Final Fantasy


Final Fantasy: The 10 Best Villains of the Franchise

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Final Fantasy is a game series known for a long list of striking heroes and antagonists. In this article, we highlight the ten best villains in the franchise!

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Works of fiction take us to incredible worlds and epic adventures. In the world of video games, these journeys become very remarkable due to the interactivity between the player and the story. In it, we can embody a hero or heroine, and move towards their destiny while emerging into the world in which they are included.

But a protagonist is nothing without a conflict and, in most cases, an antagonist. Villains are an essential part of the storytelling in various media products. Often, they present counterpoints to the hero's objective, and even lead us to consider whether, by chance, their actions are wrong under the circumstances.


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The Final Fantasy franchise is known for its mix of visual and gameplay innovations, engaging stories, iconic characters and a tradition of symbolism which lasts for over 35 years. And one of the most striking points for the community is the diversity of antagonists, which raises the question: who is the best Final Fantasy villain?

In this article, we present a list of the ten most striking villains in the series, ranked!

NOTE: This article might contain spoilers from various Final Fantasy games.

Ranking Criteria

The following criteria were used to define the ranking and the characters included in it:

Writing - A well-written villain is better than a one-line pit of evil. The better written the character is, the better placed they will be in the rankings.

Theme - Every work of fiction has themes that it seeks to address in some way, with one or more of them being central to the narrative. Good villains are also those who connect with the themes that the plot seeks to address, either as part of it, or as the antithesis to the heroes.

Participation - Does the villain actively participate in the plot's development? Does he have a personal maturing in the story? How present are they in relation to the conflicts that the heroes face?

Popularity - The best villains are also those who leave their mark on the popular imagination. The more memorable it is to the audience, the better!

Diversity - Final Fantasy is a franchise with 16 mainline games and over 100 different titles including spin-offs and sequels, and many of them have their own core of striking characters. Therefore, prioritizing diversity of titles is one of the key points on this list.

Honorable Mentions

The characters below are some of the best-known in the franchise, commonly recognized as outstanding. But none of them, for specific reasons, have reached the ranking.

Delita Heiral - Final Fantasy Tactics

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“'Tis your birth and faith that wrong you... not I.”

- Delita Heiral

Delita Heiral is one of the most iconic characters when we think of manipulators. A commoner who understands how social castes operate in Ivalice through his closeness to the Beoulve family, Delita, after witnessing his sister's death, joins the Church of Glabados to execute a plan where he would betray his alliances to take the reins of power from the nobility and become the king.

While his history is shrouded in tyranny and deceit, including the decision to erase the name of the main character, Ramza Beoulve, from Ivalice's history, Delita's ideals do not contradict Ramza's. There is no antagonism between them and, to a certain extent, the attitudes of one indirectly collaborate with the goals of the other - therefore, he doesn't really fit the standards of a villain in the series to be considered as such.


Exdeath - Final Fantasy V

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“I cannot be defeated by anger or hatred!”

- Exdeath

Final Fantasy V was the first title in the franchise to address environmentalism in a metaphorical sense, where the exacerbated use of crystals for the sake of luxury and benefits makes them so fragile to the point that they break and release an evil spirit that, in its quest for power, will lead the world to ruin.

Exdeath fits perfectly into the context behind the game's narrative, being the consequence of humanity's carelessness with nature and excessive exploitation of the planet's resources. His development, however, is null and makes him sound generic, evil for the sake of being evil, and lacking elements that make him stand out as a villain when compared to his successors.

Shinra Electric Power Company - Final Fantasy VII

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Claiming that the Shinra Electric Power Company (better known as Shinra) is the source of most of the problems and conflicts in Final Fantasy VIIlink outside website is no overstatement. One of the main themes of the title is the monopoly of megacorporations over an essential resource, and how having control over this makes their authority surpass that of governments and grants them the power to dictate global politics.

In addition to the misery and social inequality caused around the world, as exemplified in the lower sectors of Midgar and in Corel, Shinra was also responsible for several other catastrophes and conflicts, from the Wutai war, to the creation of the SOLDIERs and, consequently, Sephiroth's birth. Their influence and lack of restraints to control the company's greed makes the world the victim of their atrocities, and a threat that Final Fantasy VII avoids addressing as an evil that can be dealt with by a small group.

Seymour Guado - Final Fantasy X

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“Life is but a passing dream, but the death that follows is eternal. ”

- Seymour Guado

As the most active antagonistic force in the events of Final Fantasy X, Seymour Guado stands out among fans for his vile and ambitious personality that represents, in part, the pillars of the social and religious structures that keep the people of Spira tied to Yevon's teachings - and to Sin.

Seymour also presents himself as the main obstacle in Yuna and Tidus' journey and in their relationship, with several clashes along the way that make him one of the most hated villains in the series. However, Sin fits better with the themes that the game seeks to address, so Seymour is off the list.

Anabella Rosfield - Final Fantasy XVI

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Anabella Rosfield is the mother of Clive and Joshua in Final Fantasy XVI, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that she has become one of the most hated characters in the title since the game's first hour. A narcissist who only sees the importance of social status, Anabella has never shown any care for Clive since he didn't inherit the powers of the Phoenix, and makes no effort to hide her contempt for her son.

After betraying her kingdom in an operation that led to Rosaria's downfall, Anabella marries the emperor of Sanbreque, with whom she plans to have another child to keep her 'pure' lineage - and as we see during Clive's journey, her atrocities aren't limited to just her family.

The Ten Best Final Fantasy Villains

10 - Kuja (Final Fantasy IX)

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“But you cannot rest your wings yet... Fly home to your mother, my little canary. I, too, will welcome you home with open arms.”

- Kuja

Kuja is a mysterious wizard who uses the mist to create powerful destructive weapons - the Black Mages. His presence in Alexandria begins the series of orchestrated events that lead, for example, to the fall of Burmecia and the genocide in Cleyra.

In a game that seeks to answer questions about life's meaninglink outside website, Kuja is an exemplary antithesis: he shows no regard for others, sees the consequences of his actions as a causality of his master plan, and is motivated by the very denial of the fate that was imposed on him.

His actions place him as the opposite to Zidane and Vivi, who, through the bonds they share from their adventures, find their own interpretations of what it means to be alive. His vanity, narcissism and lack of empathy make Kuja embrace the path of destruction in a troubled relationship between his own search for purpose and the conditions of his birth.

9 - Caius Ballad (Final Fantasy XIII-2)

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“I shall remember your pain. It will be carved in my heart. Together with the memories of every other Yeul, cursed to die this way. ”

- Caius Ballad

Caius Ballad is the immortal guardian of the seer Yeul, whose powers shortened her lifespan whenever the future was changed. After seeing her die repeatedly during several incarnations, he decides to kill the goddess of death, Etro, to put an end to his beloved's endless cycle of suffering - and his own.

In addition to being one of the most powerful villains in the franchise, Caius is known for being one of the first antagonists to gain the community's empathy: his willingness to sacrifice everything for a single person, even if it condemns the world and costs countless timelines, is the subject of debate even 12 years after Final Fantasy XIII-2 was originally released.

8 - Vayne Carudas Solidor (Final Fantasy XII)


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“Is it with hatred you look upon your Consul? With hatred you look upon the Empire? ”

- Vayne Solidor

Vayne Solidor's speech to the people of Rabanastre is one of the most striking moments in FFXII, where we come across his main characteristics: a pragmatic and refined statesman, who doesn't lose his posture and knows, through manipulation, how to get around adverse situations and expose potential threats.

Vayne is also an ambitious idealist, his thirst for power knows no boundaries, and he spares no effort in dealing with obstacles by any necessary means. In addition to having orchestrated the end of Nabradia, he is also responsible for Archadia's invasion of Dalmasca and believes that ruthless leadership is necessary to keep House Solidor in power, and to change the reins of mankind's history.

Its prominence in the franchise is largely due to the beauty of Final Fantasy XII's writing. There are several dialogues that seem removed from a literary classic by the best authors, which enrich the world and characters, and Vayne grows considerably when Ivalice's political intrigues gain new layers of complexity.

7 - Edea Kramer (Final Fantasy VIII)

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“Have you no shame? What happened to the evil, ruthless sorceress from your fantasies? The cold-blooded tyrant that slaughtered countless men and destroyed many nations? Where is she now? She stands before your very eyes to become your new ruler. ”

- Edea Kramer

Edea Kramer is a powerful sorceress who becomes the ruler of Galbadia during the first half of Final Fantasy VIII. In her first appearance, she mocks an audience who, through her mind-controlling abilities, celebrates even after she kills a person before their eyes. Her festive parade soon turns into a horror show as the SeeDs begin their plan to assassinate her.

One of FFVIII's themes is connections and the memories created through them. The heroes have some long-term relationship established with one or more of the others, and this extends to Edea, the closest person to a mother figure for them.

The plot twists surrounding this relationship and the way this bond is approached make the confrontation with Edea one of the game's most memorable moments. While she is not the main villain, her role is remarkable to the story's overall development.

6 - Ultima (Final Fantasy XVI)

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“Mine is the altar at which you pray! Mine are the eyes that look down upon you all. ”

- Ultima

The mere act of looking at Ultima causes discomfort: his darkened eyelids and veins in his pale skin, along with the crystalline coating around his body, makes him an otherworldly being in Final Fantasy XVI.

FFXVI addresses, as its central focus, the fight for freedom. The game uses physical or metaphorical slavery as the Dominants' conflict. In a society sustained by the blood and sweat of the Bearers, Cid and Clive's ideals place them in the role of representatives of that freedom that will tear apart Valisthea's very foundations.


Ultima, on the other hand, is the material representation of slavery. Its means include exploiting weakness and emotional or physical control over others to reach its goal, its perspective assumes that there is a superiority of a few to the detriment of the many, and its role in the story reinforces the foundations of which Clive opposes when he decides to end the legacy of the crystals.

5 - Ardyn Izunia (Final Fantasy XV)

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“You think ten years is a long time?! It is nothing to me! I have lived in darkness for ages!”

- Ardyn Izunia

Ardyn Izunia presents himself as a mysterious chancellor willing to help Noctis for shady reasons. As the plot unfolds, we discover that he has a distorted and sadistic mind, corrupted by his past. The villain spares no effort to achieve his goal: Insomnia's fall and the death of King Regis are just two of the first steps Ardyn takes on the path to enshroud the world in darkness and claim his revenge.

With his charismatic manner and a tragic past surrounded by betrayal, Ardyn gained a legion of fans and became one of the most beloved characters in the franchise, to the point of receiving his own DLC that delves deeper into his story, in addition to playing a central role in Dawn of the New Future, book which encompasses the cancelled episodes that would bring an alternative ending to Final Fantasy XV.

4 - Sin (Final Fantasy X)

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“Sin is our punishment for our vanity. And it will not go away until we've atoned. ”

- Yuna

While most villains in fictional works are people or beings with their own goals, Final Fantasy X brought a new approach with a colossal and mysterious creature - Sin.

Inspired by natural disasters, Sin is like an uncontrollable force: he appears unexpectedly and the only certainty in his presence is that homes will be destroyed and people will be killed, and it is so naturalized in Spira and in the culture of its people to the point that political and religious system of the world is based on the existence of this creature. Life in Spira, for generations, is lived around an unknown force whose only means of stopping it are tied to the spiritual dogmas of its people.

The portrait of his presence and the world building around him in a story that addresses and raises questions about the power of religion in society and the naturalization of the suffering it causes due to atonement, combined with the close relationship it has with Tidus as its secrets are revealed, are what make Sin one of the most important villains in the franchise.

3 - Kefka Pallazo (Final Fantasy VI)

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“You people make me sick! You sound like lines from a self-help book! If that's how it's going to be... I'll snuff them all out! Every last one of your sickening, happy little reasons for living!”

- Kekfa Pallazo


If we needed to name the most evil Final Fantasy villain, Kefka Pallazo would easily top the list. His list of atrocities is almost endless, and puts him in a league of his own among one of the best villains in the video game industry.

With his sanity eroded after being infused with magic, Kefka has become a nihilist who only finds pleasure in destruction and death, and his only end lies in the destruction itself. Kefka is also a sadist, devoid of morality, and does not mind manipulating, torturing, and even murdering just for entertainment.

The moment where he orders his soldiers to clean the sand off his boots in the middle of a desert only demonstrates how disturbed his mind is. From poisoning a river in Doma to the literal destruction of the world, Kefka caused irreparable damage, left a gigantic trail of death, and would not be satisfied until the world was devoid of hope and succumbed to despair.

Final Fantasy VI stands out for several reasons, such as the richness of its storytelling, its diverse character cast and, also, the genuine evil of Kefka Pallazo, which made him one of the most popular villains in the series.

2 - Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)

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“Good, Cloud. Very good. Hold on to that hatred.”

- Sephiroth

The discussion of who is the best villain between Sephiroth and Kefka is one of the oldest on the Internet. The fateful scene at the end of Final Fantasy VII's first disc marked the gaming industry and placed Sephiroth at the center of mainstream culture. He has a much more lasting impact on the popular imagination: if we talk about Final Fantasy with someone, it is likely that the first reference they have to the franchise will be Sephiroth, and much of it is due to the expansion of the Final Fantasy VII universe over the decades, including the recent episodic Remake.

Much of the fame that the character has gained comes from his presentation: his looks are much closer to what is expected of a hero than a villain and, inspired by the film "Jaws", the game avoids his meaningless exposition, making each encounter with him relevant to the story.

As a personal antagonist, Sephiroth stands out for the way his actions permanently affected some of the plot's core characters. His mere presence is a trigger for danger, a point strongly reflected in the Remake, where Cloud's reactions whenever he shows up resemble those of post-traumatic disorder.

With a notorious trail of destruction from the Nibelheim incident to summoning the Meteor, Sephiroth left his mark on video game history, and the outcome of his ambitions and schemes are yet uncertain.

1 - Emet-Selch (Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers)

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“I have lived a thousand thousand of your lives! I have broken bread with you, fought with you, grown ill, grown old! Sired children and yes, welcomed death's sweet embrace. For eons have I measured your worth and found you wanting! Too weak and feeble-minded to serve as stewards of any star!”

- Emet-Selch


Many fans claim that Emet-Selch is the best-written villain in Final Fantasy, if not in works of fiction. Part of his merit is due to the nine-year build-up between the release of Final Fantasy XIV and the expansion that highlights him as an antagonist: Shadowbringers. More than 100 hours of storytelling and setting create the perfect scenario for him, while the plot takes a new direction beyond Eorzea.

Emet-Selch is one of the remaining Ascians who uses his knowledge and immortality to bring chaos and imbalance. His goal is to bring about the Umbral Calamities, a process that will bring back his world and the people he loved. The process would also cause the end of all living beings existing in the spheres, a fact which, according to the villain's own words, he would not consider himself guilty of murder, as he sees them as incomplete versions of his own race.

As cruel as his plan and the means of achieving it are, Emet-Selch has barely succumbed to madness when compared to the other Ascians, and brings a more humanized perspective to them. Lonely to the point that it borders on melancholy due to the centuries he spent without his home and his friends, he manages to demonstrate empathy and talk openly about his intentions to the point of expressing his feelings clearly. From tiredness to contempt, from nostalgia to disappointment, from anger to pride, Emet-Selch sees no need to deceive or lie.

This is the narrative element that makes him stand out. His proposal to seek common ground and meticulously present the purpose behind his actions makes Emet-Selch much more interactive and develops a bond where, although we sympathize with his cause, and he even contemplates the possibility of being wrong, Both understand that their goals cannot coexist: for the world where the people he loves exist to be reborn, he needs the end of ours, and our world, with the bonds we have established, needs the end of his to keep existing.

There is no middle ground, there is no other way than for him to be the villain in our story, and us to be the villains in his story. Few characters in fiction can convey this dilemma so clearly and still arouse empathy in the players or readers. Added to the fact that his battle is one of the most epic in Final Fantasy XIV, we can name him as the best villain in the franchise!


That's all for today! Now, we want to know your opinion: who is your favorite Final Fantasy villain? What was the one that impressed you the most?

Don't forget to leave your opinion in the comments, and thanks for reading!