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 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.

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 Noel in their quest to save the future.

In Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Hope allies with Lightning when she is chosen as Bhunivelze's savior. He watches over her from within his Ark, acting as her faraway navigator and informant.

Profile[edit | edit source]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

Hope Estheim.

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 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 black detachable 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.

Personality[edit | edit source]

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 in Final Fantasy XIII-2.

Hope is close to his mother, Nora, confiding in her and relying on her for protection. He, however, 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, 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 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 shows considerable intelligence and insightfulness, able to deduce things from his observations.

Hope in Lightning Returns, returning to his Final Fantasy XIII appearance with few changes.

Though confused by her cheerful demeanor, Hope initially turns to Vanille for emotional support and protection as she consoles him for being plunged into a horrible situation. He later depends on Lightning as a surrogate mother figure and mentor as 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 lives up to his namesake as he, in a way, ultimately 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 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. He retains his adult personality but now has sapped emotions. 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 about Lightning, supporting her and promising to be on her side no matter what decisions she makes.

Story[edit | edit source]

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Early life[edit | edit source]

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 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 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 protest, causing rainfall. They retreated into a rock tunnel for shelter, 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 had enjoyed the misadventure. Hope fell ill and went 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.

Final Fantasy XIII Episode Zero -Promise-[edit | edit source]

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 vacation 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 Serah.

Five days later, in the evening, Bartholomew called Nora and told her an urgent business trip came up but promised to join his family in time for the festival. Hope didn't believe it since his father often neglected him and Nora for his job, and hated how his father would never thank Nora for defending him. Nora wanted to go to Euride as planned since the cleanup operation after the accident three days ago had ended. When Hope said his father wasn't coming, Nora said there was nothing Bartholomew can do about it since the Euride incident affected his job. Seeing that Nora was getting upset, Hope changed the subject and helped her wash vegetables she got from Yuj, Maqui, and Lebreau. When Hope called Nora shameless for getting the vegetables for free, she said she's a tough mother and laughed.

The next day, they visited Euride Gorge, but the plaza was closed off, and the place was full of PSICOM soldiers. Hope reminisced 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 visited the fal'Cie Kujata, they headed back to the entrance and heard people passing by talking about a little boy injured in the accident. Nora hoped the child does not die since there's nothing worse than a child dying before their parent. Hope thought to himself that regardless of whether the parent or child goes first, it's still sad for those left behind. Nora asked if Hope hates his father and said 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 assured Nora he's not mad since Bartholomew will join them for the fireworks. Then he considered talking to his dad on the night of the festival if it will make his mother happy and thought about reconnecting with Kai and Elida when he gets back home.

Hope and Nora watch the fireworks.

Two days later, at the fireworks festival, Bartholomew was unable to make it. Nora made a wish, and Hope laughed at her insistence on the gesture since he believes it's for kids. Disappointed Nora wished for his father to be with them next year, Hope said they're better off without him. Unbeknownst to them, PSICOM discovered the Pulse fal'Cie Anima within the Pulse Vestige.

The next morning, the Sanctum announced the discovery, and the town's subsequent quarantine trapped Hope and Nora. At the train station, a frantic Nora begged with a PSICOM soldier for Hope to be allowed to return home alone, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. They were subjected to be Purged to Gran Pulse—the hellish world beneath Cocoon—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. After Nora checked Vanille's well-being, the two had a brief conversation until Nora stopped to tend to the silent and distressed Hope. Nora's kindness made Vanille decide to board the train with her and Hope.

Final Fantasy XIII[edit | edit source]

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

Hope and Vanille witness Nora's death.

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 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 watch 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, mindless monsters that l'Cie who fail their Focus become, ambush them. 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 a l'Cie.

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. Snow decides to stay and dig her out while the others continue. 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 strength and determination, 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."

Hope reveals his grudge against Snow to Lightning.

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 as 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, PSICOM general Yaag Rosch and his troops ambush Lightning and Hope. 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 and encountering an angry mob, an Ushumgal Subjugator attacks them.

"Nora Estheim. She was my mother. And she died because of you!"

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 to topple Sanctum. With the Cavalry's help, the party infiltrates the Sanctum's flagship Palamecia upon learning Sazh and Vanille are being held captive on board. 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 fully awaken. They are confronted by the Cavalry leader, Cid Raines, who reveals himself a Sanctum l'Cie branded by Barthandelus to help them destroy Cocoon. The world's destruction will cause the mass of expiring souls to open the Door of Souls and summon the Maker—the god said to have created both the fal'Cie and humanity—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.

Hope faces his Eidolon Alexander.

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 trip 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 to either cope or protect someone, but it's what they do after lying that matters. He says everything a person is raised to believe as the truth turns out to be false sometimes, and perhaps he and Vanille both made a promise to each other but forgot. When Vanille blushes after Hope says 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.

Hope and Lightning watch Sazh and Snow reunite with Dajh and Serah.

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 transforms 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 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 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.

Final Fantasy XIII -Episode i-[edit | edit source]

It doesn't matter. Thank you. Knowing he's safe is enough.

Hope, about his father

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.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Fragments Before[edit | edit source]

You're not one to think about things anyway.

Hope to Snow

Hope gives Serah Lightning's knife.

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 father notes Hope's willingness 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 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 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 the leader of the Academy at 19 years old.

Final Fantasy XIII-2[edit | edit source]

I wanted to change history, make things better. Not just bring Lightning back. But Vanille, and Fang... and my mother.

Hope to Serah

Hope, Alyssa, and Serah watch Noel activate the Oracle Drive.

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 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 ancient device that shows images of events considered impossible. The Oracle Drive shows 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 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 that they can fix it.

Hope, Noel, and Serah conspire to prevent Cocoon's fall in the future.

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 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 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.

Hope reflects on his past.

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 of the duplicates trying to kill him. Then he finds a diary in the system belonging to Alyssa detailing the events in the Bresha Ruins in 5 AF. It reveals Alyssa's hatred of the Pulse l'Cie for causing the Purge, her existence as a paradox, and how everyone will forget about her and none of her research will be remembered as hers, with her life ultimately meaning nothing if the paradox is resolved. Her diary also reveals she sided with Caius to save herself as she will vanish if Serah and Noel fix the timeline. She 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 now 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 an intern named Aina Stein replaces her. Aina is the descendant of Alyssa's friend Nena, who was the one meant to have survived the Purge in Alyssa's place.

Hope leads his Academy squad to assist Serah and Noel.

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, due to collapse at any moment. After safely removing Vanille and Fang from the pillar, the old Cocoon falls and the new Cocoon, which Hope christens "Bhunivelze," rises.

Hope, Noel, and Mog brace themselves as chaos infects the world.

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 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[edit | edit source]

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. However, mankind has become biologically immortal, and they can no longer bear children. Hope had the Academy's scientists analyzed the situation for humanity's long-term plan with all citizens evacuated inside the artificial Cocoon. After the discovery 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 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 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 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 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 cannot control people's hearts, he can create illusions. The phantom lured Hope into the now deserted artificial Cocoon, where he remained within the Ark, never seen by the outer world again.

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 expected 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 to 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.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII[edit | edit source]

Welcome back, Light.

Hope to Lightning, said whenever Lightning returns to the Ark

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 doing. Hope briefly loses contact with Lightning when Lumina pulls her into Lightning's subconscious to talk with her in private, warning her that she cannot fully trust Hope 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.

Hope talks to Lightning before he disappears.

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.

Bhunivelze uses Hope's body and takes Lightning's friends.

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 destroying 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*(This link is severed in the English localization, where Bhunivelze does not use Hope's voice actor), and why he is suddenly feeling emotions, making him vulnerable.

Hope saves Lightning.

After Lightning defeats Bhunivelze, Hope is free again. Lightning tells him to reunite with the spirits of his parents 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 the souls of the rest of humanity, travel to a new world where they begin their lives anew.

Final Fantasy XIII: Reminiscence -tracer of memories-[edit | edit source]

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

A photograph of Hope.

Reborn in the new world as a young man, Hope works as an unaffiliated researcher excelling in the areas of humanity 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 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 Hope, he gives her a folder titled "Chronicles of the Chaotic Era." He 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.

Spoilers end here.

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Hope in battle.

Hope fights with boomerangs that have inscriptions with the names of mythological birds. He is the most supportive-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 is not 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.

Outside of battle, Hope runs 7% slower than everyone else when used as the party leader.

Creation and development[edit | edit source]

Concept art for Final Fantasy XIII.

Hope was designed by Tetsuya Nomura for Final Fantasy XIII and Hideo Minaba designed his clothes for Final Fantasy XIII-2.[2] Lightning was initially intended to be a silver-haired character, but the decision to make Lightning pink-haired got the silver hair transferred to Hope.[3]

An early pink-haired model (Hope-ffxiii-beta.png) of Hope exists on the E3 Preview Disc of Final Fantasy XIII when Hope wasn't shown to the public yet, and his model and textures were still unfinished. A pink-haired Hope (Hopesummons.jpg) appeared in a trailer for the game, but his summoning animation distorted his features. A very early model (Hope-Early-Battle-Model-FFXIII.png) (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 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.[4]

Concept art for Final Fantasy XIII-2.

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. A DLC involving Hope and a journey through the Augusta Tower was planned. Players would have ventured through the tower, completing several Live Triggers. The aim was to stop Alyssa from killing Hope. Based on player's Live Trigger choices, the player would have either continued the game or receive a game over.[5]

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.

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."[6] 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 hasn't 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.[7]

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 brief form. It implies that he returned to his adult form 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 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.

Voice[edit | edit source]

Hope is voiced by Yūki Kaji in Japanese. He shares his Japanese voice actor with Bhunivelze and with Ace from Final Fantasy Type-0.

He is voiced by Vincent Martella in English.

Musical themes[edit | edit source]

Final Fantasy XIII[edit | edit source]

"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 appearances[edit | edit source]

Final Fantasy XIII: Original Soundtrack PLUS[edit | edit source]

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

A piano version of his theme titled, "Hope_PfNer3", is included on the album as the sixth track.

Final Fantasy XIII-2[edit | edit source]

"Hope's Theme - Tomorrow's Dream -"

"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 symbolizes his wish to bring back the people who are dear to him.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII[edit | edit source]

"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 sentenced to disappear forever.

Merchandise[edit | edit source]

Action figures of Hope from Final Fantasy XIII were released as a part of the Plays Arts series, Final Fantasy XIII Trading Arts and figures released alongside the Suntory Elixir energy drink.

Other appearances[edit | edit source]

Hope has appeared in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name "Hope" was possibly chosen for him because initially, Hope was the negative one of the group. However, 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 attribute 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."

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • 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 (FFIX logo.png).
    • 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.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow. (Skip section)

Brand progression chart.

  • 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 progresses 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 fully awaken. Then it progresses to stage 11 during the party's initial exploration of Gran Pulse, to 12 due to the strain said expedition 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 reverts, his brand scorches out, and vanishes 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 without him in Vallis Media as he can tell he is close to the final stage.
Spoilers end here.
  • 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.

References[edit | edit source]

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