The Final Fantasy franchise celebrated its thirtieth birthday last year. In that time, the number of games that have been released bearing its name is well into the hundreds given the rise of mobile gaming, whilst its creators have also made occasional forays into the worlds of film, anime and other media platforms.
At its core, however, are the fifteen numbered titles that make up the 'main' series, some of which have been supplemented by prequels and sequels that expand upon them. With the exception of XI and XIV, which were massive multiplayer online games, the heart of each has been the story, unravelling over tens of hours and drawing in masses of characters beloved and loathed alike.
The next few pages will look at each game in turn, picking out one character that stands out above the rest as the best that each has to offer.
Agree? Disagree? The comments section is open for business. Be aware that spoilers for each game do follow.
Few could've predicted the success that was to come when they booted up the original Final Fantasy cartridge back in 1987. It has been reworked and re-released on numerous occasions since, but never has there been any addressing of its nonexistent character development.
Players take control of four 'Warriors Of Light', choosing names and character classes for them. From that point until the end of the game they serve no purpose to the plot (despite being the ones driving it) and their personalities and motivations are left open to interpretation.
As a result, there are slim pickings when it comes to choosing the 'best' character from the game. Series favourite Bahamut makes his first appearance but is only there to upgrade the aforementioned character classes, whilst the likes of Matoya function almost solely as quest givers.
That leaves the villain of the piece, Garland, who is swiftly dispatched when he pops up as the game's first boss, but re-appears as the master of the four fiends that occupy much of the rest of the story. His convoluted yet surprisingly sophisticated (for a game from 1987 at least) grand plan makes him stand out from a number of his successors, and besting him feels like a real accomplishment.