Dissidia Final Fantasy NT has just been released this year. And to celebrate, we are listing down the top 10 protagonists of the whole Final Fantasy franchise. We ranked them according to their popularity, story and overall character. So let’s take a look at each of them:
Despite being the main protagonist of the game, Vaan actually has no major roles in the grand scale of things in the story. Instead, he functions as an observer and his actions serve as a contrast to the key players of the plot. His limited participation in the storyline is because of the fact that he was added late in the development of the game. Which is why a lot of players thought of him to be a weak lead. Still, his unique situation is a breath of fresh air from the old and well-told hero-that-saves-the-world story we have all known.
Initially an explorer due to advice from his father, Bartz Klauser is truly just a random character who happened to be at the right spot at the right time. In fact, of all the playable characters, he is the only one who didn’t come from royalty, which makes him quite the unique character in the game. But of course, not everyone can just become a hero – it was ultimately Bartz’s goodness in him that led him to join the other characters’ quest and save the world.
Pretty laid back and casual, Zidane can be considered somewhat of a womanizer. This makes him totally different from other past leads. In fact, he is the first protagonist in the series who isn’t a dark character. Which was highly welcomed by fans. His fun personality helped the game stay true to its whimsical nature despite tackling dark themes.
The wielder of one of the most iconic weapons in the series – the gunblade – Squall starts off as a lone wolf. He’s strong and talented, yet distanced and cold. Still, he was admired by his peers despite being difficult to deal with. Of course, everything changed when he fell in love with Rinoa. He became a bit more sociable and learned of the importance of supporting each other. What’s more, Squall Leonheart was actually modelled after the late actor, River Phoenix. He was initially more feminine and then his scar was added later on to match his angsty personality.
One of the only two female main characters in the Series, Lightning was actually born as Claire Farron, but changed her name as a coping means from a traumatic past. She possesses a strong and determined personality, albeit cold and unreceptive at first. She is the eldest child in her family, and took after her only sister, which forced her to have a mature look on life. Interestingly enough, Lightning was supposed to be a seductress to a male protagonist. Fortunately, Lightning became the main lead that we know today: a woman of strength and character. The video gaming industry does need more characters like her after all.
You may be reminded of Sasuke (from Natruto) when you look at Noctis, but thankfully he is not anywhere the brooding character of the former. As the heir to the throne, Noctis boasts a royal aura around him that other FF protagonists simply don’t have. Everyone loves a prince, after all – especially if he can magically draw a sword from thin air. Still, what really pushed Noctis to the top is his growth in his compelling storyline that brought tears to everyone. On his quest to save his betrothed and kingdom, he finds himself in a much more noble path – letting go of those he loves and doing what needs to be done.
While there’s no official main character in the game, Terra Branford shines as one even when compared to other powerhouse characters such as Locke. She has been a key role to the development of the story, and often the stewardess who directs the actions of her team. As she used to be brain-controlled, Terra was confused and fearful at first when she came to her senses. Although she already learned about her past and recovered the missing memories, she still struggled with coming to terms with her humanity, incapacitating her to fight. Of course, she has managed to resolve her thoughts at the end and drew the will to fight despite the chaos, mainly from love.
Tidus might have received lots of hate compared to other characters in the entire franchise, but we’ve got to admit that he is also one of the most developed. From a cocky and childish brat, Tidus has grown into a selfless young man towards the end of the game for the people he loves. Unlike his predecessors (with the exception of Zidane), Tidus boasts a cheerful personality that sets him aside from the series’ other main protagonists. Funnily enough, he was supposed to be a rude gangster-slash-plumber, so we are grateful that he became an athlete instead.
Main characters always develop one way or another in the Final Fantasy multiverse, but only Cecil Harvey transforms. As a Dark Knight, he was docile and insecure despite his ability, something that was unbefitting for his position. When he finds himself questioning the things he has done, Cecil set on a journey to redeem himself, turning him into a Paladin in the process. He didn’t become more powerful though. At least, not right after the transformation. His power actually became weaker than when he was a Dark Knight, but became stronger later on. It’s the game’s mirroring of one’s attempt to begin anew – becoming more vulnerable but gradually getting stronger.
Maybe it’s his spiky blond hair, or maybe it’s the big buster sword he carries on his back, or maybe it’s his dark past that made him so popular. But, regardless, it’s undeniable that Cloud Strife has become the face of the Final Fantasy series. Of course, most of his popularity can be attributed to the success of FF VII, but Cloud has his own charms that have let him stay in our hearts a decade after he was introduced. From an uncaring mercenary into a warm leader, Cloud embodies the struggles of finding one’s self and purpose, and succeeding with the help of family and friends.
Our final thoughts
There you have it: the top 10 main protagonists from the main titles of the whole series. Of course, there are some leads that other players find more interesting than the ones mentioned in the list. Do you have a list of your own? Let’s hear them in the comments section below.