes, and facial structure. Of all the playable characters, he is the shortest and the youngest. He wears a short-sleeved orange and yellow jacket with a green neckerchief over a black shirt, and black gloves with white palms. He wears green cargo pants with a black storage pack hanging from a black belt over his left leg, and green boots. His l'Cie brand is on his left wrist, covered by a yellow wristband.
In Final Fantasy XIII-2, Hope has slightly longer hair, retains his yellow 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 coat, 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 is close to his mother Nora, confiding in her and relying on her for protection, but has had a distant relationship with his father ever since he became a teenager. In Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-, it's said that Hope believes his father no longer keeps the promises he makes to him and his mother let alone listens to them, viewing work as more important than family. All Hope can remember about the last time he began a conversation with his dad was how Bartholomew brushed him aside. In Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-, Hope says he runs from his problems, specifically things he can't change.
Hope starts off as naïve, insecure, and sensitive. His speech is normally reserved but he has outbursts when his emotions get the best of him. His naivety makes him quick to blame others for his misfortunes, and he is affected by harsh words and rash actions, especially when they involve personal subjects. Besides coming from an upper class family and having little knowledge of 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. Hope is also shown to be very smart and insightful, able to deduce things from his observations.
Though confused by her cheerful demeanor, Hope initially turns to Vanille for emotional support and protection as she comforts him on the horrid situation he's plunged into. He later depends on Lightning as a surrogate mother figure and mentor when he comes to idolize her and tries to follow her example. 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 in control of 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 ultimately lives up to his namesake as he, in a way, becomes the spiritual leader of the group 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 past experience as a l'Cie.
During Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Hope has physically regressed to his 14-year-old self from Final Fantasy XIII. His personality is still that of an adult, though his emotions have been sapped, distancing him from the woes of the world below. He has become emotionally disconnected from his memories, remembering past events as though he wasn't there. He still trusts and cares about 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.
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 the pilot of their airship. 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 had dropped his camera to a path that had been closed off. 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 to designate their starting position.
They found a machine panel which 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 protest, causing rainfall. They retreated into a rock tunnel for shelter, but Hope recalled a researcher saying certain monsters enjoy 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 go look for it and wanted to apologize to Kai, but Kai had enjoyed the misadventure. Hope fell ill and was taken to 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 at age 13, she went to an all girls school with a special music program. As for Hope, he aspired to be just like his dad.
Mom... You still believe in that kind of stuff? Wishing on fireworks? Really? That's for little kids.
During time off from school, a 14-year-old Hope and his mother Nora are on a ten day vacation in Bodhum to see the annual fireworks show. Nora hopes to use the vacation to heal the rift between Hope and his father, Bartholomew. After checking into their beach resort condo, Hope and Nora visit the shopping mall. As they look at chocobo chicks in a pet shop, they unknowingly inspire Lightning to plan a vacation away from Bodhum for her birthday to spend time with Serah.
Five days later in the evening, Bartholomew calls Nora and tells her an urgent business trip has come up, but promises to join his family in time for the festival. Hope doesn't believe it since his father often neglects him and Nora for his job, and hates how his father would never thank Nora for defending him. Nora wants to go to Euride as planned since the clean up operation after the accident three days ago has ended. When Hope says his father is not coming Nora says there is nothing Bartholomew can do about it since the Euride incident affected his job. Seeing that Nora is getting upset, Hope changes the subject and helps her wash vegetables she got from Yuj, Maqui, and Lebreau. When Hope calls Nora shameless for getting the vegetables for free, she says she's a tough mother and laughs.
The next day, they visit Euride Gorge but the plaza is closed off and the place is full of PSICOM soldiers. Hope reminisces about his trip to Sunleth six years ago, and what his father 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 visit to the fal'Cie Kujata, they head back to the entrance and hear people passing by talk about a little boy being hurt in the accident. Nora hopes the child does not die since there's nothing worse than a child dying before their parent. Hope thinks to himself that regardless of whether the parent or child goes first, it's still sad for those left behind. Nora asks if Hope hates his father and says Bartholomew isn't good at these kinds of things, but many people in the Sanctum depend on him and he wants to do a good job. Hope assures Nora he's not mad since Bartholomew will join them for the fireworks. He considers talking to his dad on the night of the festival if it will make his mother happy, and thinks about reconnecting with Kai and Elida when he gets back home.
Two days later at the fireworks festival, Bartholomew is unable to make it. Nora makes a wish and Hope laughs at her insistence on the gesture since he believes it's for kids. He is disappointed Nora wished for his father to be with them next year, and says they are better off without him. Unbeknownst to them, PSICOM discovers the Pulse fal'Cie Anima within the Pulse Vestige.
The next morning, the Sanctum announces the discovery and Hope and Nora are caught within the town's subsequent quarantine. At the train station, a frantic Nora begs with a PSICOM soldier for Hope to be allowed to return home alone but her pleas fall on deaf ears. They are subjected to be Purged to Gran Pulse—the hellish world beneath Cocoon—with everyone else in Bodhum, and spend the night in the barricaded town. As they queue for the Purge train in the station the following day, a girl named Vanille bumps into Nora. After Nora checks Vanille's well-being, the two have a brief conversation until Nora stops to tend to the silent and distressed Hope. Nora's kindness makes Vanille decide to board the train with her and Hope.
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?
When the Purge train enters the Hanging Edge it is hijacked by Lightning, a former Guardian Corps soldier, and her ally of circumstance, Sazh. Hope, Nora, Vanille and the rest of the Purgees escape to a skybridge when they are 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 the bridge with Nora and the other volunteers destroyed in an army attack, and Nora fall to her death after saving Snow's life. Hope blames Snow for his mother's death and 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, they are ambushed by a group of Cie'th: mindless monsters that l'Cie who fail their Focus become. Snow saves them and explains he is about to save his fiancée Serah, a Pulse l'Cie, who is somewhere in the Vestige. L'Cie are servants of the fal'Cie who brand them with their mark and give them a mission to complete, known as a Focus.
Hope yells at Snow for wanting to save an enemy of Cocoon. Out of concern for their safety, Snow has Hope and Vanille accompany him deeper into the structure. They meet with Lightning and Sazh and find 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 away, but his path is blocked off. Anima brands everyone in the group a l'Cie and the damaged Vestige destroys the Hanging Edge and falls to Lake Bresha below, crystallizing it on impact.
They decide 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 and Snow remains to dig her out while the others continue on. Hope tries to tell Snow about Nora, but Snow tells him to hurry or get left behind. In the abandoned ruins at the edge of the lake the party finds an airship. Sazh attempts to pilot it, but it sustains 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 determination and strength, Hope follows her to gain battle experience and toughen up. The two are separated from Vanille and Sazh, and decide to go through the Gapra Whitewood and Hope's hometown of Palumpolum to catch a train to 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 abandon him, inadvertently summoning her Eidolon Odin, who attacks Hope. Lightning saves him and his aid in defeating the Eidolon persuades her 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 reason for following her: he intends to become strong enough to face Snow and make him pay for his mother's death. Taking Lightning's advice to form a plan, Hope conceives "Operation Nora," his plan for revenge. When Lightning claims the Sanctum killed his mother and not Snow, Hope makes both Snow and the Sanctum his targets. To dissuade Hope, Lightning suggests they see his 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 Cocoon with its food. When Hope mentions the fal'Cie treat humans like their pets, Lightning realizes they have been fal'Cie pawns since birth, and fighting blindly to make up for doubt and confusion is not the answer. She tells Hope to abandon Operation Nora and talk to his father to find a new reason to keep fighting. Returning to the surface, Lightning and Hope are ambushed by PSICOM general Yaag Rosch and his troops. Snow and his new l'Cie ally Fang arrive, and 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, but Hope still intends to complete Operation Nora. Snow's optimism and obliviousness continue to anger Hope, 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 after an encounter with an angry mob, they are attacked by an Ushumgal Subjugator.
Hope confronts Snow about Nora, unleashing his rage and blasting Snow off the roof of the building, leaving him hanging from the edge. Before Hope can kill Snow, a Sanctum airship fires shots behind him, knocking him unconscious and blasting him off the building. Snow catches Hope in midair and shields him from the fall with his body. Hope awakens on the streets below to find Snow had saved him. Snow apologizes for endangering Nora and being unable to save her. He returns Lightning's knife, giving Hope a second chance for revenge, but 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 ends Operation Nora. After they promise to protect each other, the reunited party heads to the Estheim Residence and meets Bartholomew.
Hope tells his father everything that has happened and the two repair their relationship. Bartholomew forgives Snow as he had fulfilled Nora's dying wish of getting Hope home. PSICOM attacks the house and Snow confronts 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 Palamecia upon learning Sazh and Vanille are being held captive onboard. They reunite with the prisoners and face Primarch Galenth Dysley, who reveals his true form as the fal'Cie Barthandelus, the leader of Cocoon's fal'Cie. Barthandelus claims their Focus is to become the legendary beast 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 are fully awoken. They are confronted by the Cavalry leader, Cid Raines, who reveals himself a Sanctum l'Cie branded by Barthandelus to help them destroy Cocoon so the mass of expiring souls would open the Door of Souls and summon the Maker—the god said to have created both the fal'Cie and mankind—back to the world. They defeat Raines but he turns to crystal despite going against his Focus, inspiring the party to do the same. After Fang tames her Eidolon, Bahamut, Hope resolves to make his own decisions without influence from the Sanctum or the fal'Cie, and see what the world of Gran Pulse is like for himself.
Using an old Pulsian airship, they exit the Ark out into Gran Pulse. After falling under attack by a wild wyvern, they land and 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 are looking for, but considers himself too weak for the journey. He implores 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 journey with the others.
The party exits the Vallis Media and emerges in the Archylte Steppe, planning to cross to the Mah'habara Subterra. In the Yaschas Massif, Hope tells Vanille how he wouldn't have been able to know a place like Gran Pulse existed if he hadn't gone to the fireworks and gotten forced onto the Purge train. Vanille says he would have gotten to see Pulse anyway since he promised her they'd see it together. Hope doesn't remember making such a promise and Vanille says it could be another of her lies. Hope says people sometimes lie either to cope or protect someone but it's what they do after lying that matters. He says sometimes everything a person was raised to believe as the truth turn out to be false, and perhaps he and Vanille both made a promise to each other but forgot. After Vanille blushes from Hope saying that her smile makes him happy, Hope 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 the fal'Cie to travel to the Sulyya Springs and rides a capsule from atop Taejin's Tower to the dilapidated village of Oerba. The party is confronted by Barthandelus, who claims 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 the city to Orphan's Cradle where the party fights Barthandelus. Upon Barthandelus's defeat, Orphan is awakened and reveals its wish for Cocoon's destruction. Everyone except Vanille and Fang are transformed into Cie'th. Remembering everything they went through on their journey, the group reverts to normal, believing it to have been another fal'Cie trick. They save Fang from her cycle of torture at Orphan's hands and say they now have a new Focus: to save Cocoon. Hope concludes that if they have the power to destroy Cocoon, they also have the power to 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. Hope is crystallized alongside the rest of the party at the base of the pillar, 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 sees a group of soldiers from the Cavalry and runs off to meet them with the others in tow. 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.
After Lightning disappears, Hope finds her knife near the base of Cocoon's crystal pillar and returns it to Serah. Shortly after, he participates in relief efforts on Gran Pulse with soldiers and his willingness is noted by his father as a token of the maturity he has gained through his journey as a l'Cie.
Upon returning to Palumpolum, he studies diligently to atone for his sins. In 3 AF, Snow tells him they may have been mistaken 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 to find a way to free Vanille and Fang from the crystal pillar. Within the next two years he skips several grades in pursuit of his degree, and becomes leader of the Academy at 19 years old.
I wanted to change history, make things better. Not just bring Lightning back. But Vanille, and Fang... and my mother.
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 within the last ten years Serah was not the only one who disappeared, but Snow, Sazh, and Dajh as well, all having become time travelers. 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 what happened to Lightning, Fang and Vanille, and to build a society using man-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 ancient device that shows images of events considered impossible. The Oracle Drive shows images of the events leading to the Day of Ragnarok and blurry images of Lightning's fight with Caius Ballad in the mysterious world Valhalla that exists between the visible world of the living and the unseen realm of the dead. He theorizes the paradox affecting the area is affecting the Oracle Drive and gives an artefact to Noel and Serah so they can fix it.
After the paradox is resolved, Noel and Serah 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 to 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 with Serah yelling at him for building the fal'Cie through the Oracle Drive, and abandons the project, negating his and Alyssa's future deaths. Hope begins the New Cocoon Project to build a man-made Cocoon. In the alternate timeline at 12 AF, Hope attends the New Nautilus Auditorium Opening Concert and gives his old classmate Elida a bouquet of flowers.
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 the 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 the duplicates trying to kill him and finds a diary belonging to Alyssa in the system that details the events in the Bresha Ruins in 5 AF, her hatred of the Pulse l'Cie for causing the Purge, her true existence as a paradox, and how everyone would forget her and none of her research would be remembered as hers, her life ultimately having meant nothing if the paradox will be resolved. Her diary reveals she sided with Caius to save herself, as if Serah and Noel fix the timeline she will vanish. She had received a false artefact from Caius while sleeping in the time capsule with Hope. Caius told Alyssa to give it to Serah and Noel to get rid of them, which she did when they found the Graviton Cores, and Alyssa plans to deal with Hope in the Augusta Tower.
Hope pleads with Alyssa, telling her he can find a way for her to survive in the fixed timeline. Alyssa holds Hope at gunpoint, but before she pulls the trigger she starts to disappear and begs him not to forget her. In Academia 500 AF, Hope only vaguely remembers Alyssa, and she has been replaced by an intern named Aina Stein, the descendant of Alyssa's friend Nena, who was the one meant to have survived the Purge in Alyssa's place.
In Academia 500 AF when Noel and Serah are attacked by Chaos Bahamut, 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 inside the crystal pillar are safe, and Hope departs. After Noel and Serah defeat Caius in Valhalla, Hope and his team monitor the status of the crystal pillar, which is set to collapse. After Vanille and Fang have been safely removed from the pillar the old Cocoon falls and the new Cocoon, which Hope christens "Bhunivelze", rises.
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 over 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 had unknowingly played into Caius's scheme and killed Etro. Etro's seal appears in the sky and Bhunivelze and everything on Gran Pulse is consumed by chaos, the malevolent substance that flows from the unseen realm. The world merges with Valhalla, as without the goddess holding the chaotic energy at bay it bursts into the mortal realm.
The Chaotic EraEdit
The intervening events between Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII are revealed in a companion novella called Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-.
Hope attempted to maintain peace in the dying Nova Chrysalia, the world formed from the merger of Gran Pulse and Valhalla. He became a symbol of hope for mankind, as his unwavering resolve inspired the survivors burdened by both their daily struggles against the Chaos and their eventual extinction; although mankind has become biologically immortal, they can no longer bear children. Hope had the Academy's scientists analyzed the situation for mankind's long-term plan with all citizens evacuated inside the manmade Cocoon. After it was discovered no new children could be born, the Academy created the Conseil de Renaissance as mankind'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 make use of the state-of-the-art facilities to find a way to fight the Chaos. Their existence was highly-classified with Hope secretly overseeing the research. The scientists eventually discovered Chaos could be controlled via Antimatter Manipulation Principle, a technology once used in the original Cocoon.
The scientists went missing with the only the words spelling "The woman with the rose-colored hair takes us with her" left behind. 331 years after Chaos entered the world, Hope began to hallucinate of a pink-haired phantom, which he came to identify with Lightning. He became obsessed with it and relived the past in his dreams alongside the illusion until he couldn't tell dream from reality. It was god Bhunivelze's work, the god who had 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. When the worlds merged he was awakened. Though Bhunivelze cannot control the hearts of men, he can create illusions. Led by the phantom, Hope was lured into the now deserted man-made Cocoon where he remained within the Ark never to be seen again.
Bhunivelze wanted to use Hope as his agent to ensure the savior's acquiescence, act as his new vessel, and to remove Hope's influence from society so that 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 informing him of Lightning's oncoming return as the savior, and warning 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 to better understand humans. Having been abducted and tortured, Hope's heart was damaged, and he was rendered nearly emotionless over the next 169 years as Bhunivelze continued to mold him into the perfect host.
Welcome back, Light.
When Lightning awakes from crystal stasis 13 days before 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 up to. Hope briefly loses contact with Lightning when Lumina pulls her into Lightning's subconscious to talk with her in private, warning her that Hope cannot be fully trusted as what he learns is transmitted to Bhunivelze. Lightning's task is to save the souls of the people 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 as he encourages Lightning to save Vanille from going through with the Soulsong, a ritual the Order of Salvation has manipulated her to perform that would kill her. He says that Vanille will make the right choice as long as she knows the truth. Hope tells Lightning that she has to make a choice too to find Serah's soul. As Lightning laments on failing to protect him, Hope says it was because of her that he is no longer afraid of 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 a example before destroying it out of whim, Bhunivelze explains he will become the shared soul inhabiting the new humans he will create while explaining he doesn't know where Hope's heart is. Unknown to him, Bhunivelze had absorbed Hope's heart, which is why he is now speaking with Hope's voice* and why he is suddenly feeling emotions, making him vulnerable. This link is severed in the English localization where Bhunivelze does not use Hope's voice actor
After Lightning defeats Bhunivelze, Hope is freed. Lightning tells him to go to the new world to be reunited with the spirits of his parents in the next life while she remains to take Bhunivelze with her into the new unseen realm where the souls of the dead pass on to. 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 other 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 the souls 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 really was sustaining myself with hate. The despair of losing my mother and becoming an 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.
Reborn in the new world as a young man, Hope works as an unaffiliated researcher excelling in the areas of humanity and society. He is found by a reporter named Aoede during her investigation of people with strange memories of "another world". Hope tells Aoede his story and about the friends he had made. He describes Lightning as a strict but gentle person who watched over him, and explains he initially depended on her for protection and guidance, but later wanted to protect her as well once he had realized that she also suffered and felt lost.
He ends the interview midway upon getting to 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 him, Hope gives her a folder titled "Chronicles of the Chaotic Era", and tells her his side of the story of Nova Chrysalia before he was captured and tortured by Bhunivelze until the day Lightning awoke from her crystal sleep as the savior.
Hope is the most supportive-oriented character in Final Fantasy XIII, and the only character having only one offensive primary paradigm role. He specializes in casting magic, although his casting speed for offensive magic is not as fast as some of the more offensively-geared characters'. Hope's strength lies as a Ravager; 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. Hope has the lowest HP of all the playable characters, but he has the highest Magic. Hope's Eidolon is Alexander, a non-elemental Eidolon who turns into a fortress. Hope fights with boomerangs that have inscriptions with the names of mythological birds.
Creation and developmentEdit
Hope was designed by Tetsuya Nomura for Final Fantasy XIII and Hideo Minaba designed his clothes for Final Fantasy XIII-2. Lightning was originally designed as a silver-haired character, but when the decision was made to make her pink-haired, the silver hair was transferred to Hope.
An early pink-haired model of Hope exists on the E3 Preview Disc of Final Fantasy XIII when Hope hasn't yet been shown to the public, and his model and textures were still unfinished. A pink-haired Hope appeared in a trailer for the game, but his features were distorted by his summoning animation. 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 appears to be from the early PlayStation 2 version before development moved onto PlayStation 3.
For Final Fantasy XIII-2, the game's director, Motomu Toriyama, felt keen to portray Hope as a more mature person; that's why he returns to the story as a grown-up who works as a leader of the Academy.
The Final Fantasy XIII-2 Ultimania Omega producer and director interview reveals scrapped plans for a Hope downloadable content (DLC) scenario episode, in the vein of Sazh's, Snow's and Lightning's episodes. Originally, a DLC was planned involving Hope and a journey through the Augusta Tower. Players would have ventured through the tower, completing a number of Live Triggers. The aim was to stop Alyssa from killing Hope, and based on player's Live Trigger choices, player would have either continued the game or receive a game over.
There are some hints that point toward Hope being planned as 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 meant for his scrapped DLC episode. A young version of Hope is found 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 was made for Final Fantasy XIII-2, which was never used.
Director Motomu Toriyama commented on Hope's role as a secondary character in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII thus: "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" point of view. In Final Fantasy XIII, Lightning acted like a mentor and surrogate mother to Hope, and has not interacted with him since the original game. Now that Hope 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, having the soul of his 27-year-old self from Final Fantasy XIII-2, means that his younger appearance in the ending is a temporary form, and implies he could have returned to his adult form in the new world, which is proven true in the novel Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -Tracer of Memories-. It also reveals that Lightning Returns's main plot revolves around the two questions of "Who will be the last soul Lightning will save and who will, then, save Lightning?", and Hope was chosen as the answer to both.
He is voiced by Vincent Martella in English.
Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
"Hope's Theme", composed by Masashi Hamauzu, is a melancholy tune composed with acoustic guitar representing his sensitive and vulnerable nature, as well as the emotions he goes through while coping with the loss of his mother.
There are two variants of his theme: the orchestral version is titled "Sustained by Hate", and the slow, acoustic version called "This Is Your Home".
Arrangement album appearancesEdit
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!
A piano version of his theme titled, "Hope_PfNer3", is included on the album as the sixth track.
Final Fantasy XIII-2Edit
"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 with acoustic guitar, violin, and piano. While it hints at his vulnerability like his original theme, it also symbolizes his wish to bring back the people who are dear to him.
Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIEdit
"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 he is sentenced to disappear forever.
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.
It is possible the name "Hope" was chosen for him because initially Hope was the negative one of the group, but after going through the journey's trials and tribulations he lives up to his name, "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". This is alluded to by Lightning in Chapter 7, when she says he needs to discover what hope he was named for by going home and talking to his father. His name is also an anagram of "the hope is me".
- In Final Fantasy XIII, while Hope sometimes refers to Lightning as "Light" in the English version, he calls her "Light-san" for the rest of the game after she tells him to in the Japanese version. Presumably a minor error, Hope will sometimes call Lightning "Light" in battle shortly before the cutscene in which she tells him to do so.
- Hope's eidolith is in the shape of a star, almost resembling the crystal in the Final Fantasy IX logo.
- 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.
- The Final Fantasy XIII Ultimania Omega has a l'Cie brand progression chart that shows the progression of each l'Cie's brand, as well as the events that make the brands advance. Hope's brand advances to stage 2 when he and Lightning arrive at the Gapra Whitewood, and to stage 3 after he declares Operation Nora. It advances to stage 4 when he and Snow see people being rounded up by PSICOM to be Purged in Palumpolum, 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 the confirmation of their Focus from Barthandelus, and to stage 8 when the party's l'Cie powers are fully awoken. Then it progresses to stage 11 during the party's initial exploration of Gran Pulse, to 12 due to the strain said exploration causes him, and advances to stage 13 when Fang turns against the rest of them in the Orphan's Cradle, and he transforms into a Cie'th. After this, Hope is reverted, his brand scorches out, and is soon erased after he awakens from crystal stasis after completing his Focus. 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 on without him in Vallis Media as he can tell he is close to the final stage.
- The animation sequence for Hope's full ATB skill, Last Resort, resembles the White Magic spell Holy in previous Final Fantasy games. Furthermore, Alexander is the series' main Holy-elemental summon.
- According to the Datalog in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Hope is a favorite among the people of Academia.
- Despite not having much interaction with Fang, in a Live Trigger in Academia 4XX AF, Hope mentions that he always admired her strength.
- The Eshtaime Lapidaries (Goldsmith guild) of the Ul'dah city-state in Final Fantasy XIV derives its name from Hope's surname.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania, p.026
- ↑ http://andriasang.com/comya1/
- ↑ http://ps3.ign.com/articles/102/1027527p1.html
- ↑ http://eu.square-enix.com/en/blog/final-fantasy-xiii-2-mini-interview-focuses-story
- ↑ http://squareportal.net/2012/07/06/new-final-fantasy-xiii-2-ultimania-omega-scenario-details/
- ↑ Interview with Motomu Toriyama and Yuji Abe with The German gaming site Spieletester
- ↑ http://www.dualshockers.com/2013/06/15/its-official-lightning-got-a-boob-job-for-lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/