Squall Leonhart is the protagonist and player character from Squaresoft's Final Fantasy VIII. Visually, he was inspired by the actor River Phoenix. Squall starts off as a SeeD cadet in Balamb Garden. After passing his exam, he is made a member of SeeD and is sent out on missions. As the story progresses, Headmaster Cid appoints Squall as the leader of Balamb Garden and leaves what to do up to him.
Squall starts off the game as a loner who doesn't want to be bothered with anyone. He's first introduced to the player in the Balamb Garden infirmary, where he recovers from a wound inflicted by the school bully Seifer Almasy during a fight. This wound heals into a scar on Squall's forehead, which has become an iconic part of his appearance.
Through his interactions with Rinoa Heartilly, Squall begins to come out of his shell and eventually opens himself up to others. The story of Final Fantasy VIII is based largely on Squall's maturation and growth as a person over the course of the narrative. The vast majority of the game takes place from Squall's point of view, allowing the player to read his inner thoughts on the people he meets and the events he takes part in.
Squall's weapon is a gunblade, a combination of sword and firearm. He is the first Final Fantasy protagonist to use such a weapon. Squall's own gunblade is unique in its appearance, featuring a stenciled image of Griever, Squall's personal symbol for courage; the image is featured on both sides of the blade. It also features a chained pendant of Griever's head attached to the base of the handle.
Over the course of the game, it is implied that Squall is the son of Laguna Loire and Raine Loire. Throughout the game the character Ellone causes Squall and his friends to experience flashbacks of episodes in Laguna's life that lead into his relationship with Raine; particularly those involving his comrades Kiros and Ward. It is also notable that Squall and his presumed parents are all named after concepts revolving around water.
Squall grew up in an orphanage, along with other main characters of the game, under the watchful eyes of Cid Kramer and his wife, Edea. Squall and the other party members had forgotten their days at the orphanage due to the junctioning of Guardian Forces; one of the side effects of such junctions is memory loss.
Squall is a prominent NPC in the Kingdom Hearts series. In the Kingdom Hearts universe, he is somewhat older than his teenage Final Fantasy VIII incarnation. This iteration of the character grows up in Radiant Garden, until, like the other worlds in the series, it was consumed by The Heartless, becoming Hollow Bastion. He adopts the name "Leon" to distance himself from his old self, who was unable to stop his home from being overrun, refusing to be called Squall. He also bears a wing emblem on the back of his jacket, a symbol of Rinoa, his lover from FF:VIII. It can be inferred from the game that some event happened with her, and given her absence, lends more reason to Squall's sullen demeanor.
In the first Kingdom Hearts, Leon's hideout is in Traverse Town, along with other refugees from consumed worlds. He is one of the first Final Fantasy characters Sora meets outside of his original world, also becoming one of the first boss fights upon encountering him. An important secondary character, Leon is the one King Mickey trusts to find the Keyblade Wielder, sending Donald and Goofy to find him. When the two Disney characters finally reach him, Leon had already found and fought the Wielder, Sora, informing him of the Heartless situation, while in the first district of Traverse Town. He remains an important ally throughout the game, providing a lot of exposition about the nature of the worlds, their keyholes, and The Heartless. Additionally, he is also responsible for providing one of the four summons of the game, giving the player the Earthshine Gem, allowing the ability to summon Simba, near the end of the second visit to Traverse Town. His possession of the Earthshine Gem and the lion it summons reflect the pendant on his neck chain, Griever.
In the second game he lives in Hollow Bastion, along with several other Final Fantasy characters and aids the protagonist once again. As a member of the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee, he is an important figure in The Battle of 1000 Heartless and is one of several Final Fantasy characters that help restore Hollow Bastion to become Radiant Garden once more: Squall's original home before it was consumed by the darkness.
Squall is one of the playable fighters in the Dissidia series. He first appeared in the original Dissidia: Final Fantasy as the representative protagonist of Final Fantasy VIII, along with the game's antagonist Ultimecia. Like his Final Fantasy VIII appearance, he wields a gunblade and is aligned wih the forces of Cosmos. As in Final Fantasy VIII, he begins the game as a loner, but learns to trust his allies, who eventually become his friends.