The Final Fantasy series, as one of the longest-running beloved video game series today, has produced countless memorable characters over the years. Square Enix’s flagship franchise is so good at character-building that some transcend the video game space to the mainstream. Perhaps more so than most of its contemporaries. And such isn’t exclusive to the protagonists of the series, even some villains (who you were supposed to hate with all your being) are made so popular that you cannot help but love them. With all that being said, here are the top 3 most popular Final Fantasy characters of all time.
What Makes a Great Final Fantasy Character?
There are many factors that can contribute to a character’s popularity in Final Fantasy. Some of the most important factors include:
A rich, well-developed backstory
Gamers are drawn to certain characters who have been shown to have engaging, well-written backstories. Fans love nothing more than to learn about interesting characters’ pasts and what makes them tick. This lets them know their true motivations and what really fuels them to do what they set out to accomplish. All in all, a well-developed backstory can help to create a more complex and relatable character.
Interesting relationships and dynamics
Party members of most Final Fantasy games feel like family not just strangers banded with one another towards a common goal. Every character must have interesting interactions with one another, creating personal dynamics that are able to hook in players. Compelling relationships can help to create a more dynamic and engaging story. This also makes us, gamers, more invested in the characters we play as.
Fans want to root for characters who are strong and determined. A character with a strong personality is someone that fans can look up to and admire. Some may even grow up idolizing one character, effectively shaping them into what they are now.
Characters that are uniquely designed and stand out from the crowd certainly have their share of fans. A unique design can help to make a character more memorable and iconic. As you may see later on, our picks for the most popular Final Fantasy Characters all have memorable character designs. It’s not just that they are wonderful to look at, they are made to be one-of-a-kind.
Of course, there are a whole lot more other factors that can contribute to a character’s popularity. These are just a few of the most important ones. At the end of the day, what makes a character popular is up to the individual fan. We understand that what we think is a great character may not be true for everyone.
And with that out of the way, let us proceed with our list. Here are our top 3 most popular Final Fantasy characters in no particular order:
Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
To be honest, we can easily fill out this list with just Final Fantasy VII characters, but where is the fun with that? Nevertheless, that is a testament to how masterfully crafted the characters are in that game. As a matter of fact, even non-gamers are aware of who the main characters of Final Fantasy VII are and believe us, that is rare. That said, none have made more impact on the mainstream than the main protagonist of the legendary game, Cloud Strife.
Cloud isn’t just among the most popular characters in Final Fantasy, he is one of the most popular fictional characters of all time! And yes, we are including other forms of media in that regard, not just video games. This former SOLDIER turned mercenary captivated everyone with his good looks, captivating character motivations, and brooding aura. Think of him as that silent pretty boy that effortlessly captures the heart of all the girls in school.
However, there is so much more to him than just that. Cloud is a complex and well-developed character, with a tragic backstory and a strong sense of duty. In essence, he’s a hero that fans can root for, and he’s an inspiration to many.
Tidus and Yuna (Final Fantasy X)
This may feel like cheating to some but we just cannot fathom to mention one of them without mentioning the other. That is how interconnected Tidus and Yuna are, and how well-crafted their relationship is. We can even go as far as stating that Tidus and Yuna have the best love story in all of gaming!
Tidus is a young, energetic man who easily goes well with everyone. He just has that charming personality that you cannot help but love. Yuna, on the other hand, is a timid young summoner tasked with the grandest of conquests. That said, his compassion and love for everyone, even strangers, remain pure.
Without getting into the thick of their relationship (we have another article solely dedicated to that right here), Tidus and Yuna complement each other in what feels like every way. So much so, that it now feels impossible to separate them on lists such as this. Ultimately, Tidus and Yuna are among the most popular Final Fantasy characters because of how their relationship managed to impact millions of fans even up to this day.
Noctis Lucis Caelum (Final Fantasy XV)
The newest character on our list. Noctis is the main character of Final Fantasy XV. He is the crown prince and next in line to the throne of the Lucis Kingdom, the one that has control over the ever-powerful Crystal. Noctis made a quick mark on series fans and gamers, in general, thanks to his stoic, uncompromising, pretty but deadly look. While some may see him as overly “emo,” others are just hooked on him solely for his masterful design.
Going over Noctis’s appearance, he also has great relationships that engage gamers to learn more about him and his friends. In the game, he is surrounded by his best mates. They go around the wide and vast map, ticking off objectives one by one as they work together as a cohesive group. Noctis and his friends’ dynamic is so engaging that you’d feel like you are on a road trip yourself with your best friends playing this game!
Nonetheless, there is so much more to him than just that. You just have to experience Final Fantasy XV for yourself to fully understand how Noctis belong to the most popular Final Fantasy character of all time despite being relatively new.