Final Fantasy is a storied RPG franchise with a wide range of heroic characters running the gamut from a boy band (FFXV), a bunch of jobseekers who will do anything for gil (FFV), a maverick group of lovably oddball weirdos (FFIX), a gang of environmental terrorists (FFVII) and a collection of thoroughly dislikable jerks bound together by mutual contempt (FFXIII). The cast of villains are just as varied, ranging from the sympathetic, to the uproariously camp, to the downright evil. In this list the HPP team comes together to catalogue ten of the best.
Caius Ballad – Final Fantasy XIII-2
Caius Ballad, for me, a real diamond in the rough.
Caius Ballad had the unfortunate luck of featuring in the somewhat ill-received XIII series. Caius sports a dark knight-esk looking exterior that represents the entirety of his badassness (not an actual word but fitting).
As the main antagonist in Final Fantasy XIII-2, Caius has an unlikely noble backstory – especially if you dig deep and understand his reasoning for being the way he is. It’s also a story that was a large part of him making this list.
As one of the few remaining humans in his timeline, Caius takes Noel under his wing to surpass him as Guardian of the Seeress, only for a disagreement between the two to force events that eventually unfold and impact the story of Final Fantasy XIII-2.
There’s a lot of confusion to be found in this game and a lot to keep up with given the time travel theme, so my understanding of the plot is a little foggy but what I will always remember is the presence this character had on the game. His oddly calm yet intimidating attitude made him come across as dark and mysterious – add this to the superb voice acting of Liam O’Brien and suddenly, Square Enix managed to created one of the best but also underrated Final Fantasy villains of all time. All hail Caius and his badassness!
– Sam Shannan
Kefka – Final Fantasy VI
The outlandish jester and fan favorite, Kefka is not only a bamf (that’s a Bad Ass Mother F- *ahem* – Deputy Editor), but one of the strongest Final Fantasy bosses out there. For one thing, he was able to capture the power of the espers, turning them into magicite. Then, he ascended to Godhood to become the god of magic. All of this with crazy flair, striking looks, and mic-droppingly good one-liners. Kefka made such an impact on players that he was easily the number one favorite Final Fantasy villain of all time (before Sephiroth arrived on the scene, that is).
Another testament to Kefka’s inhuman strength? When Kefka was defeated, magic ceased to exist. While that makes sense, as the god of magic dying might result in that consequence, the fact that it actually happened where his death altered the laws of nature in that universe is pretty mind-boggling.
– Heather Johnson
Ultimecia – Final Fantasy VIII
You can’t think about Ultimecia without thinking about Edea (and vice versa). Ultimecia possessed Edea in her most recognizable form, which shows a clearly powerful ability from the get-go. How she achieved this, however, was to time-travel to the past – so there’s some next-level strength going on here. Her motive? To compress the past, present, and future into a single moment in order to kill everyone and reign supreme.
And while she was eventually thwarted by the main cast, she invariably created a time-loop in which Edea received her powers in the first place and founded SeeD, thereby establishing the possibility for her to receive her powers in her own timeline.
– Heather Johnson
Exdeath / Neo Exdeath – Final Fantasy V
A tree from the Great Forest of Moore, Exdeath / Neo Exdeath is one of the more powerful Final Fantasy villains out there. As the story goes, the most malicious souls came together and formed the roots of a tree, which then grew for 500 years. Those 500 years fermented the roots and grew into a sour, rotten, and putrid tree of pure evil. That tree was none other than Exdeath, who was able to take on the form of a human and terrorize the protagonists on their journey.
Exdeath’s evil schemes included taking control of the Void and destroying the Crystals, meaning that he’s one of the very, very, very few people to have been able to obliterate what is essentially the life force of Final Fantasy. And when the heroes destroyed him? He just brought himself back to life as Neo Exdeath to wreak even more havoc. Now that’s powerful!