is the main protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, a role-playing game by Square (now Square Enix). He was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, with heavy influences coming from game director Yoshinori Kitase. Squall has appeared in several other games, such as the Kingdom Hearts series, where he appears under the name "Leon"; Chocobo Racing; and Itadaki Street Special. His weapon, the gunblade, also appears in other works.
In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall is a 17-year old student at Balamb Garden, a prestigious military academy for elite mercenaries known as "SeeDs". As the story progresses, Squall befriends Quistis Trepe, Zell Dincht, Selphie Tilmitt and Irvine Kinneas, and falls in love with Rinoa Heartilly. These relationships, combined with developments in the game's plot, gradually turn him from a loner to an open and caring person. Squall's Limit Break (special move) is Renzokuken, consisting of a series of gunblade slashes preceding a powerful finishing attack.
The first character Nomura designed for Final Fantasy VIII, Squall was inspired by actor River Phoenix, though Nomura noted "nobody understood it". Squall stands roughly 5 feet 9 inches (177 cm) tall, Squall's design was complemented by a fur lining along the collar of his jacket, which Nomura included as a challenge for the game's full motion video designers. With Final Fantasy VIII, scenario writer Kazushige Nojima worked to give players actual insight into what Squall was thinking; a direct contrast with his handling of Final Fantasy VII, which encouraged the player to speculate.
While developing Squall's weapon, the "gunblade", Nomura wanted to include silver accessories, and created it with this in mind. The gunblade is a sword that uses components of a revolver, sending vibrations through the blade when triggered. This manifests in additional damage being dealt if the player presses the R1 trigger on the controller as Squall strikes an enemy. This weapon was intended to offer a new way for players to control weapons in battle. When looking back at the game, Nomura noted he feels that the weapon has an odd appearance.
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Official Site: Square-Enix
Links: Squall Leonhart's Wiki Entry FF8 Mobygames Entry Official Site