A treasure hunter and trail-worn traveler, searching the world over for relics of the past...Description
Locke Cole is a playable character from Final Fantasy VI. He is an adventurer and thief who insists he is actually a "treasure hunter", and is a member of the Returners, the resistance group opposing the Gestahlian Empire.
Locke acts as a spy, saboteur, and scout for the Returners. He is introduced to the player when he is contacted by Arvis in Narshe to rescue Terra from the city guard and smuggle her out of the city. Later, when sent to infiltrate the occupied South Figaro, Locke meets an Imperial general turned traitor, Celes, and the two slowly form a friendship that turns into mutually romantic affection. However, Locke is haunted by an incident in his past that has plagued him with guilt and regret and instilled in him a need to protect the women in his life.
According to developer statements, Locke was raised by his father, who was a world-traveling treasure hunter. After his death Locke became romantically involved with a woman named Rachel in Kohlingen, the only citizen of the town who treated Locke well and referred to him as a treasure hunter. Rachel's father didn't accept Locke, so he tried to prove himself to him by taking Rachel on an adventure through a dangerous cave.
A bridge began to collapse as Locke crossed it, and Rachel rushed forward and pushed him to safety, falling herself. Locke saved her and took her back to Kohlingen, but when she woke up she had lost her memory. Rachel's father, furious and blaming Locke for what happened, threw him out of the house, and Rachel rejected him, having no idea who he was. A dejected Locke left Kohlingen to let her rebuild her life without him in the way. When he returned a year later, Locke learned the town had been attacked by the Empire and Rachel was dead. An eccentric old man living on the outskirts of town had preserved her body, though she was still dead. Locke resolved to find a way to revive Rachel to make up for his mistakes that cost her her life. He joined the Returners to fight the Empire and became a contact for Edgar, the king of Figaro, who is secretly supporting the rebels.
Locke was called to Narshe by Arvis to aid Terra in getting out of town, and he directed Locke to the Narshe Mines where she fled to escape the town guards. Locke found an unconscious Terra shortly before the guards did, but with the help of ten moogles living in the mines, the guards were defeated and Locke took Terra to the edge of town. She awoke, and Locke discovered she had no memory and vowed to protect her until it would return. The two set off south to Figaro Castle to meet Edgar. While they were at Figaro, the Imperial General Kefka came looking for Terra and Edgar feigned ignorance. Locke showed Terra to a room to stay the night and informed her of Edgar's secret alliance with the Returners. That night Kefka attacked the castle and Terra, Locke and Edgar escaped on chocobos.
The three made their way through Mt. Kolts and to the Returner Hideout to meet the leader of the Returners, Banon. While attempting to persuade Terra to join them, a Returner brought word that the Empire had invaded South Figaro to use as a staging ground for further incursions on the north. Locke agreed to infiltrate the town and sabotage the Empire to slow their advance while the Returners evacuated, promising to escape town and make his way to Narshe to meet up with the party when he could.
After he decided he had done enough damage to the Empire, Locke used disguises to sneak among the townsfolk and the Imperials and made his way into a series of hidden passages under the town where he found Celes, an Imperial general turned traitor who was being held prisoner. Locke freed her and insisted on escaping together despite her doubts, and the two made it out of town and to the South Figaro Cave. The two ran into an Imperial weapon in the cave, Tunnel Armor, but with aid from Celes's Runic skill, they defeated it and continued on to Narshe. Along the way Celes informed Locke that Kefka was planning an attack on Narshe to seize a frozen esper that had been excavated in the town mines.
Locke arrived at Narshe with Celes and she was confronted by Cyan, a warrior of Doma who recognized her as an Imperial who decimated Maranda. Locke defended her and insisted she had reformed. Everyone gathered to defend Narshe against Kefka and his troops, and afterward Terra reacted with the frozen esper, transforming into an esper-like creature, and flew away. The group set out to explore the western side of the continent where she had been sighted and found her under the care of the esper Ramuh in Zozo, still transformed. Ramuh asked the group to infiltrate the Imperial capital Vector and rescue the espers imprisoned in the Magitek Research Facility, as he believed one of them could help Terra.
Celes volunteered to lead the expedition, as she knew the Empire well, and Locke volunteered to accompany her, interested in searching the Empire for a "legendary treasure". The two went to Jidoor for leads on how to get to the southern continent, and hear of a man named Setzer that owns the world's only private airship, the Blackjack. Setzer was in love with Maria, the star of Maria and Draco opera, and intended to abduct her from the Opera House during production. Intent on meeting Setzer to get his aid in reaching the south, Locke convinced the Impresario to set a trap for him; Celes bore an uncanny resemblance to Maria, so Locke suggested she take Maria's place in the opera and allow herself to be abducted by Setzer so she could sneak Locke and the party onto the Blackjack. While Celes was initially indignant over the idea, she went along with it.
During the production Locke went to see how Celes was doing preparing for her number, and reddened upon seeing her dressed up as Maria, flustered by her beauty. Celes asked why Locke had helped her, and Locke admitted he was tired of losing "girls he likes". Locke watched from the wings as Celes performed, but as he left he noticed a letter from Ultros threatening to sabotage the opera. At the climactic duel of the opera Ultros was up in the rafters intending to drop a massive weight onto Celes. Locke and the party rushed up to the rafters and confronted Ultros, and the two fell to the stage, incapacitating the two male leads. Locke improvised that he would be the one to win Celes's hand, and the party engaged Ultros. Though Ultros fled, Setzer appeared in the confusion and made off with Celes.
Aboard the Blackjack, Celes threw a rope down for Locke and the party to board the airship and they confronted Setzer. While he was unwilling to aid them against the Empire, he admitted he was attracted to Celes even more than Maria, and declared he'd help them if she would marry him. Locke protested, but Celes agreed, on the condition they use a coin flip to decide—if it were tails, Celes would marry Setzer, but if it were heads he would help them no strings attached. Setzer accepted the terms and Celes used a two-headed coin for the flip, and though Setzer quickly realized this he complied anyway, amused by her trick. The Blackjack landed near Albrook and the party headed to Vector.
At the Magitek Research Facility the party released the captive espers, but were too late to stop them from dying and turning into magicite. They met the empire's main Magitek engineer, Cid, who implied Celes faked her betrayal of the Empire to infiltrate the Returners. Locke was shocked by the accusation and Kefka arrived on the scene and confirmed it. Locke hesitated when Celes asked if he trusted her, and Kefka had Imperial troops attack the party. Celes proved her loyalty by teleporting herself, Kefka, and his soldiers away, and Locke and the others escaped the facility and returned to Zozo.
After espers emerged from the Esper World and devastated the Empire, Emperor Gestahl held a banquet and asked Terra to work with the Empire to find the espers and bring an end to the war. Locke insisted on accompanying Terra and asked the rest of the party to investigate the Empire to ensure Gestahl's intentions were genuine. Terra and Locke went to Albrook and met the Empire's ambassador, General Leo, who revealed their expedition would be joined by the mercenary Shadow, as well as Celes. Locke was stunned to see Celes but she turned and left when he approached her. The night before the expedition set out, Locke went outside and found Celes, who refused to look at him. Locke admitted he momentarily doubted her, but still wanted to be friends, but Celes left without speaking. On the boat trip to Thamasa, Celes tried to approach Locke as they prepared to disembark, but he walked away.
Locke, Terra and Shadow went to the town of Thamasa where they met Strago, who denied knowing anything of espers. That night his granddaughter, Relm Arrowny, was trapped in a burning house and Strago revealed his magical abilities in fighting the flames, before he, Locke and Terra rushed into the house to rescue Relm.
The following morning after the group saves Relm from the house, Strago agreed to help Terra and Locke look for the espers and they headed for the Espers' Gathering Place, Relm following them and joining them after she frightened off Ultros. Terra and Locke spoke to the espers' leader, Yura, and took him to Thamasa for negotiations with Leo. Now feeling that peace is finally coming to the world, Locke and Celes reconciled in the village. However, Kefka interrupted the negotiations and wounded everyone but Leo, and revealed everything was a ploy to lure the espers out and gather their magicite. Kefka killed Yura and the other espers, then Leo when he tried to stop him, and headed for the Esper World with Emperor Gestahl to claim the Warring Triad, a trio of deities who were the gods of magic.
Terra, Locke, Strago, Relm, and Celes met up with the other Returners who had escaped Vector and return to the airship. Upon setting off, Gestahl and Kefka use the power of the Triad, causing the island of the Cave to the Sealed Gate to rise as the Floating Continent. The group attacked the Floating Continent, but Kefka moved the Warring Triad out of alignment and destroyed the world and the party was separated.
In the World of Ruin Locke found an injured seagull and bandaged it with his bandanna. On the Solitary Island Celes found the bandanna on the seagull and the discovery rejuvenated her hope of finding her estranged friends, and she set out to gather everyone up to face Kefka and destroy him.
At some point after the cataclysm, Locke learned that the legendary treasure he had been seeking was the magicite Phoenix, and he had a lead on its location, the Phoenix Cave. Locke ventured into the cave and retrieved Phoenix just as the other party members found him. They took Locke back to Kohlingen where he used the Phoenix to revive Rachel, though only for a few moments. Rachel reaffirmed her love for him and stood by her decision to sacrifice herself for him, and told Locke to let go of his guilt and let himself love again. Rachel merged with the Phoenix to restore it to full power, and Locke, invigorated by the experience, rejoined the party.
After the party attacked Kefka's Tower and killed Kefka, the tower began to collapse. As they fled Celes dropped Locke's bandana and went back to get it, but the floor collapsed under her. Locke dove and grabbed her as she fell, refusing to let go, and pulled her to safety. The party made it to Setzer's new airship in time and flew over the world as the population began to rebuild.
Locke is a young man with messy pale blond hair and always wears a bandana, though at times his hair has been depicted as white. He wears a vest over an off-white undershirt, and gloves and pants that match his vest, and brown boots. His Amano concept art depict his clothes as black with blue lining, while his SD art and sprites have them as entirely blue. His bandana also varies in design and how he wears it; it is striped and worn over his hair in Amano's art and in his SD art it is smaller with no pattern and worn under his bangs on his forehead. Locke's designs in spin-off appearances have used blue of various shades as well as black for his outfit and gone with varying designs for his bandana.
Some alternate concept art for Locke depicts him with a mustache, but he has never had one in-game in any title. He has also been depicted in art with a black top and no vest, with a white top and no vest and red pants, and with a pink vest and white pants. These outfits too have never been adapted to any other appearance.
During a segment of the game, Locke can wear disguises, and don the guise of an Imperial cadet and a merchant. As a cadet Locke wears a green-tinted version of the standard issue Imperial soldier uniform, which includes a helmet with a visor, an armored chestplate, green trousers, and blue gloves and boots. As a merchant he wears thick brown robes with white sleeves, a blue turban that drapes to the shoulders, and blue boots.
Locke's weapon in concept art is a short, curved dagger with a notch on the inside of the blade near the hilt, which is yellow or gold. In spin-off appearances, whatever weapon Locke wields varies in specific details, but is universally some manner of curved knife.
I'll never let go. I promise.Locke to Celes
Locke is cheerful, adventurous, and courageous. He is always eager to go exploring and look for treasure, and is particularly eager to fight the Empire. He is often snarky and sly, making jokes at the expense of others (particularly Edgar) and coming up with bold plans. A running gag in Final Fantasy VI is that Locke loathes being called a thief and insists he is a "treasure hunter".
Despite his outward pleasant demeanor, Locke is motivated to fight the Empire out of guilt; his lover Rachel was killed in an Imperial raid and Locke blames the Empire for her death, but he also blames himself, as Rachel had developed amnesia saving him from a fall and he had left her to start a new life without him when the raid occurred. Locke has spent an untold amount of time scouring the world for a rumored "treasure" the Empire has that can revive the dead, to use it to revive Rachel and atone what he feels is one of the worst mistakes he has made.
In Final Fantasy VI, Locke is able to utilize several types of bladed weapons in combat, with his primary arms being daggers and swords, but he is also proficient in wielding boomerangs and throwing rings.
Locke's special ability is Steal, which can be upgraded to Mug, giving him different methods of stealing items from enemies in combat. As seen during his infiltration of South Figaro, Locke is able to steal the clothes of individuals in the city, allowing him to easily disguise himself as common merchants and imperial soldiers.
Locke has the traits of a Thief, able to use the Steal command to steal items from enemies, and having some relics to augment Steal by boosting its success rate or upgrading it to Mug. His standout stats are speed and evasion, but he is also a bit more durable in combat than most Thieves from the series, able to equip swords and most shields and heavy armor. His Desperation Attack is Mirage Dive that deals magical damage to one enemy.
Locke's theme is a heroic introduction played during his and the moogles' mission to protect Terra. His leitmotif is reprised in "Forever Rachel" and the "Ending Theme", and in the latter his theme plays in counterpoint with Celes's theme.
The original version from Final Fantasy VI is included on the music player in Final Fantasy XV. The Memories of FFVI album it is the eight track of is bought for 100 gil from JM Market in Taelpar Rest Area.
His theme appears in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call and is also on the Best of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call album. It also appears as a Battle Music Sequence in Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival.
Locke has appeared as a guest character or cameo in numerous titles throughout the Final Fantasy series.
He is often a recurring physical unit that focuses on using quick physical attacks and stealing items from enemies in battle through the use of Steal and Treasure Hunter. Due to his storyline association with the Phoenix in Final Fantasy VI, spin-off titles closely associate Locke with the esper and the fire element, variably allowing him to summon the Phoenix or giving his attacks the imagery of a flaming bird. Mirage Dive is often depicted as his Limit Break or equivalent ability in spin-off titles.
Dissidia Final Fantasy NT and its mobile phone spin-off Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia give Locke a dual-wielding variant of the weapon directly based on his original concept art and names it the Main Gauche.
Locke has made appearances in the following games:
- Final Fantasy VI: The Interactive CG Game as a playable character (demo).
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII as a garb.
- Final Fantasy Tactics S as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy as a cameo.
- Dissida Final Fantasy NT as a playable character.
- Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call as a playable character.
- Theatrhythm Final Fantasy All-Star Carnival as a playable character.
- Pictlogica Final Fantasy as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Airborne Brigade as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy All the Bravest as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy Record Keeper as a playable character.
- Final Fantasy World Wide Words.
- Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- War of the Visions: Final Fantasy Brave Exvius as a summonable vision.
- Final Fantasy Trading Card Game as a series of cards.
- Triple Triad as a card.
Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances
- In Secret of Evermore, Locke appears among the spectators in the Antiqua Coliseum alongside other Final Fantasy VI characters.
Behind the scenes
Locke's original design was a slightly older, dark and mysterious character. He was supposed to be a partner and rival of sorts to the male character that developed into Terra Branford, and wielded a "magic sword". As development proceeded the ideas of a foil to Terra that wielded a magic sword were transferred to Celes and her Runic ability, and Locke's personality was tweaked and he became the more "regular" character he is in the final game.
After it was decided Final Fantasy VI would feature an ensemble cast with no clear main protagonist, everyone in the development team were encouraged to provide ideas for characters and their episodes. Locke's character and story were colored by influence from Hironobu Sakaguchi.
The exact goal of Locke's quest to revive Rachel was diluted in the original western Super NES release of Final Fantasy VI. In the Japanese version, it is rumored the Empire has a "legendary treasure" that can revive the dead, and Locke and several NPCs, including the herbalist who is caring for Rachel, mention such a treasure repeatedly. The Super NES script removed the term and rewrote the associated lines to be more generally about reviving the dead, and in one case a mention from Locke about the legendary treasure was rewritten to refer to "treasures in the Empire." The Game Boy Advance script restored the use of the term "legendary treasure" in dialogue and made it clear that Locke is searching for a specific item to revive Rachel.
A concept image early in the development of Final Fantasy VII features an isometric view and sprites based on Final Fantasy VI characters, including Locke.
Pop cultural impact
In The Order of the Stick, Elan dresses up as Locke when he tries to board the Blackjack with Thog dressed up as Mog. The wig and bandanna were discarded when he was discovered to be a fake, although he retains all other parts of Locke's clothing style.
In Rudra no Hihō, two thieves by the name of Cid and Dune are view by the main characters as thieves and the party treats them as such. In these encounters, both thieves will repeatedly tell them that they are Treasure Hunters much in the same fashion to when it occurred to Locke.
Locke is a surname of Old English and Old German origin and contains the elements "woods", "pond", and "fortified place", indicating that the person lived near such a landmark. It was used as an occupational name for a locksmith.
Cole is an English name that comes from the Old English col, which can mean "charcoal" or "coal-black".
- Final Fantasy VI Settei Shiryō-hen, p.14
- Final Fantasy Ultimania Archive Volume 1, p.270
- V Jump issue (in Japanese) (dead) (Accessed: September 25, 2009) at Infoseek
- Final Fantasy VI – 1994 Developer Interview (Accessed: December 09, 2018) at shmuplations
- The Making Of: Final Fantasy VI (dead) (Accessed: February 21, 2015) at Edge Online
- Scott Lynch official website