In the late 1980s, Hironobu Sakaguchi laid the groundwork for what would ultimately become the highest selling non-Pokémon RPG series in history. Initially blending elements of science fiction, fantasy, adventure, and later adding concepts like high drama, deep storytelling, and even a little romance, Final Fantasy consistently provides its fans with everything a gamer could want. While fans all have their favorite and least favorite Final Fantasy, a good percentage of the franchise’s loyal audience will inevitably play a almost all of them and find something to like in every one.
Though Sakaguchi has since walked away from his creation, the geniuses at Square Enix are still producing classic titles to this day, most recently with Final Fantasy XV. Some argue the titles are more hit or miss in recent years, yet the standard holds true that each new game is bound to have something fans of the classic series will find to their liking. For example, a regular highlight of the Final Fantasy series is the incredible characters it introduced to gamers, both as playable allies and ultimate enemies.
It’s all well and good to play Final Fantasy VII, follow it up with VIII or maybe VI, and call yourself one of the diehards who know absolutely everything there is to know about Square’s trademark series. However, a serious fan would be able to take a run of the whole series and name facts about them all, so if that’s you, take our quiz and try to name these classic Final Fantasy characters.
Arguably the most popular character in the Final Fantasy series, the protagonist of the seventh installment spends a large portion of the game not entirely sure of who he is. Chunks of his memory are there, like how he was trained by Shinra to become a SOLDIER, and he excelled in combat until a certain traumatic event made his memory fuzzy, but that’s all that remains of his troubled past. This doesn’t stop him from taking the call when an old acquaintance of his threatens to destroy the world, jumping to action with his gigantic Buster Sword in tow.
Second Generation Summoner
Ten years prior to the events of Final Fantasy X, the undying beast Sin was momentarily put to rest by the High Summoner Lord Braska with his close allies Jecht and Auron at his side. Coincidentally, Jecht happens to be the father of Tidus, making Braska’s daughter, a burgeoning summoner herself, instantly attracted to the idea of making him an ally. In due time, the couple soon become much more than that, finding great friendship as the quest to learn about his history and her chances of saving the world like her father.
Lone Wolf Military Student
Were one to ask the lead character of Final Fantasy VIII to offer a brief biography of himself, the Balamb Garden prodigy would likely shake his head and reply, “…whatever.” Luckily, when he walked away gamers would see he also carries an impressive combination revolver/sword he calls the gunblade. The scar left on his face after a careless duel against his schoolyard rival made him look pretty cool on top of that. He also soon embroils himself in a war due to his love for a female general, and before long the fate of the entire world is in their hands.
Prince Of Lucis
Though players were only allowed to control one character in Final Fantasy XV, the developers went all out in making sure his backstory was fit for a king. In fact, the man is the crown prince of Lucis, a land he was also prophesied to reign over as “True King” from an extremely young age. When the rival empire of Nifheim attacks his land looking to steal their revered magical Crystal, it’s up to the prince and his friends to protect their land.
Young Black Mage
Playing on one of the most classic tropes in the series, the adorable little black mage who opens Final Fantasy IX seeking to watch Tantalus perform I Want to be Your Canary looks far more lovable than a person in his outfit was ever expected to be. The adorable factor would only explode from there, with the increasingly inquisitive young wizard always displaying his shock and awe and the huge world he was discovering. Ultimately, however, his story would become a tragic one, as it turns out not everything he learns about the planet is positive.
Cloud Strife might not remember every last detail of his life for most of Final Fantasy VII, but he could never forget the time he experienced with this elite SOLDIER in the village of Nibelheim. When working with this warrior, Cloud witnesses a sense of power he never before thought imaginable, watching in awe as he slayed dragons without breaking a sweat. Unfortunately, the man soon learns something about his origins that deeply disturbs him, such to the extent he decides to put the entire world at risk in rebellion.
Dark Knight Turned Paladin
For the first half of Final Fantasy IV, players got to control an unusually dark character for that point in the series, quite literally in the sense his class was Dark Knight. Granted, this hero was never entirely receptive of that title, only doing so to please his King. To that goal, he definitely succeeded, acting as the commander of the Red Wings and helping defend Banon castle against all enemies. Still, the hero didn’t feel right about his alignment, so halfway through the game he gives up the dark sword and welcomes the light as a paladin.
Upon first appearances, this quaint young woman selling flowers in the Midgar slums looks wholly out of place, which might be why Cloud calmly approaches her and purchases one of her exotic blooms. It could also start to explain the reason Cloud is so drawn to her he repeatedly puts his life on the line to save her, though the fact her fate is tied to that of the entire world is an equally important factor. As it would turn out, this flower girl from the slums is actually the only person with the innate power to save humanity from destruction.
Star Blitzball Player
In an unusual move for an epic adventure series, Final Fantasy X begins with the protagonist happily shaking hands with his female fans, who adore his status as the star player of the Zanarkand Abes. Things start to get familiar quick, however, as his upcoming Blitzball game is interrupting in a major way when an immortal demon named Sin breaks through interdimensional bounds to suck him thousands of years into the future. Or at least that’s the best he can figure it out on his own, as daring to talk about it makes everyone think he’s crazy.
The first female main character in Final Fantasy was introduced in the sixth game of the series, a fairly progressive move for RPGs of the era. The mysterious green haired woman who inhibited an incredible magic power was hardly a marketing ploy, easily rivaling and indeed topping many of the protagonists who came before her. At first, the empire enslaves the poor woman, though she soon breaks their evil spell and comes to lead a rebel organization trying to bring them down. With her power, the Returners just might have a chance.
Much like his little buddy Vivi, the true protagonist of Final Fantasy IX doesn’t know a whole lot about his origins, but the carefree thief doesn’t seem to think this is that big a deal. In fact, the half-man, half-monkey doesn’t really think anything is too important, except of course hanging out with his pals and chasing cute girls like this Princess he’s supposed to kidnap. Turns out that Princess actually wants help escaping, too, making his job surprisingly easy, until it sets him on the journey that changes his life.
Sky Pirate Dreamer
Learning to survive on his own from a young age, this homeless street urgent doesn’t let his humble beginnings stop him from dreaming big. Aside from eventually saving the world, the main aspiration of Final Fantasy XII’s lead character is to one day become a successful sky pirate. Some gamers have criticized his role in the game for having little to do with the plot at large, though others appreciate the cheery, upbeat attitude he brought to the proceedings, which was no doubt the developer’s intention.
Soldier Turned Science Experiment
Probably the most noteworthy optional character in RPG history, this vampiric Turk proved so popular with fans he eventually earned his own spin off called Dirge of Cerberus. More than just a cool face that slings guns and possesses unique super powers, Cloud’s quietest ally is revered for his powerful backstory, which ties into the larger plot of Final Fantasy VII in such a major way it’s a shock developers made it so hard for gamers to find him. Then again, that’s probably why he got his own sequel.
Forest Owls General
With a cold and careless character like Squall on top of Final Fantasy VIII, developers knew the game needed a counterpoint to help humanize the game and give players someone to cheer. This is where Squall’s love interest comes in, by way of a burgeoning officer in the Forest Owls, a rebel army looking to take on the Galabadian army. Coincidentally, her father is a high ranking general in that army, making it a deeply personal affair and creating a powerful female protagonist in the process.
As if one female protagonist wasn’t enough, Final Fantasy VI doubled down by giving Terra Branford a brilliant blonde swordswoman to serve as one of her most important allies. The two had plenty in common, as this woman was also at once a revered general of the empire, albeit unlike Terra, she did so entirely by choice. However, in due time she came to realize the error of her ways and fight against them with her new friends. Ironically, it’s the skills she learned while leading the imperial army that proves most helpful in the fight.
Mysterious Dark Sorcerer
Final Fantasy IV springs into action with the news Banon castle is under attack, and soon Cecil Harvey discovers that in fact the entire world is facing a terrifying new threat in this evil sorcerer looking to unite the Four Crystals and unleash their power. The scariest part of this threat is that the menace seemingly acts without reason or remorse as he murders countless innocent people in attaining his goal. In pursing this evil, Cecil and friends venture all the way to the moon, where they learn there’s a whole lot more to his story than they ever imaged.
Despite the fact he’s an ex-Shinra employee working to blow up one of their Mako reactors, Cloud denies he has any interest in the political activities conducted by AVALANCHE. That apathy is more than made up for through the group’s leader Barrett, who more than makes up for Cloud’s lack of enthusiasm with his unbridled desire to destroy Shinra from the bottom. To some a terrorist and others a hero, everyone recognizes him for the gun on his hand, which was earned in gruesome fashion during an event that inspired his vigor.
Al Bhed Pop Star
In both Final Fantasy X and X-2, this peppy pop star seems a little bit childish in comparison to her allies, but she more than makes up for it through her brilliant inventiveness. This creativity was no doubt inspired by her father Cid, himself a genius Al Bhed leader who brought their people together in times of turmoil. She also happens to be Yuna’s cousin, making her the perfect choice to serve back up when the summoner decided to put fighting behind her in favor of a pop career.
Princess On The Run
Considering the vast majority of humans would respond to the threat of getting kidnapped with pure fear, the Princess of Alexandria must have a darn good reason to jump into her captor’s arms rather than flee. As it would turn out, she fears the very fate of her empire is at stake, due to the terrifying actions her mother has begun to take since meeting a mysterious foreign weapon’s dealer. Though the Queen may be too far gone to save, the Princess puts up with Zidane’s nonsense because she knows he has the power to help her save the rest of the world.
Surviving Purge Exile
Ultimately, everything the main character of Final Fantasy XIII does is somehow connected to her relationship with her sister. The two begin the game living in a futuristic world called Cocoon, which is ruled by a totalitarian government. Naturally, this evil controlling body soon abuses their power against the pink haired hero directly, declaring her sister an enemy of the state and banning her for it. In saving her, the character also meets a number of allies who greatly change her journey, and indeed her entire life.
Given how Squall acts like a sourpuss throughout all of Final Fantasy VIII, there were no doubt some fans of the series secretly thinking his rival was cooler all along. Wearing a bright white coat in contrast to Squall’s demure black, the classic lines of hero and villain were already blurred, and the two were meant to be mirror images of one another in their styles and scars, so what’s the difference? Well, that’s until the big twist that shows him reveal his true colors as a delusional madman who thinks being evil makes him a hero.
Final Fantasy VI has more to offer than the strong female characters who take the lead, as Terra and Celes both receive invaluable back up from this thief—excuse us, treasure hunter—who also can’t help but go out of his way to help a woman in need. Granted, knowing how powerful they are, maybe these particular gals didn’t need the help, though they definitely appreciated it when their new friend introduced them to his allies in the Returners. And hey, some of the jokes he told were pretty funny, too.
While much of Final Fantasy XIII rests on the laurel that Lightning will ultimately do anything to protect her sister Serah, there’s a great deal of tension between the two women from the very start. Said drama relates to this man, who proposing to Serah shortly before the events of the game take place. Given his status as the leader of NORA, an anti-government resistance group, Lightning worries he’s a bad influence, and fears he could even be the one getting her in trouble.
Lieutenant Turned Thief
The heroes of Final Fantasy V spend most of the game fighting a supernatural evil named Ex-Death, who threatens to destroy the world through various nefarious means. While certainly a menace, Ex-Death was a little too vague a character to wind up on this list, but Final Fantasy fans will definitely recognize his Lieutenant. Originally a recurring boss in the fifth game, this guy would later show up in the eighth, twelfth, and fourteenth versions, as well, plus a quick cameo in number nine if gamers were good enough thieves to catch him.
Brilliant Survivor Of An Endangered Species
Aeris isn’t the only character in Final Fantasy VII who happens to be the last of a dying race, as this adorable brown canine is likewise one of the few remaining members of his species. Raised by his grandfather Bugenhagen to be incredibly intelligent, he also inherits a great bravery from his father Seto, who once defended their people against an invading army singlehandedly. Of all Cloud’s allies, this creature is also perhaps the most in tune with the realities of their planet, feeling it’s cries and using his knowledge to guide them on their journey.
Bizarrely Durable Octopus
Don’t tease the octopus, kids! He might look like an eight legged freak, but this bizarre purple creature has a serious fascination with Terra Branford and her allies, repeatedly popping up throughout Final Fantasy VI as a recurring boss, and quite frankly, comic relief. Let’s face it, once you fight the guy on a literal stage and the orchestra conductor direct the band to keep playing, it should be obvious he’s no more than a joke. At the same time, he isn’t lying when he claims he ain’t no garden-variety octopus.
Maester Of Yevon
Outside of the omnipresent threat Sin poses on the people of Spira, chances are this summoner and Maester of Yevon has the biggest chances of destroying them all through his great and arrogance. While formal in conversation, the leader of the Guado people has dangerous ambitions from the start of Final Fantasy X, though he also possesses a great power that might just save the world. Tidus, Yuna, and company need to make a grave choice in whether or not to trust him, and in fact Yuna might have a whole lot more to consider after he pops a certain question.
Only a Japanese RPG could have a character accurately described as a “Mad Clown” nonetheless also act as one of the most terrifying villains in the series. Initially, however, this painted fool looks like exactly that, actually winding up briefly imprisoned by his empire for abusing his power and poisoning an entire kingdom. Of course, that merely inspires him to abuse that power further, attempting to either rule over or destroy the entire world—whichever his particular brand of comic madness finds more entertaining on a given day.
Final Fantasy V opens on a deceptively calm moment, with a young adventurer relaxing by a campfire with his pet chocobo Boco, Out of nowhere, a meteor crashes onto Earth and the young man takes it upon himself to investigate. Little does he know, this curiosity soon puts the fate of the entire world in his hands, though in the very least he also immediately finds a few key allies at the scene of the crash. As it would turn out, this whole series of events may have been fate from the start.
Theatrical Weapons Dealer
While this mysterious and evil weapons dealer doesn’t appear for the first quarter of Final Fantasy IX, his impact is swift and overwhelmingly negative to the extent he soon becomes Zidane and friend’s sole focus, knowing his destruction won’t stop until the whole world is destroyed. Never one to deprive his audience an encore, the villain may even travel to other planets to keep his reign of terror alive. Before doing this, he spreads terror throughout Gaia by killing the Queen and destroying several other cities, taunting his pursuers in theatrical fashion along the way.
Lost Old Man
Stranger than even the meteor that crashed into the ground and attracted Bartz and Lenna’s attention was the confused old man they found at the scene when they got there. Not only was this strange old man unconscious and inches away from a supernatural accident, he seemingly had no memory or sense of who or where he was whatsoever. As Final Fantasy V continues, gamers learn this man also possesses considerable fighting skills that wouldn’t be expected of such a goofball, though the key to his amnesia might help explain that…
Dangerously Ambitious Sorceress
Final Fantasy VIII takes a very slow burn approach to introducing its primary antagonist, at first simply making her out to be a frighteningly powerful witch on an unclear quest for power. All Squall and friends know at first is that she must be stopped, sent on a mission to kill her. However, they soon realize there’s a lot more to this evil woman than their Headmaster had revealed, making it emotionally difficult for them to complete the job. Not that it wasn’t already plenty tough on a physical level, with her magical power nearly unmatched.
Inattentive players of Final Fantasy VII may barely even recognize who this man is, though he plays a massive role in the history of both Cloud and Aeris (and Tifa happens to know him, as well). That said, anyone to experience the prequel Crisis Core know everything there is to know about Cloud’s former ally and Aeris’s long lost ex, who parted ways with her to join the SOLDIER organization. Though he perishes in the same event where Cloud learns the truth about Sephiroth, his influence is integral to how the game’s story plays out.
One of the more privileged Final Fantasy protagonists from the start, the lead character of series spinoff Final Fantasy Tactics is the youngest son to one of Ivalice’s wealthiest nobles. This doesn’t stop him from becoming best friends with a mere commoner, though, and their contrasting relationship would ultimately chance the course of the world forever. The two friends part ways and reunite a number of times throughout their story, both changing the world in their own way, though it is ultimately this man who has the bigger impact—so big he was written out of history to hide it.
Chaotic Dark Knight
For anyone wondering how a classic Final Fantasy quiz could go 34 questions without bringing up a single person from the original, the graphics made it hard to tell most NPCs apart, and the playable characters didn’t have names. However, their ultimate enemy does have a calling card, though in a sense it’s merely a vessel he’s resting in until the arch demon Chaos overtakes his body. Of course, since the game starts with the Heroes of Light conquering evil once, it’s no surprise they do it a second time and vanquish this foe at the game’s conclusion.