Final Fantasy VII
Introduced in Final Fantasy VII, Tifa is the childhood friend of Cloud Strife, and owner of the 7th Heaven bar, as well as a member of the eco-terrorist organization AVALANCHE, who oppose the megacorporation Shinra and their use of Mako energy as a power source. She convinces Cloud to join the group to keep a closer eye on him after noticing his personality has changed, and she follows him in pursuit of the game's antagonist, Sephiroth. Unable to keep him from being manipulated by Sephiroth, she helps him recover after his mind becomes fractured, and they realise their mutual feelings for one another, working together to defeat Sephiroth.
In flashbacks, it is revealed that as children Tifa and Cloud had decided to follow a path to a mountain near their hometown of Nibelheim. However, they were both injured and Tifa was in a coma for a week, with her father holding Cloud responsible for the incident. Cloud eventually left to join Shinra's SOLDIER program in order to become stronger, but it is later revealed that he did it primarily to attract her attention. In response, she requested if she was ever in danger, he would return to save her. Years later, after Sephiroth destroyed the town of Nibelheim, Cloud rescued Tifa after she was wounded by Sephiroth. Surviving the incident, Tifa was taken to safety by her martial arts instructor Zangan, eventually arriving in Midgar and meeting AVALANCHE's leader, Barret Wallace. Upon recovering, she joined AVALANCHE so as to get revenge for the destruction of her home. She eventually encountered an incoherent Cloud at the city's train station, and convinced him to work for Barret, so as to keep him close and safe. This is the point at which the game begins.
In early drafts of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa was to be a background character. Her role in AVALANCHE was to add support behind the scenes, and to cheer everyone up after missions, as well as having a particular fondness for Cloud. She was supposed to have a large scar on her back caused by Cloud, and partial amnesia from the incident when she had received it. A scene intended to imply herself and Cloud having sex was proposed by Masato Kato, one of the event planners, but it was replaced with a toned down version by Kitase in which a risqué line is followed by a fade to black. In an interview Nojima stated that none of the staff thought the scene would become such an issue at the time.
Compilation of Final Fantasy VII
In 2005, she appeared in the CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, set two years after the events of the game. In it, she tries to give emotional support to Cloud, urging him to come to terms with the unwarranted guilt he places upon himself. In addition, she takes care of Barret Wallace's adopted daughter Marlene and another child, Denzel. During the film, she fights against one of the antagonists, Loz, and later she helps battle the summoned creature Bahamut SIN. Script writer Kazushige Nojima described her role in the film as "very much like any woman who's been left behind by a man," stating that while they did not want her to appear clingy, they also wanted to portray that she was emotionally hurt by Cloud's departure. In the film's initial draft, she was intended to have a more central role in the then-short film, which only featured herself, Cloud, and several children, with the story revolving around a note being delivered to him.
Tifa is featured in the prequel games Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, as well as the OVA Last Order: Final Fantasy VII. In each, her appearance relates to Nibelheim's destruction. The novella "Case of Tifa", written as part of the On the Way to a Smile series, is a story set between the original game and Advent Children. Told from her point of view, the story details how she creates a new 7th Heaven bar in the city of Edge, and attempts to hold onto the concept of a normal family with herself and Cloud, despite him beginning to isolate himself from others. Tifa also appears briefly in the game Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII, set one year after the events of Advent Children in which she helps the protagonist Vincent Valentine defend the Planet against the monster Omega WEAPON; she later appears in the game's epilogue, discussing Vincent's apparent disappearance.
Outside of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII, Tifa appears in the fighting game Ehrgeiz, as an unlockable character and an optional boss. She later appears in the electronic board games Itadaki Street Special and Itadaki Street Portable. In Kingdom Hearts II, she appears in her Advent Children attire, searching for Cloud and later fighting various Heartless, the series' monsters. She was originally planned to appear in the Final Mix version of the original Kingdom Hearts, but due to time constraints the staff members chose to incorporate Sephiroth instead. Tifa is one of player characters in the fighting game Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, which features characters from various Final Fantasy games. She is featured in her Final Fantasy VII outfit, but the player has also access to her Advent Children form and a third form that is shown during Tifa's appearances in Nibelheim. The first print run of the game features another form based on artwork by Yoshitaka Amano. In LittleBigPlanet 2, Tifa is featured as a downloadable character model.
Korean singer Ivy portrayed the character in a 2007 music video for the song "유혹의 소나타" ("Sonata of Temptation"). Recreating a fight scene from Advent Children, the video was banned from airing on Korean television after a copyright lawsuit by Square Enix citing plagiarism. In 2015 Tifa was added to the iOS game Final Fantasy: Record Keeper as a playable character.