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Zack Fair is a recurring character in the Final Fantasy VII series. He is the main protagonist of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, which expands on his backstory after being introduced in Final Fantasy VII through a few flashback sequences as a non-player character. He also appears in other entries as a supporting character, including Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-, Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.

Zack was a member of SOLDIER, the elite military division of the influential Shinra Electric Power Company. He was from the countryside, a village called Gongaga, and was determined to become a hero. Under the mentorship of Angeal Hewley, Zack made SOLDIER First Class, and eventually inherited his Buster Sword, becoming one the company's most dependable elites alongside Sephiroth. After a series of crises stemming from the Shinra Electric Power Company's SOLDIER program, Zack eventually passed on the Buster Sword to one of his best friends and comrades, Cloud Strife. Despite the conflict around him, Zack remained steadfast and upbeat, drawing from his own moral compass, and committed to being there for his girlfriend, Aerith Gainsborough.

In Crisis Core, Zack is capable of using a wide variety of materia which grant him attacks. Introduced in the game, new attacks can be unlocked by mixing materia using the Materia Fusion mechanic. Zack is also capable of wielding special abilities from the Digital Mind Wave, in which depending on slot reels, he can wield attacks from a summon or a close ally against his foes.


Before Final Fantasy VII

Early life

Zack was born in 1984 in the town of Gongaga.[1] Having had childhood dreams of joining SOLDIER, he left for Midgar in 1997, at the age of thirteen, without notifying his parents, and joined the Shinra military.[5][6]

SOLDIER 2nd Class

Zack VS

Zack fighting a virtual form of Sephiroth.

Zack trained under tutelage of First Class Angeal Hewley in the Virtual Reality System, and Angeal noticed Zack's restlessness. At one point during training, Angeal compared Zack to himself several months prior and saw minimal improvement, leading him to train against Sephiroth.[7] By October 2000, Zack had reached SOLDIER Second Class, working under Director Lazard Deusericus in the 49th Floor of the Shinra Building. He had also befriended SOLDIER Second Class Kunsel.

Battle of Fort Tamblin 1

Zack battles Wutai troops in Fort Tamblin.

In the prologue of Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Zack underwent another digital training session with his mentor in the Virtual Reality System. After victory, he was easily defeated by a virtual Sephiroth, as he was warned about his overconfidence.[8] In November, depicted in chapter 1, despite the debacle, in Zack's first face-to-face meeting with Director Lazard, Angeal recommended Zack for First Class, and Lazard deployed the two to Fort Tamblin in Wutai. The two also learned that the First Class SOLDIER Genesis Rhapsodos had deserted Shinra, taking a number of SOLDIERs of Second and Third Class with him.[9]

On the way to Fort Tamblin, Angeal told Zack about the origin of Banora White apples, his poor upbringing and friendship with Genesis in Banora, and the Buster Sword that had been passed down in his family. Once inside, Zack took out the enemy forces single-handedly. As well as encountering a nine-year-old Yuffie Kisaragi, he encountered a group of Wutai warriors who tried to convince him Shinra were evil; despite disagreeing with their version of events and being ambivalent as to which side was best, Zack affirmed that he had made his choice to stick with SOLDIER and still fought them. After then fighting two anti-SOLDIER monsters, he was saved by Angeal using the sword, Angeal jokingly telling Zack he was "only a little more important" than his Buster Sword, and thus it was worth using to save him.[9]

After heading back, Zack was attacked by several copies of Genesis summoning Ifrit, and Angeal vanished. Sephiroth saved Zack, and concluded that Angeal had left with Genesis, something Zack refused to believe.[9] In chapter 2, Lazard assigned Zack to accompany Tseng of the Turks to Banora to investigate Angeal and Genesis's abandonment (after Sephiroth refused the mission due to his friendship with them). There, Zack met Gillian Hewley, who had heard of Zack from Angeal's letters to her calling him "Zack the Puppy", but did not know his whereabouts. Zack and Tseng encountered Genesis, who taunted him and injured Zack who was saved by Angeal. Tseng revealed the village would be bombed to cover up the incidents, and after Zack returned, he found Gillian dead. Genesis sent Bahamut to attack Zack, before sprouting a black wing and flying off, after which Zack evacuated on a Shinra helicon.[10]

Genesis War

In chapter 3 of Crisis Core, during April 0001, Zack was promoted to SOLDIER First Class, but was not as happy as he had expected to be. Genesis's army attacked Midgar, and Zack was sent to push them back, meeting Cissnei as the Turks were also deployed. Noting the wings on the Genesis copies, Cissnei told him they symbolized freedom, not monsters. Sephiroth called Zack to Mako Reactor 5, as Angeal had been sighted there; at Sephiroth's suggestion, they agreed to deliberately fail to eliminate Angeal. There, they found documents for Project G (which they assumed was "Project Genesis"), and encountered the professor responsible, Dr. Hollander. After chasing him, Zack was stopped by Angeal, who sprouted an angelic wing and told him that he was a monster; Zack pleaded this was not true and refused to fight, but Angeal destroyed the platform beneath Zack, sending him to the Sector 5 slums below.[11]

Zack and Aerith CC

Zack asking Aerith out on a date as repayment for waking him up.

In chapter 4, Zack awoke in the Sector 5 slums church where he met Aerith Gainsborough, offering to pay her back with a date. Impressed with the flowers that grew in the church, he suggested she sell them, and when the two visited the market, he bought her a pink ribbon that she always wore from then on. Their date was cut off when Zack was called to upper Midgar to repel another Genesis attack, this time to attack Professor Hojo; en route, Angeal appeared, this time wanting to work with Zack. Zack, Angeal, and Sephiroth then fought Genesis, but after Zack fought a summoned Bahamut Fury, Angeal and Genesis were nowhere to be seen.[12]

Zack inherits the Buster Sword

Zack inherits the Buster Sword from Angeal.

During April, in chapter 5, on the way to visit Aerith, Zack was stopped by Tseng. He was sent to the mountain town of Modeoheim with Tseng and some Shinra infantrymen, one of whom was Cloud Strife, and the two instantly bonded over their shared country village backgrounds. Zack infiltrated a mako excavation facility that they found, where he saw Genesis confronting Dr. Hollander over Hollander being unable to cure Genesis's genetic degradation against his earlier promises. Hollander revealed that Project G was "Project Gillian", and her son, Angeal, was the perfect SOLDIER who had Jenova's power.[4]

Zack triumphed over Genesis and found Angeal. Angeal believed himself a "perfect monster" and fused with several Angeal copies to become Angeal Penance, which Zack defeated, his left cheek scarred in the process. On his deathbed, Angeal handed Zack the Buster Sword and told him to remember his dreams and honor. Distraught by the loss, Zack found comfort in Aerith's arms, strengthening their relationship. He succeeded Angeal's role as the emotional heart of SOLDIER, and passed on Angeal's mantra of "embrace your dreams" and "protect your SOLDIER honor" to the troops he commanded.[4] As Genesis was presumed defeated, the Genesis War was considered over.

Zack in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-.

In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, on January 16, 0002, Zack was sent to deal with the insurgency known as Avalanche in Icicle Inn to destroy their base along with a Player Turk and his SOLDIER friends, Essai and Sebastian.[note 2] Essai and Sebastian were kidnapped by Avalanche and turned into Ravens, the personal guard of Fuhito. Zack attempted a rescue mission and brought them back to their senses, but they died. When the Player Turk left, Zack killed a Raven named Kyneugh, and after escaping the base, Zack made a grave for Essai and Sebastian with both of their swords crossing.

Zack at Costa del Sol

Zack at Costa del Sol with Cissnei.

In chapter 6 of Crisis Core, early summer of that year, Zack rested in Costa del Sol with Cissnei watching him. His vacation was interrupted by Genesis copies, leading them to suspect Genesis was still around. They learned that Director Lazard had betrayed SOLDIER and worked with the copies to break Dr. Hollander out of imprisonment in Junon. Zack followed to Junon to prevent Hollander from leaving, but was unsuccessful; Sephiroth, arriving late, noted Zack's failure but forgave him, and gave him permission to return to Midgar to see Aerith.[13]

In chapter 7, Zack returned to find monsters released from Hojo's lab, and that an Angeal copy was protecting Aerith.[note 3] He built Aerith a wagon and helped her sell flowers, and noted Tseng watching them. Zack entrusted Tseng as the only one who could be depended on to look after Aerith. Zack was to be sent on a mission to Nibelheim, Cloud's hometown, alongside Sephiroth, Cloud, and two other Shinra infantrymen. Zack bid Aerith farewell and left.[note 4]

Nibelheim Incident

Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Zack and Cloud

Zack and Cloud talk in the inn.

During September 22 of 0002 (depicted chapter 8 of Crisis Core, and multiple other titles), the three arrived in Nibelheim, with Sephiroth asking Cloud how it felt to return to his hometown. Zack asked if Sephiroth had any family, to which Sephiroth answered that his mother's name was Jenova, piquing Zack's curiosity and suspicion due to Genesis's earlier reference to her. A local named Tifa Lockhart guided them up Mt. Nibel to the Nibel Reactor, and a villager snapped a picture of Sephiroth, Zack, and Tifa on the way there.[15]

Zack and Sephiroth found several pods filled with makonoids at the mako reactor, and Sephiroth learned from Genesis that he was created as part of the Jenova Project, causing him to have a mental breakdown. Outside, Cloud was injured protecting Tifa from an attack from Genesis, and Zack escorted them back to the town; after Cloud lamented he could have protected them if he made SOLDIER, he responded that SOLDIER was like a "den of monsters". He expressed regret at himself for simply following orders with SOLDIER mindlessly, but when Cloud asked Zack about the Buster Sword, he was reminded of Angeal's mantra of honor, and had a renewed purpose. Meanwhile, Sephiroth hid in the basement of the Shinra Manor reading files of the project for seven sleepless days, asking to be left alone when Zack attempted to talk to him.[15]

Nibelheim Incident Witnessed by Zack

Zack sees Sephiroth with Nibelheim ablaze.

On October 1, Zack attempted again only to find Sephiroth had snapped, believing himself to be the last Cetra, and hating humanity for supposedly abandoning his forebears during an unspecified disaster. Sephiroth burned the town to the ground and headed to the reactor to find Jenova, with Tifa chasing him, and Cloud and Zack following. Tifa was cut down and refused to trust Zack when he tried to help her, and after failing to get through to Sephiroth, Zack fought him, being defeated after putting up a fight. Cloud took the Buster Sword and stabbed Sephiroth when Sephiroth was caught off-guard, and after a struggle, threw him into the lifestream, after which he and Zack lay there unconscious.[15] While Tifa was saved by Zangan,[16] Zack and Cloud were taken by Professor Hojo for his new experiment: the Jenova Reunion Theory, where they were injected with Jenova cells.

Experiments and fleeing Shinra

Genesis Chapter10

Zack encounters Genesis on the way back to Midgar.

Over the four years he was experimented on, Hojo's project was deemed a failure, due to Zack's strong tolerance to the Jenova cells from his SOLDIER conditioning, and Cloud's lack of tolerance causing toxicosis.[17] Awakening in Shinra Manor December 0006,[5] Zack knocked out the researcher watching them and freed Cloud who had severe mako poisoning and was in an almost vegetative state; Zack dressed Cloud in a clean SOLDIER uniform before leaving.[17][18] As escapees of Hojo's experiment, they were fugitives wanted by Shinra, and Kunsel mailed him to warn him of a battalion sent after them.[19]

Zack eats a Banora White

Zack takes a bite out of a Banora White, fulfilling Genesis's childhood dream.

In chapter 9 of Crisis Core, they left the now-rebuilt Nibelheim, and on the way, Cissnei was ordered to take the escapees in, but betrayed orders and allowed Zack and Cloud to pass.[17][note 5] Their journey took them to Zack's home of Gongaga, where Cissnei warned Zack to stay away as the Turks had been ordered to look for him there. She told him she had already spoken to his parents and they were well. Zack found Genesis copies looking for Cloud, believing he possessed S Cells (Jenova cells from Sephiroth) that could cure their degradation; Hollander believed that Zack's S cells were useless due to his resilience and only Cloud's would help.[17]

LO Files 3

Case report in Last Order.

Zack defended Cloud and killed Hollander once and for all, with the help of Lazard, who had since become an Angeal copy to take Angeal's strength. Lazard disavowed his past desire for vengeance and wished to help Zack stop Genesis and save the world.[17] In chapter 10, the three traveled to the Banora ruins to search for Genesis, and Zack fought him in the Banora Underground, now wielding the power of the lifestream to cure his degradation. Challenged once again for the title of SOLDIER First Class, Zack defeated Genesis and took him up to the surface.[20]

Together with a catatonic Cloud, a beaten Genesis, a dead Lazard, and the final surviving Angeal copy that had lived in Aerith's church, Zack ate a dumbapple to appease Genesis's dream of re-enacting the epic poem LOVELESS. When he received a letter from Aerith delivered by the Angeal copy, he realized four years had passed during his captivity in Nibelheim, and desired to return to Midgar, taking Cloud and leaving behind a now-pacified Genesis.[20]

Original continuity

Zack's final stand

Zack facing the Shinra Army

Zack faces the Shinra army.

On the way to Midgar, the two hitched a ride on the back of a pick-up truck. Zack planned for him and Cloud to become mercenaries together, and pondered if he could stay with Aerith if her mother, Elmyra Gainsborough, allowed it.[18] Meanwhile, while the Shinra army were deployed against Zack, Tseng separately ordered the Turks to collect him first, hoping to save Zack's life and deliver the 88 letters Aerith had written to him prior to the one that reached him.[20]

Zack's Fall

Cloud inherits the Buster Sword from Zack.

At the end of September 0007, when the two approached Midgar, an army of Shinra soldiers awaited them, as the Turks had been unable to reach him first. The army gunned Zack down as the killing blows were landed by two soldiers and one commander,[note 6] who ignored Cloud at the commander's orders.[18] In the lifestream after passing, Zack joined Angeal and told Cloud to "say hi" to Aerith for him, and asks if it was fair to say he successfully became a hero.[20]


CCFFVII Zack's End

Zack returns to the Planet with Angeal's spirit.

The combined trauma from the Nibelheim Incident, his mako poisoning, and witnessing Zack's death became too much for Cloud's mind to handle. Aided by the Jenova cells in his body, Cloud's mind was warped, and he adopted elements of Zack's memories and persona, combining them with an idealized image of himself to create a new personality and history for himself. Cloud arrived in the Sector 7 slums and found Tifa again, who noticed his memory was off but kept quiet, and encouraged him to work for her and Barret Wallace in Avalanche.[21]

FFVII Zack Nibelheim Incident

Zack in a flashback sequence.

In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud had several breakdowns during his journey due to his faulty memory. When he met Aerith (falling from the plate above to the church, as Zack had done), she noticed similarities between him and Zack, commenting on their rank and eyes.[22] His version of events in "The Tragedy of Five Years Ago" had him retell the Nibelheim Incident where he swapped places with Zack, but went blank after confronting Sephiroth, something he could not explain.[23] In "Gongaga, the Village of Sadness", the party met Zack's parents, still waiting for his return; Aerith reminisced and wondered if Zack was still out there but had found someone else, while Tifa denied knowing Zack.[6] Tifa kept her knowledge of the Nibelheim Incident to herself until Sephiroth showed Cloud a vision of the true events in "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches"; thereafter, in "Searching for the You of That Day", she and Cloud helped repair his mind, and Cloud reclaimed his memory to accept his true identity rather than rely on his constructed persona based on Zack.

Dont give up

An apparition of Zack encouraging Cloud in his final battle.

When Aerith returned to the lifestream after her death, she reunited with Zack, as depicted in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children.[note 7] His voice, along with Aerith's, called out to Cloud after he was caught in Loz and Yazoo's attack in Advent Children. In Advent Children Complete, Zack encouraged Cloud in his battle against Sephiroth by reminding Cloud about his SOLDIER honor and saying that, although Cloud did not make SOLDIER, it was his heart that counted, and he had already proven to be the stronger one. In both versions, Cloud saw both Aerith and Zack at the door to the Sector 5 church after his Geostigma was cured.[24]

Yellow flowers bloomed on the spot outside Midgar where Zack had died. Denzel asked Cloud if it was someone's grave, to which Cloud replied it was not, but rather a place where a hero began his journey. A restored Buster Sword was relocated to Aerith's church to rest among the flowers.[24]

Remake continuity

Zack brings Cloud to Midgar from FFVII Remake

Zack's survival in the remake.

In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Zack's final stand (based on the Crisis Core depiction, where he comments on the price of freedom and repeats Angeal's mantra before fighting the Shinra army) was shown during "Destiny's Crossroads" when the party battled Sephiroth and the Whispers. After the Whispers' defeat, Zack's fate appeared to be altered, as he barely survived the encounter and defeated the army, before being knocked down by a burst of light from Midgar. He recovered and took a weakened Cloud to the city.[25] In "Episode INTERmission", after an unknown period of time, Zack visited the Sector 5 church hoping to see Aerith, only to find her absent and the church full of refugees from the topside of Midgar.[26]

Zack brings Cloud to Midgar from FFVII Rebirth

Zack brings a mako-poisoned Cloud to Midgar.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth reveals that this Zack is from another reality separate from the party who escaped Midgar to pursue Sephiroth across the globe. In this world, Barret, Tifa, Aerith, and Red XIII were in the Shinra Building when it was toppled by tornadoes and they were dug out from the rubble by Shinra and taken to helicopters. Zack brought the mako-poisoned Cloud from his time to Midgar, but upon witnessing a news report on the Sector 5 slums town square, he hoisted Cloud onto Kyrie Canaan and rushed after the helicopter shown carrying Aerith.

Red XIII, who was being transported alongside Aerith, momentarily regained consciousness and attacking the pilots, causing the transport to crashland. Zack fought his way through to Aerith and took her to her home in the Sector 5 slums. During the hassle, her hair ribbon came undone and her white materia fell out. Back in Aerith's room, the ribbon and materia were placed on a night stand, and Cloud was also brought in to recuperate. Elmyra Gainsborough chastised Zack for failing to look after neither Cloud nor Aerith properly.

Zack made the acquaintance of a girl Elmyra was looking after, Barret's adoptive daughter Marlene Wallace. He began to look into the members of Avalanche that Marlene's father had led and where Cloud and Aerith had supposedly been affiliates, though it confused Zack that Cloud and Aerith would have known each other or that Marlene had met Cloud, as from Zack's perspective Cloud had been unconscious and with him for years by now. He met Biggs, the only known survivor of Barret's Avalanche cell, but Biggs had lost his vim and suffered survivor's guilt. Zack did his best to encourage Biggs to find his purpose in life, but inadvertently ended up inspiring Biggs to go on a bombing mission to the Sector 6 reactor on his own.

During his final conversation with Marlene, Zack wondered if Aerith was going to awake soon. There was an ominous gold-colored rift in the sky and the flowers in Aerith's garden had begun to wilt, suggesting the weakening of the lifestream in this area. Marlene wanted Aerith to keep sleeping because when they first met, she had glimpsed a future event where "a scary man with gray hair" had killed Aerith because Cloud had been too slow to stop him, despite his best efforts. Therefore, Marlene wanted Cloud to wake before Aerith so he could save her. Zack recognized the "scary man" from Marlene's tale as Sephiroth, and began to believe what she was saying was true. He decided to go look for a cure to mako poisoning from Professor Hojo, and went to tell Elmyra in the garden that he would be away for a time. Elmyra pointed out that there were some newly bloomed flowers despite almost all nature in the area having wilted, taking it as a possible sign that Aerith was going to wake up.

When Zack was about to head topside to look for Hojo, he read a letter from Biggs where he learned Biggs was going on a bombing run alone. Distraught, Zack wavered between going after Biggs to stop him, continuing on to procure a cure for Cloud, or to stay put to protect Aerith who was supposedly in grave danger from Sephiroth as per Marlene's vision. Reality dovetailed again; still in the same reality, Zack headed topside to look for Hojo, but ended up being ambushed by Shinra infantry yet again. In the reality where Zack chose to look for Biggs, he found the lone Avalanche survivor in the core of Mako Reactor 6, but the well was dry, the lifestream entirely depleted, and Biggs's bomb failed to even detonate. Zack seemed vaguely aware that this reality had not been his first choice, but simply said that he had been worried about Biggs and that was why he came. Biggs was killed by a sniper, and Zack realized that the Shinra infantry was upon him yet again, cursing how his fate never seemed to change no matter what choices he made. As the soldiers began shooting at him, Zack decided that he was done with the misfortunes fate had dealt him, and would decide how his life played out, running from the infantry.

In the reality where Zack decided to stay in the slums, he sat on the church steps pondering his next move, when Sephiroth passed him and opened the door to the church. Zack was instantly alarmed, yelling at Sephiroth, who turned to Zack. As Zack grabbed his Buster Sword ready to fight, Sephiroth seemed to consider Zack not a priority, slashing at Zack and sending him into a different dimension. As he fell, Zack realized that Sephiroth was responsible for everything currently happening.

Zack&Cloud in edge of creation from FFVII Rebirth

Zack and Cloud join forces against Sephiroth.

In the world where Cloud, Aerith, and their friends went on a quest across the globe to hunt for Sephiroth and the black materia, they reached the City of the Ancients where Sephiroth descended upon a praying Aerith. Cloud thought he got there in time to block him, but was shocked to see blood and Aerith fall to the floor regardless. The party fought Jenova Lifeclinger and Sephiroth Reborn in a dimension-transcending gauntlet where Sephiroth appeared in all worlds simultaneously. Cloud found himself in the "edge of creation" alongside Zack, and the two fought Sephiroth together, Zack impressed Cloud wanted to take charge. As Zack got separated from Cloud, he yelled out to him to "save her", before landing in a reality where Meteorfall was imminent. Zack continued to fight Sephiroth receiving transcendental help from Cloud, who only manifested for joint attacks.

Sephiroth was defeated in all layers of reality, Cloud and Aerith ending him in a two-on-one battle in a white void. Zack appeared back in the Sector 5 church where the flowers were as vibrant as ever. He pondered about his experience of worlds seemingly momentarily coming together.



Zack's signature appearance is a tall, well-built man with spiky black hair, and the iconic sky blue "mako eyes" common to SOLDIER members. In his most iconic appearance as a SOLDIER First Class, he dresses in black uniform, wearing gloves and boots, and wields the Buster Sword. He also has an X-shaped scar on his cheek, a silver stud earring in his left ear, and a single lock of hair hanging down in front of his face.

As a SOLDIER 2nd Class, prior to promotion, Zack wears a dark blue SOLDIER uniform (instead of the red and magenta most SOLDIER 2nd Class members are seen wearing), with his gloves and boots, and wielded a standard SOLDIER sword. His spiky black hair as a 2nd Class is shorter, and he has several bangs framing his face, while lacking the scar and ear stud. While in Costa del Sol, Zack wears black shorts with a white cord and a yellow design and wields a parasol for a makeshift weapon.



You're all rookies, right?


Sir! Yes sir!


One piece of, an order. Embrace your dreams. And, whatever happens, protect your SOLDIER honor. Got it?




We're all coming back here alive, you hear me? Let's go.

Zack is upbeat, optimistic, kind, and driven, beaming with enthusiasm and energy even under dire circumstances. His energetic nature is coupled with a short attention span and restlessness, earned him the moniker "Zack, the Puppy" when his mentor spoke of him to others.[10] Zack is extremely affable, befriending people quickly with ease, and gaining the trust of allies.[note 8] He is similarly flirty and charming with women.[note 9] Over time, the dire circumstances Zack faced did not make him bitter or pessimistic, but rather matured him away from his more restless behavior, maintaining his positive and hopeful attitude even in his latter days.[18]

Zack's core motivation is to become a hero and protect his honor, his guiding principle. When fighting Wutai, he affirms loyalty to comrades while equivocating as to which side is right, but spares the captain's life rather than act out of cruelty.[9] When he eventually clashes with former comrades, he does so reluctantly, after trying each time to save them.[note 10] His quest to see good in people and to support them allows him to inspire,[note 11] but sometimes lead to naivete.[note 12] Zack's drive is a direct contrast to Genesis, who seeks heroism for the glory, validation, and superiority coming with it,[11] where Zack seeks to surpass only himself. Though he grew cynical of his own past ambivalence as to what he was fighting for,[15] his commitment to honor and heroism stuck with him to the end, reiterating his mantra in his last stand.[20]


Zack with Aerith in the lifestream.

The mantra "Embrace your dreams" and "Protect your SOLDIER honor" came from his mentor, Angeal. The two had mutual admiration, Angeal writing to his mother about Zack[10] and recommending him to 1st Class, while Zack matured under his guidance. Angeal had been described as the "spiritual leader of SOLDIER"[33], something Zack inherited by passing on his legacy, as he served as an inspiration for comrades such as Cloud, Luxiere, and Kunsel.[note 11] Zack's affable nature gained him the trust of those typically slower to open to others, including Cissnei, Tseng, and Sephiroth, each at points defying the company's orders with or for Zack.[note 8][note 13] Zack's more flirty nature was more apparent with his girlfriend, Aerith, who was more reserved before meeting him but opened up to him,[12] even adopting his flirty ways herself years later.[note 14]



Zack facing an army.

Zack had exceptional skills in swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat. This allowed him to defeat both Angeal and Genesis, two of the most powerful SOLDIER members, and present a challenge to Sephiroth despite ultimately failing.[note 13] Zack also had tremendous durability, fighting an entire Shinra army alone in his last stand, and taking out Fort Tamblin's defenses by himself. His combat skills led Hojo to consider him worthy of being used in tests against powerful monsters.[37]

Zack was competent in using magic granted to him by materia. His most notable other attacks came from Digital Mind Wave, wherein he copied the skills from his allies, as well as monsters and creatures after gaining their summon materia and items, respectively. Beyond this, Zack showed competency with a sniper rifle, something he was averse to using, but credited to Shinra's Auto-Assist System rather than his own skill.[17]

Zack possessed strong physical fitness, demonstrated in his squats. A personal hobby of his, Zack was described as "unbeatable" at squats,[4] and Lazard even worried they were "all he was good for" before sending Zack off to Wutai.[9] Zack is also capable in many harsh terrains, such as snow mountains, something he owed to him being a "country boy".[4] Zack also demonstrated handywork, building Aerith's flower cart.


Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-

Zack Fair 1st Class from Crisis Core Reunion battle render

1st Class battle render in Crisis Core Reunion.

In Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Zack is the main (and only) playable character. He uses abilities via materia and can use the Materia Fusion mechanic to create new ones and improve existing ones. These and the accessories, which have various effects, are the player's main source of improvements to Zack's abilities. Zack's limit breaks come in the form of Digital Mind Wave, capable of performing attacks used by the people he meets and the summons he has defeated. Interestingly, his weapon is not an equippable gear, rather what he wields depends on where the player is in the story.

In Reunion, Zack gains access to a special attack stance after receiving the Buster Sword, rendering him unflinchable while preparing a powerful attack. Enemies defeated by this attack as well as Abilities raises the weapon's profiency, which provide additional benefits. Additionally, he can absorb a portion of AP and MP off of defeated enemies through the Necrosmose trait.

Umbrella zack

Zack fighting with a parasol.

In Costa del Sol, Zack fights with a parasol (an allusion to Final Fantasy VII, where Aeris can obtain an Umbrella for a weapon). Zack's normal victory pose is a combination of Cloud's and Squall Leonhart's, involving swinging his sword twice, then spinning it and returning it to its holder on his back. Zack's default limit break (Chain Slash) resembles Cloud's later Limit Break, Cross-slash. The slashes Zack performs in Chain Slash correspond to the stroke order of the Japanese kanji that appears in Cloud's Cross-slash Limit Break.

Zack can fight himself as Experiment No. 114 and Experiment No. 123 in the optional missions.

If the player performs the correct actions in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- by finding and talking to Cissnei during the time Junon is under attack, Zack learns he has a fan club like many other 1st Class SOLDIERs. Known simply as the "Zack Fair Fanclub", the player's actions determine its popularity by the end of the game.

Final Fantasy VII Rebirth

Zack is briefly playable in the prologue, in the final battle, and in the combat simulator.

In the prologue, Zack has no HP bar, and he can only use Attack-command. This serves somewhat of an introduction to the basics of the game's combat system.

In the final battle against Sephiroth, Zack has a pre-made set of abilities and materia that cannot be customized. He can charge up his strength to unleash more powerful ATB abilities. His limit break is Rush Assault, similar to the limit break he can use Crisis Core. He also shares synergy ability with Cloud, called SOLDIER's Honor.

Non-playable appearances


Model in Final Fantasy VII.

In Final Fantasy VII, Zack only appears in a few flashback sequences. Two of these are mandatory, in "That Which Waits in the Northernmost Reaches" and in "Searching for the You of That Day". After the latter, when the player returns to the basement of the Nibelheim manor, the player can view a flashback cutscene of Zack.

In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- Zack appears as a boss and fights the Player Turk in chapter 19 (the events depicted in "Chapter 9" in Crisis Core). Zack does not attack but only runs away. The battle is unwinnable, as most of the player's attacks will be easily evaded, and those that do hit will hardly damage the former SOLDIER First Class. After a while Zack runs away; chasing him starts another battle, but it is the same as the first, and Zack tries to convince the player to his side. The player is attacked by an Adamantaimai, and after defeating it the player will follow after Zack who has reunited with Cloud. After seeing Cloud's state, the Player Turk will not fight Zack again, and will call Tseng that s/he has lost the targets.

Other appearances

Guest appearances

Zack has a number of appearances in the following games throughout the Final Fantasy series:

Zack's appearances are usually made distinct from Cloud's, typically giving him a more defensive role in comparison, and a different playstyle. Zack makes use of his Digital Mind Wave abilities as his signature attacks and limit breaks, and wields the Buster Sword. Zack's most notable appearance is in Dissidia Final Fantasy Opera Omnia; where he was only alluded to in previous Dissidia Final Fantasy games, Opera Omnia sees him make a full appearance, where he has a combined tank/damage-per-turn role, dealing high damage output on his attacks but being able to lock the enemies to attack him, and protecting other party members.

Non-Final Fantasy guest appearances

Zack has made key guest appearances in the following non-Final Fantasy games:

Zack appears in the Kingdom Hearts series in Birth by Sleep, a prequel originally released on the PlayStation Portable (similar to how Crisis Core was for Final Fantasy VII). Zack appears in a younger form and has a similar personality, fighting in the Colosseum to be a hero, and flirting with Aqua, one of the game's leads, to whom he offers a date to repay her for helping him. Zack's appearance in Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring is also notable as it is the first appearance of Zack's Meteor Shots attack, when he went onto use in Crisis Core.

Mentions and cameos

Though he does not appear in Dissidia Final Fantasy, nor is he called by name, Zack is referenced several times. During a discussion with other warriors of Cosmos, Cloud states the Buster Sword is not heavy and that "it's ... a memento", a paraphrase of Zack's comment about the blade. One of Cloud's pre-battle lines ("If I win, are my sins forgiven?"), said when he fights himself, refers to the guilt Cloud feels over the deaths of Zack and Aerith. Another of his battle lines is "I'll live your life for you", alluding to being Zack's living legacy, and if using Firion against him, he will say "You look like... a friend of mine".

Behind the scenes

Concept and design

Zack Sketch

Sketch by Tetsuya Nomura.

Zack was created late into the development of Final Fantasy VII, though his role existed earlier. Scenario writer Kazushige Nojima had decided from the start that Cloud's cocky personality would be false, but later decided to add more mystery to the plot and create a character whom Cloud based himself on. Additionally, Aerith was always planned to see her first love in Cloud, though who that person would be was not yet decided (and some early ideas even placed that person as Sephiroth). Later, Zack was placed to serve both as Aerith's first love and to solve the mysteries surrounding Cloud.[38]

Nojima later asked staff in charge of the events scenes to add foreshadowing to Zack and to Cloud's true persona, while he himself created not only the scenario but the event scenes. Tetsuya Nomura got the request to design Zack near the end of the game's development, making Zack one of the last characters sketched by him. Director Yoshinori Kitase learned about the true course of events during a test play in which he had no idea how it would end, and was surprised to learn of Cloud and Zack's connection; prior to this, the directors only had a vague image of Cloud's identity and the intent to make it mysterious, as the events that unfolded were left in Nojima's hands.[38]

Zack was chosen as the protagonist in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- primarily because of his pre-determined fate.[39] Kitase later said that his story had "been cooking for 10 years" as conceptual artwork and backstory already existed for him in Final Fantasy VII, despite him only being a minor character.[40]

Character development

Zack's Final Letter

Zack's letter found from the game data.

In the Final Fantasy VII: International release in Japan, the player can view specific background items in full screen. In Zack's parents' house in Gongaga, one can click on his parents' desk and find a letter he wrote them some years ago, that roughly translates into:[41]

Dear Dad and Mom,
How are you guys?
Sorry for leaving town so suddenly.
I just really wanted to become a SOLDIER.
I bet you're worried now that I've told you...
But now I'm fulfilling my lifelong dream, and I'll do my best in SOLDIER.
P.S. I have a girlfriend.

Crisis Core was initially meant to have more scenes involving Zack and Cloud's escape to Midgar to expand their connection, but it could not be included due to UMD limitations, and the staff chose to instead focus in Zack's work as a soldier.[42] When first developing the ending scenes for Crisis Core, little blood was added to Zack and Cloud due to working within ratings restrictions. Director Hajime Tabata though that without the blood the emotions would not be the same, and thus the team slowly put more blood on Zack until Tabata was pleased with the scene.[43] Zack is Tabata's favorite Final Fantasy character.[44][45]

Squats champion

CCFFVII Zack's Squats

Zack doing squats.

During his spare time in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Zack is found doing squats, and is the current "champion of squats" in SOLDIER. This alludes to a minigame in Final Fantasy VII where Cloud must out-perform a gym member in Wall Market in doing squats, but a young Cloud is also seen performing this maneuver during flashbacks on his time in SOLDIER. In later scenes it is revealed the person Cloud based his memories on was, in fact, Zack, who was the one doing squats in the truck on their way to the Nibelheim mission.

In a random campsite scene in Final Fantasy XV, Gladiolus Amicitia does squats as an allusion to both Zack and Cloud.


Zack was voiced by Nozomu Sasaki in Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring. Since then, he has been voiced by Kenichi Suzumura who is married to Aerith's Japanese voice actress, Maaya Sakamoto. Characters voiced by both won the male and female character popularity polls, respectively.[46][47]

Zack is voiced by Rick Gomez in English for his appearances prior to Final Fantasy VII Remake. He is voiced by Caleb Pierce for Final Fantasy VII Remake, Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- Reunion and Final Fantasy VII Rebirth.


In 2010, Famitsu readers voted Zack as the 37th most popular video game character in Japan.[48]



"Zack" is a shortened form of the name "Zachary". "Zachary" is a name of Hebrew origin that means "remembrance of the Lord" or "Jehovah hath remembered". Whether his name is meant to be connected to Jenova's (a portmanteau of Jehovah and Nova) is unknown.

Zack's last name was revealed in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- to be "Fair". According to Tetsuya Nomura in a Dengeki PlayStation interview, it is derived from "fair weather", and is intended to contrast with "Cloud Strife".[citation needed]

His original Japanese name is Zax (ザックス, Zakkusu?), instead of Zack (ザック, Zakku?). It was most likely changed in the western releases to sound more like a real-world name.

"Zax" is the name used in the Japanese PlayStation edition of Ehrgeiz: God Bless the Ring in 1998. His First Edition and Special Edition cards in the Final Fantasy Art Museum use the name "Zack's", as does his Final Fantasy Trading Arts vol.1 figure.

The character names were made universally consistent for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and so his name has recently been romanized as "Zack" in official Japanese media and material. In Last Order -Final Fantasy VII- his name is written as "Zack" in the credits and atop a case file within the OVA, however, that same case file also writes his name "Zax" in its body.

In Final Fantasy VII, the game code calls the two infantrymen during Cloud's telling of the Nibelheim Incident, "Zax" and "Zako";[49] "Zax" is what Zack is called in Japanese and "Zako" is a vulgar Japanese word that refers to someone as worthless cannon fodder. "Zako" would be the infantryman who goes missing after the bridge falls, meaning "Zax" is actually Cloud, a play on their role reversal in Cloud's faulty telling of the events.



  1. Zack is listed as 6'3" (or 190 cm) in the original Crisis Core English script, specifically in a line spoken by the receptionist in the Shinra Building.[4] However, in Japanese materials prior, including the Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania[2] and the Japanese Crisis Core script, he was listed as 185 cm, which translates to 6'1". His height was corrected to 6'1" in the Crisis Core Reunion script.
  2. If the Player Turk in Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII- is female, Zack will hit on her.
  3. Although never fully stated, it is believed this single copy is what is left of Angeal's will on the planet, and is perhaps being controlled by Angeal from within the lifestream.
  4. In a DMW scene, Zack tells Aerith that whenever they meet they should do something in particular. Zack's idea is for her to wear pink, but she finds the idea silly.[14] However, after Zack leaves for Nibelheim, Aerith took up on wearing the color.
  5. In Before Crisis -Final Fantasy VII-, whoever the player's Turk is—which may be Cissnei depending on their choice—is the one ordered to take in Cloud and Zack, and will defy orders to allow them through.
  6. Zack's final stand is depicted somewhat differently between releases. In Final Fantasy VII, only the two soldiers and commander ambushed Zack, and shot him down unceremoniously, with no words exchanged between him and Cloud before passing. In Crisis Core and Advent Children Complete flashbacks, Zack notices the army and hides Cloud before calmly approaching them. He comments on the price of freedom and repeats Angeal's mantra, before fighting them, and though his combat prowess and the memories of his friends allowed him to stand his ground for a time, they wore him down until he collapsed in front of the two soldiers and commander, who then killed him. In Crisis Core, Zack bequeathed the Buster Sword to Cloud on his deathbed, calling Cloud his "living legacy", before passing away.[20]
  7. The novella Hoshi o Meguru Otome expands on her reuniting with Zack in the lifestream. She encountered him after her death at the hands of Sephiroth, commenting on Cloud's persona, but summoning him instead, as he was the one Cloud thought himself to be. Zack was then among those who aided her destroy Meteor. The two reminisced about their relationship, and Zack retained his flirtatious demeanor, telling Aerith to give him a call whenever she felt lonely.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Zack befriends and gains the trust of Cissnei, someone who admits to historically being slow to trust,[13] to the point of her choosing saving him over her job.[17] He also befriends Tseng, who attempts to save Zack's life as a result, and gains the trust of Sephiroth, who opens up to Zack first about his doubts about Shinra.[27]
  9. Zack flirts with Aerith,[12] as well as the Shinra Building receptionist[28] and Cissnei, whom he at one point asks on a date.[29] Talking about him in the past tense to Cloud years later, Aerith described him as a "ladies man" and feared he had moved on.[6]
  10. Zack agreed with Sephiroth that the two would spare Angeal and Genesis.[11] Later, his words to both Sephiroth and Genesis before their battles were an attempt to get through to them,[15][20] a testament to his desire to exhaust his options trying to save them before fighting them.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Zack received personal mail from Luxiere[30] and Cloud[31]
  12. Though Zack was sharp enough to see through most of Yuffie's tricks, when she pretended to be in danger, it took three attempts before he caught on.[32]
  13. 13.0 13.1 Hojo wondered whether Sephiroth had given his all fighting Zack, opining that Sephiroth could have accepted Zack as a SOLDIER and thus somewhat held back.[34]
  14. Zack first opened up to Aerith by offering to repay her with one date,[12] a line she would later use with Cloud years later.[35][36]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Ultimania, p. 12
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania, 082
  3. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 5"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania Revised Edition, p. 32
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Final Fantasy VII script § "Gongaga, the Village of Sadness"
  7. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Angeal DMW scene 2"
  8. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Prologue"
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 1"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 2"
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 3"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 4"
  13. 13.0 13.1 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 6"
  14. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Aerith DMW scene 6"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 8"
  16. Last Order -Final Fantasy VII-
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 17.6 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 9"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Final Fantasy VII script § "Zack flashback"
  19. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Mail § "Just as I thought"
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 10"
  21. Final Fantasy VII script § "Searching for the You of That Day"
  22. Final Fantasy VII script § "The Woman at the Church"
  23. Final Fantasy VII script § "The Tragedy of Five Years Ago"
  24. 24.0 24.1 Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
  25. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "The Turning Point"
  26. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Dread"
  27. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Chapter 7"
  28. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Tseng DMW scene 3"
  29. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Cissnei DMW scene 3"
  30. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Mail § "From Luxiere"
  31. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Mail § "I wanted to tell you"
  32. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- script § "Yuffie's Notices"
  33. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Mail § "What I think about Angeal"
  34. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo's Laboratory § "Experiment No. 108"
  35. Final Fantasy VII script § "The Woman at the Church"
  36. Final Fantasy VII Remake script § "Second Chance Meeting"
  37. Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII-, Hojo's Laboratory mission descriptions
  38. 38.0 38.1 Final Fantasy VII 10th Anniversary Ultimania Revised Edition, p. 8-13
  39. Mielke 2008
  40. McCarthy 2008
  41. Final Fantasy VII: International
  42. Gantayat 2010
  43. Rygdea 2015
  44. Tabata 2015
  45. Tack 2015
  46. Van Duine 2012
  47. Van Duine 2013
  48. Gifford 2010
  49. Final Fantasy VII, dummied content


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