There is no role playing video game series with a larger fan base or greater appeal than the Square-Enix produced Final Fantasy series. The series has grown in popularity with just about every sequel and spin-off produced. Besides powerful plot lines and great game play, the games in the Final Fantasy series are renowned for having well written, exciting, and memorable characters. Of course, even the Final Fantasy series isn’t perfect and some of the characters in the series, rather than being memorable, are actually quite uninspiring. The following are some of the least memorable main characters to ever appear in a Final Fantasy game.
Lulu (Final Fantasy X) – Despite a provocative outfit and a fiery personality, Lulu manages to fall into the background amongst her much more memorable party members. It really isn’t because she is dull as much as because she isn’t included in the most memorable game elements. She isn’t one of the two dream characters from Zanarkand, nor is she Al Bhed, nor does she play Blitz Ball. In addition, due to the mechanics of character advancement in the game, other characters can relatively easily eclipse her skill as a black magic user, making her unnecessary for any mechanical advantage in the game. Finally, in the sequel Final Fantasy X-2, she is basically replaced with a previously unknown character, basically proving how unimportant she was compared to Rikku and Yuna.
Amarant (Final Fantasy IX) – There are 8 playable characters in Final Fantasy IX. Arguably, five of them are actually important to the plot. Of the remaining three, one is blue, androgynous, and eats everything, one has an entire plot sequence dedicated to his sorrows, and one just appears and helps for no apparent reason. That last one, Amarant, is unsurprisingly, not particularly memorable. Ironically, he is actually one of the more mechanically effective characters in the game. Despite that, players are likely to have a hard time remembering his name, let alone remembering he exists. The entire lack of an enthralling storyline is part to blame, as is a game play system that practically requires a white mage, thief, black mage, and big weapon character in the party at all times.
Yang (Final Fantasy IV) – Due to how often characters switch into and out of the party in Final Fantasy IV, it isn’t particularly surprising that one or two might get lost in the shuffle. Most of the characters that basically only make cameo appearances have quick, intense plotlines. And, sadly, most of those plotlines end with the death of those characters. The two major exceptions are Edward and Yang. Edward is so memorable he is practically infamous, as is the line that best describes the nearly worthless character: “You spoony bard.” Yang on the other hand is sadly generic. He has moderate fighting capability, terrible defense, and high hit points. More importantly, he is only a member of the party for a brief time and that is during some of the hardest and most frustrating parts of the game. A generic character that only exists in the party during parts of the game that are annoying rather than fun really has little chance of being memorable.
Setzer (Final Fantasy VI) – No Final Fantasy game allows the player to have as many playable characters at the same time as Final Fantasy VI. Setzer actually has a rather exuberant personality and a somewhat interesting special ability. Unfortunately for him, he is one of about half a dozen characters that all use roughly the same armor and weapons and have remarkably similar attributes. Of those characters, three are major contenders for main character of the game: Locke, Terra, and Celes. The other character that falls into that group is Edgar, who is introduced early, has significant plot impact, and has one of the coolest special abilities in the game. Despite having an air ship and being a boisterous gambler, Setzer’s late appearance in the game and similarity to more important characters just makes him rather forgettable.
Basch (Final Fantasy XII) – Due to the mechanics of the license board, no character in Final Fantasy XII is really mechanically different from any other character. As such, characters stand out due to personality and story. Vaan is the main character and Penelo is loud. Ashe is a princess and the story practically revolves around her. Finally, Balthier and Fran are both sky pirates and to add to that Fran has bunny ears. Comparatively, Basch’s story and appearance are just too humble. There just isn’t enough personality in the character to prevent him from blending into the background.
Zell, Selphie, Irvine (Final Fantasy VIII) – Since there are only six playable characters in Final Fantasy VIII, the fact that three are not particularly memorable means that about half the characters aren’t particularly memorable. In part this is due to the game play mechanics that allow every character to be able to execute all abilities roughly equally. Moreover, this is true because the story of the game practically ignores these three characters. Background characters like Laguna receive a more in-depth storyline. In general, it really feels like these characters are nothing more than tag-a-longs with basically no connection to the story. Even when the story does include them, it feels like they are basically an afterthought to the true stars of the story: Squall, Rinoa, Seifer, and Quistis.