Almost 30 years since the franchise originally began, can we please all now agree that there will probably be such thing as the Final Fantasy? Whilst the name has by this point earned its place amongst gamers as somewhat a running gag, if there’s one thing this admittedly up-and-down JRPG series has proved it’s that as well as creating awesome characters, it’s also great at enduring.

2016 alone finally saw the release of the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy XV, after an excruciating 10 year development cycle. At least it was worth the wait! For the most part anyway. To celebrate, we thought it appropriate to think back to the 10 best Final Fantasy characters, those that so effortlessly won our hearts and can cheer us up when FFXV’s moody Noctus makes us want to ride our very own chocobo in the opposite direction.

  1. Vivi (FF IX)

Just captivating to look at and a sneaky little blighter in every respect, FFIX’s Vivi is a black wizard that although doubts his magical capabilities at first, soon learns to become the master of fire by the time the credits role. He stands out from FFIX’s cast of characters so much not only because of his shrouded facial features and glowing yellow eyes, but also for his ability to sway any battle when in your party.

  1. Yuna (FF X)

Honest, determined, and an all round badass thanks to her ability to summon aeons (also known as the spirits of yore), Yuna is FFX’s resident sphere hunter who finds herself on a lowly quest to defeat sin, the powerful creature intent on destroying the world of Spira. Belly laughing aside, Yuna is a notable character for her inherent innocence and her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness in order to complete the mission.

  1. Balthier (FF XII)

Sky pirate captain of the airship Strahl, Balthier is FFXII’s resident pretty boy, but don’t worry he can hold his own too. Witty, calm, and a great choice for leading man of a mainline instalment Final Fantasy game, Balthier’s tale is a particular highlight of the franchise, being thrusted into a political conflict which looks set to spiral out of control quickly. Balthier went on to appear as a playable character in other entries such as Tactics and Theatrerhythm, seems no one can resist his charms.

  1. Sephiroth (FF VII)

Whenever FFVII’s Sephiroth comes up in discussion, the mind tends to linger on just one word “why”. Specifically referencing the time he chose to murder Aerith in cold blood, leaving protagonist Cloud Strife as well as the player asking just “why” that had to happen. It’s no surprise Sephiroth fell so far from grace especially when considering that his mother died in child birth, eventually transforming into a cold-hearted soldier intent on causing trouble not only in FFVII but elsewhere in the universe too!

  1. Cecil (FF IV)

The child of a human mother and Luniarian father (we’ve all been there), FFIV’s Cecil Harvey is yet more proof that most of the men featured throughout the Final Fantasy series should maybe just give up this “saving the world” lark in favour of pursuing a modelling career. As well as that, Cecil earns his place on this list due to his ability to overcome his dark side to eventually earnt the title of paladin. Also, he’s pretty awesome with a sword, which doesn’t hurt either.

  1. Cid Highwind (FF VII)

The spawn of a long Final Fantasy tradition of calling many characters Cid, this one in particular comes in handy during the series’ seventh entry, boasting the unique combination of warm-heartedness and heavy chain smoking. Thrusted into the outer rims of space against his own will, he eventually sees the value in taking down moustache-twirling enemy Sephiroth, spouting many a profanity along the way.

  1. Bartz (FFV)

The main protagonist of the often forgotten FFV, Bartz Klauser is easily described best as a modest wanderer intent on exploring the world before being rudely halted by the likes Queen Karnak. If ever there was a Final Fantasy character you could attribute Spiderman’s mantra of “With great power comes great responsibility” to it’s Bartz, forced to take up a greater level of responsibility after being chosen to be the Light Warrior by the crystals.

  1. Tidus (FF X)

Star player of the Zanarkand Abes Blitzball team, FFX’s Tidus soon finds his overconfident status disappearing once being transported to the world of Spira with the aim of defeating Sin. Tidus stands out so much simply because he’s hard to admire at the beginning of the game, often showing traits and characteristics you’d expect to find in a teenager. It’s his transition into sensible adult that allows him to eventually succeed, it also makes for an awesome character arc.

  1. Lightning (FF XIII)

One of the few highlights to be found within the thirteenth instalment of Final Fantasy, Lightning made such an impression in both XIII and to a lesser extent XIII2 that she eventually headed up the third instalment alone in Lightning Returns. Betrothed to Snow who just so happens to stand for everything she hates, Lightning is one of the series’ strongest female protagonists that succeeds in her ambition of saving her home and protecting the planet.

  1. Cloud (FF VII)

As if there would be a chance of it being anyone else. FFVII’s Cloud Strife ranks as one of the franchise’s most notable characters not only for his importance within the game, but out of it also. Cloud’s giant hair and equally giant sword is imprinted on many gamers memories and hearts, infecting many other aspects of gaming culture which even saw an appearance in a Super Smash Bros game. As long as he gets paid he’s happy, we think he’s earning a steady pay cheque for sure.