50 Best Final Fantasy Characters Of All Time (From All Games, Ranked)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Final Fantasy is one of the most influential and well-known RPG franchises in the world.
It was initially called Final Fantasy because it was Square’s last chance to release a commercially successful game before having to disband. They poured their heart and soul into it. And luckily, the game was a hit.
A significant part of the series’ success is their complex stories and the likable characters that populate their worlds.
There are way too many to count every single character, but there’s a lot to love about so many of them.
So here are our picks for some of the best, coolest, most powerful, and famous characters in the entire Final Fantasy franchise.
50. Hope Estheim – FFXIII
Most characters in Final Fantasy XIII have been through a lot.
But few have had to endure a fate as tragic as Hope Estheim’s.
After losing everything he knew and loved during the Purge at the beginning of FFXIII, this timid and somewhat cowardly boy decides to follow Lightning to become stronger… and, of course, to save the world in the process.
While he achieves this twice throughout the first two games in the Trilogy, Karma doesn’t repay him in kind.
He’s one of the characters suffering the most in the world of Lightning Returns.
49. Kimahri Ronso – FFX
Kimahri is a Ronso of few words. In significant part due to the shame he carries with him.
As a young Ronso, Kimahri was ostracized for being smaller than the average Ronso.
Horns are a symbol of honor and strength for Ronso, so having his broken off in a fight was enough for Kimahri to exile himself.
This makes him silent and mistrusting at first, but throughout FFX, we get to see what he’s really like – and what he’s worth.
Perhaps one of the most lovable blue mages in the entire series.
48. Oerba Yung Fang – FFXIII
If there’s a menacing-looking character in FFXIII, it’s Fang.
This Bladed Lance wielder from the village of Oerba never backs down from a fight.
This is doubly true when it comes to protecting her childhood friend Vanille.
Their love for each other and their sense of responsibility was so strong that it gave them the power to stop Cocoon from crashing down on Gran Pulse.
47. Quina Quen – FFIX
While most characters in FF9 are pretty unique and racially diverse, the gourmet beast Quina Quen is easily the most bizarre.
This genderless being is part of the Qu race, and they join Zidane’s party when they meet at the Qu’s Marsh.
Their main motivation?
To sample food from all over the world.
This fixation with food is evident in combat, as Quina uses forks to fight. They also cast Blue Magic spells, which they learn by eating enemies and copying their skills.
46. Snow Villiers – FFXIII
Rebellious by nature and notoriously hard-headed, NORA leader Snow Villiers is like a romantic knight on a fierce struggle to get his princess back in FFXIII.
After all, she’s the reason he does anything heroic in the first place.
Regrettably, his primary motivation is also his weakness.
When her soul disappears from the world by the will of the god Bhunivelze, he loses himself and becomes a patron of the Pleasure City of Yusnaan – drowning away his sorrow in excess.
45. Wakka – FFX
This Blitzball player from the coastal village of Besaid is the kind of character you come to appreciate more as you play the game (and as you grow older in real life).
After losing his younger brother Chappu at an Al Bhed Machina’s hands, he becomes wary of outsiders and downright racist against the Al Bhed.
That may come off as extreme. But grief has a way to mess with who we are at heart.
Thanks to Tidus and the adventures they all have during Yuna’s pilgrimage, he eventually lets go of his hatred and comes to understand the Al Bhed are just people trying their best to live, just like him.
And he’s a hell of a Blitz player.
44. Oerba Dia Vanille – FFXIII
I had a major crush on Vanille back when I played FFXIII.
There’s something about her character design, her personality, and her actions in the game that make her a major heartthrob.
This staff-wielding denizen of Gran Pulse wields rods as her primary weapon, and she’s the best healer you can get in the game.
When we meet the bubbly girl in Lightning Returns, she’s revered by a cult as a Saint chosen by Bhunivelze.
In all honesty, it wouldn’t take much to make me worship her too.
43. Vaan – FFXII
Among the least talked-about main characters in the Final Fantasy franchise is Vaan, an aspiring Sky Pirate from the Kingdom of Dalmasca.
Growing up a poor orphan in the middle of the Lowtown slums, he became a gang’s leader and slowly acquired the skills needed to steal what he needed to survive.
It’s in the middle of a botched heist in the Royal Palace of Rabanastre that he gets caught up in the kingdom’s political struggles.
He’s the MC of the game, but if you’ve played it then you know who the real leading man is.
But if there’s one thing we know about Vaan, it’s that he really doesn’t want us to listen to Ondore’s lies.
42. Gladiolus Amicitia – FFXV
Among Noctis’ fierce protectors and loyal friends, Gladiolus is easily the strongest and all-around best fighter of the bunch.
He’s not only a high-ranking member of the Crownsguard but the heir to the family that leads them.
As such, he’s prepared to throw away his life in a split second if it means protecting his lifelong friend from mortal harm.
Gladiolus is also the one who keeps Noctis in line, being completely honest with him whenever the young man acts unbecoming of his royal station and pushing him to be the best he can be.
41. Sazh Katzroy – FFXIII
Sazh Katzroy is the oldest and most mature member of Lightning’s party in FFXIII.
But he’s also a cheerful and lively foil to Lightning, Snow, and Fang’s somber outlooks.
His primary motivation is protecting his son Dajh at all costs.
After he falls into a coma before Lightning Returns, Sazh loses his cheer and becomes a depressed and isolated hermit in the Wildlands.
Thanks to Lightning, his son is eventually saved, giving Sazh a renewed will to live.
40. Barret Wallace – FVII
The man with the Gatling-gun arm may look rough and tough… but he’s profoundly compassionate and caring when it comes to his friends and daughter, Marlene.
His love for the young girl drives him to fight Shinra and save the planet, even though it means spending extended periods away from his daughter.
39. Ashelia Dalmasca – FFXII
Also known as Ashe, the fallen Princess of Dalmasca is the beautiful leading female character in FFXII.
Like Vaan, she’s all about freedom.
But they have different ideas of what being “free” means.
While the aspiring Sky Pirate looks for it in the skies, Ashe is committed to repel the Archadian Empire and take her rightful place as Queen of Dalmasca.
38. Lunafreya Nox Fleuret – FFXV
Another former princess to make the ranking is Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, set to marry Noctis at the beginning of FFXV to cement an alliance between Tenebrae and Lucis.
As an Oracle, she has the power to talk to the gods.
And she wields the Trident of the Oracle, a royal arm with the ability to create holograms that aid the wielder in battle.
37. Ardyn Izunia – FFXV
There is a lot of tragedy in the world of FF15.
But few characters can compete with villain Ardyn Izunia when it comes to suffering.
Born two millennia ago, Ardyn was set to become the Founder King of Lucis.
However after sacrificing his health to save the lives of those affected by the Starscourge epidemic, the Crystal finds him too corrupted to reign.
Two millennia later, he acts as Chancellor of Niflheim, and moves everyone around like chess pieces to get revenge on the Lucian kingdom and the Astrals.
36. Prompto Argentum – FFXV
Every boyband has a younger, rebellious member with a special spark that makes the ladies swoon.
That’s Prompto in FF15’s squad of dreamy men on a road trip.
He became close friends with Noctis in high-school, which earned him a spot in Noctis’ entourage despite being of common birth and not trained to protect him.
Still, years of practicing with Crownsguard expert mean he can wield firearms like the best of ’em.
His group role includes lighting everyone up when needed and taking pictures of the trip with his trusty camera.
35. Ignis Scientia – FFXV
Another major heartthrob from FFXV is Ignis Scientia, the calm and collected glasses dude with a sarcastic sense of humor.
Despite his peaceful demeanor, Ignis is passionate about two things: Protecting Noctis as part of his Crownsguard, and cooking the best dishes he can to feed his hungry companions.
He’ll go around trying to learn new recipes and gather new ingredients everywhere they go, making him a major asset in such a long road trip.
34. Balthier – FFXII
This charming but shrewd Sky Pirate travels the world on his airship, risking life and limb for money whenever he sees an opportunity.
His thieving nature ultimately leads him to raid the Royal Palace of Rabanastre, where he meets the rest of the main characters.
While his cunning attitude might suggest otherwise, he’s not that selfish.
His cocky attitude is just a front to hide his vulnerabilities and tragic past.
Also a big plus? This dude has some real charisma.
33. Serah Farron – FFXIII
Lightning’s little sister was instrumental to getting the story of FFXIII, serving as both Lightning’s and Snow’s motivation to get up and fight against fate.
In the sequel we get to know her beyond what was said of her in the first game.
She’s a wise and committed young lady with a heart of gold, which leads her to try and find Lightning despite everyone believing her dead.
It turns out she’s a natural fighter, just like her older sister. And she’s also a great cook.
32. Regis Lucis Caelum – FFXV
Despite barely making an appearance in the main FF15 game, the 113th King of Lucis and father of Noctis gets a lot of screen time in the Kingsglaive prequel film.
He’s a wise and strong fatherly figure to Noctis and everyone working under him.
He cares about his subjects deeply and is willing to give up his life if it means protecting their future from the Niflheim Empire.
Plus, he’s voiced by Sean Bean in the English dub of the film.
31. Lulu – FFX
Few characters in Final Fantasy have gathered as big a following as Lulu.
This is partly due to her incredibly cool and sexy character design, which renewed the Black Mage look by adding voodoo influences and lots of leather belts.
Other than that, this dangerous-looking woman is recognized as a vital part of Yuna’s entourage, providing the magic brawn needed to confront their vicious foes.
Fun Fact: While her black attire might seem entirely stylistic, it’s actually her way to mourn her beloved Chappu, Wakka’s long-gone brother.
30. Cindy Aurum – FFXV
Another dangerously sexy character with a less tragic backstory is FF15’s Cindy Aurum.
She’s the daughter of Cid Sophiar, the former Royal Mechanic and old friend of King Regis.
As such, she knows everything there is to know about the Regalia, and will help you customize your ride whenever you need to.
Her incredible skill, bright personality, and impressive looks don’t go unnoticed by our heroes, and young Prompto falls head over heels for the mechanic.
Can you blame him?
29. Rikku – FFX
Cindy is remarkably similar to Spira’s Rikku, as they’re both the daughters of their respective game’s Cid.
They’re also competent when it comes to machinery – not to mention the blonde hair and good looks.
Rikku is slender and athletic, and she’s one of the few characters who have the physical condition to fight underwater.
She’s the last to join Yuna’s group of protectors, but goes on to be one of her closest friends.
28. Aerith Gainsborough – FFVII
Young, beautiful, and mysterious, Aerith is one of the most recognizable female faces in gaming – in significant part due to her prominent role in one of history’s most influential games.
She may look like a regular flower merchant, but Aerith is actually the last of the Cetra – people with high magic potential and the ability to “talk to the planet.”
This ultimately makes her the target of Sephiroth, who kills her in one of gaming’s most memorable scenes.
27. Zack Fair – FFVII
Before she met Cloud, Aerith had a close friendship with Zack Fair, who made her the flower cart she uses to sell her fragrant wares.
He’s the energetic and restless protagonist of Crisis Core –Final Fantasy VII– and the previous owner of Cloud’s iconic Buster Sword.
He passes it on with his dying breath after being mortally wounded while fighting for what he believed in –fulfilling his dream of becoming a hero.
26. Haurchefant Greyston – FFXIV
Among the many friendly NPCs found in MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV, Lord Haurchefant Greystone is probably the most popular.
Haurchefant is of the Elezen race, with silver hair and pointy ears like you’d see on an elf.
Unlike most Ishgardians, he actually likes meeting new adventurers and welcomes them at Dragonhead.
He’s part of the noble house of Fortemps in the city-state of Ishgard.
He can be found presiding over Camp Dragonhead in the Coerthas Central Highlands, relatively close to the city.
25. Rinoa Heartily – FFVIII
Compassionate, warm, and friendly are the traits that best describe FFVIII’s Rinoa Heartily, Squall’s love interest, and a prominent character.
She generally puts other’s needs before her own.
Despite her father leading the Galbadian military, Rinoa’s values lead her to join a resistance fighting for Timber’s freedom from imperial rule.
She’s deadly in battle with her Blaster Edge, and her faithful dog Angelo provides support both inside and outside of combat.
24. Firion – FFII
The heroic Firion isn’t just the main protagonist of FF2, but the first character in the series to have a defined name and coherent backstory that ties into the game’s plot.
We don’t know as much about him due to the narrative structure and standards of the time.
But two things are certain: he’s incredibly skilled in armed combat, and willing to put his life on the line fighting for freedom and peace.
23. Bartz Klauser – FFV
An orphan from the city of Lix, the skillful Bartz is all about adventure and exploration.
But he knows when it’s time to buckle up and fight for what is right.
His father’s last wishes before passing away were for Bartz to become an explorer and see the world, so that’s exactly what he did – until he met Lenna and was chosen by the Crystals to be a Warrior of Light.
He’s remarkably easygoing – even in tense situations where stakes are high.
Still, that doesn’t mean he takes his responsibility to the world lightly, and he matures a lot throughout his adventure.
22. Lenna Charlotte Tycoon – FFV
Kind, caring, and a little naive, Lenna Charlotte Tycoon is one of the Warriors of Light, and the closest thing Final Fantasy V has to a main character.
While Bartz represents the freedom of the Wind, Lenna has the selfless and compassionate nature of Water.
She has the highest raw Magic stat in the game as well.
So most people spec her up to be the most powerful mage that ever lived.
21. Celes Chere – FFVI
The imposing Celes Chere starts as a high-ranking general of the Gestahlian Empire’s military, a title she holds dear even after joining the insurgent Returners and betraying her homeland in the name of justice.
She’s a Magitek Knight, infused with magic to give her the ability to cast spells.
She can also wield swords, daggers, and maces. Oh my!
Her independent and determined nature gives her the strength to seek out her allies after the Cataclysm turns the planet into the World of Ruin.
20. Locke Cole – FFVI
Fighting along Celes is Locke Cole, an adventurer and thief who prefers to be called a “Treasure Hunter.”
His adept sneaking skills are key for the Returners, for whom he plays the part of spy and saboteur.
Despite his cheerful nature, Locke is a committed member of the Returners with only one goal in mind: Stopping the Gestahlian Empire.
19. Kefka Palazzo
Much more interesting than FF5’s main characters is the leading villain, Kefka Palazzo.
Kefka was the first individual to be infused with Magitek, becoming the Gestahlian Empire’s first Magitek Knight. Regrettably, the procedure didn’t go as expected, taking his sanity and turning him into a psychopath.
Eventually he takes over the Empire and becomes the God of Magic, causing the Cataclysm – an event that killed most of the planet’s population and plunged the world into ruin.
He likes inflicting pain. Simple as that.
18. Vincent Valentine – FFVII
Vincent Valentine is another victim of magic experimentation, this time on the part of Shinra – the central antagonistic organization in Final Fantasy VII.
Being infused with Chaos-tainted Mako saved his life, but it turned him into a vessel for Chaos. He feels like this turned him into a monster – a sin against the world – and seeks revenge against those responsible.
Dark and brooding, Vincent has a fallen angel aesthetic and possibly the most bad-ass design in the game.
17. Solus zos Galvus – FFXIV
Also known as Emet-Selch: the talkative, menacing, and mysterious character is the Founding Father of the Garlean Empire.
His brilliant leadership earned the Garleans massive success and ushered in a golden age.
Regrettably, like most empires, it was impossible to maintain without war and expansion.
He’s also the main antagonist of the Shadowbringers DLC.
Throughout the game players uncover his true identity as Hades, the Architect of the Ascians.
16. Ramza Beoulve – FF Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics is among the least-known titles in the series, yet honestly one of the most fun.
And protagonist Ramza Beoulve doesn’t get nearly as much love as he deserves.
Proud of his lineage, Ramza believes in uplifting the Beoulve name by protecting peace and fighting for justice.
After abandoning his family and becoming a mercenary, Ramza learns the true meaning of selflessly fighting for the good of others.
15. Cecil Harvey – FFIV
One of the most interesting characters in Final Fantasy’s early history has to be Cecil Harvey, who starts out a Dark Knight in direct service to the King of Baron as the Captain of the Red Wings.
With time, he became somewhat possessed by his identity as a Dark Knight – wearing the black armor as a sign of the horrors and injustices he committed in blind obedience to his King.
After a battle with one of the Four Elemental Archfiends, Cecil finally finds the light within and is purified.
His class changes to reflect this, and he becomes a Paladin.
14. Terra Branford – FFVI
Terra Branford is the closest FFVI has to a main character.
This strong, independent woman is first seen fighting for the Gestahlian Empire as a Magitek Elite.
Eventually she allies herself with the Returners to fight against the Empire’s oppression, and ultimately against Kefka.
She loves animals, and she’s especially fond of Moogles. I mean, who isn’t fond of them? They’re adorable!
13. Vivi Ornitier – FFIX
Whenever someone thinks of Black Mages in Final Fantasy, the image that comes to mind is usually that of Vivi.
Despite the somewhat feminine name, Vivi’s gender is male. But he looks like a genderless badass no matter what.
His body is covered in dark shadows but for his bright yellow eyes, and he’s incredibly powerful with staves that canalize his magical talents.
He may look sinister, but Vivi is rather shy and gullible. With time he matures and becomes confident in himself, thanks to adventuring with Zidane and the crew. Definitely a lovable character from an awesome PS1 RPG.
12. Freya Crescent – FFIX
Another memorable character from FFIX is Freya Crescent, a spear-wielding Dragon Knight who joins Zidane’s party after meeting him at Lindblum a bit before the Festival of the Hunt.
She’s a humble and friendly Burmecian – a race of bipedal anthropomorphic rats making their home in Burmecia and Cleyra.
While Freya is one of the characters to face the most tragedy and sadness in the entire game, she holds on to hope for a better future and fights tirelessly to get there.
11. Cid Highwind – FFVII
Every Final Fantasy has a Cid character. Hell, he’s even in the Kingdom Hearts series too!
But rarely are any of those guys as interesting as Cid Highwind from FF7.
He’s also one of the few that join the hero’s party as playable characters.
Despite dreaming of sending a rocket to space and generally putting his faith in science, Cid becomes sympathetic toward the planet’s woes at one point and decides he’s responsible for protecting it if nobody else will.
Cid is the captain if the Highwind, which he uses to support Avalanche in their struggle against Shinra.
10. Auron – FFX
Final Fantasy X is one of the most beloved entries in the franchise.
And Auron is probably the single coolest character in the game, hands down.
He’s a former warrior monk who served Yuna’s father – Summoner Braska – as his Guardian.
During the game, he does the same for Yuna – while also watching over Tidus as a personal favor to his old friend Jecht. His story is incredible but it’s also super spoilery, so if you haven’t finished the game just know that Auron is much deeper than he looks (and the dude already looks pretty deep!)
His ronin-like design, no-nonsense attitude, and impeccable swordsmanship have earned him the admiration of gamers worldwide.
9. Noctis Lucis Caelum – FFXV
As the firstborn son of King Regis and the 114th heir to the Lucian throne, Noctis has some big shoes to fill at the onset of FFXV – and his problems only grow as the game goes on.
Still, this somewhat sullen and distant prince pulls through thanks to his friends’ help, learning to wield the power of the Lucian Kings to protect the realm from Niflheim’s claws.
His royal bloodline lets him forge weapons out of thin air by channeling the Crystals’ power, which he uses in combat to great effect.
He’s also pretty good at fishing.
8. Squall Leonhart – FFVIII
Like Noctis and most other main characters in Final Fantasy, Squall Leonheart isn’t the most talkative person, and his comrades see him as a cold and focused SeeD mercenary.
At first he lives for his job, but he starts questioning his way of life as the game’s events unfold.
He becomes the leader of the party due to his excellent leadership skills rather than by choice.
This same skill eventually gets him appointed Commander of Balamb Garden, one of SeeD’s main strongholds.
7. Zidane Tribal – FFIX
One exceptional main character who broke the somber protagonist trope was Zidane Tribal, the chivalrous thief from FF9.
He’s a Genome, an artificial being, but he doesn’t let that keep him from living the life he wants.
He’s casual, outgoing, and even flirtatious whenever he meets a cute girl – a far cry from sullen personalities like Cloud and Squall.
In combat you’ll find his Steal skill especially useful, as it lets you acquire powerful items and equipment by pick-pocketing enemies mid-battle.
6. Tifa Lockhart – FFVII
Even if you’re not a Final Fantasy fan, any gamer worth their salt has at least heard of Tifa – especially since a slight change in her design for the FFVII Remake caused a stir online.
After her hometown of Nibelheim is destroyed by Shinra, Tifa joins Avalanche to exact revenge against the mega-corporation.
She’s a fierce fighter, but also a kind and caring soul with an almost motherly attitude toward her allies.
5. Tidus – FFX
Among the many Final Fantasy protagonists, Tidus is probably the most realistic and believable of them all.
Most people complain that he’s too whiny and childish at first… but that’s to be expected from such a young man after having his entire existence flipped upside down.
Also, daddy issues.
He goes from rising star Blitzball celebrity to being lost in the unknown world of Spira in the blink of an eye – and yet he manages to keep himself together, and eventually matures through his experiences traveling with Yuna and her Guardians.
4. Yuna – FFX
Tidus might be the main playable character.
But FF10’s story is all about Yuna and her journey to save the world.
Like her father before her, she’s a Summoner tasked with appeasing the monster Sin and keeping Spira safe – even if it costs her a lot.
It’s a duty that weighs her down immensely. But she presses onward for the sake of the people she loves.
It’s refreshing to see her develop as a character between FFX and FFX-2, becoming more adventurous and finally living for herself.
And speaking of FFX-2… those dresspheres? Adorable.
3. Sephiroth – FFVII
Final Fantasy villains tend to fade away into obscurity after their story is over.
But the legendary soldier Sephiroth couldn’t have strayed further from his peers.
He’s almost as famous as his heroic counterpart Cloud.
And that’s a serious statement.
While we mostly see him as an overpowered villain in Final Fantasy VII, the backstory provided by Dirge of Cerberus and Crisis Core helps us understand this tragic character much better.
Anyone would have a hard time keeping their sanity after what he went through.
2. Lightning (Claire Farron) – FFXIII
If there’s a character that’s earned her place in this list with blood, sweat, and tears, it’s Lightning.
Her games may not be the best, quite honestly.
But even detractors have to recognize that this pink-haired Gunblade user carried an entire trilogy on her back alone.
She also has the finest fashion sense ever seen in a Final Fantasy game – and that’s counting the K-Pop boyband that is FFXV’s main squad!
1. Cloud Strife – FFVII
The main protagonist of the most acclaimed Final Fantasy title is also, unsurprisingly, the best character in the series – and arguably the most popular.
Defining Cloud as a character is complicated.
Especially considering that he spends most of the game believing he’s someone that he isn’t.
His identity crisis theme resonated deeply with players at the time.
And it’s among the reasons why FFVII is regarded as one of the best games ever made.
If you had to reduce RPG video games to a single image, it would be Cloud standing proudly with the Buster Sword slung across his back.