Creation and development
According to Yoshinori Kitase, Tidus and Yuna's romance was a focus of Final Fantasy X
Before the development of Final Fantasy X, game scenario writer Kazushige Nojima was concerned about the relationship between the player and the main character in a Final Fantasy title and wanted to try to make the story easier to follow. Since the player and the main character find themselves in a new world, Nojima wanted Tidus' understanding of that world to track the player's progress in the game. Nojima felt that Tidus was the easiest character to draw in the first half of Final Fantasy X, because character and player learn about the storyline together. Nojima created a brief description of Tidus for character designer Tetsuya Nomura, and Nomura created a sketch for input from Nojima and other staff members. Nomura was asked to design Tidus differently from the game's theme so he would stand out. Movie director Hiroshi Kuwabara noted the difficulty the developers had in making Tidus and the other main characters realistic. The staff wanted to use an undead person as a playable character, and Tidus was meant to be that character. During Final Fantasy X's development, however, Nojima saw a film with a similar idea for its protagonist. The role of an undead person was then given to a secondary character, Auron.
Nomura mentioned the contrast between the lead male and female protagonists established by their names; Tidus' name is based on the Okinawan word for "sun", and Yuna's name means "night" in Okinawan. The contrast is also indicated by the items required to empower their celestial weapons: the sun sigil and crest for Tidus, and the moon sigil and crest for Yuna. The developers had difficulty with Tidus and Yuna's kissing scene, since they were unaccustomed to animating romantic scenes. According to Visual Works director Kazuyuki Ikumori, this was due to the use of 3D models, and it was revised several times due to a negative response from female staff members. Director Yoshinori Kitase said that in the development of Final Fantasy X, one of the staff's main objectives was to focus on the romance between Tidus and Yuna. Nojima said that he cried during the game's ending, when Tidus and Yuna separate and Tidus vanishes.
Designer Nomura said that he wanted Tidus' clothing and accessories to suggest a relationship with the sea. Tidus' clothing has a distinctive blue motif; his blitzball team logo, based on a fish hook, is an amalgam of the letters "J" and "T" (the first letters of Tidus' name and that of his father, Jecht). Because a player can change Tidus' name, the character is not referred to by name in audible dialogue; however, a character in Dream Zanarkand uses Tidus' name in a dialogue box. The only other in-game appearance of his name is "Tidu" in Spiran script on the nameplate of an Auroch locker in the Luca stadium. Before Final Fantasy X's release, Tidus was known to the media as Tida. In early 2001, PlayOnline changed the character's name to "Tidus". Because his name is never spoken in Final Fantasy X, its intended pronunciation has been debated. Interviews with James Arnold Taylor and spoken dialogue in the English versions of Dissidia Final Fantasy, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, and Kingdom Hearts (with cameo appearances by the character) indicate that it is pronounced / (TEE-dəs); in the English version of Kingdom Hearts II, Tidus' name is pronounced / (TY-dəs). According to Taylor, it was pronounced TEE-dəs during the localization of Final Fantasy X because the narrator of an early English trailer pronounced it that way.
For the sequel, Final Fantasy X-2, producer Kitase thought that the greatest fan expectation was for the reunion of Tidus and Yuna after their separation in the first game. The game generated rumors about Tidus' connection with the villain, Shuyin, who was physically similar and had the same actors. Square responded that such a storyline, given Tidus' nature, would be too complicated. For the remastering of Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy X-2, producer Kitase's motivation was to have people too young to have played the games experience them; his son was only old enough to know the characters of Tidus and Yuna from Dissidia Final Fantasy and its prequel. For the first two X games' rerelease, Nomura redesigned Tidus based on his older appearance from the audiodrama Will. For the franchise's 30th anniversary, Square presented Tidus' new design in a museum.
According to Nomura, he wanted to give Tidus a cheerful persona and appearance after designing serious, moody main characters for Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy VIII. He wanted to continue the recent trend of sky-related names, and Kazushige Nojima chose a name based on tiida (Okinawan for "sun"). Nojima called Tidus' personality "lively" and compared him to Final Fantasy VIII's Laguna Loire and Zell Dincht, two other cheerful characters. Tidus was initially a rude plumber who was part of a delinquent gang, but Kitase said he would be a weak protagonist and he was made an athlete instead.
His relationship with his father was based on "stories throughout the ages, such as the ancient Greek legends" and would reveal the key to the weakness of Sin, the game's main antagonist. Kitase noted that, in contrast to previous orphan characters seen in the franchise, Tidus' character arc included accepting Jecht's seeking redemption for Tidus' child abuse. Kitase felt that the voice acting and facial expression were crucial to Tidus at this stage. Motomu Toriyama said that when Final Fantasy X was released, he saw the story from Tidus' point of view: "about parent, child and family".
Masakazu Morita voiced Tidus in Japanese. He called the character a career highlight, comparable to his voicing of Bleach manga protagonist Ichigo Kurosaki. Morita also enjoyed performing Tidus' motion capture, which gave him a greater understanding of the character's personality; when he recorded Tidus' dialogue for the game, he moved his body. Morita said that Tidus was his favorite, calling him "the most outstanding, most special character to me". As his first work as an actor, he has fond memories of voicing Tidus and interacting with other Final Fantasy X staff members. Morita said that there was no difficulty in working as Tidus, since the character's personality was similar to his own, and he did not need to study the character. However, he was concerned that if fans did not enjoy Tidus it would impact his career. When it announced the Japanese actor, Square said that Morita was chosen because he also did the motion capture for Zell (which would make fans remember previous games). Across Final Fantasy X there are also flashback scenes which depict a seven-year old Tidus. For these scenes Tidus is instead voiced by Yūto Nakamura.
For the fighting game Dissidia Final Fantasy, Morita returned to voice Tidus. He was concerned about being able to perform the character's lines like the original Final Fantasy series, since it had been nearly a decade since he voiced Tidus. By that time, he was also more accustomed to acting as Ichigo and Keiji Maeda from Capcom's Sengoku Basara hack-and-slash games and the characters had a different vocal tone than Tidus'. When Moriata returned to voice Tidus, he tried to make it match his original performance. When the game director complimented Morita for keeping the character's tone, Morita was relieved and joked that he felt younger.
Tidus' English voice actor, James Arnold Taylor, gave the character a friendlier characterization than his Japanese counterpart Masakazu Morita
James Arnold Taylor was Tidus' English-language voice. Taylor was offered the role by voice director Jack Fletcher (who believed that he would fit the character), and translator Alexander O. Smith explained Tidus to him. In contrast to Morita, Taylor made the character friendlier and less serious with the staff's approval. After recording Final Fantasy X, Taylor said that he would enjoy voicing Tidus again; the character was "like an old friend to me now. I know so much more about him now than I did when we first started, knowing hardly anything about him. I would really hate it if anybody else voiced him". Recording the game took Taylor three-and-a-half months, and he enjoyed the experience.
According to Taylor, it would be unrealistic for Tidus to hide emotion. He said that although there were things he would change about his performance (such as the scene where Tidus and Yuna begin laughing together), he was grateful for the warm fan reception of his work. Smith felt that the forced-laugh scene was adapted well from the original Japanese scene, because of how "stilted and out of place" it was in the original version. Smith was confused by Morita and Mayuko Aoki's performance, but after discussing it with Nojima he found it well done in both languages and called it "awkward" and "funny". When Final Fantasy X was re-released in 2013, Taylor said that he was proud to be Tidus' voice. For Dissidia NT, Taylor commented that while Tidus' new role would seem new to players due to how he is led once again into battle, people would still find him as an appealing new trait.