The Final Fantasy series is home to some of the most sinister villains in video game history. Their goals tend to vary depending on the entry they appear in, but most antagonists tend to have valid reasons for the questionable crimes they commit. That said, not all of them begin their stories as the villainous figures they are more commonly known as.
While it might be hard to believe at first, several Final Fantasy villains started as ordinary people, and they only became evil during their adventures. Some subtly changed over time, while others suddenly decided to be evil in response to a particular event. In a series crawling with terrifying villains, it can be a big shock to learn that some of them weren’t always evil.
5/5 Golbez – Final Fantasy 4
Final Fantasy 4 follows the story of Cecil, a powerful Dark Knight, on his quest to thwart the elusive Golbez’s plans to destroy the world. To do this, Cecil sets off on a perilous adventure to obtain the power necessary to combat this enemy; however, Golbez is constantly making things difficult for him. Golbez is presented as the main antagonist of Final Fantasy 4 for the majority of its runtime until the true villain, Zemus, is revealed towards the game’s climax.
Before becoming Zemus’ pawn, Golbez lived a peaceful life with his mother, Cecilia, and his father, Kluya. Cecilia died while giving birth to Cecil, leaving both children to fend for themselves. Shortly after his mother’s passing, Zemus’ voice began echoing in Golbez’s head. He grew to resent Cecil because of Zemus’ words and eventually sided with Zemus after being brainwashed. Golbez suffered a great deal before the events of Final Fantasy 4but it was Zemus’ manipulation alone that transformed him into a villain.
4/5 Gabranth – Final Fantasy 12
Gabranth wasn’t always the vindictive figure most fans of Final Fantasy 12 know him to be. As a child, he went by the name “Noah” and spent the best part of his days with his brother, Basch. His home was taken over by the Archadian Empire, and when Basch joined the resistance to reclaim it, Noah felt like he had been abandoned.
To punish his brother for leaving him in his time of need, Noah sided with the Archadian Empire and decided to stand against him. In Final Fantasy 12‘s opening, he used his likeness to Basch to impersonate him. While posing as his brother, he assassinated King Raminas and pinned the blame on Basch. He imprisoned Basch after this and visited him from time to time to remind him of his failures. Although the climax of the game saw him asking his brother for forgiveness, it was difficult to forget the crimes he committed and the lives he ruined along the way.
3/5 Ardyn – Final Fantasy 15
If it wasn’t for the Episode Ardyn DLC, fans of Final Fantasy 15 may never have learned anything about Ardyn’s surprising origin story. Before attempting to plunge Eos into the depths of darkness, Ardyn was actually regarded as a miracle healer. He existed 2,000 years before the events of the game in a time where he was destined to inherit the throne to Insomnia. Sadly, his brother Somnus felt he was more suited to rule.
As a result of his brother’s interference, Ardyn was cast out of the society he once tried to help. He ended up being imprisoned for 2,000 years until Verstael eventually freed him. Although Ardyn had no intention of seeking revenge at first, Verstael’s influence encouraged him to challenge Noctis, Somnus’ heir. If not for his brother’s actions, Ardyn would have remained a hero who helped people, but fate had a different plan for him.
2/5 Seymour – Final Fantasy 10
Seymour is first introduced in Final Fantasy 10 when Tidus and his friends arrive at Luca. He doesn’t directly say anything evil during his introductory speech, but the sinister music that accompanies his debut is more than enough to paint him as an antagonist. Most players predicted Seymour would turn evil; however, it took the main characters a considerable amount of time to realize it themselves.
Seymour wasn’t always the villainous type. As a child, he was persecuted by society for having a Guado father and a human mother. To remedy how the world perceived him, his mother elected to transform into an Aeon, so Seymour could gain the power to defeat Sin. Instead of fulfilling his mother’s wish, however, he chose to use his newfound power as a showcase of his strength. As the years went by, he became bitter, murdered his father, and vowed to punish Spira for how its citizens treated him. Once Yuna discovered this, Seymour embraced his evil tendencies in full.
1/5 Sephiroth – Final Fantasy 7
Before becoming the most feared villain in the Final Fantasy series, Sephiroth led a relatively normal life. He was a renowned SOLDIER First Class and thus was held in quite high esteem by all who knew of him. He was Shinra’s go-to man when it came to monster hunting, but this all changed during his trip to Nibelheim.
While investigating the Mako Reactor at Mt. Nibel, Sephiroth learned that the Shinra Company was creating monsters. Curious as to why they would do such a thing, he retreated to the basement of the Shinra Mansion to read whatever documents he could find. He spent days looking over these documents until he eventually learned how he was created. Before he was born, Hojo injected Sephiroth with Jenova cells. While it made Sephiroth much stronger than an ordinary human, it also corrupted his mind. Upon realizing how he came to be, he began referring to Jenova as his mother before eventually being coerced by her to do her bidding.
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