There is a total of 9 characters in Final Fantasy VII. 2 of these characters do not join your party if you do not find them (go to the side area section for information on finding them) You may only have 3 characters to a party at a time, all of them have there own special abilities. On the characters pages you can check on the special ability of the character. As you play the game you will learn about the characters and what sort of life they lead. This is very important to the development of the game. There are also little side quests and extras that give you key information on the characters past..